Federica Cavenati, the fashion designer and co-founder of the London-based label 16Arlington, has died aged 28.
A rising star in the fashion industry, the Italian-born designer known as Kikka co-designed the brand alongside her business and life partner, Marco Capaldo. A statement from her family on Friday said she had died last month after a short illness.
Famed for their contemporary take on old-world glamour and modernisation of sequins and feathers, the couple launched 16Arlington in 2017 to immediate acclaim. British Vogue described its ascent as “stratospheric” and “the cool girl’s go-to for ‘conversation-starting’ evening-wear”.
The label quickly became known for its red-carpet creations. A-listers including Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Lena Dunham were loyal fans. Most recently, Billie Eilish modelled pieces for her Vogue magazine debut and Amal Clooney chose to wear one of the label’s floor-length gowns to attend the London film festival in October.
The brand was named after the London street where Cavenati and Capaldo shared their first studio together after meeting during their fashion studies at the London arm of the renowned Istituto Marangoni.
“The word ‘special’ feels insufficient to assign to the forcefield of optimism, passion and kindness that was Kikka, but it is undoubtedly the most direct route to capturing her,” the family said. “That the 16Arlington studio will no longer ring with her wicked laughter and boundless appetite for creativity is a tragic loss to all those lucky enough to know her.”
As news of Cavenati’s death was made public, friends of the designer and the brand began to pay tribute. “For those who knew Kikka, she was the best possible example of what it is to be a designer, brand founder and creative,” Stephanie Phair, the chair of the British Fashion Council, told the Guardian.
“Hard-working and fun, professional to the extreme; she showed kindness to everyone, from her loyal seamstresses to the celebrities she fitted, and despite the quick success the brand found, remained humble and open.”