One of the initial inspirations for Ellis and I to start a menswear shop came from a series of trips to Tokyo we took in the Spring and Fall of 2008. We were truly blown away from our explorations there and remain seduced by that fabulous city. So suffice it to say, we were very pleased to be asked by one our bespoke customers, a Japanese man with a really diverse range of business interests, from the city’s Farmer’s Market to architecture to modern furniture design, to stage a temporary tailoring salon in one of his multi-function spaces in Daikanyama, midori.so. We were so happy to have James join us to bring as much of the visual vibe of Moustache from Hong Kong to Tokyo. We also took the time, with the massive assistance of our friends from Midori.so, to compile a small guidebook to Tokyo. While we were not able to return the following year due to some prior committments in Hong Kong, we are finally in the planning stages for our next, long overdue trip to this city we love. We also participated in the debut session of The Hub, a new fashion exhibition in Hong Kong with a heavy menswear tilt. We were very happy to get to meet some great menswear brands from England, France and Japan, which was really great fun, as we haven’t traveled abroad on the international trade fair circuit. These wonderful photographs of that 2013 collection, Uniform, below, are of our new all time favorite Moustache model, thoroughly knocking me out of the running, Mr. Adrian Wong. Adrian’s more than just a pretty face- he’s probably the most famous Hong Kong art star at the moment, and, importantly for our story, now married to our new assistant tailor, Ms. Samantha Reid Wong. These beautiful photos were taken by Wendy Lam and styled completely by her, Sam and Adrian, over a couple of days at the couple’s studios in Wong Chuk Hang, and feature their cute rabbit, about whom they are quite serious! We met Adrian in earnest when he asked us to work with him on costumes for the Art Basel Absolut Art Bar, which he’d been chosen to create for the very first Hong Kong version of this art fair. That same season, we worked with Yana Peel for the closing Art Basel party. Here Ellis is a ruff, a bowler, and a pink tuxedo, and me in my David Bowie inspired turquoise suit, with our lovely friend Julie Shah. Finally just weeks ago Samantha and Adrian tied the knot in her hometown in England. Though it wasn’t an official Moustache photo shoot, we worked on Adrian’s tuxedo, Sam’s wedding dress and veil, as well as all the bridesmaid dresses and the groomsmen’s suits! Samantha was gone for a whole month, and boy did we miss her! Good thing these guys are so in love, so we won’t have to endure that again. And after a teensy-bit of holiday-making ourselves, we are all happy to be back at Moustache, where we hope to continue making beautiful clothes and adding what we can to the life of this city we now call home.
The downside to redecorating all the time is you end up having to say goodbye to some artwork that you love. Of course, paintings can always be dragged back to one’s apartment, provided the walls have room for them all, or at the very least stacked in a corner to be browsed through like old LPs, but what about murals? What does one do with murals past? I was rather shocked by how unfazed both Ellis and James seemed by the prospect of painting over Hong Kong c’est Super Fun for our new Sea Creatures Installation, also by James. But I’ve also come to appreciate the impermanence of murals, and at the same time, find little ways to extend their life, as our adventuring Victorian now has taken up residence as the cover star for our Moustache Guide to Hong Kong.
This was admittedly one of the most popular designs for the Moustache shop, and one of the most fun to make. For the paintings we went to Dafen Painting Village, which I’ve written about before, computer printouts of shipping containers in hand, to commission new work for the walls. We also constructed a wooden shelving unit to sit inside the big front window. My original idea had been for a curtain, as we were spending more and more of our open hours in bespoke fittings, which we hoped to minimize the distraction to. We were all happy we opted for the shelf, as it let filter in a very nice quality of light, while keeping idle passers by from peering in rudely, as can happen here in Hong Kong quite often; it had the added benefit of forever confusing a certain segment of the population as to whether we were, in fact, an antique shop. It’s a rumour that persists to this day.
It was around this time we were interviewed and photographed by Berenice Debras and Lola Reboud for Air France Magazine, precisely in the same time as this neighborhood, and all of Hong Kong, in fact, experienced an explosion in the French population. I believe some time last year that the French overtook the British themselves as the majority expatriate nationality. Lola’s photo above, remains one of my favorite of Ellis and me.
I love these photographs for our Sea Creatures collection in Tai O, modeled by me and another great friend of Moustache, Henry Temple, who not only appears in the photographs, but turned them all into a most charming small book.
We’ve always done swimming costumes- in fact, one of our first flashes of inspiration for doing a tropical, ready-to-wear collection, was to make this staple of any kind of life here actually available, for sale, in the months from September through January, which it historically had not been. This “Prince of Whales” swimming costume is probably the fastest selling garment we’ve ever made.
The above and following photographs are from a terrific photoshoot we were lucky enough to work on with Laurent Segretier, a remarkably talented fashion and art photographer here in Hong Kong. I think these images capture James’ Sea Monsters better than any others I’ve seen.
They are probably the best photographs of Ellis in action as a tailor as well, a role he that has really become central to our business here in ways we did not even expect.