Despite the countless challenges of this past year, Christopher Esber seems to be in a good place. He puts it down, at least in part, to the fact that “a lot of the pieces we’ve done have come into the trend cycle.” First among those is his knitwear, with its signature transformability (new this season is a three-part camisole shape) and cut-out or latticed details that take low-key dressing up a notch. The most convincing were ’70s-leaning dresses in shades of sand and citrus with multi-colored ribbing. One dress revisited Esber’s fascination with piercings and repurposed stones—a natural springboard for an upcoming foray into jewelry.
Meanwhile, like the rest of us, the designer has been daydreaming about escape. While skimming tourist destinations, he came up with the idea of creating his own: “Lambada Sands” appears here on a tangerine cashmere crewneck. That and most other pieces had the throw-it-on-and-go attitude Esber tends to favor: there’s a new take on the shirtdress, in green, that looks like separates; a khaki caftan in recycled wool with fringe, and a strapless orange number that channels a beach wrap, with ties in back. A jacquard organza top textured by palm fronds riffs on a men’s Hawaiian shirt, here in orange with a matching gathered column skirt. The designer also explored wrapping and draping techniques to elevate a simple white handkerchief top, a tailored button-down, or a sleeveless white dress.
Esber says that he loves the creativity that comes with having to work with what he has to hand. Deadstock makes up half of his collection, although he doesn’t tend to use prints he hasn’t done himself. This season, however, he happened on a ’90s-era floral fabric in dévoré satin sitting neglected in a warehouse somewhere, and decided to incorporate it alongside his own tropical print work. Resourcefulness serves him well.