Malaga designer David Delfín with the model Bimba Bosé. / EFE

3 June 2017: Controversial designer loses battle with cancer

Born in Ronda in 1970, David Delfín was known as the "enfant terrible" of national fashion because his designs sparked controversy

Tony Bryant

The rebellious designer, Diego David Gómez González, one of the most charismatic personalities of Spanish fashion, died at his Madrid home on Saturday 3 June 2017, after a hard-fought battle against brain cancer.

The 46-year-old designer and artist, known artistically as David Delfín, revolutionised the rules of fashion, an industry that he believed had become too predictable.

Born in Ronda, Malaga, in 1970, David went on to become known as the "enfant terrible" of national fashion because his designs created much controversy.

He made his debut on Madrid's Cibeles catwalk in 2002, and this first collection created much media attention because his models wore hoods and ropes around their necks, which sparked a huge controversy due to the war in Afghanistan that was taking place at the time.

His attempt to transgress and provoke became detrimental as his collections progressed, although the designer claimed in an interview with Vogue shortly before he died that he was not looking for provocation. He said that he liked to excite by creating fashion that was open to interpretation, for he believed that anything that "stirs our emotions" makes one feel more alive and intense.

With a vocation as an artist rather than a fashion designer, David took his first steps in the art world, exhibiting on several occasions both individually and collectively.

However, in 1999, he began using painting techniques on secondhand military-style garments. This was to be the turning point of his career, because the collection received rave reviews, and so he decided to turn his attention to design. He teamed up with the model, Bimba Bosé - who also died of cancer in 2017 - and created the infamous Davidelfín brand.

A firm defender of gender fluidity, his designs, many of them genderless, vindicated a way of understanding fashion in a world far from the norm.

He claimed that women were the most important thing in his collections, for he felt that "a suit in itself is not sexy, classic, elegant or feminine".

Delfín received numerous awards for his creations, including the National Fashion Award presented by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports just six months before his death.

It was following a medical check-up in 2016, doctors discovered three brain tumours.

During what would be his last appearance before the media, Delfín told reporters that surrendering to the disease "does not seem attractive to me".

The designer, who died on his partner's birthday, fought against the tumours with optimism from the beginning and, according to his close friends, he never stopped fighting.