Wow, it certainly has been a long time since we stopped in here, hasn’t it? Without making excuses, we will say that just because it’s been a while since we’ve made a post here doesn’t mean we’ve been idle- in fact, quite the opposite: we’ve had so much going on that we’ve barely had time for a proper recap. So please excuse this months-in-a-nutshell report and enjoy the pretty pictures.
Visitors to the shop will know our first big post-Clockenflap, post-Man Museum project has been our annual-ish redecoration. While the rest of the city was visiting relatives and eating pineapple tarts over the Chinese New Year, we were swaying at the top of a ladder in a vertigo-induced panic painting the high beams. For those of you that didn’t have a chance yet to pay us a visit, we asked our good friend Zosia Zacharia take some photos.
We’re particularly excited about our new little makeshift exhibition space- a brick wall running the length of the shop with a metal bars hanging in a grid over it. Apparently, the tenant at 31 Aberdeen Street before us was a scroll painter (and even lived in the small loft at the back of the shop) and installed the bars to clip his paintings to. We had a stack of lovely drawings by James Dignan for the Man Museum, a pop-up we did for Lane Crawford this winter featuring James’ sublime drawings and sculptures of the “tribes of men.” When the pop-up ended, we just couldn’t bear to part ways with the ragtag collection of dandies, manimals, nordiqes nor any of the other tribes, so we binder-clipped them all to the rails for the inaugural exhibition of our new gallery. Now, obviously, we’re not an art gallery, but we are art lovers and also have some very talented friends practicing art, and we figured a rotating roster of works on paper would be a fun way to engage with the art culture of Hong Kong.
A wall of James drawings, available for sale at 800-1200HKD
Now those that have followed our career will doubtlessly be familiar with James’ work- not only is he responsible for the cover to our Moustache Guide to Hong Kong, he’s also painted not one, but two murals for our shop, and traveled with us to our Tokyo pop-up where he smothered the walls with drawings; without a doubt, his work is as much a part of the visual identity of Moustache as our brightly coloured ready-to-wear.
James was particularly instrumental in the look of the Man Museum, a two-month pop-up at Lane Crawford we designed, styled and curated featuring the best holiday gifts for men. Since we went straight from that project to our Cabaret Tent at the Clockenflap music festival, we never properly celebrated the Man Museum, which was great fun and great looking.
Besides James, one other diligent soul without whom we never would have gotten through the past months is our new apprentice Samantha Reid. We first met Samantha last year working with artist Adrian Wong, to whom she is also, incidentally, engaged to be married. Adrian had hired us to make costumes for his Absolut Art Bar during the inaugural Art Basel Hong Kong. Since Adrian was away for a lot of the weeks running up to the fair, we got to work really closely with Sam, who had already been studying tailoring and pattern-making, on the costumes. It was a brilliant experience, so we were over the moon when she accepted our offer to come work with us full time. In addition to already becoming an absolutely indispensible third pair of hands around the shop, Sam and Ellis are finally putting into work an idea we’ve had for a long time of doing some bespoke womenswear. Not everyone knows that we’ve quietly been working with women customers since we opened, but until Samantha joined, it seemed prudent not to be overly solicitous of this market. So all you ladies that have made it this far into my little essay, watch this space as we develop our new women’s capsule collection which will be available made-to-measure in the coming months.
In addition to her skills with the scissors, it turns out Sam is quite nimble on her feet too- a fact she demonstrated in a very public way with the Bearded Lady Dance Troupe in our cabaret tent at the Clockenflap Music Festival, which took place over three days in December. Here’s a funny fact: Ellis and I had never even attended a music festival before we went to work on our little nightclub in the middle of one. It was a big job, and one we definitely could not have done on our own- particularly without one Mr. Shane Aspegren, our musical director and partner, who booked all the acts and really ran the show. It was a blast but utterly exhausting, and once it was over, we kind of closed the book without looking at the pictures, so here, a little late, and cribbed from lots of friends, a not-so-little glimpse of the fun.
Costumes in faux-fur and glitter bikinis for The Bearded Lady Dancers from Ellis and Samantha;
Samantha (left, chatting on the phone) with Christine, Paola and Morgan, looking very glamorous before their first number;
Morgan, Samantha, Louise and Christine in costume number 2;
Altogether now, the gorgeous ladies of the Bearded Lady Sideshow: Tanya, Christine, Julie, Louise, Morgain, Paola and Samantha;
Whirling around the maypole, exhibiting the astonishing breadth of their skirts;
Here’s Shane on the drums with Borderline, our amazing house Karaoke band. Here’s how it worked- you choose a song from our playbook and Borderline plays along while you sing. Here’s Felix, who quite literally saved my life later in the night, giving us a little “Careless Whisper”;
And Adrian serenading bride-to-be Samantha with Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection.”
Not content to profess his love of Samantha with song only, Adrian, after a few cocktails, decided to take advantage of our resident tattoo artist, Megu Kamata, who hopped the red-light from Tokyo to join us.
What a good boyfriend!
I was especially thrilled to welcome my old college roomate Gavin Russom and The Crystal Ark, all the way from New York City. It turns out Shane also knows Gavin from his stint touring with LCD Soundsystem, so it was reunion time all around! Here’s Gavin with Matt, Irene and Jaiko on Queen’s Road, fresh off the plane.
And here, striking a more glamorous pose, are Viva, Irene and Jaiko- getting ready to perform.
And here’s Gavin in action, standing on his synthesizer, whipping the crowd into a frenzy
And here we all are, reuniting- feels so good!
Our headline act was the amazing Har Mar Superstar. Here’s Sean, the night before the festival, playing at a little preview party at Kee Club. It was, without exaggeration, the most extraordinary live musical performance I have ever seen.
Oh yes he did … a head spin.
We also had the pleasure of welcoming from Tokyo the burlesque duo Gaston & Akane. Gaston is an Argentinian living and teaching dance in Tokyo for almost 20 years, Akane his prized pupil, a beautiful woman who was quite popular with the gentlemen!
Here Gaston & Akane kick back post performance with resident magician and emcee Stuart Palm.
We were also honoured to have the lovely and so stylish Diana D’arenberg belting out a bit of Weimar-style cabaret.
Here’s Diana and Joe and Zoe (and a sleepy little fellow along for the ride) from Head Clowns.
Bearded Lady superstar Gigi playing for probably her youngest audience yet, with Good Life.
Here’s Sam and the sublime Lilian Chan, a truly legendary Hong Kong chanteuse.
Though we were most assuredly a grown-up space by night, by day we welcomed our little friends for the phenomenally successful Kids Disco. Above, Shane’s daughters Zari and Avey get the crowd on their feet with their funky DJ skills.
Before they hit the dancefloor, the kids got to indulge in a bit of fancy dress fun- we stuffed a steamer trunk full of feathers, sequins, glitter and makeup. Here Lulu rocks a disco headband.
Everyday started with a stimulating Yoga session led by our lovely Sassy Cassie, who sadly has left us for her native Australia, with musical accompaniment by brand new daddy Jason Nagoy. Congratulations Jason!
Though it was a challenging experience for us, we really and truly loved getting to spend time with so many talented folks. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And what did we do afterwards?
Yes, we slept. Luckily we had some amazing and quite comfy cushions to crash on.
Now that the tent has been dismantled and West Kowloon is once again a sleepy and very inaccessible empty field, people are wondering what’s next for the Bearded Lady? After our Clockenflap experience, we decided to take a break from nightlife- it’s a dog’s life, particularly when one has a day job. And while we’ll not soon return to the sort of hours we kept during our Salon No.10 days, we will continue to enjoy hosting the occasional gathering when we are feeling inspired (or someone is feeling inspired by us!). Look for us again during Art Basel and beyond, or come say hello to us here on Aberdeen Street.