After a weekend of local fashion and photo shoots it is time to head back to Milan and more collections and ready to wear for Autumn 2014! The past few days have been filled with many collections gracing the catwalks and all vying for their place on the front pages of the myriad of blogs, webs and news sites covering the shows and one that certainly created buzz was the Dsquared2 www.dsquared2.com collection from Dan and Dean Caten that raised more questions about their commenting on mental illness than it answered and if it is okay to create a presentation based around this disease. I suppose locally for me given the high-profile recent suicide of the wonderful Charlotte Dawson who I had the privilege of working with when I was involved with the AIDS Trust of Australia I found the theatricality of mental health questionable. Yes it is all about creative vision and showcasing that vision in a way that will get some attention but mental health is an issue that needs compassion and understanding!
For the boys from Dsquared2 this was all about a cinematic, theatrical experience and telling stories based around their vision for the collection. I do not want to get too deep in interpreting the desire to base this collection around a psych ward but certainly in my experience patients in a psych ward never looked this stylish and fashionable.
This was Psych Ward 101 and Dan and Dean Caten issued their own take on fashion victims and seemed to be making a statement about our need to be victims to what we wear and when we wear it. The soundtrack that they used sampled quotes from “Grey Gardens” and “Girl, Interrupted”. This was the crazy world of Valley of the Dolls with the models creating an air of 60’s glamour in among the psych ward theatrics. I even got he sense that some of the looks would have been right at home in a 60’s Audrey Hepburn movie and not felt out-of-place or even Catherine Deneuve in one of her early movies. Here we saw column gowns and grand capes festooned with embroideries and feathers, shift dresses with fur stripes and neat 60’s style jackets. Continuing the theme even some of the stylish patients were trailed by sexy clinicians — an Asian duo in white leather capes and another Asian trio in tight minis. Did we get transported to an asylum in Hong Kong or Singapore?
The production entertainment value was grand and will take up many inches of editorial because the images as you can see here were perfect for good copy and to make some fun fashion statements. There were a range of hospital-themed statement pieces, such as be-jewelled neck braces, padded cuffs, ankle bracelets and pumps with rubber tubing straps which were all shown off to great effect and added to the overall telling of the story but unless you are after a designer piece the next time you go into the hospital of course these were purely done for the show and I would have preferred to see more of the fashion and not be focussed on the accessories here. The only thing missing here were the straitjackets.
Being in a psych ward was never so glamorous but then Dan and Dean always push the boundaries with their presentations and this one was no different. You just have to ask that with so much focus on mental health was this a help or a hindrance in moving a better understanding of an issue that plagues many in a positive or negative way?