The fashion world says goodbye to its ‘enfant terrible’

Fashion designer David Delfín with some of his creations, in 2013.
Fashion designer David Delfín with some of his creations, in 2013. / EFE
  • The Malaga fashion designer who rose to global fame died on Saturday, aged 46, after a year-long battle with cancer

Fashion designer David Delfín died in Madrid on Saturday after losing his battle with cancer at the age of 46. Born in Ronda in 1970, he was considered the ‘enfant terrible’ of the Spanish fashion world for the audacity and unconventional spirit he brought to the catwalk.

Hi career took off in 2001 when he created the brand Davidelfin along with the Hermanos Postigo (Deborah, Diego and Gorka) and the model Bimba Bosé, his friend, muse and partner, who also died recently from cancer.

However, it was his debut at Cibeles (Madrid Fashion Week) in September 2002 where he really came into the public eye for his controversial collection which saw models hooded, with rope around their necks and bandages all over their body, coming out to the sound of an orgasm. It closed to the sound of booing. He later apologised.

This controversy didn’t hold him back, though. The following year, at the same show, he picked up the award for the best collection by a young designer.

Delfín took a leap onto the international stage in 2009 when he took part in New York Fashion Week for the first time. He would do another four seasons there.

In 2011, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. organised a retrospective exhibition of his work.

His last appearance at Madrid Fashion Week was on 16 February 2016, where he presented his final collection. A month previously he had been diagnosed with cancer. He announced that he was suffering from three brain tumours.

He withdrew from the public eye to undergo treatment, reappearing in September 2016, saying that he “felt really strong” and he didn’t find the thought of giving up “very attractive”.

In November, the cultural ministry gave him a national fashion prize, one of many accolades he received throughout the course of his career.

The judging panel praised “the strength of his creative message”, his ability to “transcend the boundaries between fashion and art, genders and generations”, and the “social conscience” shown in his work.

He rarely shied away from his social responsibilities and in 2011, he used his graphic design skills to help the Costa del Sol health agency warn about the dangers of sun exposure, designing the slogan: “Disfrutar del sol sin dejarte la piel”.

Despite his fame, he kept his native Marbella close to his heart. He lived in the town from the age of three and he returned there during his illness, seeking refuge in the Puente Romano hotel.

His family still reside close to the town centre and his body was brought home on Sunday. The funeral took place at the Iglesia de la Encarnación on Monday and was attended by family and close friends.

The mayor of Marbella, who was also present, said that the town would be honouring its “favourite son” with a posthumous tribute.