Bow Ties Sydney, Australia - Le Noeud Papillon - Specialists In Self Tying Bow Ties

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Spelling, Grammar, Editing Apology - Universally I Am Becoming More Pathetic With Each Passing Year

I just noticed I left a 'too' spelt 'to' and I left off a question mark somewhere else, I forgot to put my .... at the end of another sentence and I genuinely have started to become as lazy as the Sydney Morning Herald in editing content before it goes live.

This is a work in progress and I am a one man band writing this blog in between bow tie appointments, designing silks, cutting bow ties and being a father and partner. I do apologise if I make mistakes, if I repeat myself, if I don't make sense of if I am grammatically incorrect.

I have wanted to make more of an effort to improve this area of the blog and I am always open to feedback.


Rolls Royce And Le Noeud Papillon Bow Ties - Another Way To Store And Hang Your Bow Ties

Last week Miles Wharton of Mens Style Blogger dropped past the Le Noeud Papillon Studio looking to use some bow ties on a shoot with Rolls Royce. He did not need to twist my arm. The photos are superb and if you keep a look out on his Instagram page, you should see them trickle in over the coming weeks. They've also given me new inspiration as to how I'd like to hand my bow ties one day...

The Cost Of Self-Righteousness Is Relationship - Which Is Probably Why His Critics Gave Waleed Aly The Thumbs Down For His Andrew Olle Media Lecture

Last night I attended the Andrew Olle Media Lecture  which this year was given by Waleed Aly, the journalist whose short summaries of issues facing contemporary society on the television show The Project, as well as his column in the Sydney Morning Herald have catapulted him to being a sort of elevated 'rock star' journalist, which eventually won him a TV Gold Logie.

Until last night I had never liked Waleed Aly very much. Although I often thought that he was morally right on most of the topics he spoke on, there is always something that singes my nostrils about the self-righteous and often makes me switch off. I think that mode of thought is derived from a sagacious older man who once, during a squabble with my father, said to me "the cost of self-righteousness is relationship. Think about that. You can't relate to someone if you think you're always in the right".

And so that is how I felt about Waleed Aly when he got up to speak. "Here we go!" I thought. And not because I am bigoted, but more just because I like to keep things fresh, I was already yawning by the third time that the once progressive and now boring and repetitive statement of "But first I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet tonight, the Gadigal people, part of the Eora Nation of the Sydney Basin .... " had been delivered (Is it not possible that one person can say this at the start of the event and leave it there).

When Waleed began speaking there was a great deal of setting up disclaimers by which he wanted the audience to know that he was just as much a part of the problem as the rest of the journalists and media outlets in the room. Was it contrived? It didn't seem so. He seemed to genuinely want to hold himself as accountable as the rest of his peers in the room. He then followed on by talking on a range of issues, perhaps drawing some of them out unnecessarily, but the points he made, which made sense, were as follows:

1. People don't take enough time to consume news.
2. Journalists therefore don't take enough time to prepare and report on news properly.
3. Ratings mean that sensational news always shuts out other equally important but less glamorous news and current affairs.
4. Because television reigns supreme, if somebody doesn't look or act on television quickly and relate to viewers, it often means we don't get the best experts delivering our news, but merely those who perform the best for us.
5. Sharing and speed are focal points in news these days which causes news outlets to try and creating content designed for speed and sharing, which reduces the originality and depth of the content.
6. The world is in a state of confusion.
7.  That according to a French sociologist Bourdieu, television's great limitation is time. That Plato once said that the difference between a philosopher and a lay person is that the philosopher has time, which he said, television prohibits because everybody is under constant pressure to perform within limited time.
8. Because there is not enough time for journalists, they often pick the lowest bearing fruit.

In a nutshell, that is what I took from the lecture. And given that I am in that space with keeping a blog and social media profiles, I couldn't agree more. This week, just by coincidence, I decided to sink my teeth into traditional print media for both menswear magazines and newspapers. I hadn't done it in at least a month, owing to the iPad, S7, desktop and laptop I always have handy. Why the hell would anyone want to read a printed word when you could get anything you wanted just by searching google....

But the experience was a delightful one. I read the Rake (skimming most, reading some), I read parts of Men's Style and GQ Australia. I read the Financial Review (skimming and reading), the SMH and I still have one more newspaper to go through but I can't remember which one it is.

What I did find most interesting was the difference in the quality of content offered between the men's magazines. What I found most interesting was that the format of GQ and Men's Style was beginning to look like a website and geared to be a too cosy relationship between content and the advertiser. Whereas, in The Rake magazine, there seemed to be a bigger and more distinct gap between the advertiser and the content, and the content was more in the feature writing style which really gave you something to sink your teeth into rather than the kind of writing that you switch off from  two paragraphs in and never return to the magazine. I noticed that at the end of doing both cover to cover, I put The Rake aside for future reading, and had the others ready to toss them in the bin.

What has Waleed Aly got to do with all this? Well, I never liked him much because I thought he was self-righteous, but the more I think about it, he was right last night and the media organisations he was preaching to should listen up. When content takes time to create, when it's not just about getting somebody to click to get another ad served in the browser, when the writing is strong and the visuals that accompany it are too, people will pay dearly for this. I think I paid $20 for my copy of The Rake and I will come back to it. I happily pay for a good film on iTunes or a Netflix (or the like) TV subscription for a great series. But what I don't want is thoughtless crap designed to make me click and share. It might work once, twice, three times even, but eventually you won't buy into it.

Journalism, like Italian cooking, should be slow cooked from great ingredients. I think that's what Waleed Aly had to say but it took him a great deal longer to say it. At the end, when many of his fellow peers were giving him the thumbs down, I was upset. I had finally come to admire Waleed Aly, right when he was no longer 'trending'.

Congratulations Waleed. I hope you have a long, successful and prosperous career and I'm sorry I judged you for being self-righteous. That was very self-righteous of me.

Waleed Aly and his wife, Susan Carland. Photo credit: GQ Man Of Year 2015 -

Thursday, October 6, 2016

If You Want To Feel Like A Billionaire There Is An Alternative Way To Making or Inheriting Big Money - Buy A Kiton Cashmere Sweater

When a fight broke out between Channel Nine executive David Gyngell and billionaire James Packer, the son of the late Kerry Packer, who once held the title as Australia's wealthiest citizen, the newspaper tabloids referred to the over-sized Packer, in a battle that resembled David and Goliath, as the 'Packer-Whacker' - a name which I hope sticks over the years because it's quite humorous.

What Packer and Gyngell were fighting about is still not fully known but forms a key part of the salacious gossip that sometimes gets bandied around amongst those that suppose they are in the know in Sydney's society set and those that sit on the periphery of the social sets of both men. Whatever was the reason for the 'billionaire biffo' , it remains as one of the great documented social spectacles of Sydney circa 2014.

What was most interesting about the stoush was not seeing James Packer's grappling ability but what he chose to wear on his private jet flight back to Sydney. It was what I would like to call 'billionaire bogan' attire, the comfort gear that one would want to wear on a flight to Sydney, not the stylised glossy magazine peaked lapel suit and tie that we're told is private jet attire.

It got me very excited when one newspaper article published his entire look top to bottom and where you could buy everything that James Packer was wearing. One item in particular, the Loro Piana cashmere tracksuit pants or 'trackies' as we call them in Australia, were the most alluring purchase that I might have liked to follow up on. At $2975 AUD they were about as much as I'd ever pay for a bespoke suit. Quite an indulgence for something you might wear whilst watching the NRL Grand Final or taking a walk on Bondi, but needless to say, the only way a billionaire should do 'athletica'.

Not managing to secure myself the trackies, but able to find a round neck cashmere sweater of equal or higher standing than Loro Piana, I recently had the pleasure of receiving a Kiton cashmere sweater from Tie Deals in California. The navy cashmere sweater I received was hand-dyed and beautifully constructed with a great deal of hand stitching both on the seam of the arms as well as around the shoulders and neck. I have had great sweaters before, from Johnston's Of Elgin, Brunello Cuccinelli and others, but the details and quality of this particular knit was on another level. Quite simply, I felt like a billionaire.

As is often the case with cashmere, it's very difficult to know which brands to trust. There is so much cashmere and cashmere blends going around these days, made here there and everywhere, that the great difficulty is in ascertaining who can be trusted to deliver the genuine product with a real hands on approach both to the yarns employed as well as the construction of the garment. The two other brands I mentioned above, as well as the brand Gran Sasso that I have worn in the past, most definitely can be.

And if the actual Kiton sweater against my skin did not convince me, then there was this, written on the swing tag, in that typical Italian English that makes you smile whilst you read.

"Kiton is a name that scents of legend, inspired by the mythical "Chitone", the ceremonial tunics used by the ancient Greeks for their prayers.

Today the company, born near Naples, thanks to the intuition of Ciro Paone, has grown to become a jewel of Made In Italy. Our daily work is based on one promise "To give the best of the best plus one".

The Kiton knitwear combines the finest raw material, handcraft skills of Neapolitan tradition and the most innovative technologies to produce the garments of exceptional quality and peerless beauty, knitting made "to be enjoyed in every detail" . 

It goes on to describe the garment as being made of  'Dreamy Cashmere-Silk" that gives it a 'precious appearance and soft hand' and that because of these 'nobler yarns' the garment is slightly iridescent.

The thing is, I knew that as soon as I put the sweater on, it's just that the swing tag put it into words. It was fit for me. It is fit for a billionaire. So, if one day I should become a billionaire and get into a biffo with an old buddy, you best believe I'll be wearing a cashmere tracksuit just like James Packer, or JP as his buddies call him.

Hand-stitching in this Kiton sweater along the sleeve seam, along with hand-dying and a tightly woven yarns, gives this sweater a 'billionaire' feel to it.

Fine yarns in this Kiton sweater along with hand-stitching details and hand-dying of the wool set this cashmere sweater apart from others. Fit for a billionaire.
Everybody was Kung Fu fighting .... James Packer in the historic 'Packer Whacker Biffo'

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What I Really Want To Become In 2017 - Shokunin - Much More Than Just An Artisan

I was put to shame the other night when I watched an 89 year old Stakhanovite Japanese man look straight at the camera and say that as an artisan your job was to dedicate your life to mastering your skill. This man was Sukiyabashi Jiro's owner, Jiro Ono, considered to be the best sushi maker in the world.

The word 'shokunin' kept cropping up, that this was the height of one's search in life, to take that which they put their hand to and master it towards perfection, though never achieving it, but in the process refining further and further their art form.

It coincided with a big week of Japanese culture for me as a customer of the Studio dropped in a copy of Red Beard, one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen, by director Akira Kurosawa. I had intended to watch Kurosawa films in my twenties but fell asleep too often and never got to the end of one. This time around, though almost dozing off twice, I completed the film which, in many respects, follows also the shokunin spirit.

So what is shokunin? For Japanese it is not merely the pursuit of mastering a skill. It has a much wider and more deeply rooted meaning. What I have been able to ascertain is that it is a kind of artisan or craftsman that spends their life dedicated to perfecting their art form but within a framework of working for the greater good of the community as a whole and passing on those skills to help others on their journey. The shokunin is an artisan who practices the self-refining process of their art form all their lives with seemingly no expectation on a long term result.

Jiro Ono has been rewarded in life for his work by being awarded 3 Michelin stars , something of an anomaly given his restaurant serves only 10, is located in the Ginza metro train station and offers a 30 minute set course of 20 pieces of sushi per person.

Watching Jiro Ono's work ethic at 89 coupled with his dedication and passion for his craft put me to shame. I do hope that this week, once the dust settles, I begin to go back to my chalk, pens and scissors and start refining my craft both in terms of my bow tie designs and the quality of the the writing on this blog.

From today onwards, I intend for their to be more 'shokunin' in our work.

Jiro Ono, left, bows in front of US President Barak Oabama who is seated next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Jiro Ono serves 20 pieces of sushi on a set menu for $370USD per person, seating only 10 people in his restaurant, located in the metro Ginza station in Tokyo.

Mr. Onassis, I Never Got To Own A Boat Like Yours, But One Day I Might Be Able To Rent It

At 560,000 euros a week, that's roughly 800,000 Australian dollars, which, divided by 34 people roughly equates to $23,529 per person. It's doable. Not now, my partner would be screaming that I was taking food from our child's mouth if I were to spend any amount of money conspicuously, but one day, sooner than later I hope, it will be doable. The trouble is, you need to find the other 33 friends who have the dough and have the same dream that you would like to spend a week one of the first and most talked about super yachts in the world, the Christina O, the pride and joy of the man who was once the richest in the world, Aristotle Onassis.

After reading two biographies on Onassis and having found him to be one of the most fascinating people I have ever read about, both awful and disgusting and charming and stylish in the same package, I would be honoured to spend time on this yacht which has entertained everybody. I mean, everybody. Well, most of them are no longer above ground, but back in the day, this was the yacht to get on, just make sure you lock your wife up at night.

For some reason the Christina O came into my head today and I recalled that a few years back somebody had intended to refurbish her and put her back on the seas. She is back now and looking extraordinary. What I was struck by, in seeing her again, was that she hasn't aged. Like great style, it remains timeless. How many super yachts have come after Christina O, how many times has one been pipped by the next and how many attempts have been made to create the most beautiful, the most modern, the most austere, the most bells and whistles - and yet Christina O still retains an elegance that none of them have been able to capture. A sleek cigarette silhouette, smooth lines and contours, an elegant bow with a mosaic tiled bronze lined pool. People may still be swimming in that pool in one hundred years time and it will still be just as heady an experience.

To my mind, Christina O is like watching a 1970's Porsche targa in bronze brown pull up at the lights next to it's 2016 counterpart. Yes, less bells and whistles, yes, less interaction with your technology, yes, the air conditioning is probably on the blink, yes, you'll never reach the same speeds - but who cares. The former has bucket loads of style.

I am going to start saving today. And look for 33 rich friends.

Backgammon - the only way to spend a lazy afternoon on the Mediterranean

Christina O docked in London

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Reason For The Death Of The Tie Might Be In The Words Of Honoré de Balzac

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting up with one of Sydney's more discreetly better dressed men. He is one of those aesthetes that takes the time to research and know about cloth before he makes a suit, a man who would take the time to know the precise difference between last styles offered by shoe makers. He is meticulous, I was once told by his wife, in every aspect of his life, from how he cooks and prepares his food to how he ties his laces.

We don't always agree on many subjects and to some extent his style is not always my cup of tea. He wears more grey than I like, his choice of blues for shirts is slightly off my own palette, his taste in shoes I find almost polemic. Yet, it is precisely our differences and his knowledge base which fascinates me and why I hold him in high regard. I can hold sartorial conversations with him that I can't with any of my other friends. I can take note of something he is wearing and in three words we both are able to articulate that we both understand the style and the history behind that particular fabric, cut, style or make.

Yesterday he wore a tie I would not do anything other than cut up and throw in the cabbage bin. It was a Drakes of London tie in a shantung silk that to my eye seemed like an old bit of rag turned into a tie. He showed it to me with great enthusiasm, along with some very beautiful silk grenadine ties by Tom Ford and Gallo of Paris. I loved both of the latter ties, but the Drakes I would only use for polishing my shoes.

At that point I made the remark "you know, I do not understand why you guys walk around the city with these drab and insipid ties, as though a plain shantung silk has any character in it" . He knew I had passed a shot across his bow but he was not going to rise to the occasion inelegantly and responded "in a work environment you can't walk around with such vibrant silks that you offer" and he stung me like a bee. I continued on "one of the things I find most appalling is the lack of character in ties these days. Men wear them to try and fit in, to be afraid of actually revealing any of their own personality. It reminds me of what Honoré de Balzac said with regards to the tie being the mark of the man and his individuality. I think he said that if the tie is ever standardized in design or knot then it will cease to exist because it is the only part of a man's attire that is his own creation."

At this point both of us agreed on one thing. Too many men in business and politics lacked any character when it came to what they put around their neck. With respect to that, we were both finally united in an opinion. I told him that I was interested in running for politics just so that I could be the first man to wear a pink suit in the Australian federal parliament. I think he thought I was serious. I think I might have been serious. "Why not?" I suggested. "Harry S Truman was a haberdasher that failed selling ties and accessories in Kansas so he went into politics" I said.

We parted company soon after but not before he picked up a bow tie and a couple of pairs of socks to match his beautiful rich deep blue silk dupioni cloth from Holland & Sherry suit that he was going to pair them with.

In the afternoon as I was serving a wedding party I was thinking on Balzac and that he was right in his conjecture. The tie will die when it ceases to be the individual's. When Balzac was around, people often made their own ties and tied them in their own way. It was before the world of long neck ties, before ties were bow ties even. As he rightly noted, most men did not have a hand in the work that was done by the tailor, nor a hand in the work that was done by the cobbler, nor even, by then, the shirt maker. Yet there was one thing he had a hand in, the tie, and it was up to him to source the right fabric and tie it in his own way. In modern society, we have lost that art, both the fabric, the cuts and the knots are all standardized - most being 8cm neck ties knotted in a four-in-hand in a variety of prints and weaves that are designed to fit in. It is that aspect of the neck tie that might in fact kill the whole art form, for if there is no individual expression in the suit, nor the shoes, nor the shirt, nor the even the tie, what then separates one man from the next?

In the words of Balzac:

“It is neither by study nor by effort that one is successful; it is spontaneously, by instinct and by inspiration that one ties his tie. A tie well tied is one of those traits of genius that is felt and admired but never analysed or taught. I would dare to say, with all strength of conviction, that the tie is romantic by nature: The day that it submits to static rules will be the day that it ceases to exist.

It is true that, of all the aspects of one’s dress, the tie is the only one to belong solely to men, the only one where a man can find his individuality. For your hat, your clothes and your shoes, all the credit is owed to the hatter, the tailor and the cobbler who have delivered these things to you in all their finery. There is nothing in them of yours. But, for the bow tie, you have neither help nor support. You are abandoned to your own devices. You must find whatever you need in yourself. The laundress leaves you with a heavy piece of fabric and you must use what knowledge you possess to make something of it. As though it were a block of marble between the hands of Phidias or those of a stonemason, a tie will only ever be as good as the man that wears it. In all truth, it is the tie that makes the man as it is through his tie that a man’s measure is revealed.”

Honoré de Balzac once predicted that when the tie is standardized  or kept to 'static rules' it will cease to exist. 

The Groomzilla - A Relatively New Phenomenon Which Is In Part Justified

The stress of a wedding and planning a wedding is very palpable just by witnessing the frantic emails, phone calls and in person appointments that build up in a crescendo for all the tailors, alterations houses, boutiques and accessory makers during the peak season. In Australia that time runs between September and November and usually starts to ease off in early December.

The funniest aspect to it all is that grooms are in fact capable of becoming 'Groomzillas' before the wedding, a word I had never heard until a patron apologised by text for what he believed to be 'Groomzilla' behaviour.

The customer was being a little too hard on himself. His concern was justified. He had come to us with a last minute need for a self-tying bow tie in black velvet and his wedding was the following weekend. We put the bow tie in an express post overnight bag but for one reason or another it took 5 days to deliver the package. In the meantime, the customer was becoming increasingly agitated that his needs were not being met and so we offered an alternative solution if the post did not turn up.

Thankfully, the bag did turn up and the bow tie was happily received just in time for the wedding this weekend. However, it did remind me that the way to avoid being a self-labelled Groomzilla is to take the time to prepare for your big day.

Here are some tips for grooms :

1. Write yourself a to do list with variations on the points below and tick them off.
2. Get your suit pressed and dry cleaned a fortnight before the wedding. Get your shirt starched and pressed a week out.
3. Do not leave shoes to the last minute. Shoes are very important, look for them at least 90 days out from the wedding.
4. Buy a clothes brush and make sure you or your best man brushes your suit.
5. Practice tying your bow tie in the mirror a week before your wedding. If you don't want to tie it on your neck, try our technique for tying it on a table.
6. Polish your shoes or at least rub them down with a damp cloth if they are patent leather. Check that the heels and soul are not chipped, repair if needed.
7. If you are wearing studs on your shirt, count your studs and put them into a safe velcro pouch or one that closes securely.
8. Polish your watch.
9. Ensure you have the right socks for your suit - do not wear cheap socks on your wedding day. Over the calf is better.
10. If you are wearing braces you need to get the buttons sewn into your trousers. I highly recommend silk braces or else Albert Thurston evening braces. If you are wearing a cumerbund, make sure it fits around your waist and check it off.
11. Create a man bag or small secure bag in which to place all your belongings that you don't need on your person and give it to your best man, if he doesn't want to carry it, he's not your best man. Also put in your cologne, preferably in the form of a travel atomiser. 
12. Book a hair cut. It's nice to wait in line and get a hair cut and a cut throat shave but if you want a proper hair cut you need to go to a proper hair salon.
13. Keep two pocket squares, the first should be silk or cotton for your breast pocket, the second, for the inside of your jacket, you should use to daub yourself if you get hot or sweaty.

There are no doubt more things to think about than just your kit, but remember, you are on show, not just for yourself but you are there to compliment your beautiful bride or partner to be, so make an effort to look good. Even if you are the scruffy type, look your best kind of scruffy.

Good luck,
team LNP.

Arrived on time... Phew ... To avoid becoming a 'Groomzilla' it's important to prepare yourself before your wedding. Write yourself a list like the points above and tick them off one by one to prevent the pre-wedding sweats. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

One Of The Greatest Perfumes For Men And Women I Have Smelt In All My Life - Bois D'Ascèse By Naomi Goodsir

A couple of months ago I was in the Strand Arcade visiting Robert from Strand Hatters. Whilst I was there I kept on him about an idea which seemingly no retailer was touching.

My idea, which I do hope somebody now does given that I am offloading that idea onto the winds of the internet in the hope that they reach some enthusiastic and hungry entrepreneur who is looking for something new to chew on,  in a nutshell the idea is this... Travel perfume atomisers, which are the greatest invention since sliced bread, are now very cheap to buy, not more than $1 each I believe. If you were to curate a wonderful range of colognes and perfumes for each sex in a small boutique or kiosk, say a selection of the best of the best at the moment, you offer the customer a chance to choose the perfumes that they would like to try, you pump the perfume into an atomiser, then you charge them for the atomiser plus the percentage of the bottle used to to fill the atomiser. 

This means that on scents from companies such as Creed, Santa Maria Novella, Tom Ford and other luxury brands, where the individual bottle is upwards of $300AUD, you can use and wear the fragrances in an atomiser form at a fraction of the price until such time as you are comfortable enough to buy a whole bottle. OR, you do no such thing, and just keep hopping between fragrances.

Robert wasn't thrilled with my proposal, it was too far removed from the superlative fedora and panama hats they sold, but he asked me to take a stroll across the Strand to another business that was selling men's perfumes and colognes, Men'z Biz, which is also a barber. 

He walked over to the shelf and pulled down a tester and said "I wan't you to try this, tell me if you smell a bushfire". 

Well, I'll be damned. As soon as the scent hit my wrist I could already feel the heat and scent of charred smokey embers whilst wild bushfire continued to burn in my peripheral vision. I could sense that dry arid air of an Australian summer when everything wants to burst into flames. I was so taken aback that I had to gather my senses.

"I cannot believe it. I cannot believe what that just evoked in me" I said to Robert.

"I know, it's wild", he said. He added , "She's Australian. Her name is ...... "  - and I promptly forgot what he said, and the name of the perfume.

As fate would have it a few weeks back an attractive stylist who had a sort of Sophia Loren meets New York intellectual look about her came into our Le Noeud Papillon Studio in Sydney looking for clothes and accessories for a television commercial and she brought her friend with her, an eccentrically dressed woman with an extraordinarily unique style and manner about her that instantly caught my eye. Her hair was black and white, finished with a sailors hat in leather, big rings and bangles on her hands, some with beetles trapped in acetate. 

As we talked and talked about all sorts of stuff somehow I came to the topic of fragrance and I asked them if they would like to smell the scent we were currently running. We meandered through that topic until I said "there is an Australian woman who makes this perfume, I tried it once, and it smells like an Australian bushfire". As luck would have it, the very same lady was who makes that perfume was standing right in front of me. "That's my perfume, my name is Naomi Goodsir".

Well, as many of our blog readers will know, over the years we've had a number of coincidences and lucky encounters, but this one had a certain level of serendipity about it that, contrary to all my usual suspicious and negative thinking, I felt was 'meant to be'. 

She promised to stop by and return again and true to her word yesterday I had the pleasure of both women again at the Studio and this time I am now in possession of her wonderful scent Bois D'Ascèse - or what I would prefer to call 'Bois Des Cendres Australienne" ....

I am not much of a perfume describing type, so perhaps I just ought to shoot from the hip when I describe how it smelt for me. I sensed smoke, wood, tobacco, whiskey, amber, dried grass, rust, BBQ, church incense and perhaps some mixed spices. 

Whilst Bois D'Ascèse is most definitely not an everyday scent and may not win over every passer by, it is quite possibly the most charismatic fragrance I have ever come across. If it were an actor it might be a Daniel Day Lewis, if it were a singer it might be a Freddy Mercury. This perfume is something of an outlier and whilst I highly recommend it, I might also add that it might be the kind of perfume you need to wear first before you fall in love. It might be precisely the kind of perfume that would work for my big budding business idea.

In the meantime, for those of you who trust my words - you can buy it here. 

A scent not necessarily designed for Australia but containing a winning formula which conjured up a scent akin to an Australian bushfire - Bois D'Ascèse by Australian designer Naomi Goodsir

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Alarmingly Sad Truth Is - Sex Really Does Sell

For years now I have deep etched bow ties and stood them upright along side one another, like little soldiers, and published those images on my social media to excite men to consider a bow tie but to also offer them a close up and very intimate picture of the silks themselves. What I had hoped to convey was 'yes, these are genuine silk bow ties, they have a genuine design difference and yes, those are expensive materials that we have used'.

It's a difficult game. You wait for a long time in the hope that one out of one hundred prospective customers will recognise the difference and seek out your products. 

In the interim, waiting for the world to recognise this, I walk through the streets of Sydney and I see the same old international brands populating the same old shopping centres selling the same old concepts. Most of it revolves around some central ideas - celebrity, sex, lifestyle and a unique and desirable life - are encapsulated in the products the brand is offering you to differentiate your life from the other men and women shopping the same said mall, witnessing the same branded image.

Personally, we had never tried such a technique to sell bow ties. I was curious: would sex and celebrity help my products too? The truth is, no celebrity ever wearing our product had ever increased our sales. Not local Australian celebrities, not even international ones.

But sex? The final frontier... And I needed to explore it.

Below you will see a selection of images we had done to try and sell a little more sex with our silks. I love them! They are cute and playful and most importantly, sexy. 

I have absolutely no expectation as to whether they will increase sales, but what I do know is this - they have already garnered more talk on Instagram than six months of erect bow ties lined up one after the other.

In conclusion: Sex really does sell.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Highly Recommended Television - The Roosevelets - A Ken Burns Documentary

For all my readers with plenty of spare time and an iPad or laptop, I highly recommend sitting down to watch the superb documentary series 'The Roosevelts - An Intimate History' by renowned documentary maker Ken Burns.

Not only does Ken Burns do a great job of sifting through the content and collating the stories that come from this dynamic family, but he also then magically brings it all to life through the inimitable voice of Peter Coyote in narration with Paul Giammati and Meryl Streep also providing wonderful voice overs for the words of Teddy and Eleanor Roosevelt respectively.

It takes a documentary like this to put all the pieces of a puzzle together in your head. As an Australian you read about Teddy Roosevelt and then Franklin Roosevelt, and you might then bother to make the family connection through a Wikipedia page - but nothing like this. Nothing about the heroes and heroines of the family, where the wealth came from, what education they had, what friends they kept, how they formed their world views etc. This is exactly as it is titled, an intimate history, and I highly recommend it to all our blog readers.

As we head towards another US Presidential Election, it is always exciting to look back on the past and to see what came before us before looking towards the future. The major events of the 20th Century were played out between relatively few characters and can often be whittled down to key relationships, such as that mutual rapport that came between Churchill and FDR.

One of the more jovial moments of this documentary series is when Churchill is staying at the White House towards the end of WWII. Both men are discussing the prospective establishment of the United Nations post the conclusion of the war. One observer remarked that they were like two school boys playing. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, unable to sleep and restless with ideas, wheeled himself across the hall and straight into Winston Churchill's bedroom where a pinkish Churchill was completely nude having just finished with his bath. So the story goes, Roosevelt apologised for intruding to which Churchill responded "There is nothing that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom wishes to hide from the President Of The United States" .

I have ruined one joke this week, I do hope that I just did justice to Churchill's quip. Regardless, this is great television and I cannot recommend it enough.