Sartorial elegance: Kenya’s most expensively dressed dude

 Chris Kirubi  Inset:Zacharia Gakunju  Photo: Courtesy

Chris Kirubi  Inset:Zacharia Gakunju  Photo: Courtesy

Loaded local industrialist, Chris Kirubi, once boasted that he’s probably the most expensively dressed dude in Kenya.

Just so you know, the handmade woolen suits of the man, who once said the only thing he’s good at is making money, are bought from Italian fashion house, Brioni, whose clients include former American President George W Bush, property impresario Donald Trump and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The head honchos of the 70-year-old couture house know Kirubi, their client for almost 30 years, in person. This makes it easier for DJ CK to buy the wool material…not just any wool, but one with between 150s and 180s spins, from England or America, before it is flown to Italy where Brioni Chief Master Tailor, Angelo Petrucci, has Kirubi’s measurements.

Just to put you into perspective of how much a Brioni suit costs, consider a Brioni ‘Sale’ has one ‘blue slim-fit silk-jacquard tuxedo Jacket’ going for Sh260,000 down from the normal Sh460,000, while a Brioni striped cotton and silk-blend Polo shirt will set you back Sh31,500.

Brioni suits represent money, power and success and one su misura (custom-made) Brioni suit, complete with the trademark 24-karat gold thread, oscillates between Sh840,000 and Sh2.3 million, according to Barron’s magazine.

Kirubi once told Going Out Guide magazine that the challenge of wearing such pricey suits is the lack of suitable local dry cleaners. He often has no option but to accumulate them for dry cleaning services when he flies abroad!

And talking of dry cleaners, did you know the late Zacharia Kimemia Gakunju, one-time Gatundu South MP, was the first indigenous miro to own a homespun dry cleaning business?

Well, it so happens that Gakunju left Kagumo Government School and Ritho Commercial College before he was employed as a clerk by Gailey & Roberts and a succession of jobs saw him land at Queens Drycleaners in 1954. The former assistant minister for Wildlife and Tourism and one-time chair of Kenya Coffee Growers Association, gained enough experience to found Mbuni Drycleaners – East Africa’s first.

Gakunju, the man behind the Runda Evergreen Estate and the Evergreen Centre along Kiambu Road, died in his Runda home in May 2008 at the age of 76.

Did you also know that a drycleaner was once listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange? Pearl Drycleaners was once a publicly traded firm until it was struck off in 2002 for ‘noncompliance with listing requirements.’






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