Christopher Esber looked inward and backward for inspiration this season, picking elements from childhood and adolescence that he wanted to turn into a collection. Colorful beads, rosettes, bows and (yes) piercings – the ultimate teenage rebellion is already a house signature – provided enough material for experimentation. “I had the idea for a while, and now seemed like a good time to explore it,” the designer said via Zoom from Australia, noting that he was interested in the steps and small details of life that lead to when you end up making your own choices.
Esber is never literal; there’s always a bit of an edge, a crossover in sexy. Take, for example, the bow, now cast in a metallic element that kept draped layers of lilac jersey from falling apart. Small rosettes become a ribbon trim on a fine gauge tank. Hand-painted marbles are somehow crocheted onto the trimmings, like on a little brown double-layered dress with a flared hem. Souvenir conches and cowries became gold-finished earrings and necklaces, silver triangles embraced quartz, and sea urchin-like earrings were beaded blue. Lingerie influences also played a huge role, for example on a chiffon and satin number with a crinoline hem on one side. A chemise, cut in “the idea of a lingerie dress”, had a ruched, sheer torso with lace down the side.
Memories of the 90s came into play on deconstructed Japanese denims, either spliced with black jersey on a popover top, or washed and tailored into pants with just the original raw indigo color retained at the waist. Speaking of tailoring, the designer introduced a new blazer shape this season with pointed shoulders inspired by men’s tailoring techniques. Plain or pierced, these had a lot of attitude.
A punk inflection also showed in unusual textures: a silver mesh polo shirt was glazed with baked and looped sequins, chainstitch embroidery and crochet techniques reminiscent of craftsmanship, and column dresses with swirls and material-pinned gathers let the designer sway his hips. on his obsession with negative space. Next to these, a black column dress with a beaded midriff looked almost innocent. And as for the cowboy print: it’s an image that comes straight from Esber’s memories of his childhood home. Transposed over a fringed strapless dress, it seems to shimmer like an old replay. A little random, a little nostalgic, but oddly it fits the moment.