If there's one thing we'll never stop buying, it's timeless yet modern pieces we can wear regardless of seasons or trends. Australian womenswear designer Christopher Esber is well aware of this, which is why his feminine pieces are grounded in classic menswear tailoring and devoid of unnecessary embellishment.

His mastery of this casual, refined aesthetic won him the International Woolmark Prize in 2014. He then debuted his Fall/Winter 2017 collection at New York Fashion Week. Read on to learn more about this budding contemporary designer.

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He's never designed for anyone else

“I was always a quiet child, in my own world and drawing and my auntie was a seamstress so I learned a lot of technical things from her from a young age. After high school, I jumped into fashion, studied design then immediately started my own brand. I knew I wanted my own business so I could be creative and dictate what people wear. It excites me seeing someone on the street wearing one of my designs.”

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His collections are heavily inspired by '90s pop culture, like Michael Jackson

“I feel like I’m stuck in the '90s. I love the women in those films who are so chic and effortless and a little bit boyish–a woman who's not too pretty in how she puts things together. That’s why I love doing trousers in every form.”

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He looks up to Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga and Miuccia Prada 

“I feel like there was exciting new energy around every season of theirs. Designers like that inspire me to push myself to not be safe and follow trends. I think design is a matter of looking into yourself and sticking to your guns and growing what you believe in.”

See also: 7 Fashion Designers Who Made Major Moves This Year

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His signature buttons include pieces of crushed ceramic

“I did a collaboration with an artist that did amazing vases, so there were pieces of broken ceramic in the buttons. It’s quite romantic in a way. The idea of the button detail originally came from my collections inspired by Native Americans, where each button represented the natural elements of earth, wind, fire and water. The idea kind of evolved from there.”

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He’s currently inspired by the backseat of a cab (yes, really)

“Honestly, anything inspires me. I snapped a picture the other day of the backseat of a cab and I got this samurai shoulder vibe from it. Those are the things that spark my thought.”

See also: New York Designer Sandy Liang Is All About Laidback Luxe

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His father dictates his collections’ colour palette

“My father left the war-torn country of Lebanon because he wanted something better for me. He saw my passion for fashion and design at a young age, and even though he was a man from a conservative community, he still told me to follow my dreams. He’s a colour technician, so if I do a colour palette he’d critique it and say, “you need to tweak your blues,” or something [laughs]. He’s got really good taste, so I trust him.”

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He loves how Hong Kong women dress

"I love that people here care about getting dressed and putting a look together. I feel like the women in Sydney are generally naked, always in a bikini top, because it’s a beach culture where fashion is secondary. I feel we need more cities like Hong Kong where people make an effort."

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He’ll be launching footwear next season

“I want to do really elevated sandals, like fine flats that are super comfortable. I never want my girls to be in pain.” 

An exclusive collection by Christopher Esber is available at Lane Crawford.

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