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Collage Maker-14-Jan-2023-09.28-AM

Geeks, jocks, emos, and goths unite in DSquared2’s trashy 2004 fantasy

Dean and Dan Caten mined their archives to kit out a new gen of fashion fans, including Amelia Gray and TikToker Nic Kaufman

The call is coming from inside the house! If you’re going to look to anyone to create the kind of Y2K fantasy kids far and wide are still going wild for almost five years after its first resurgence, surely it’s got to be Dean and Dan Caten. The Canadian twins behind DSquared2 did it all the first time round, laying the blueprint for the kind of trashy spliced and diced denim, logo-emblazoned baby tees, and trucker caps that are currently going for ludicrous amounts of money on depop right now. 

This season, the designers took this responsibility seriously, as they dove into their archives and turned out a bolshy 00s-indebted collection on day one of the AW23 shows in Milan. Against the backdrop of a messy teen bedroom – dog-eared posters and skateboards hanging off off the walls – a new generation of freaks, geeks, emos, jocks, and party princesses stomped down the catwalk in tiny, barely-there booty shorts, skewed varsity jerseys, and slashed-to-within-an-inch-of-their-life jeans, all topped off with outrageously naff belts bearing the house’s logo, ‘I love beer’, ‘Darlin’’, and more.

One of the main problems with the current iteration of the Y2K aesthetic is that it feels way too sanitised, whereas the Caten’s latest collection captured it in an authentic, all-its-messy-glory kind of way. It was Britney, rolling out of a Starbucks, enormous green cup and car keys clutched in hand. It was ‘penniless’ Simple Life-era Paris Hilton rolling up to the burger bar she’s picking up a shift at, jeans slung perilously low, straggly, unblended hair extensions trailing down her back. And it felt all the more fun and exciting for it – thanks in no small part to new recruit Haley Wollens’ immaculate styling. 

But this move from DSquared2 raises the question: when exactly is Y2K fever going to break and allow the fashion cycle to move on to the next big thing? The answer isn’t clear, but seemingly it isn’t going to be any time soon. Even Gucci, which steered clear of the trend in the hands of recently departed creative director Alessandro Michele, got in on the action this season, with the house’s design team debuting a U-turn of a collection that channelled the indie sleaze aesthetics championed by Brooklyn fuckboys circa 2004. And with Dean and Dan Caten’s a clear standout of the AW23 season already, seems like it could still have plenty of steam in it yet.