The Melbourne-based designer Christian Kimber may not yet be a global name but he’s been firmly on our radar for a while now. Born in the United Kingdom, Kimber migrated to Australia a decade ago and started his clothing and shoe brand in 2014. Consider it a more rakish alternative to Canali or Brunello Cucinelli, created with as much a sprezzatura sense of style as an Australian consideration for warmer climes.
“We have a lot of pieces that work well in Singapore,” he tells us of his elevated menswear, which is designed with maximum comfort for warmer climates in mind. “There’s a synergy between us: looser layers, a lot of linen, and light jackets.”
Though Kimber hardly has the monopoly on polos and tassel loafers, few other brands are put to the test in climates as hot as Australia or as optimised for a coastal lifestyle. “In the warmer times of our lives you need light layers,” Kimber explains. “If you wear a jacket it needs to be super light and unconstructed. Otherwise you’re just not gonna be able to keep it on.”
To really appreciate Kimber’s collection though, you have to feel it. There’s something almost Amish about his approach to materials – the sumptuous fabrics are carefully selected for comfort, durability and an ethical footprint. And in lieu of branding, he relies on subtler markers of identity. “My guy doesn’t need logos,” asserts Kimber. Instead, his clothes are cut and tailored for a handsomely deconstructed and broken-in fit. To wit: many of Kimber’s designs even have a washed-in look that’s the result of a dyeing process that results in clothes that feel uniquely personal and assured. “People hopefully know us by my silhouette and the materials we use,” he says.
That approach has won Kimber notable fans – like singer Cody Simpson and Top Gun: Maverick star Glen Powell – many of whom gravitate towards the Riviera polo, one of the brand’s early icons. Created from equal parts Italian cotton and Australian merino wool, the knit button-down style is manufactured in Italy and combines the suaveness of European menswear with the richness of Australian materials.
This season, Kimber is also presenting his collection through a short film – a first for the brand. Set on the Mornington Peninsula, a ritzy weekend retreat for affluent Melbournians, it’s designed to illustrate the versatility of his clothing in these settings. “Mornington is a big part of the Melbourne lifestyle” explains Kimber. “A lot of my clients have a house in the city and a house down there and I wanted to show our clothing in the context of their lives.”
In addition to seasonal updates of classics like the Riviera polo, Kimber is also steadily adding new propositions to his repertoire. This time, it’s supple and understated suede vests and a wider range of outerwear styles; while perennials like chore jackets and sweaters are refreshed in earthy ochre and sand colourways.
Kimber’s clientele is cult-ish but true. “We have a clientele who come to us every month,” he says with pride, “we’re their shop.” By which he means the two boutiques in Melbourne where the designer offers private appointments from which pieces can be altered for a perfect fit. He looms especially large in the wardrobes of Australian CEOs and corporate lawyers, many of whom turn to Kimber for the elegant, casual looks that they spend their off-duty days in. “We’re lifestyle- and fabric-focussed,” he explains. “If we can make clothes that make people feel good… that’s where my happiness comes from.”
Christian Kimber is available online at www.christiankimber.com