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

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Very Amusing - I Just Stumbled Upon Aunty Donna - The Australian Comedy Trio

Once upon a time I was the manager of the Sydney Comedy Store at Fox Studios, and at the time I was probably the youngest person to ever manage a stand-up comedy venue that size, the largest in Australia. I had tried my hand at comedy stand-up but when I felt the venue was run down I approached the then owner and asked him for the chance to re-vamp it. He saw my enthusiasm and milked it for all it was worth and a pittance of a salary. But such is the exuberance of the young, they often overlook the cunning of the older people who will gladly exploit that enthusiasm.

Janey Sweetapple, I think that was the name of the existing theatre manager at the time, who did not know about websites, internet ticketing, digital marketing etc. It was when the world was making that sluggish change from advertising in The Drum Media newspaper to new digital means such as MySpace, and Facebook was still 2 years away. I soon took her job.

In the year I spent managing the unusual temperaments of comedians and slowly exhibiting what was possibly the early stages of alcoholism, or, at the very least, alcohol dependency, I could feel myself being sucked into the world of comedy. A world of dark places where in order to conjure up the funniest and wittiest remarks you needed to have a very dark side which you went down the rabbit hole of to come up the other side holding a gag.

On the weekend I was discussing this experience, which was circa 2002, with a documentary and television producer who was delving in the world of comedy more recently. We discussed the fate of some of the comedians we both knew of and one of the sad facts about a life in comedy is that most of the comics don't make it. A handful can sell out the Enmore or the Opera House, fewer have the stamina to maintain it as a lifelong career and even fewer end up making it onto the silver screen and beyond. What is more, it's often hard to find really fresh new talent. Which brings me to my point. The said television producer asked me if I had seen the recent trio Auntie Donna - which I hadn't. His son then piped up 'Dad, it's weird, it's not funny' which immediately piqued my curiosity.

Aunty Donna is fresh talent. And though I cannot tell you why I laughed that hard, and whilst I cannot say that I found it quite as funny on my second and thirtieth viewing, it certainly is fresh and it is absurdly funny and I love that it contains a lot of humour that very much relates to Australian society. My favourite episode being the Tea Party which I post below.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wedding Bow Ties - That One Occasion Where You Owe It To Yourself And Your Bride To Look Good

There are few things more satisfying for me than seeing great and happy wedding photos. Especially for myself, the great reward is knowing that I have played some part in creating more beautiful and elegant wedding portraits for mantels across the country and internationally for years to come. The idea that one day I might be at a house in Colorado or Long Island or perhaps somewhere as exotic as St. Petersburg and find myself looking at a wedding portrait in a family home where the groom is wearing my bow ties - that is very rewarding.

Growing up in Australia I knew of few wedding portraits where the father had tied his own bow tie. Even my own father wore a pre-tied black Mayfair shaped velvet bow tie. 

Today, as the photos come in from wedding photos from across the globe (though the majority are Australian) , I get to sigh and be happy. 

I never got married. If I did I have roughly an idea of what I'd wear, a cream shawl lapel dinner jacket for a late Spring wedding in the country with a grosgrain silk, a black bow tie, marcella bib shirt, bow tie cufflinks in rose gold, patent leather shoes. As for what she would be wearing, I never dreamt that far..... :) 

I love a good wedding portrait and I thank all our customers who send in their photos. It makes everything you do worth while and to see hand-tied bow ties - well, you can imagine, when I started, everyone told me I had rocks in my head.

To weddings and hand-tied bow ties, I salute you!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Falling In Love With Shoes All Over Again

If there is one addiction that I can understand and sympathise with it's the shoe addiction that men have on Instagram. It is far more alluring than that held for watches because shoes are a very personal thing and far more influential than something as standardized as a gold wrist watch.

Yes it might cost more to own a Rolex Sky dweller, but it's even more of a luxury to have the time to get to know a shoe maker, establish a relationship, create a last and then design your own shoes. It is quite possibly the most indulgent art form since it requires, as I was told by a Sydneysider last weekend who was still waiting on a pair of Gaziano and Girling shoes 24 months later, a number of iterations to get right and most of all, patience.

Any man who just made a big chunk of money can find a fine watch dealer and put something on his wrist. Few have the time to travel and get to know a shoe maker of distinction. 

The Robb Report's Michael Stahl recently asked me to start thinking about an article on bespoke and made to order shoes and in my initial hunt for makers I fell in love, again, with George Cleverley, the esteemed London shoe maker run by the Glasgow family and whose patrons are some of the most affluent, famous and revered names from across the globe. They are located in the Royal Arcade in London's Mayfair and still make shoes the old way, from the last up.

More will follow but in the interim, here are two shoes they finished recently. Particularly on the black shoes, note the stunning toe box for which they are famous for, a chiseled forward curve with a kind of boxy look that if it had been applied elsewhere might have inspired the perfect bonnet of a coupe sports car. 

It is these kinds of small details that make those in the know, know. And if you asked a shoe or menswear enthusiast, he'd be able to spot an iconic shoe from 20 metres.

Yes, you can own a fancy watch and it sometimes it is a form of currency, but to my mind an iconic and/or custom made shoe trumps anything that ticks. 

Recent custom made work by George Cleverley, Mayfair, London

Take Some Style Tips From Dandy Wellington - Don't Be Afraid To Give Yourself Room To Move

There was a point made by the menswear style writer G. Bruce Boyer that, above all, clothes should be comfortable. I don't remember where I read that though.

I myself have often made the mistake of desperately trying to get a slender line on my body (given that I am quite out of shape) or that I would wear shoes that were too narrow for the bridge of my foot to the point of discomfort. It is my opinion that when we sacrifice comfort for the sake of style we are diminishing our individuality because we are effectively telling those that walk past us that we are willing to do anything to look good, to the point that it is unnatural.

And to be natural, means to be at ease with oneself, to flow with the nature around you. You can't do that if you are too stiff in your jeans. You can't do that if your shoulders can't move in your jacket. Which is all the more reason that G. Bruce Boyer's statement holds true - there's no point in having beautiful clothes if they make you feel uncomfortable.

The elegance of the Golden Era of the tuxedo and those photos of the sartorial splendour of the inter-war period (think Fred Astaire) often show men wearing pants that look over-sized for the wearer. Initially when Dandy Wellington came past my Studio the other week I thought the same thing. Until you see him tap dance. Then you realise that his trousers are cut to give him room to move and a freedom of movement you won't find in modern tailored clothing. His shoulders in his jacket also seemed to offer the same freedom. Only his collar seemed to be somewhat snugly fit. 

It makes sense, that as an entertainer in a jazz band, you can't play an instrument, dance or sing without using your body to swing. It would be inelegant to be watching something as flowing as jazz with an entertainer performing short staccato movements with his arms and legs. 

For 2017, taking style cues from Dandy Wellington, my aim is to not pursue silhouette as aggressively and opt more for comfort. If it's comfortable, you will wear it more. If it's comfortable, you will wear it in as many seasons as possible. If it's comfortable, you won't ever want to throw it out.

This year, give yourself some room to swing.

Dandy is wearing the Le Noeud Papillon 'Rory' bow tie above, and below the bow tie 'Guillaume'.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

You Won't Find These On Savile Row ....

We have just loaded more limited editions onto the website and added them into the sale stock. I could not recommend more highly every model that is on the image below. Each is exceptional not only in design and individuality but in the quality of the silk itself, the handle and it's ability to translate well as a bow tie. You can't find these on Jermyn Street, nor on Savile Row, not on Madison Avenue and not on Rodeo Drive. These are designed by us, made for our customers and often sold exclusively by us on . In a world where almost all luxury brands are represented in chain malls, that is some comfort no? We want you to look different, because you are different. 

A New Limited Edition Silk Inspired By The Work Of Victor Vasarely

Just released onto the website, this silk was inspired by the art of Victor Vasarely, the grandfather of the Op Art movement. We had to tone down our aspirations because we needed men to still wear the silk and not get head spins from seeing themselves in the mirror. This is a delightful and well executed silk, not to bright, not to dull - eye catching and yet not overtly so. If you are into design and art, this bow tie will work exceptionally well on a variety of ensembles from suits to jeans and a sweater. This is a limited edition silk, so no more than 42 pieces will be made. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

If You See One Movie This Year Make It La La Land

A friend of mine is a budding film producer who left a very successful film company to do her own thing. She had suggested at one stage that I adapt a book that I love into a film but we never got past a first treatment. Such is the nature of parenthood and your dreams  - they are often at logger heads with each other.

This week she resurfaced after months of going to ground, she needed a companion to see a film with and I had read a good review somewhere about La La Land and so I said yes, though I knew from some of the publicity images that it ran the risk of being grating.

I arrived on time. She stood with tickets in her hand, two bottles of water and a box of Maltesers and as we passed the ticket clerk I said "is it a good film, what are people saying" and he returned "it's great... if you like musicals" to which I looked at my friend like "what the hell have you got me into?" 

Suddenly I was panicking about a potentially long-winded drawn out rom-com with an annoying Emma Stone and an overbearing Ryan Gosling. 

The opening sequence initially didn't help with a woman who, sitting in a traffic jam, starts singing a song to pass the time which causes a sort of flash mob to take over a Los Angeles freeway, at which point I was shifting in my seat thinking "this movie is going to go one of two ways and I am really not in the mood for 3 hours of this shit" . 

In hindsight I was looking at an absolutely brilliant opening to a superb and magnificent film which I think will be one of those films as memorable as Grease, as zeitgeist as Ghostbusters or Swingers and I am so glad my friend got me off my desk chair because by the time I shared my very real and streaming tears in the final moments of the film I felt all the warm fuzzy and tingling feelings I used to get when going to the cinema. 

La La Land is for the hopeless romantics and the ones who forgot about romance. La La Land is for those in the struggle and those that are about to throw in the towel. If you see one film this year at the cinemas, make it La La Land. 

Book Recommend - Meg Lukens Noonan 'The Coat Route; Craft, Luxury and Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat'

I have begun reading Meg Noonan's book on the 50,000 AUD vicuna coat that was made by Australian tailor John Cutler. The book is one of the better reads I have undertaken on the subject of menswear and tailoring. I have read other books, many of which concentrate on photography to prop up the words and what I find delightful about this book is that it runs off words alone and it's good enough writing so far that it doesn't require pictures.

You can buy the book here - or watch Noonan deliver a synopsis on the book below.

Happy New Year!

I was very nearly going to wear jeans and a polo on New Year's Eve owing to how hot and muggy it was with that sultry weather that was only fun if you had nothing but your board shorts on with a fan directly overhead.

But New Years Eve? What was a man to do in this weather? It just so happened that on the very same day we had a visitor at the Studio from New York, the jazz singer and dandy, Dandy Wellington. He was in town doing shows at the Sydney Opera House. 

When he came to the Studio I was in my board shorts. He was dressed in a boater hat, a striped vintage prep jacket, shirt, bow tie, trousers, socks, loafers. How did he do it? How did he not sweat?

It inspired me to step it up for NYE and so I did an all out assault. Totally over-dressed for all three parties I attended. They could all wear shirts and blazers and jeans, I was going to get some use out of my P Johnson navy tuxedo and I wasn't going to let me Albert Thurston's rot on the rack. 

To add a touch of je ne sais quoi I decided to ride to all three events on my bicycle which is an old vintage Dutch village bicycle - weighing more than 20 kilos and definitely not designer for the hills of Sydney. I was drenched in my own sweat when I pulled up to my second event, the same for my third. Only the first had I maintained composure, owing to the fact that it was at the bottom of a hill and along a flat road.

It was Dandy Wellington I must credit for having the courage to go balls deep in dress on NYE - and though I will need to get my tuxedo dry cleaned and pressed and I probably road the pants out of it, it was worth it for the car honks and the turning of heads as I sped past the the pedestrian New Year revellers in my Sunday best.

There is that too often bandied around the internet expression - you can never be over-educated or over-dressed - and for the first time I was in agreement with the latter part of that expression. It's still fun to dress well. Especially when you are getting a cream pie in your face, it makes for a better photo. 

The Winner Of The Ex-President's Portrait Prize - @Lalloydie 's Reagan

The winner of the portrait prize was not based on the most aesthetically pleasing image but rather the one that was the most clever. @Lalloydie , a woman from Sydney, devoted her Instagram handle to the her hobby and passion, making clothes for herself. She posted this portrait up with Ronald Reagan wearing our Angel bow tie during his attempted assassination with the caption "It was the Angel that saved me" . It was by far the best use of the portraits that we had done in October with the very talented illustrator Victoria Louise Watts. 

The winner will receive $500 but we have decided to award a number of the other entrants a bow tie and we will post these out some time next week. 

We hope you join us for the next competition as we hope to find something fun in 2017 to sink your teeth into.

Now On The Website

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Final Days For Submissions For Our Ex-Presidents Bow Tie Portrait Competition

It is really very easy to enter the competition. Download the sketches from our previous post on the blog. Drag and drop a chosen bow tie from the Le Noeud Papillon website onto the portrait. Change the background. Post to your wall on Instagram. It should take you no more than three minutes if you know what you are doing. If you don't know what you are doing, maybe ask for some help. One app we recommend is Photoshop Mix which you can download from the app store. 

Final submissions should come in by midnight the 24th December 2016 AEST.

The winner will receive 500AUD cash wired to their account. Not a bad earning for three minutes of your time. But you'll need to do better than the ones below, which are pretty good if you ask me!

Merry Christmas and wishing all our blog readers and friends a happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dear Women - Here Are A Few Tips On Buying Good Presents For The Men In Your Life This Christmas

"I don't know what to buy him, he's so difficult and picky"
"I bought him a beautiful pair of slacks last year and he never wore them so I don't bother anymore and I just get him a voucher"
"I spent three days searching for him and in the end he hated the colour so I'm not doing that again"

I hear a lot of this, especially women coming to the Studio. This year, for my own family, I gave them a list of websites that they could shop at with the links to the brands I liked and I said 'anything from these websites on these links I will gladly accept.

This year I have created a potential buying list which will feature some of our own products and some from makers and websites I like. Click to enlarge the image to see the details. Here goes:

1. Canclini woven jacquard voile shirting - white with a kind of givenchy-esque geometric repeat, this understated but very beautiful fabric is ideal for shirts, shirt dresses for women, pop-overs and pocket squares. Canclini does not sell directly to the public but you can order their cloths through most reputable shirt makers. Reference 6738 0012 0101 . For more information go to:

2. Aristotle Onassis may be dead but his sunglasses live on as legendary examples of eccentricity and a certain globe trotting swagger. Designed for Aristotle Onassis by French maker Francois Pinton, these glasses can be got from A Suitable Wardrobe in Texas.

3. Cutting up a limited edition Le Noeud Pocket Square for the sake of making a one off pair of silk eye shades was easier said than done. These eye shades are lined with a felted wool and the rear strap is enveloped in silk to ensure supreme comfort. Silk is made up of  fibroin and sericin, two proteins very similar to human skin which is why humans find silk so natural against the skin. Ideal for long haul flights, sleep ins and siestas.

4 The silk is designed using the golden ratio principles to create a set of rolling waves fit for any summer outing. The silk is reversed with Mongolian cashmere by Zegna and finished with hand-tassels.

5. On December 10th 1786 a strong gale wind forced the Danish ship "Metta Catharina" to seek shelter in Plymouth Sound in England but the prevailing winds forced the ship to break anchor and it struck Drakes Island before sinking. In 1973 a group of divers on Plymouth Sound found the wreckage which contained leather hides that originated from St. Petersburg. These reindeer hides had survived two centuries and been preserved in the black mud. The divers retrieved the leathers and in turn George Cleverley of London has turned the hides into unique products such as shoes, belts and leather trays and boxes. This stunning belt is a small piece of history - a time when the leathers were soaked in pits of willow bark and curried with birch oil. They are finished with unique cross hatched grain which has been embossed by hand. Find out more:

6. Iconic shoes are few and each maker holds onto a number of distinctive designs which often form the basis of the shoe makers DNA. When it comes to loafers you might think of Berluti's 'Warhols' or Lobb's 'Kiplings', or my absolute favourites, the standard penny loafer from George Cleverley with it's magnificent shape of toe box. A newer kid on the block but no less captivating is Gaziano & Girling, which many today refer to as 'the greatest shoe maker in the world'. These are their unique loafers, the 'Antibes' model, ideal for day to day wear and absolutely ideal for the Australian summer.

7. Sloane Angell used to be a shoe designer for Marc Jacobs before he started his own brand 'Mercer Market'. Sloane is very talented and in his spare time he makes ceramics of equal distinction to his t-shirts and illustrations. We commissioned him to produce for us two designs in 2016, both of which were extremely well received. This scarf is hand-made in the south of Italy by artisan makers who specialise in reversing silk with cashmere and finishing the scarves with tassels.

8. There is something about a velvet bow tie that prohibits many men from wearing them. It takes a certain type of personality to pull it off. A certain flair or charisma is needed because you can't fake a velvet bow tie, you either have the personality or you don't. This one is exceptional, made from a Holland & Sherry velvet and finished with a purple satin and green polka dot by Le Noeud Papillon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Richard Roxburgh For GQ Menswear Men Of The Year Awards 2016

My relationship with GQ Magazine was one of hostility when we began. It was just before the GFC and I was some pip-squeak parvenu who thought he had a self-entitled right to be featured in their magazine over and above the big European and American brands because I was making in Australia and because I was focusing on quality. In life I have learned that self-entitlement is a dangerous thing and can lead to great unhappiness. GQ often did nothing to support us and continued to remind me in emails that nobody could buy their content and if they didn't want to write content about us that was their God-given right ....

So in the end I spent a great deal of time writing my own blog content and generating my own following and hoped that one day they might see that I meant what I said. It was probably a good thing since it caused me to stay the course with keeping production small and local and trying our best to build our database one bow at a time. 

When eventually GQ saw that I wasn't mucking around they eventually included us in their magazine and this year, as it was last year, it was a privilege to see our bow ties on their Men Of The Year, not to mention this superlative shot of Richard Roxburgh which was styled by Brad Homes at GQ, who I think has a big future. 

And when we posted this particular image to our wall it was met with a comment from Brad who wrote 'best bow ties in the business'. We're still a niche marketed product, we're still making our bow ties in Australia, we still have no prospects of becoming the next Ralph Lauren - but hey, that's nice to know we got one product line right. Let us hope we crack the unisex market now with our silk eye shades!

Thank you Brad for the compliment and GQ for taking your time to appreciate what we do. It helped keep us on the straight and narrow. 

Why We Value Your Feedback

The internet is a strange place as you very rarely get to meet anyone face to face in my experience. The closest most get is by phone or online chat. But the simple fact is that for the most part some human interaction had to occur for your transaction to place. At one end is the customer with his expectations, at the other a supplier of the goods or services who is hoping to keep that customer happy and funnel them into becoming a repeat customer. So it doesn't matter how automated your systems are or how clever you are at marketing, you can't avoid that relationship and mostly what we really love about that is the final human interaction or that finesse of being in the hands of someone competent and capable - that is why I love buying perfumes from Hermes in the city.

Over time, it's not the customers that come for one thing and never speak to you again that you build your business on but those customers that feel comfortable enough to text you on whatsapp or drop you an email to tell your about a recent tailor they met on their trip to Italy. And it is for the most part these customers that keep you going, because, as I have said too many times before, a predominantly web based business can be a lonely place at times. It is for this reason that we encourage our customers to post our bow ties on Instagram and Facebook so we can at least see how they went, be it a wedding in Tulum, Mexico, or else the Botanical Gardens right here in Sydney. But it doesn't need to be that glamorous either, sometimes it's just seeing a bow tie en route for work.

Yesterday we received a wonderful email from a customer that had potentially been a disaster in the making. I will let Dafir tell the story but needless to say I am grateful he wrote in as I am to all our customers who stay in contact. There is no Le Noeud Papillon without you.

With my wedding imminent in late 2016 I had almost everything organised, almost. The theme was classic black and white and while I took great care and effort on having a bespoke tuxedo constructed for the big day I made the assumption that finding a nice bow tie to go with my ensemble would consist of a simple outing to one of any fine menswear stores in Melbourne.

You know what they say about assumptions don't you?

After searching high and low I realised, with one week to go, that finding the right tie, one that wasn't just a preformed, nasty, generic piece of shiny afterthought, was going to be tougher than I imagined.

After much research I stumbled across Le Noued Papillon's website and immediately called. I spoke with Nicholas and related to him my plight and exactly what I was looking for. He told me he might have what I was after in front of him and sent me a photo of this impeccable one piece diamond tipped bow. I purchased it and it was promptly sent to my home. Upon trying on the bow, to my dismay I realised that it was too short by 1-2cm. It was a gamble that didn't pay off as a one piece has absolutely zero tolerance and this bow was already made for a particular neck size which just fell short of mine. I spoke again with Nicholas, this time a little distraught as my wedding was a couple of days away, and he pointed me in the direction of P.Johnson tailors who might be able to help as they stock a limited number of his ties here in Melbourne. Upon entering their store, the day before my wedding, they were able to provide me with a tie even more suited to my tuxedo and one of absolute singular beauty. Nicholas immediately pledged to return my payment for the first tie upon receiving it back and wished me a happy wedding.

Now you see gents I go on about this and I'm sure some of you think I sound more like the bride than the groom (I'm actually a bit of a "bloke" to be fair) However if you place importance on quality then details like this definitely matter. You will not find better quality than this anywhere.

More important is the quality of service. The service you have shown me is so rare these days it is to be applauded. I would recommend to anyone looking for the best quality in both product and service to definitely reach out to Nicholas and his team at Le Noeud Papillon. You will not regret it.

All the best,

D. Ettakadoumi
Melbourne, Australia