Vogue CS in English

Checking in with Christopher Esber

Restrictions may be lifting in a handful of countries around the world but everyone still wants to #staysafe. To that end, our International Editor continues the #stayhome interview series with Christopher Esber, the Australian fashion designer whose eponymous brand celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Hello! How are you? Are you in Sydney?
“Hi there! All well here, grateful to be busy in Sydney - spending my days between home and the studio and just adjusting where necessary right now (as we all are).” 
I’m in Prague at home with my family on our 79day of sheltering in place although many restrictions have been lifted for us recently. Have you ever been to Prague before?
“I haven’t gotten to Prague yet but it’s definitely on my destination list. The history fascinates me and I think it would be endlessly inspiring. I’m looking forward to travelling again once all this calms and we can confidently adventure again.”
Christopher Esber
I’ve been to Australia many times with my partner who is from the North Shore of Sydney but it doesn’t look like we will make it there this year for the Christmas holidays. How are things in Australia right now?
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate here in that some restrictions are now able to lift but we’re all still very cautious. Any loss of life is a tragic thing and this pandemic is something we will be talking about for a long time. Things are easing towards a new kind of normal but there’s going to be a few periods of adjustment. We’re all learning a new meaning of the word patience, that’s for sure.”
You recently told British Vogue that “creativity has always thrived when I’ve been in isolation.” How are you staying inspired these days?
“Staying agile has been key. Inspiration seems to go hand-in-hand with innovation, and innovation by nature is borne of a need. Taking time to reflect and observe from home has been a new way to find inspiration - really focusing on my thoughts and reassessing. It has been interesting to see how people are adapting and uniting through a digital landscape - it has added new, uncharted layers to my thought process. Now, more than ever, visual communication is so important and having been so physically hands-on in the design process, we are now looking at ways to digitize this vital aspect of development - which in a way is exciting as it’s new territory.”
What television shows or movies have you been watching?
“I purposely don’t actually own a TV, for me it visually stunts the appearance of a room. If the mood strikes, a projection on a blank wall is the way and my taste in shows varies from Ozark to The Long Kiss Goodnight to Seinfeld.”
Any favorite meals that you’ve been cooking?
“I wish I could say I’ve been using this time to experiment but it’s actually been too busy. Recipes from the Ottolenghi cookbook have become a bit of a go-to.”
Any great books that you could recommend?
“I’m actually re-reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations right now, there’s something about the classics that seems enchanting at a time like this.”
What about podcasts?
“I’m not into podcasts, I’m still too drawn to music when it comes to listening.”
The Pre-Fall 2020 collection that you showed in January included pieces that were embedded with crystals like smoky quartz and polished red jasper. I would love to hear more about it.
“The crystals are part of the seasonal ethos of promoting reflection and calm, and creating pieces for space and clarity. Red jasper and smoky quartz are both known for facilitating clear thinking and grounded energy and we also included blue calcite to cultivate creativity. We all need little ways to connect to bigger energies but I also think they are little reminders of our inner strength. Fusing them within the pieces felt natural for the season and it’s something I look forward to exploring further.”
What are your three favorite looks from the collection?
“I don’t have a favorite, although our deconstructed knits are a core idea for me, as allowing versatility for my customers is important to me. For Pre-Fall 2020,  working with different types of crystals was a journey both internally and a translation to the external. So, finding ways to center these and have them connect to the wearer in different touch points around the body was something I wanted to tap into. We find evolution through reflection.” 
Elle Macpherson, Dua Lipa, Solange Knowles and, of course, Zendaya are all fans of your work. How does it feel to dress such strong, beautiful women?
“It’s interesting - as when designing, it’s more about mood/energy and how the clothes are put together and how the classics can be rethought. So, when seeing how the pieces are worn by women, it’s always refreshing for me to see it translated to an individual’s personal unique interpretation. I also think it’s an honor that these incredible women, who use their platforms for good, have found us. I believe in this above all, so I will forever see them as muses and friends. It’s very personal for me.”
You made your Australian Fashion Week debut at the tender age of 23, what have been some of the most exciting moments in your career so far?
“There are too many to name, but fashion week is always a highlight of the year for me. The prep is intense, as we are quite methodical in how we prep for shows. We create looks for 4-5 days, then edit and edit some more. Seeing it come together in the end is a feeling that feels so complete - where you create this world of your own point of view, design, context and moment. Also, the industry support from stylists, buyers and the Christopher Esber woman is always something I cherish.”
What are you doing to mark your 10th year in business?
I guess one thing to come from all this is that I’ve had the space to simply lean in to it and look at the past ten years and what we’ve achieved. It’s nice to have that space to step back and see that it is a milestone, I guess. We had planned a show which, unfortunately, couldn’t go ahead but we have some exciting things in the pipeline to give us new ways to connect with the Christopher Esber woman and thank those who have always been so supportive.”
Lastly, what is the first thing you will do when things are “back to normal”? 
“Continue in life’s adventure - wherever it may lead.”
Zendaya in Christopher Esber at the Australian American Association Arts Awards in New York on January 30, 2020.
Candice Swanepoel in Christopher Esber in New York on November 6, 2019.
Elle Macpherson in Christopher Esber at Sydney Airport on September 13, 2019.
Emily Ratajkowski in Christopher Esber at the Uncut Gems premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2019.
Solange Knowles in Christopher Esber at a Piaget party at Hôtel de Paris in Monaco on June 29, 2019.