Conversations: Josep Font Breaks Down Delpozo’s Spring 2018 Collection
Bow straw hats, cascading ruffles and walking the line between bold volume and softness, fashion's reigning prince of prêt-à-couture paints the story for us.| October 12, 2017
Pastels and neon twirling down the runway, Delpozo’s creative director Josep Font takes on the coming spring season with Maria Svarbova’s “Swimming Pools” series, the music of Xavier Cugat, surrealism and a touch of whimsy on his mood board. Models walked the runway at New York’s Chelsea Pier with straw hats in the shape of oversized bows – a signature silhouette of the Spanish house – on their heads and curves, circles, ruffles and a melody of prints and colours on their bodies. It was fresh, a collection that carried its own musicality or musicalia, which so happens to be the name of the collection.
Font is fashion’s current prince of prêt-à-couture, a term the house uses to describe itself – and a term rightly deserved. When the Spaniard first took over Delpozo, the company had but 19 employees. Now, it is a machine of 80 to 90, all geared towards the vision of providing remarkably tailored, dramatic pieces for the ready-to-wear crowd (which includes Rihanna, Michelle Obama, Melania Trump and everybody in-between). Out of his studio in Madrid, Font breaks down the jaunty Spring 2018 collection, from his favourite looks to the technical challenges, the makings of a Delpozo woman and his favourite places in the world to get his art fix.
What’s your pre-show ritual or morning routine on a show day?
I wake up very early in the morning, have a quick breakfast and go straight to the venue. Usually the collection is already set the night before, so the morning runs smoothly. I still double check the runway and every detail, with rehearsals and makeup and hair prep.
What was on your mind when you created the Spring/Summer ’18 collection? What were the emotions you felt?
I was inspired by Slovakian photographer Maria Svarbova and her “Swimming Pools” series. The surrealism and art nouveau elements really caught my eye, yet it had a very calming and serene colour palette. I was also inspired by the crisp music of bon vivant composer Xavier Cugat [and the work he did with] the Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra and the swimming choreographies of Esther Williams.
What’s the story behind the colours and silhouettes explored?
Svarbova’s photography impressed me with its pure color proportion. Her eerie aesthetic with a surreal twist translates into the collection’s smooth color palette. The stillness and minimal geometry of the pools create an intimate atmosphere. The tiles inspired me to develop a geometric print in fil coupé that I turned into an asymmetrical cocktail dress tied with a bright yellow bow. I focused on circular silhouettes with curved seams in skirts and tops, dresses that are sculpted at the waist, ruffles cascading everywhere. The Muguet sleeve is inspired by the flower of the same name.
What were some of the technical challenges you and the atelier faced while creating the collection?
The selection of fabrics always has its difficulties, especially during the development and execution of the garment. We do not know how the material will behave until we start working with it. In this season, the raffia in the accessories has been very complex, as were the floral silks with the laser cuts.
I know it’s difficult, but if you had to pick your five favourite looks from the collection, which would it be?
I could not decide – it’s a very complex and difficult question to answer. All the garments tell a story and have been created with much effort and dedication, but the opening look is one of my favorites, it has a simplicity but the asymmetry gives it an edge. This look, like the one with the red long skirt paired with a blouse and knit, has the juxtaposition of street and evening wear. One piece that I think every woman should have in her closet is the embroidered cape from Look 22. I think it is such a timeless piece, whether for cocktail, with jeans, or even with a white blouse and black trousers. Very versatile. And of course, I love working with silk tulle and unique fabrics, so these two are very special.
Countless celebrities have worn Delpozo, both on and off the red carpet, from Rihanna and Kiernan Shipka to most recently Melania Trump. Who is the Delpozo woman?
The Delpozo woman has no specific nationality, age or profession; she is a citizen of the world. She understands fashion and what suits her best. That’s why she dresses for herself, not for others. She is delicate yet strong, modern yet timeless, feminine yet bold.
Delpozo is known for using a wide mix of textures and fabrics in a collection. What are some of your considerations behind choosing your fabrics?
I have no limitations. I always look for fabrics that inspire me and try to develop new ones each season.
It’s been five years since Delpozo first showed in New York. How has the brand evolved since?
Each season, I try to push my team and myself further, but we have accomplished so much in these past years: being in amazing stores all around the world, opening in Madrid, London and this November in Dubai. We’ve launched accessories, participated in several exhibitions – it’s been a wild adventure.
On the topic of accessories – like the Bow Mule and Gret Bag – was it a long process or did you immediately know what kind of accessories you wanted to make?
It has been a long process. I’d say that our bow silhouette has become a staple of the house. Our customers have really reacted positively with the Bow and now we have it as a mule, flat and even a clutch!
Have any plans for Southeast Asia crossed your mind?
Southeast Asia is a growing and interesting market for the brand. We are currently in Club21, both in Singapore and Thailand, and Papillion in Indonesia. We want to increase our presence and develop the Delpozo brand awareness in the near future.
If you could give any advice to your younger self, what would you say?
Believe in yourself, be persistent, hard-working and confident in chasing your dreams.
You’re trained in architecture. Growing up, was working in fashion something that crossed your mind before you entered Delpozo?
Since I was a child, I’ve always felt a special inclination towards fashion and art. However, when it was time for college, I chose to study architecture, a more traditional career, but it was the most creative path. However, before graduating, I decided to study design and pattern-making in Barcelona to fulfill my dream.
What is a personal mantra you live by?
“Less is more” is the motto I believe in.
Art and design have always influenced your work. What are some of your favorite museums in the world?
In New York, I like the Frick Collection. In Paris, the Antoine Bourdelle. I also love Palau de Casavells in L’Ampordan, Spain. It is not a museum, but it is a special space where design art and architecture meet.
What To Read Next: The Paris Fashion Week Digest – Episode 4, A Guide To All The Sickest Shoes From Fashion Month and KULALA World Tour: The Fashion Month Edition | This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Cover Image: Imaxtree via The Impression, Story Images: Courtesy of Delpozo