‘We love the idea of creating pieces that are objects of desire, pieces that make your heart skip a beat, that force you to pause in time and transport you out of reality and into a fantasy,’ explains Federica ‘Kikka’ Cavenati, one half of cult London label 16Arlington, which she established with her partner Marco Capaldo back in 2017, from their flat on Arlington Street. Since then, 16Arlington has quickly become the industry’s go-to for conversation-sparking party pieces that celebrate the fantasy of fashion and the escape it offers. While this year’s parties may be few and far between, the need for escapism remains and, though 2020 has had its challenges, it will take more than that to dull 16Arlington’s sparkle.
The pair met while studying at the London outpost of Instituto Marangoni, the revered Italian school of fashion and design, and decided to work together soon after they became a couple. Their designs play on the contrasts between their own personal tastes – or, ‘the balance of extremes’, as they define it. ‘We have always played with the idea of masculinity versus femininity, contrasting the simplest things with something extremely maximal,’ Capaldo elaborates. ‘A lot of it comes down to the fact we have a dual nationality and there are contrasts within our upbringing, there is the exuberance that our Italian roots bring to the table, but there’s also the inspiring London air of grit and cool.’ These contrasting aesthetics result in collections that are eccentric and eye-catching, yet still elegant.