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EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Esber A/W12

Precision tailoring and subtle details combine in the latest collection from the Australian designer

Eagerly anticipated and met with resounding praise at Australian Fashion Week, the latest collection from Christopher Esber is testament to this young designer’s rare skill. A balancing act of creative proportions, S/S12-13 (our A/W12) walks the line between minimal and detailed with sharp precision. Esber’s approach is clinical yet subtly sensual, describing his style as "pure and pared back", it’s obvious that this designer’s vision is as focused as his commitment to technical perfection. Perhaps it was this maturity that set in motion the 25-year-old’s ascent. Amid preparations for next season, Esber gave Dazed Digital an insight into his journey so far.

I like things fuss-free, so I simply focus on cut. I focus on textures instead of print, and that’s as graphic as I get

Dazed Digital: What drew you to fashion design?
Christopher Esber:
I always had an interest in design, and from a young age I was constantly drawing and tearing up clothes and reworking them. Later I went on to study fashion design in Sydney, where I worked out what I’m all about in an aesthetic sense. I was then picked to showcase my work as a graduate at Australian Fashion Week and it just snowballed from there. I knew from the start I didn’t want to work for anybody. It’s not that I don’t enjoy working creatively for anyone else, I just have more of an interest in making what I’m thinking happen rather than realising somebody else’s ideas. If I’m going to slum it then it’s going to early on rather than later.

DD: How would you describe your aesthetic?
Christopher Esber:
Pure and pared back. Even though I use some texture, like beading, it’s always done in a relaxed way. Like with this season I wanted the beaded dresses to look like jumpers, making them easy to throw on rather than constricted. I like things fuss-free, so I simply focus on cut. I focus on textures instead of print, and that’s as graphic as I get.

DD: How did this collection come to revolve around the idea of competitive sport?
Christopher Esber:
It started with me watching Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter The Dragon’. I love the fight scene at the end in the mirrored room, where Lee can’t tell where the villain is coming from. That inspired the mirrored sets for the show and the fast pace of the models, disappearing behind the walls. I wanted the clothes to reflect this competitive concept, and to have a really slick and sporty feel.

DD: What do you like about the combination of sensual and clinical?
Christopher Esber:
Clinical is embedded in what I do. I have always preferred an oversized fit, and plain white over any colour. The backless idea came from wanting the dresses and tops to look a bit like scrubs – but far sexier than just a block of fabric. At the end of the day I’m speaking to women. Even though the collection is quite hard there are flickers of the sensual coming through. I’m not an aggressive designer, I think about the body.

For more info on Australian Fashion Week and an exclusive Dazed x Mercedes-Benz film from the Sydney shows, check out  our Fashion Broadcasting project