David Delfin: agent provocateur

Article published on April 3, 2006
Article published on April 3, 2006

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

David Delfin’s politically incorrect shows have allowed him to make a name for himself. Here, the young Spanish designer defends a provocative kind of fashion

David Delfin, 35 years old, is the new promise of Spanish fashion. He is the figurehead of the davidelfin label, a multi-disciplined artistic group created five years ago by five people: Bimba Bosé, a professional model, Déborah Postigo, an economist and journalist, Gorka Postigo, an architect and photographer, Diego Postigo, a film director and musician, and David Delfin: painter, actor and self-taught designer.

In 2001, his collection Cour des miracles, inspired by the painter Magritte and the filmmaker Luis Buñuel, sparked controversy on the Cibeles catwalk at Madrid by showing models wearing hoods and with ropes around their necks, which many associated with a defence of the mistreatment of women. Despite such controversy, the talent of davidelfin has been recognised with awards such as the Marie Claire Fashion Award for the best newcomer of 2003.

What are your sources of inspiration?

I don't believe in muses, I prefer to have faith in my work. Sprawled out on the sofa, I don't expect a brilliant idea to fall on me from the sky as if by divine intervention. I have always been interested in ideas and emotions, which can come to me through reading, from a film or from discussing with friends about our passions and fears.

How did you, for example, find inspiration for your last collection?

Our creations begin with abstract concepts. In the last collection, called Pater, the starting point was limits. It's the fruit of a long reflection on the importance of setting limits, the law, order and discipline. From this idea emerges a collection inspired by military uniforms, cassocks and judges' gowns.

What difficulties does a young designer face when trying to establish himself in the fashion market?

It is complicated, because the market is at saturation point. This means that in order to stand out in the fashion industry you need two things: your own identity and ideology. Designers like Martín Margiela or Raf Simons have made a name for themselves because there is a strong idea behind their designs. They are something more than mere fashion designers.

Do you believe that it is necessary to be provocative in order to triumph in the fashion world?

Nowadays you have to be able to awaken emotions. That's the type of provocation that interests me. I believe that our catwalk shows attract the interest of the media, but also of the public.

What do you think of the globalisation of fashion?

I don't think we do all dress the same. Nowadays there are a lot of options. Designers are quite anarchic when it comes to putting together collections and we don't follow a clear-cut pattern. What is more, we are all different. Each one of us gives a unique feel to the clothes we wear. Suits are not feminine, elegant or sexy. The proof: if you put a feminine suit on an ordinary woman, the result will be anything but elegant. It is a question of attitude, subtlety, character, about whether you're educated, whether you look over you shoulder.

What is the most creative city or country in Europe?

Berlin. I went there for the first time in December and was surprised by all the buildings occupied by artists and the cultural activity that is taking place everywhere. The wall has made Berlin into a city marked by lines, where there are brutal contrasts within a few metres apart. It is a city experiencing a period of construction and evolution. History has shown that in order for there to be a boom, there must first be a decline. Berlin is a good example of this, because now there is an energy floating around in the air.

Is Europe more closed to innovation than the United States?

Quite the opposite. The great innovations come from Europe. Also, nowadays there are not as many differences between Europe and the United States, with respect to fashion. There are however, thank God, still plenty of ideological differences.

Do you believe that there is such a thing as a European style?

I would like there not to be, because then we would be freer. Maybe it is possible to talk about European style, although there are substantial differences. The Belgian austerity of colour is nothing like the style from Milan, which is much more open. I don't want to be a designer of style, because I would lose the ability to surprise. It is important that there is always something behind your pieces, but I would rather call it identity than style.