Deconstructed, intentional, textural: these are the three words Christopher Esber uses to describe his eponymous brand. The label, which launched in 2010, has never been far from the zeitgeist of Australian fashion. And over the past few years, it’s been almost impossible to turn your head at a cocktail event without spotting a strategically cut-out Christopher Esber dress sauntering through the crowd.
But alongside growth at home, the team has experienced support from a strong international fan base. The designer told Broadsheet he felt honoured to have been invited to show on-schedule at Paris Fashion Week spring/summer ‘24, cementing the brand’s presence in the fashion capital after years of hosting showrooms and buying appointments.
What was the energy like in the lead-up to Paris Fashion Week?
The energy before a show is all-in. When I’m working on certain pieces or garments, music has a resounding effect in capturing movement of the sketch or drape, impacting my design process. Scent too is important to the pre-production space and mood. We’ve been burning Byredo’s Sweet Grass candle which conjures an immediate connection to nature.
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How did you prepare for the show outside the studio?
Keeping disciplined. Being vigilant with holistic wellness through exercise or vitamins or peptides. Our team has been using Vida Glow in the pre-production space as a little Paris pick-me-up during castings and fittings.
What was your inspiration for the spring/summer ‘24 collection?
It’s a collection which examines our instinctual interaction with fabric, as it connects with the body. I considered the visceral feeling of handling material for the first time, and how that takes form on the figure and evolves with time.
You’re known for your love of fabric and form. Are there any specific materials you’re working with for this collection?
We always return [to] and reimagine the brand’s archetypes like denim, dry jersey and draping, and kind of modify, treat and deconstruct them. There are bespoke-developed textiles but approached in [our] way. We do a lot of draping to the body; there’s a double-faced grey bouclé dress which has a textured and lightweight handle. Combined with ghost Chantilly [lace] gathered at the bust, you get an unexpected contrast of the two textiles.
A Christopher Esber dress is easy to spot. What might people not realise about the rest of the brand’s offering?
There’s a lot of thought and consideration that goes into the process with materiality visually feeding the direction of a season. We use a lot of artisanal, couture techniques that often take hours by hand, or many attempts at development before we reach the purest outcome.
How do you imagine the wearer feeling in the clothes while you’re designing?
For the wearer, I believe the clothing is an expression of confidence and dressing to adapt, knowing the day could take her anywhere.
Where do you go in Sydney when you need to switch off?
As a city that is surrounded by beaches, I really take refuge in the habitat around me.
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