Whim and a prayer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 December, 2011, 12:00am

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When a subject for this column opens the doors to his home and his closet wearing burgundy-coloured trousers, a black and white zigzag pattern blazer and a bow tie tied with dramatic flourish, you know you're in for a wild sartorial ride. Ellis Kreuger, not one to fear colour or pattern, has a wardrobe bursting with vibrant prints, exuberant colours and special pieces, most of which he created himself.

Kreuger is a tailor by trade. He runs a boutique called Moustache, which deals in bespoke and ready-to-wear men's fashion. He and his partner opened the business three years ago, following what they saw as a lack of imagination in the local bespoke industry.

Before moving to Hong Kong six years ago, Zimbabwe-born Kreuger worked in New York as a designer for Tocca. He apprenticed in London when he was 18. 'Fashion is my background,' he says, as he opens the doors to the rows of cupboards that line one wall of his bedroom. 'A lot of the pieces in my closet are either made by me or are vintage.'

He draws out shawl collar dinner jackets, suits in an array of fabrics, including denim, printed shirts, leather jackets and a dressing gown from India which he substitutes for a tuxedo at black tie events. 'I like a bit of fantasy in my wardrobe,' he confesses. 'I think my style is quite dandy, eccentric - but in a positive way. I am drawn to some sort of whimsy, but at its roots it's classic dressing.'

He likes to wear clothes out of their intended purposes, such as black tuxedo trousers sans tuxedo jacket and away from formal events. 'Tuxedo pants are my version of the staple black pants,' he says.

In his closet are collections of silk and knit ties, bow ties, and cotton and linen scarves. 'I wear ties and bow ties with just about everything. I don't feel complete without something on my neck. I hold on to the ties for sentimental reasons.'

His collection of shoes, all leather but for a lone pair of sneakers, shows that they are worn on a regular basis. 'I am hard on my shoes and clothes. They get really battered because I wear them a lot and I am always crouched on the floor and on my knees pinning and doing fittings. Besides, I like the look of formal clothing with shoes that look a little f**ked up. I am not a fan of men who look too perfect. I like a touch of dishabille - like you don't care but actually do,' he explains.

Given Kreuger's penchant for clothes that have a bit of flair and a slight twist of the unexpected, is there something that he will not wear? 'Shorts,' he says. 'I leave those to the kids.'