Ugh, well that’s racist is pretty much how you would describe Dsquared²’s Autumn/Winter Ready-to-wear 2015 show.
Dsquared² is designed by twin brothers Dan and Dean Caten, who are kind of Canadian expat fashion design darlings. Born in Toronto, the two are now based in London, but showed Milan Fashion week this season.
According to the review of the show by Style.com, the inspiration for the Catens is as follows:
Always ready, willing, and eager to reveal their Canadian roots in the most unlikely way, the twins went back to the Yukon with this collection. Not the Yukon of muscle-y Mounties and moose, the campy Canuck fantasia of their fashion past, but a place where, said Dean, a suitcase of clothes and jewels from Old Europe had fallen out of a plane over the icy tundra and been taken up by an Inuit tribe, who had incorporated the finery into their own tribal duds.
- from the review of the Dsquared² show by Tim Blanks on Style.com
Man, where to even begin….
First, Dean Caten’s description of the collection’s inspiration above explicitly refers to colonialism, what with clothes from “Old Europe” just happening to fall upon the unceded territories of Inuit peoples….let us remember that colonialism is purposeful, violent, and unequivocally destructive.
Second, you can see the panopoly of vaguely “ethnic” or “tribal” prints splashed lazily all across the clothing. Beaded accessories and feathers are thrown into the mix, because, let’s face it, no cultural appropriation of First Nations designs is complete without such token affects.
Another huge mistake was the makeup. You can see on the models that their cheeks and temples have been reddened, probably to suggest freezing temperatures (again, refer to the quote of the collection’s inspiration above), but given the clothing the makeup was paired with, it could very easily come off as redface.
One might say that at least one (barely) forgiving factor of this show is that the models booked for the show are overall more diverse than other Milan Fashion Week shows we have seen so far. However, its important to keep in mind that cultural appropriation can’t be excused if its worn by say, an Asian model, or a Black model.
Given that the Catens are Canadian, you think they would be more conscientious about their designs–then again, its a timely reminder that racism in Canada is alive and well, no matter how polite and inclusive our international reputation may be.
All pictures from Style.com, found here.