Moustache Fifth Anniversary, a Look Back, pt. 4
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.