As the link between product and purveyors, Kresan Naidu, Pernod Ricard’s bartender community manager, spends his life juggling corporate commitments with herding a rowdy bunch of bar staff. His demeanor is infectious. When he addresses you, it’s as if the sun itself is shining, reminding you of a holiday in his home town, Durban.
Naidu eschews pinning down his style, preferring pageantry and symbolism expressed through the trifecta of colour, design, and tailoring. When asked directly to define his style, Naidu offers a kooky response: “My personal style is defined by pineapples, which are both the symbol of the hospitality industry and a thread that has run through my life since I was a child.”
Naidu spends time every morning dressing to reflect his mood. “I don’t plan ahead, but I do pay attention to the details,” he says. “If you look good, you feel good. Life’s too short for a boring shirt.” And he has no interest in labels or prestige. “I choose things based on how they make me feel,” he says.
What’s in your wardrobe? Colourful takkies, interesting collared shirts, T-shirts from ethical sources, baseball caps, jeans, and every colour chino from Topshop. Oh, and about 20 Casio watches.
Your favourite piece of clothing right now? A baseball-style overcoat I bought in Thailand.
What’s the first piece of clothing you bought yourself? A raw denim jacket cut like a blazer I bought from YDE in 2002.I bought it at the princely sum of R850 while I was still at school. I had to get to job to pay for it.
Who’s your favourite local designer? Tshepo Mohlala for bespoke jeans, Maria McCloy for African-inspired shoes, and Bonafide Beards for grooming staples.
What do you never leave home without? I’ve always got a hanky in my pocket. My grandfather taught me it’s essential if you want to be dressed properly.
What’s in your bar fridge? Absolut Elyx and Citron, Monkey 47, Beefeater 24, Havana Club, Amarula Cream, peppermint liqueur, Olmeca Altos Tequila, Lillet, and Jameson Caskmates. Seriously though, I never drink alone.
And your go-to drink is? Espresso Martini — it goes down just as well at brunch as it does at the beginning of a big night out.
Which drink will never cross your lips? I’d rather drink a bottle of Strawberry Lips than a shot of Stroh Rum.