With pops of neon, bulbous volumes, and shimmering embellishments, Delpozo’s spring 2017 collection by Josep Font was so tactile and sweet you could almost taste it.
Well, almost a year later, you can thanks to the brand’s collaboration with Maayan Zilberman, a New York-based designer, candy connoisseur and founder of Sweet Saba. On display exclusively at the Boston retailer, All Too Human, are replicas of Delpozo’s larger-than-life runway earrings made entirely out of candy, as well as an edible, bite-size versions of the season’s shoes.
“It’s a business, but it’s also an art practice,” said Zilberman of her designer candy, which has a lot more in common with fashion than you might think.
After spending many years as a designer and creative director in the lingerie industry, (Zilberman co-founded her own label, The Lake & Stars, in 2007), she wanted to explore a more hands-on profession, and had fond memories of making candy creations with her grandfather back home in Canada. (“Saba” is grandfather in Hebrew).
“Candy and fashion may be two different languages, but here I’m telling the same story with Sweet Saba as I was with my previous brands,” added Zilberman, who in addition to her current collaboration with Delpozo, has also worked with fashion brands ranging from Adam Selman to Jimmy Choo. This June, she’ll also be showing her work at the Palevsky gallery space in Los Angeles.
How did you make the transition from designing lingerie to designer candy?
After so years in the lingerie business, I really missed making things with my hands. You’d be surprised to learn how hands-off it is; development is far away in factories and most of the design work is now digital. I have a background in fine art, so I started making candy sculptures in my kitchen when I didn’t have an art studio, taking custom orders for special events.
What are some similarities between fashion design and candy-making?
The way I approach my candy line is similar to how fashion works. It’s seasonal, with endless combinations of design and flavor, and you can weave a narrative into both worlds. I also appreciate technical parameters; it must be wearable versus it must be edible.
How would you define “designer candy”?
Everything I create under Sweet Saba is created the way my fashion collections were born. I start with mood boards, sketches, and flavor swatches, and I think about campaigns that would correspond to each of the candies we create for clients. In a way, there’s a narrative with “designer candy” that you wouldn’t find in other candy shops.
What’s your personal favorite kind of candy?
Intensely sour chews like Tear Jerkers from the ’80s. But currently, Red Vines. I went to hear their director speak at a candy technology conference recently and have a newfound appreciation for how they achieve that deep berry color.
Have you worked with fashion designers before Delpozo?
My first collaboration was with Adam Selman—we made evidence bags for his Fall 2016 “crime” collection. I’ve also worked with Jimmy Choo, Loeffler Randall, Saint Heron, and I’m creating a candy cocktail ring collection with Irene Neuwirth.
Why is Delpozo such a fit for your work?
The creative director Josep Font works with clothes like he’s a florist, a sculptor, or a perfumer. The way he treats fabrics really spoke to me from the moment I saw his work. He has a fantastical story to tell, and his ideas are ethereal, romantic, and humorous. I knew this language would translate to candy seamlessly.
Can you tell me a little bit about this collaboration, like how it came about and what the end product is?
I was set up with Delpozo by their exclusive Boston retailer, All Too Human, which commissioned a site-specific installation inspired by the Spring 2017 runway pieces that were flown-in to appear next to the work. The candy centers around replicas of Delpozo runway earrings hinged to peppermint coated statues, complemented by landscapes of edible embroidery and beading, and sequin shoes (a packaged item) that make perfect gifts. Building the huge earrings was really emotional. I had to pay such close attention to Josep’s design, that it inspired a new way for me to build the candy as sculpture.
Your dream designers to work with:
Dior, Christian Louboutin, Stella McCartney, and Tom Ford.
Watch: Chameleons of the Art World: The Humans of Frieze New York