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updated 12/16/2009 5:55:04 PM ET 2009-12-16T22:55:04

Dan and Dean Caten are loving this moment in the limelight.

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The twin-brother team behind the fashion label Dsquared2 are on TV and the radio, they created concert costumes for Madonna and Britney Spears, and they'll be outfitting the headlining performers at the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Earlier this year, they received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame — the only fashion designers to be honored alongside the likes of Michael J. Fox and Wayne Gretzky.

They have a collection of branded MAC cosmetics as well as eyewear and fragrance deals. But any time it seems success might go to their heads, they remember their modest Canadian roots and have a good chuckle.

Actually, they do more than chuckle, they crack each other up, communicating in shorthand that takes other people in the room a little while to understand.

"We are twins in every sense of the word," says Dan, who describes himself as the more approachable of the two — although he's also the one who'll crack the whip at work.

Dean claims he's "taller and thinner," sucking in his cheeks and striking a model-worthy pose.

Hysterics ensue.

Dreaming big since a young age
They've been this close since the day they were born in 1964 in Willowdale, Ontario, and have wanted to work in fashion almost as long, Dean says. Family life was as ordinary as it could be in a household with nine kids, yet he and Dan always had an eye on a bigger picture that his family couldn't see — one that would take them to New York, Milan, Italy, and now London.

"It was normal people, growing up, just not us," Dean says. "We didn't quite fit in, but it was still fun."

Image: Dan and Dean Caten
Luca Bruno  /  AP
As far as twin fashion designers Dan, left, and Dean Caten were concerned, they just had to succeed on the European runway.
Dan jumps in: "With five sisters, though, we did a lot of shopping, dressed them for a lot of proms and parties — and we dressed them! We could do it on a budget, which allowed us to be more creative, and they trusted us because they knew we knew better than them."

The way they tell it, they couldn't wait to start their careers. The first stop was a summer program at Parsons School of Design straight out of high school, but before they knew it they were back in Canada, coaxed by the owner of Ports International (now known as Ports 1961).

It was there that the Catens cut their technical teeth, learning how to cut a pattern, tailor a jacket and critique their own work. On a local scale of success, they were a hit — but the brothers weren't satisfied. It was going to be the European runway or bust.

"People say, 'Why risk everything?' But I say, 'Why not risk everything?'" Dan says.

"We chose Europe instead of New York," Dean adds, "because it was not so easy to come back home."

Still, they're proud of their Canadian roots: Maple leaves are incorporated into several designs each season.

'We're our own customer'
They started in menswear in 1994 and added womenswear in 2003. Their runway shows are among the most elaborate and flashy on the Milan schedule with themes ranging from "Charlie's Angels" to "Mad Max."

Personally, they only wear clothes with the Dsquared2 label. "We're our own customer. We know what we want and need, so it's all from our heart and it works," Dean says.

Image: Dean and Dan Caten at Canada's Walk of Fame
Warren Toda  /  EPA file
Dean and Dan Caten pose with their sidewalk star at Canada's Walk of Fame ceremony in Toronto. In September, they became the only fashion designers to be honored in this way alongside the likes of Michael J. Fox and Wayne Gretzky.
(Dean has been known to act as the fitting model — even for the womenswear — because, he explains, no one else is available in the middle of the night when he does his best work. He says he has mastered high heels.)

The new spring collection has a campfire vibe, presented on the catwalk with "Delta Dawn" by Helen Reddy blaring through the speakers. "Deep down inside, we're a little 'hick,'" Dan says with a smile.

Music is a key source of inspiration, the Catens say, and they put together the playlist for their runway shows as they're sketching styles. Their famous soundtracks led to XM Radio's "Dean and Dan On Air: Style in Stereo" and now they host Bravo's new "Launch My Line," which gives artistic professionals a chance to break into the fashion biz.

When they have time for leisure remains a bit of a mystery, but, at least on this day, it seems they enjoy everything they do.

Between their day jobs as designers and moonlighting gigs as entertainers, they designed much of the interior and furniture of the home they moved into in London. They craft their own ad campaigns, and they joke — but not really — that they are toying with an album.

Still, they can't do it all.

"Don't ask me to tap dance, and Dean can't play hockey," Dan says. "But we can figure skate."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Vancouver, B.C., 2010

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  1. Vancouver, British Columbia, played host to the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Albert Normandin / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A couple strolls through Stanley Park on a spring afternoon near the city's main boat marina. One of the city's most visited parks, visitors can also enjoy the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center and zoo at the park. (Joe Mcnally / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rowers glide past a line of yachts at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.It is said that in Vancouver, it is possible to ski in the morning, sail in the afternoon and take a sunset dip in the Pacific. (Mary Peachin / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Planning to soak up some art while in town? Consider staying at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which is located right behind the Vancouver Art Gallery. The hotel is located on the VIA Rail route for those who plan to travel to the city by train. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The Granville Island Public Market is perhaps the most well-known market in Vancouver. Dozens of vendors offer food-loving tourists and locals produce, seafood, meats, sweets and European speciatly foods. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The steam-powered Gastown clock blows out clouds of steam during its hourly sounding of Westminister Chimes. Gastown is located in the northeast corner of Vancouver, and is known as the birthplace of the city. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is "acclaimed for its spectacular architecture and unique setting on the cliffs of Point Grey," its Web site proclaims. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Totem poles and other artifacts are on display at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The museum, founded in 1949, is world renowned for its collections. (Kevin Arnold / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. While in the city, check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. The bridge spans 450 feet across and is situated 230 feet above the Capilano River. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A totem pole decorates Stanley Park in Vancouver. The park covers about 1,000 acres, and offers residents and tourists a wealth of options, including walking, running or biking the 5.5-mile seawall path, a pitch-and-put golf course and more. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A young girl interacts with a sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium. Tickets for adults cost $22, $17 for seniors (65+) and youths (13-18), $14 for children (4-12) and kids get in free. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Pedestrians walk by Aritizia on Robson Street, the famous shopping street in Vancouver's west end. In the stretch of three blocks, tourists looking for retail therapy can find stores specializing in shoes, clothes, lingeri, candy, souvenirs and luggage, not to mention hair salons, currency exchanges and restaurants. (Christopher Herwig / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. The Library Square building in Vancouver houses the city's public library. (Danniele Hayes / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Patrons eat in the dining room of Six Acres, a pub and restaurant located in Gastown. Six Acres is "tucked in the oldest brick building in Vancouver," its Web site claims. (Christopher Herwig / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A traditional pagoda sits on the shore of a pond in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden in the downtown area of Vancouver. Though Canada's third largest city, Vancouver has historically been thought of as the "terminal city," the end of the line and the last remote town before the continent comes to an end at the Pacific Ocean. (Ross Barnett / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Granville Entertainment District is an area in Downtown Vancouver known for its vast assortment of bars, danceclubs and nightlife. The entertainment district is centered on a seven-block stretch of the Granville Mall and immediately surrounding streets. (Tourism Vancouver) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre was built in 1968, and was a gift from the lumber magnate to Vancouver's citizens. If you're visiting Vancouver on a Friday or Saturday night, you can catch laser shows to music from Green Day, Radiohead and Pink Floyd. (Christopher Herwig / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Olympic rings are illuminated in the harbor outside the Vancouver Convention Centre. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. The Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver is set on the waterfront of Vancouver. (Stephanie Lamy / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. The Richmond Oval, located south of Vancouver, served as the long-track speed skating venue for the 2010 Winter Games. (Ben Hulse / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Skiers and snowboarders gather on top of Whistler Mountain. Whistler was the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic Games. (Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Norway's Johan Remen Evensensoars through the air during the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup skiing event in Whistler, British Columbia, in 2009. The venue was the site of ski jumping events during the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. (Darryl Dyck / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Cypress Mountain hosted the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Canada's Mellisa Hollingsworth zooms around a corner during the sixth training run for the World Cup skeleton race in Whistler, B.C., in 2009. (Frank Gunn / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. The Vancouver skyline, Burrard Inlet and Lion's Gate bridge is pictured at sunset. The Lion's Gate Bridge connects North and West Vancouver with downtown. The suspension bridge is 5,890 feet in length. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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