Since they were baby twins looking at fashion magazines, Dean and Dan Caten have always loved a pose. The sculpted volumes of their new collection got them free-associating all over the place. When Elisabeth Erm held her position in a pair of rounded, cropped pants cut from silk raffia, her legs reminded Dean of a centaur’s.
That fabric, woven in vibrant color-blocks that were reminiscent of Sonia Delaunay’s textiles, was a key component of the Catens’ new collection. So were allover beadwork—on sweatshirts, slouchy pants, and thigh-high boots—and torrents of frothy plissé. As lighthearted as that sounds, it pointed to a new seriousness of purpose for the twins. They’ve always been great technicians, but that skill has often been obscured by their showmanship. If their presentation today was as large-scaled as ever, it was set against the neutral backdrop of a New York artist’s loft, a somewhat higher-brow location than the B-movie scenarios—women’s prisons or Hollywood lunatic asylums—they’ve been drawn to in the past. There was a new emphasis on form and craft. Leather bonded to jersey was cut into light, athletic little shell tops. Even T-shirts were double-faced to give them a little more structure.