Marco Capaldo is on a roll. After giving 16Arlington (the brand he co-founded with his late partner Kikka Cavenati) a soft reboot at the beginning of last year, he’s gone from strength to strength, expanding its scope from feathered and sequined party dresses to encompass everything from leather goods to menswear with impressive self-assurance. All of that seemed to culminate with Capaldo winning the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund in May. “It’s been incredible to have that support and recognition,” Capaldo said at a preview. “It makes me feel like we’re on the right track trying to build a new luxury house in London.”

Never one to rest on his laurels, Capaldo moved the needle again this season by emphasizing the sleeker, more elevated vision he’s developed at the brand. His starting point was David Lynch’s cult classic Lost Highway—although in the spirit of the film’s mind-bending narrative and mysterious, noirish visuals, Capaldo veered away from anything too literal. “I was more inspired by snippets of dialogue, and the way it’s lit,” he explained, noting that he worked with the art director Olu Odukoya to create the curved seating in the show venue, with lines from the film spelled across them. “Is it a dream, or is it reality? I wanted there to be a double take,” Capaldo added.

The first double take arrived early, with shimmering skirts and dresses covered in paillettes that revealed themselves to be made from translucent latex, beginning in white before moving into delicate shades of red, blue, and gray. Towards the end, a trio of looks appeared (at least from a distance) to be made of oversized silvery sequins—before, that is, the models walked by and you heard the unmistakable rustle of metal—while shoes were covered with fluttering circular cut-outs that featured graphics Capaldo lifted from a Japanese book he picked up about Lynch’s film.

The polished metal details also spoke to another, more quotidian influence for Capaldo this season: the exhilarating experience of driving through the city at night. “It’s trying to capture that feeling of getting behind the wheel and realizing you can go anywhere,” he said. (It’s not hard to imagine his high-octane woman in the driver’s seat, after all.) The palette of manicure-glossy red and super-saturated cyan—“almost like it’s come straight out of an inkjet printer,” Capaldo said—echoed the blur of tinted halogen headlights on the highway, or raindrops on a windshield, while a pair of high heels were swathed in rubber tentacles like the brushes in an automatic car wash, striking a perfect balance between playful humor and fetishistic sex appeal.

Elsewhere, a series of gowns—including one in a particularly ravishing pale gray leather—featured curved, pannier-like ridges at the sides resembling a molded car exterior, while others were cut from factory-curtain latex, with ostrich feathers hand-tacked to a layer of tulle to hold them in place beneath. It may have been “double-take trickery,” in Capaldo’s words, but it was a delight to look at and touch.

Equally notable was the looser, more relaxed styling this season: crisp Wall Street-inspired shirting paired with those jangly sequined skirts; sweatshirt fabrics transformed into elegant, meticulously-cut trousers; and new, oversized versions of the Kikka bag that the models held tightly to their chests. “We wanted it to be a shape that the models could carry like that,” Capaldo smiled. “Keeping Kikka close.” His cinematic starting point may have been a little more esoteric than usual, but Capaldo transformed it into clothes with a very practical appeal. Full speed ahead.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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