Following the milestone of Christopher Esber's official debut on the Parisian Fashion Week schedule, the designer gives Vogue Scandinavia exclusive insights into the makings of the show – accompanied by new glimpses into the backstage world
Under the exposed stone arches of the vaulted gallery within the Cité de Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, showgoers – and the world – were reminded of Sydney-based Christopher Esber’s ability to bewitch.
In the 13 years since Esber launched the namesake label, the brand has established itself in the industry for its blend of strength and delicacy. But most of all, the inherent understanding of dressing a woman’s body. “I design for a woman who loves fashion, but she is not willing to surrender herself to it,” Esber says, ahead of the spring/summer ‘24 show.
Since the brand's launch, Esber has often frequented Paris – but this season was a unique fixture, marking the brand’s debut as part of the official Paris Fashion Week calendar. “It is an honour to have been invited by the Fédération de La Haute Couture et de La Mode,” Ester remarks. “After all these years of being in Paris for wholesale market or campaigns, in this debut, I really wanted to showcase the brand’s ability to work through different fabrics and constructions, but there is a primal undertone.”
With Esber’s astute eye for swathing the body in drapes, cut-outs, and ruching – at its most daring and sophisticated for SS24 – there’s certainly a primitive tone. But Esber explains that it goes a little deeper than that. “It’s examining our instinctual encounters with materials and their interactions with the body,” Esber says.
The collection, to me, reflects the innate, primal feeling of being enveloped by cloth. That instinct of when you touch or feel material for the first time led the creative process.
“The collection, to me, reflects the innate, primal feeling of being enveloped by cloth. That instinct of when you touch or feel material for the first time led the creative process and how we sourced bespoke fabrications and custom developed textiles,” he goes on.
Despite the pressure of joining the prestigious show calendar, Esber stayed true to the brand’s DNA. “I do tend to refer to the archives, looking back at what we’ve done before – the archetypes – and finding new ways to develop or move the idea forward.” Hence, we saw a sophisticated interaction between body and garment through slashed jersey, rigid corsetry, whisper-thin layers and sultry eyelets – accompanied by a new addition, angular ‘rock’ bags.
Esber’s understanding of dressing a woman is undoubtedly linked to the designer being creatively immersed in a world of women. For the Paris debut, Esber is accompanied by Australian heavyweight stylist Ilona Hamer, who he describes as “supporting the brand from the earliest days”, and makeup artist Filomena Natolo, who led the beauty direction for the SS24 show. “Like all the women around me in my close circle, both Ilona and Filomena both inspire my in different ways, the way they put themselves together,” Esber says.