Australian designer Christopher Esber on challenging the classics

Style

Christopher Esber (L) on challenging the classics. Image source: Supplied
How would you define your taste and style, and what makes it unique?

I stylistically approach design, experimenting with the dichotomy of ideas and how to create and balance tension in a garment. I’ve always been drawn to applying a forward-thinking approach to construction, form, and silhouette while still honouring the traditional techniques and craft.

Where do you find your inspiration for your collections?

I can find inspiration anywhere; it can be colours I saw at an art store or [on] a bookshelf or the austerity of an ordinary object from furniture to art.

I like people-watching and am drawn to the interesting individuals and details around me. These perfectly imperfect moments occur in the everyday and lead me down a creative path.

How would you describe your design process?

There is a strong visual need to see a garment whole before it reaches its final form. Getting there is a conceptual process of experimentation where we dismantle and dissect ideas, reimagining them with experimentation.

I like to push technical boundaries from sketch to toile, and there are times in the [design] atelier when you need to compromise or practice restraint. There are times when the development of an idea takes a few seasons to resolve. I believe there is an art to constructing a garment, so with this comes curiosity, nuances and considered decisions to get to that design nirvana.

What key trademarks define your brand, and how did you develop your signature style?

Challenging the classic silhouette and proportions and then deconstructing and constructing them into a sexier space intrigues me. The mix and merge of fabrics, which feature daytime utility with an understated take on eveningwear, is also a signature I work on. I’m always trying to offset the idea of what evening dressing can be and offer it innovatively or unexpectedly. I’m thinking about that woman who wants to feel that sense of radiance or glamour of dressing up at night but still wants to feel effortless and nonchalant.

What was the best thing about your recent debut at Paris Fashion Week?

Showing ‘on schedule’ at Paris Fashion Week was a dream. Being able to share the brand’s DNA on a global stage in a heightened way has been very exciting. It has been an opportunity to cement what we are known for.

Your pieces have been worn by A-List celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski, Zendaya and Dua Lipa. Looking back, which request excited you the most?

It’s exciting when someone like Solange or Margot Robbie selects an Esber piece to wear. All these women represent a directional spirit and creativity, which resonates with the clothes. I find myself drawn to it when I see someone in any part of the world wearing the clothes in their own way.

This year, you’ve had iconic women like Erin Wasson and Carmen Kass feature in your brand imagery. Why was this important to you?

There are always certain visuals or moods that become artistic references. Erin, Carmen, Élise Crombez and Gemma Ward symbolise who I design for. They represent strength, timelessness, intelligence, or creativity. The imagery channels a renewed energy and exploration.

How has your style evolved?

I’ve always been committed to adapting and deconstructing clothing from base silhouettes, reimagining them with new disciplines or technicalities. My principles are less stern and more expressive with the use of different fabrications, colours, and obscure silhouettes. After a while, you want to evolve and push yourself, and this is the progression of travelling from a purist take on design to something more liberating.

What’s your one piece of style advice for others?

The Christopher Esber brand doesn’t prescribe to trends, so when selecting a garment, feel the textile and the handle – think about how it will make you feel decades on.

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