Christopher Esber sets off to the jungle following his intrepid castaway muse on her adventures in crinkled cotton, sinuous draped jersey dresses and distressed knits. Feel the heat rise.
“There are always certain visuals that speak to me, so Gemma Ward fronting the campaign reflects so much of the woman we design for; self-assured, creative, intelligent, powerful yet nonchalant,” says Australian designer Christopher Esber. He dubs his latest Pre-Fall collection Tropical Grunge which plays with deconstructed elements of disarray, distress and in a spectrum of pigment rich natural hues.
His journey began with clipping images from editions of National Geographic where he started to explore the landscapes, colours and vegetation. Artwork by Australian artist Ray Crooke and those languid, sensual scenes by French impressionist Paul Gauguin also fuelled his imagination. “This mediation of being cast away, on an obscure tropical landscape - envisioning how these silhouettes would survive and the wearer thriving in them, with a sense of delicacy and grit - was interesting to explore,” says Esber of his fantasy expedition.
“There are always certain visuals that speak to me, so Gemma Ward fronting the campaign reflects so much of the woman we design for; self-assured, creative, intelligent, powerful yet nonchalant."
Ward shows off one steamy wardrobe. And this is what Esber is so skilled at – balancing off ‘delicacy and grit’ in his signature jersey designs that are spliced with lace, and skilfully draped into sinuous skirts and cowl neck tops. There are hand painted folia Souvenir silk twills that reveal like sun-soaked horizons, while metallic yarns combine with crinkle cotton jersey to create crumpled tops and long line skirts. The Savoye scrunch strapless micro dress, constructed in fine sheer Italian jersey and lace offers up a roll in ball glamour while amorphic curvy necklines turn a column dress into a sculpted beauty. “Being able to adapt clothing has always been core to my collections, re-imagining classic shapes with an unexpected twist or deconstruction. As I am so drawn to the art of clothes making, each season is motivated by stripping back the idea or inspiration, to its purist form,” he concludes. This is one expedition worthy of enrolment.