Up Close With Delpozo’s Creative Director Josep Font

Given the effects that the 24/7 news cycle has had on style, one could easily assume that the only things that mattered were Insta-bait and faster-than-fast fashion. But look beyond the headlines and the referential repeats, and you’ll find something more: somewhere out there, there’s still a place for magic.

Enter Delpozo, the Spanish label which has been making international waves (delicate ones at that) for its fresh take on femininity and old-world craftsmanship since its relaunch in 2012.

Delpozo’s clothes are like a window into Cecil Beaton’s 1950s society photos—an enchanting antidote to reality that recalls the way fashion used to make you feel. And maybe that’s because the brand is steeped in heritage. Originally launched under the moniker “Jesús del Pozo” in the ’70s, the brand was beloved locally for its emphasis on individuality and intricacy.

After the death of its founder, the brand brought on Josep Font, a multitalented architect-turned-designer, as creative director. Born in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, a small Catalonian town north of Barcelona, Font originally pursued a career in architecture at the behest of his family. “Architecture gave me the tools of proportion that I apply in my collection,” he says. “But even before finishing my degree, I started taking pattern classes, without my family knowing.” Font eventually switched gears, launching an eponymous line in 1991, which he helmed until Delpozo came calling.

With Font’s leadership, Delpozo has gone global, re-launching in 2012 and moving its shows to New York. In its new incarnation, the label introduced prêt-à-couture, a niche hybrid of ready-to-wear and couture now being referenced by brands such as Maison Margiela and Schiaparelli. The niche proves especially appealing, given the retail market’s fluctuations. “Delpozo is not about a ‘see now, buy now’ model; it’s about applying couture techniques and adapting them to today,” says Font. “We have hand embroidery in many pieces and that takes time. Maybe it seems to be going against the trend, but there are a lot of customers that are looking for quality and uniqueness over quantity and speed.”

The brand’s pieces frequently feature hand embroidery and floral appliqués, but don’t mistake Delpozo for frivolity—its sharp contrasts are what set it apart.

For the Resort 2018 collection, Font drew inspiration from silent film footage of dancer Loie Fuller, whose languid movements take form in sculptural swaths of black and white. “It’s fundamental; it’s who I am as a designer,” he says of his proclivity for architectural shapes. “There are many elements from [my studies] that I apply to my collections—the importance of shape and volume and the most important element of all: balance. It’s all about proportion.” The collection’s technicolour hues derive from an unexpected source: the “peculiar liquid landscapes”of Lanzarote, Turkey, and Australia.

“My starting point comes from an exhibition I visited or a trip I took, and then several ideas start circling in my mind,” says Font of his design process. “I end up choosing two quite different ideas and fuse them.” Delpozo’s light and airy Spring 2018 collection was a similar melding: of Maria Svarbova’s swimming pool paintings and ’50s bandleader Xavi- er Cugat’s ostentatious style.

Another dichotomy central to Delpozo is its strong Spanish heritage and desire to become a major fashion player. The brand maintains its atelier and headquarters in Madrid, rather than relocating to a central hub. “It really helps to be out of the ‘fashion circle’ and to work without being influenced,” says Font. And it seems to be working—Delpozo’s first international outpost will open in Dubai later this year.