MILAN — “An ideal ambassador? Nobody. If you already have Ibra, you need no one else.”
Loyal to his reputation and famed self-confidence, A.C. Milan soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimović shooed away any suggestion for a possible ambassador to embody the capsule collection he developed with Dsquared2 beyond himself.
Teased in January, the “Black on Black” range was celebrated with an in-store event on Tuesday, which inevitably drew a crowd of soccer supporters and “Ibra” fans (the two don’t necessarily coincide since his fame transcends the sport itself) outside the brand’s flagship here.
The collection the two parties designed for fall 2022 and that officially launched this week is the second tie-up between the fashion label’s founders Dean and Dan Caten and the athlete, following last year’s seminal project Icon Ibrahimović x Dsquared2. But the relationship was forged way before that.
“I met Dean and Dan when I first arrived in Italy, at the time to play at Juventus in Turin,” said Ibrahimović about his first, two-year stint in the Italian soccer league Seria A in 2004.
“My agent Mino [Raiola] made the introductions and suggested they design the team’s uniform, so everything started from there,” continued the striker, recalling how the Canadian duo created the club’s off-field attire in 2006.
It took more than a decade to bring the tie-up to the next level, with Ibrahimović stating that “I had first to level up and prove myself” before developing a collection that could be dubbed “Icon,” as the first one was.
“I was very proud, first because this was not my world, it was Dean and Dan’s and I was in good hands. And then I was happy because [the collection] actually performed well,” said the striker.
For the sophomore effort, the parties came up with a full range including daywear, sportswear, eveningwear and accessories, all rendered in black.
“Black is easy. It’s a staple,” said Dean Caten, explaining the stylistic choice. “When in doubt, always go black.”
In the case of a soccer star with 55.3 million followers on Instagram, a shimmering touch is welcome, too. Cue the denim pants punctuated by rhinestones Ibrahimović pulled from the “Black on Black” collection and worn at the event, styled with a black blazer and shiny, pointy shoes.
“I like fashion but I’m not an expert, my wife Helena [Seger] is,” said the player, pointing to his partner, who was also sporting a total black look from the brand. “At first my style was very sporty, I wore lots of hoodies. Then when I met her, she told me, ‘We need to change your wardrobe a little bit,’ so I sent her to shop [clothes] for me,” he said with a laugh.
Yet the player still favors basic staples outside the soccer field, such as T-shirts and Dsquared2 jeans, “which fit me very well,” he said. “I like clothes when they are comfy. When they make me feel comfortable, they work. And that’s what happened first with ‘Icon’ and now with ‘Black on Black.’ I really feel myself wearing these,” said Ibrahimović.
For the Catens, the capsule collection intends to attract a different type of customer, “sporty, mature, who wants to be fashion but not too much,” said Dean Caten.
Ibrahimović teased one of the head-to-toe black looks already while attending the Dsquared2 men’s fall 2022 fashion show in Milan, which marked a first for him and a “beautiful and intense” experience, as he defined it.
Asked if he sees himself in fashion one day, the player’s bullish attitude left room for a more cautious approach. “I’m interested in fashion, although this is still all new. When you work with experts, you can only learn and grow. So I still stick to soccer but approach this world with curiosity. I’m also in the city of fashion, so that’s a good start for sure,” said Ibrahimović.
While both designers and soccer star stayed mum about a possible third chapter of the collaboration, the “Black on Black” range hits the shelves of Dsquared2 stores and e-commerce, as well as a selection of retailers worldwide, this week.
Given the color uniformity, the collection plays with textures — from leather to satin — and details, including printed logos of the brand’s name, the soccer player’s nickname “Ibra” or embroideries with his initials. Custom denim labels and hangtags also appear on the products.
Style-wise, everyday options include a double-breasted felted wool coat, biker pants and wool knits, as well as bomber jackets featuring the nickname of the soccer star printed on the reverse, and washed denim jackets. Fleeced hoodies and joggers make for the sportier part of the collection, which also includes beach wear like swim trunks, a bathrobe and sandals.
Eveningwear ranges from a classic black tuxedo to sporty separates, such as hoodies and shorts, covered in black crystals for a touch of shimmering eccentricity à la “Ibra.”