RAFW – Christopher Esber

RAFW - Christopher Esber

MAY 04 2010

Following a controversial absence at last years RAFW, the pressure was palpable this year for young designer Christopher Esber. The Sydney local debuted in 2008 at the TAFE show, along with fellow student and now apple of the Australian fashion industry’s eye, Dion Lee. So as you can imagine after a much-hyped debut and a yearlong hiatus, Christopher Esber’s time to shine was well overdue. And shine he did.

Blocking off half of the seating arrangement with a temporary white wall, Esber set the scene for an intimate show that would conveniently ensure there were no empty seats. The white wall may have been up, but Esber’s guard came down with each look, exposing his refined and controlled vision. From the leather finishes, laser cut seams, exposed zips and precision tailoring, no detail was left to chance.

Each look was as strong as the next while still managing to avoid overpowering each other, forming a cohesive and inspirational collection. From the simple white stretch knit dress worn by Rachel Rutt, to the powder blue laser cut full skirt, each piece held its own against the stark white background.

Known for his interest in fabrics and methodical approach to design, Esber’s strengths evidently lie in his ability to refine his vision, while still allowing each piece a point of difference. Sheer stiff fabric dresses that cocooned around the body were strategically beaded to give the effect of a simple print while leather was used in a range of ways from collar details to puckered panels in dresses.

Strong comparisons can be made to Phoebe Philo’s recent spring summer collection of liquid leather and crisp white shirts for Celine. Hussein Chalayan and Richard Nicoll’s craftsmanship and fabrication are also reminiscent, but comparisons to such large names would hardly do the collection justice, as this truly was an original vision with a local Sydney flavour.

As each look walked back down the catwalk the models lined up against the wall to face the audience. With minimal makeup, plain shoes and their palms facing the crowd it was almost as if Esber had nothing to hide, and to prove that point one step further, models then strode forward allowing the crowd to inspect the fine detail in his craftsmanship. He knew he had been missing in action, and was willing to be judged in front of the industry’s harshest critics. The irony of it all is he’s unlikely to come across criticism. A mature collection that was well over due.