Delpozo's creative director Josep Font says his training in architecture helps inspire his eccentric yet romantic creations
I don't have a specific muse. I look more towards nature, art and architecture. I can be inspired by an exhibition I visited, a ballet opera or anything that sparks my interest. If I have to choose someone, I personally admire Jean Seberg. I love her modernity.
The first would be when I won the National Designer Award at a competition in 1989. My winning design was later exhibited in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The second would be in 2007 when I was invited by the Chambre Syndicale to show my collections during Haute Couture week.
Always follow your passion and work very hard. You must make the effort.
legendary Spanish couturiers Cristobal Balenciaga and Pedro Rodriguez, Barcelona-born Josep Font is not only fashion's modernist, but also a romanticist mastering the intricate balance of innovation and refinement.
At the helm of Delpozo since 2012, the creative director has introduced the traditional Madrid fashion house to the international stage. His ultra-feminine yet eccentric designs matched with painstaking couture-inspired details have devotees such as Marion Cotillard, Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore.
Font was trained as an architect at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, but he says fashion has been his true calling.
"I've always been intrigued by fashion. It is my work and also my lifestyle," he says. "I express my ideas and thoughts through fashion design."
Font made his breakthrough in fashion in 1989, when he won the National Designer Award in Paris and started his own eponymous label. In 2007, Font was invited to show his couture collections in Paris as a guest member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Showing his works for Delpozo now at New York Fashion Week, the designer has also recently ventured into new categories, for example, made-to-order bridal collection now available at prestigious retailers such as Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. Delpozo has also launched the first handbag series for the spring/summer 2016 season.
While the commercial success of designers is often judged by their ability to churn out "It" bags, Font took his time to expand into accessories.
"I took four classic styles [of bags] and re-imagined them in the modern day for the Delpozo woman," he says. "I wanted to stay true to my organic inspiration and interpret accessories the way I work the ready-to-wear collections. All the bags are made of refined calfskin and finished in the interior with delicate nappa leather in contrasting colours."
Font's attention to detail, passion for couture and artistic references are evident in his creations for Delpozo. The latest autumn/winter collection, for example, is inspired by Fritz Lang's sci-fi flick and Italian digital illustrator Daria Petrilli.
"The women [Petrilli] portrays are fused with a surrealist nature atmosphere," the Catalan designer explains. "I also wanted to portray the industrialism shown in Lang's film, but with a feminine side to it."
The collection saw Font's signature voluminous silhouette and sculptural rigour constructed with exaggerated cocoon sleeves, origami-style geometric details and bell-shaped full skirts echoing his architectural training.
"With my background in architecture, I gained insight into proportion, shape and volume which I apply continuously throughout my designs in every collection," he says. "I have the idea of a whole, and even though each piece has to be proportioned on its own, the full collection has to be balanced."
Scrumptious couture-esque details are also aplenty - leather evening gloves are decorated with leather appliqué flowers, paillettes and embroideries. The rich femininity is then balanced by quirky accessories such as sling-back sequinned Derby shoes and colour-blocking boxy doctor bag or satchels.
"We embrace couture techniques in the process of our garments - the fabrics, the handmade finishing and details as well as artisanal process such as draping on mannequins," Font says. "However, unlike couture, we translate it to a production order. Some pieces might only have three units in the whole world but in other cases, there's a strong production behind."
The unique model, Font cites it as "prêt-a-couture" is part of his mission to revitalise the traditional fashion house. Founded by Jesus del Pozo in Madrid in 1974, Delpozo was acquired by Perfumes & Diseno Group in 2011 and in 2012, Font got on the helm of the house.
"When I was appointed at Delpozo, my goal was to start a new chapter for the house with a new language with a fresh and modern vision," he adds. "While I respect its legacy of atelier workmanship - Delpozo was a renowned fashion house in Spain for over 40 years, however, the rest of the world was unaware of the brand."
Under Font's direction, Delpozo has definitely made its mark on the global stage. Despite a strong celebrity following, the brand is now available at prestigious retailers across the globe, including Browns in London, Bergdorf Goodman in New York as well as luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter.
"Our collections are built from artisanal techniques combined with fresh designs to create timeless pieces for a feminine, yet strong, woman. Craftsmanship, detail, colour, quality, modernity, femininity … are key to the brand," Font says.
Font admits that he's the perfectionist type and hence he was yet convinced about the latest "see-now-buy-now" trend that has taken the industry
"Time is what defines my collections," he says. "At Delpozo we apply many artisanal techniques that require time and dedication and we value quality very highly. So we'll continue to work the way we have."