ESSE’s Resort ’23 Collection Was A Lesson In Soft Tailoring And An Ode To Timeless Style

"Celebrating the older styles and reinvigorating them with the new."

Showing at the iconic Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House (while it stormed outside), ESSE was a masterclass in tailoring and classic silhouettes.

Neutral coats, soft tailoring and exquisite shirts were all on show, but the highlights were fringed skirts just demanding to be swished. A neutral colour palette sat centre stage with classic cuts and silhouettes swanning down the sleek runway.

An ideal capsule wardrobe that’d take you from office to wedding guest, the collection served as an ode to older styles and aimed to “invigorate them with the new”, according to brand founder Charlotte Hicks.

Below, marie claire Australia chats with Norris and Forest about Charlotte Hicks’s timeless and tasteful Resort ’23 collection. 

ESSE Studios
(Credit: Getty Images)

Tell us about the venue you have chosen and what its significance is.

It’s an absolute privilege and honour to show at Bennelong. The brand is so deeply rooted in architectural influences and the venue is the pinnacle of Australian Architectural Innovation. I also felt so aligned with the restaurant itself, they craft their menus with such appreciation for their farmers, fishermen, breeders and providores—a providence and the connection with the lands.

Also, a really interesting anecdote, Bennelong Point was a tidal rock island in the heart of the Gadigal lands. It has been said this was a location for Aboriginal women to congregate on the rising tide, eat shellfish by the fire and tell stories. A site that has a rich history of communal celebrations and storytelling, that really resonated.

Tell us about the new collection and what inspired it.

The runway is actually really about a celebration of the brand and the ESSE Editions (A refined and sustainable capsule wardrobe for the modern woman). It isn’t about merely showcasing the new collection, it’s about celebrating the older styles and reinvigorating them with the new to truly represent the ethos of the brand.

ESSE Studios
(Credit: Getty Images)

What does showing at AAFW means to you?

It really is an honour. It is a true celebration of Australian talent. A coming together of creatives and entrepreneurs. A culmination of hard work and creativity that we can really showcase globally.

Do you have a standout moment or memory from AAFW?

I worked behind the scenes for many shows over the years. I was fortunate enough to celebrate a big Sass and Bide moment a few years ago with an incredible bunch of people.

ESSE Studios
(Credit: Getty Images)

What Australian designers throughout history do you look up to or have inspired you and why?

There are so many incredible stories of Australian designers and each of them have inspired me in different ways. Be it the master herself Carla Z, who built an Australian brand with a true lasting legacy. Martin Grant or Collette Dinnigan, who really put Australian designers on the Paris runways radar. I do have to say Heidi Middle and Sarah-Jane Clarke who really inspired me to keep the heart, the soul and the magic in everything.

In three words, who is the ESSE wearer?

Modern, authentic and alluring.

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