Yuka Izutsu has developed a design language which is a form of storytelling – a way of expressing the texture and depth of our personal histories, while also allowing for the lightness of touch which gives life its playfulness and grace.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Yuka did not pursue a traditional training in fashion design. Instead, she studied world literature, poetry, and philosophy in Japan, developing a sensibility for beauty which ranged from the sun-bleached hemp garments of Japan’s Edo Period, to the films of the French New Wave. It wasn’t until she moved from Japan to Los Angeles that she realized that her interest in conceptual art and poetry could be expressed in the form of textiles. Through a process of closely “reading” the materiality and history of particular fabrics, she learnt to create garments which developed from the weave and feel of the material itself.
Those early intuitions have since evolved into a concept label beloved by unconventional individuals who aren’t afraid to express their delights and desires. The garments reveal a certain openness of spirit and deep appreciation of craftsmanship – values which are woven into the design process. The name Atelier Delphine speaks to the influence of French minimalist cuts and casual sophistication, and the business is based in New York and Los Angeles. Yet the seed for each garment is sown while Yuka is on the move – travelling to India where she sources the fabrics for the “well-travelled haori coat,” to Peru, where she works closely with traditional artisans to develop beautifully crafted sweaters and shoes, and to Italy where she seeks out unsurpassed skills in leatherwork and tailoring. The result is a balance between wabi-sabi aesthetics and exceptional technical detailing – two values which are the heart of Japanese culture, and which guide Yuka’s search for beauty all over the world.
It is vitally important to Yuka that the artisans she works with maintain their own creative agency. Her design process is informed by a willingness to learn from those who have inherited a deep cultural understanding of the materials they work with, and Yuka’s designs are her way of sensitively interpreting those multi-layered stories. In each instance, she starts with a form or a fabric she has discovered on her travels, and seeks to simplify to its most essential expression while carefully retaining the spirit of its origin. Likewise, each garment is an invitation to the wearer to explore their own personal interpretation of beauty: a beauty which is nothing less than life itself.