With a line finished by life and label partner Marco Capaldo, the 16Arlington show paid tribute to the late designer, Federica Cavenati.
The devastating news of Frederica ‘Kikka’ Cavenati’s death, one half of the founding duo behind 16Arlington, came to light toward the end of last year. Cavenati died in December of a sudden illness, fortune’s cruel hand putting a stop to the career of a highly creative designer who, at the age of 28, had already formed an exceptional and unique fashion vision.
At the emotional Sunday morning show in Bloomsbury, aptly named ‘Tears,’ there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when designer Marco Capaldo took his bow after presenting the final collection he and his late life and label partner had both made. It was a warm testament to her “playful wit.”
“This was a celebration of the most beautiful person in my life,” Capaldo said backstage after the show. “I just hope that I did her proud.”
The atmosphere might have been sombre, but the looks were anything but. It was evident that Y2K inspired fashion is going nowhere fast. However, 16Arlington introduced a fresh take on the style, with jade key-hole dresses and sequin skintight two pieces that would fit effortlessly into Sam Levinson’s Euphoria.
Cavenati’s name was associated with electrifying partywear – maribou feathers, platform disco boots, and barely-there dancefloor dresses – and snakeskin-printed leather minidresses, cut-out sequin jumpsuits, and tissue-thin knit dresses – and that essence lived on in snakeskin-printed leather minidresses, cut-out sequin jumpsuits, and tissue-thin knit dresses. Many of the feathers in the collection were from an archive of Cavenati’s hand-dyed feathers from years ago too.
The titular tears were realised by teardrops embroidered in crystal beading on white silk shirts. Teardrops stitched in crystal beading on white silk shirts represented the eponymous tears. The wet-look feather boas and acid-tipped fluffy bucket hats, on the other hand, had a playful quality to them, which Capaldo said was true to Cavenati’s “lavishly, fabulously generous” nature.
While Storm Eunice wreaked havoc on showgoers’ looks outside, 16Arlington’s models were groomed with the smoothest poker straight hair, some with colourful streaked strands. Despite wearing vertiginous sculptural clogs, they floated gracefully down the winding runway.
Marco was greeted with a standing ovation and a mix of emotions after the final walkthrough, but despite loss and mourning being among them, there was also a sense that, while Kikka may no longer be physically there, what was witnessed is unmistakable confirmation that her spirit will live on.