Robb Interview: Christian Kimber
Ahead of his AFW show, the Melbourne menswear designer talks Loro Piana, Succession’s Brian Cox and why he’s all for refined scruffiness.
Melbourne-based designer Christian Kimber has rightly made a name for himself with an eponymous menswear label that’s neatly crafted a unique niche in a ‘lived in luxury’ take on formality. So too, a cut of cloth perfectly suited to Australian sensibilities and climes.
Returning to Australian Fashion Week today with a new collection that continues his standout run, we caught up just ahead of his show.
ROBB REPORT: Talk us through the inspiration for the pieces that inform the new collection?
CHRISTIAN KIMBER: It’s always about our customers, and from there an idea of our customers. A lot of guys are now asking for evening wear — we had clients going to a New Year’s Eve party in Mornington [Victoria] last year, so what are they going to wear to that? Something different, not just the classics. Because it’s a party — what does party wear look like? And how does that fit with our aesthetic? So we’re working on pieces that hit that note.
You’re known for this sense of ‘informal luxury’, so is this your first foray into more evening attire?
A little bit, but it’s still us, still done in a Christian Kimber way. It becomes about the fabrications we use. This is a lot of raw silk, so a lot of soft silks and textures. And things that are still us and still Australian. It’s making utilitarian details luxury.
What are some of the hero pieces in the new collection?
There’s a shawl-collared jacket that’s really gorgeous. It’s not a tuxedo jacket but knitted using Loro Piana wool. And there’s a knitted shirt in the collection that’s now become quite iconic for us now. This is the fourth colour in this one.
Brian Cox was recently spotted wearing one of your pieces and your name got caught up in the discussion about ‘quiet luxury’. What’s your take on that term?
Whenever people say something a lot, it gets annoying. Brian and his stylist called us up from LA because they saw what we did and struggled to find collections that fitted how he wants to dress. And I thought it was really touching for us. And yeah, he’s got three or four suedes from us now.
If not quiet luxury how do you define your brand?
I think refined scruffiness is how I feel at the moment. I felt that yesterday, I was coming here [to Sydney] and I had my old suede jacket on, and my old chinos, and my beat-up suede boots and I was surrounded by perfection and yet I just felt more comfortable in my old dad style. That’s what we bring to our clothing.
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