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Friday, March 6, 2015

Make The Most Of The Weather Sydney, It May Not Be Like This Tomorrow

The weather for the weekend is looking to get cloudy by Saturday and with the falling temperatures that could mean less swimming so if you are heading out this afternoon why not grab your swimmers and head down to Bondi. 


Bondi Bathers - Sydney's Icebergs public swimming pool, summer 2014/2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Moth Of Sydney - A Brand New Way Of Looking At Collared T-Shirts - www.mothofsydney.com

Recently when we showed a sample of our new Moth Of Sydney concept to an investor he said to us that it was significantly altered from any t-shirt or shirt that he owned and that it deserved to have it's own identity. We explained to him that it was derived originally from a pop-over shirt that I had worked on many years ago and he said 'no, it's not a pop-over, it's a 'Moth''.

Of course we were already calling them Moths adding a description of the suburb of Sydney from where each one was derived. It was a very bold move to suggest it was in it's own sphere and deserved it's own title but we've decided to run with it. You see, it's not right to call them a t-shirt. Yes, it's in the design of a T but it is more of a shirt. But it's not a shirt because it's made with a body of jersey or pique. It is more of a pop-over than a polo styled ribbed collared t-shirt but then it's not that either. It is a Moth

Regardless of whether we survive long enough to become part of the vernacular in fashion in Australia (think RM Williams boots or RM's as people often say down here) - we have cultivated something which has both form and function. Function wise the response so far, as one of our customers aptly said referring to his collar "it stayed hard and up all night long". Crude if we allow ourselves to read into it, but to the point regardless. 

Another customer wrote in and said:

"Thanks for sending my Moth yesterday. Arrived safely. It’s a cracker and most importantly it passed the wife test with flying colours!"

In case you are not from around these parts, 'cracker' is a very good thing. It wasn't the first time I'd heard that either. One of our first customers that bought a Centennial Moth said it was a cracker too.

So what is it that makes these Moths gel with the men of Sydney? 

Firstly, the product is designed for Sydneysiders by Sydneysiders. They are made to be worn in a variety of environments which mean you can dress them up with a suit for the evening or down to shorts for the beach. You can stroll along the harbour foreshore on them or tee off on a fairway. You can walk into a bar with them in the summer time without feeling under-dressed or you can head off for a weekend in the country with a pullover for the evenings. We are immensely proud of the city we come from and it is most definitely one of a kind. It is a city which, like a Moth, requires a continual metamorphosis in your attire where in the space of one day you could be in the Blue Mountains, on the Hawkesbury River, sailing across the harbour on a yacht, dining on the Finger Wharf, eating freshly shucked oysters at the Sydney Fish Market, catching a play at The Sydney Opera House, taking a stroll along Mrs. Macquaries Chair, cycling through Darlinghurst or catching the last waves at sunset on Bondi Beach. It is a city of many settings and it needed a product to allow men to seamlessly move through it.

Our Moths are designed to be worn with everything. They are intended to be the staple that men have been missing between the product categories of shirts, t-shirts, polo collared t-shirts and pop-overs. They are a little bit of each but not one in particular and therefore they open up a new category of product.

The features are that the collars are made of shirting, either inside or outside. The placket too is made of shirting and drops much lower than traditional polo ribbed collar t-shirts. It is also there to provide more structure to the garment. At the same time the sleeve head is finished with one of two options, either a sleeve head cuff or a ribbing. In the case of ribbing we have used companies which produce both yarn dyed jersey and matching yarn dyed ribbing. Invariably our Moths are made with one or two exotic fabrics. The Oxford contrast below, for example, comes from the esteemed shirting company SIC Tess which produced some of the finest cotton shirting in the world. In other models we have used Carlo Riva cottons for contrasting because they offer a particularly light finish for the collar.

The result of our work and trials, which has taken more than 18 months of prototypes before we were absolutely sure we could sell them to customers, is a product that works. It is not contrived. It is not fashion (not in a fad sense anyway). It is a long term solution to providing elegance and sophistication in a reasonably priced alternative garment for Australian men to wear in the hotter months. Jacket on, jacket off, with a suit, with shorts, with swimming trunks. It doesn't mater which way you wear our Moths, you will most definitely be more comfortable and more confident to negotiate a multitude of social settings and environments.

Shop them on www.mothofsydney.com or please enquire with us directly on moth at mothofsydney dot com as we have a number of models we are still waiting to load up onto the website.

Our plan, as we move ahead, is to tell the stories of Sydney along with every Moth that finds a new home. A city that dazzles tourists, that is always celebrating something, that grows more sophisticated with every passing year and that has finally found it's own place in the world. Welcome to Moth of Sydney. 


Using navy Italian yarn dyed jersey with contrasts in a blue and white striped SIC Tess Oxford shirting cotton.
Shop this Moth now.  






Saturday, February 28, 2015

Self-Tying Or Hand-Tied Velvet Bow Ties - Not Something You'll Find In Many Menswear Stores Worldwide


The beauty of a hand-tied bow tie is that it looks natural. That's no different when it comes to velvet bow ties either. The only difference with velvet bow ties is that often it's very hard to 'turn' (turning the sewn arm of a bow tie inside out) a bow tie in velvet so more often than not the only bows in velvet you will find are the pre-tied variety. There is, however, another way to make a velvet bow tie that can be hand-tied. On the reverse side of the bow we use a silk satin which offsets the heavy pile on of the velvet on the front side. In doing so it becomes possible to turn the bow and it also becomes fluid enough in the hand that you can tie it into a bow effortlessly. It's more work to make and you need to be more patient when sewing two materials like this together, but the result is something particularly striking, particularly piquant, that will set you apart from every other gentleman in the room. Pictured are left; black Holland & Sherry velvet; centre; chocolate Holland & Sherry velvet and right; Loro Piana velvet in a deep wine. All are currently in stock at www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Greatest Lyrics On Earth

I was once having breakfast with a singer songwriter in Rome about 7 years ago when I offered a piece of advice to him which he had not asked for but which I felt compelled to offer. The greatest songs, I said, were those which not only had a catchy tune to sing to but which also offered real poetic insight into the human condition or which told a great story along the way.

Songs such as Take The Long Way Home by Supertramp or Hurricane by Bob Dylan never fail to keep me coming back because I get both something I love to sing to as well as some element of either a truth in the form of a narrative or else a catharsis of some sort. It was I believe either Plato or Artistotle who said:

"Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form."

Which brings me to my point today and that is - do you think there are any better lyrics on this planet to a song than those written by the band Pink Floyd in the song "Time" ? I am not sure if I know of anything better. If you do, please leave a comment below.


Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day 
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. 
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town 
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way. 

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. 
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. 
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. 
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun. 

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking 
Racing around to come up behind you again. 
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older, 
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death. 

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time. 
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines 
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way 
The time is gone, the song is over, 
Thought I'd something more to say.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Patient Patina - Why Some Things Just Require More Time To Gestate

When you get a pattern for a garment made you can have it digitally graded and sent back to you overnight. It's possible, in my own experience, to drop a pattern maker a sample on Monday and by Wednesday you can be in production for a sized garment run so long as you have all your cloth and accoutrements in place. I am sure that at places like Zara they have this process down to about 4 minutes....

With a garment such as this you can have your stock photographed and online by the end of the following week and your in the middle of selling down the collection a week later. It's not to say it's fast fashion - we can still be talking about exceptionally well made garments - but it's certainly not like what a craftsman does.

Real technicians like those who perform patina on leather shoes in workrooms across France, Italy and England are one such craft that can't be pumped to meet deadlines or sell through target rates like in the model I mentioned above.

They require time, the one true luxury good that's still out there that will never lose it's value. Time to revisit a shoe. Time to create new layers and more subtle nuances. Time to strip and time to polish. Time to strip again and start again if necessary.

On the weekend I went back over a pair of Gucci chelsea boots I was never quite happy with. For one the depth of the tonality that that I sought had never really come from the first session on these boots. It was only when I revisited them again by stripping and beginning the entire process of brush dyeing the boots again that I began to get the richness I was seeking. Suddenly the leather began to appear as though it had withstood the test of years of sun and wind and rain. That it had seen feast and famine and everything in between. Real organic ageing patina cannot be replicated, but if you wished to come close you need to employ the same resource - time. Patience and time.

If you are not willing to let them dry, don't bother. If you won't let them rest for a few days before you come back to them, don't bother. If you're not happy to strip them and start them all over again - Don't bother. And in the end you will never get the time back nor will anyone pay you the money you deserve for them. It's not about that. It's like cooking - it just brings it's own enjoyment in the act alone and the appreciation of the result.


Revisiting boots not satisfying enough on round 1 of a brown patina. Now on the second go around the boots have developed an astounding personality.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Anthony3073 - Meeting Anthony James - An Aesthetic New Yorker

I have always said that the wonderful aspect of social media is it allows you to get a portal into so many other people's lives and appreciate life from their perspective. Over the years I have stumbled over so many of them but few capture your attention and hold it. Vox Saroria was one of the first to really make an interesting narrative, if only in pictures. As opposed to say a menswear blogger like Will Boehlke or Simon Crompton, the narrative of Vox Sartoria's owner was merely "here are things that I like and influence me and an odd shot of what I am wearing". This then evolved into bloggers like The Snob Report who had one blog for "here are the things that I like" and then an instagram account for "what I am wearing today, which gallery I visited and what I ate for lunch".

There is, to my knowledge only a handful of these men worldwide of this latter calibre and one of them is Anthony3073 from New York. His blog is www.beautyisgenius73.blogspot.com and his instagram account is www.instagram.com/Anthony3073 . He's not necessarily as snappy a dresser as Dr Andre Churchwell nor does he know how to tie a knot like The Snob Report but he has a unique ability to bring food, clothing and girls together in a tasteful pastiche that's never boring and always romantic. So, I thought that you readers might like to know more about him. Here is Anthony James.
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 Anthony, I understand you are a native New Yorker, can you tell us about your experience of growing up around menswear in New York and the kinds of menswear experiences that have influenced you in the development of your own personal style?

My sartorial influences and inspirations have been varied. My earliest memories of style come from my grandfather, James, who was a tailor and presser at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York. He was always smartly dressed. Many years later, when I graduated from high school, my parents brought me an Armani suit, from Saks, for a graduation present. Additionally, it was the first time, I had a quality suit and experienced working with a tailor. So, I guess, the circle of style was completed in a way. It was around the age of 16, when I become more interested in fashion and style. It was the early 1990s and Armani and Versace were at the peak of their powers. So, I definitely took a strong interest. I had always liked Armani’s style but Versace’s creativity and style was so bold. I just loved it. I first saw Sylvester Stallone dressed in a Versace suit, but, at time, didn’t who designed it. I later found out it was Versace suit and began to follow his work. Around 1999, I started to become interested in the art of bespoke tailoring when I saw Pierce Brosnan’s remake of the Steve McQueen classic, “The Thomas Crown Affair.” I really liked his suits, who I later found out, were made by Milanese tailor Gianni Campagna. At that point in time, bespoke suits and tailoring were also getting a lot of press in magazines, especially Departures and The Robb Report. So, from this point, my knowledge of bespoke tailoring has evolved to where it is today. Also, there are many great tailors in the greater New York area.

Anthony's grandfather James who was a tailor and presser at Saks Fifth Avenue
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 I noticed recently you posted a red box check suit for Valentine’s and an accompanying red tie with a Vargas pin-up silhouette. Can you tell our readers a little about this ensemble and how you came to acquire each piece which made up the whole?      

The sartorial inspiration for this outfit actually came from Dr. Andre Churchwell, who I consider to be one of the best-dressed men in the world. I had seen a photo of him wearing a red windowpane blazer with an ascot. I thought it was very bold yet chic. So, I found a similar pattern and had a local tailor create the jacket. I actually first wore the jacket for Christmas and now for Valentine’s Day. The blazer is a silk/wool blend, notch lapel, and double-vented. The shirt is a ready-to-wear pink gingham cotton shirt from Hawes and Curtis, which I had recut for a better fit. The silk tie is from Jack Simpson’s “Just Jack” tie collection. I have been an admirer of Mr. Simpson’s work for years and have purchased many pieces from his collections. He has become a friend and is a true gentleman tailor and designer. The vintage handmade lapel pin is also from Jack Simpson Couture. The silk “Jack The Ripper” pocketsquare is from Kevin Seah Bespoke, whom I discovered in Rake Magazine.  Finally, I like this outfit because it hints at my love of art, particularly, in this case, the work of Warhol.

Anthony's Valentine's Day ensemble was originally inspired by a jacket he saw on Dr. Andre Churchwell
The vintage Vargas pin up girl poses that have been translated into silk by tailor Jack Simpson.
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In terms of wool bunches – are you a snob of sorts and favour certain brands/weaves/countries of make for your suiting or are you someone who goes merely by your hand and eye? Can you tell us a little about how you go about selecting your wools?  

Personally, I like wool that can be used in all seasons or a wool/silk blend for warmer weather. Some of my favourite wools are from Holland and Sherry, Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Fox Brothers, and Scabal. My favourite fabric patterns include pinstripes, windowpanes, houndtooths, and Prince-of-Wales glen plaids.


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I notice you have a love for beautiful ladies on your Instagram feed but you never post pornography. Often men who mix suits with ladies are accused of being male chauvinists but in your case I think you are very respectful of women and admire above all the beauty of the female form. Do you think that society in its pursuit of political correctness is too critical of men who enjoy the beauty of the female form?

Yes, I feel this can sometimes be the case. On my blog or Instagram feed, I only feature or post photos which truly celebrate the beauty of women, their style and sensuality.

There is never a day on Anthony's instagram account when he does not unearth some beauty from yesteryear.
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I had a New Yorker stay with me recently and he knew and took so much more time to know the culinary offerings of his native city and could name signature dishes from each restaurant and knew each chef by name attached to the respective restaurants. I notice you are also a New Yorker who loves food - can you tell me what some of your favourite dishes are and which chef cooks them?

As a New Yorker and an Italian, I, of course, love fine dining. One of my favourite restaurants is Vito Gnazzo’s Il Gattopardo (13-15 W54th Street). I love their Paccheri pasta with “Genovese” sauce. Some other favorite Italian restaurants include Lidia Bastianich’s Becco (355 W46th Street), where pretty much any pasta dish is good and the ricotta cheesecake is fantastic, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato’s Serafina (various locations throughout New York), and Sant Ambroeus (various chefs and locations). There is also   Alessandro Caporale’s Casa Lever (390 Park Avenue), where you can dine with a wall full of Warhols. Rue 57 (60 W57th Street) is also good for French bistro food.  


 
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I recently reiterated a comment of G. Bruce Boyer’s that personal style is very much about knowing yourself. Would you agree with this statement and on the basis that you do, can you tell us what you think you might have learned about yourself as you’ve developed your sense of style and taste?

I do agree with Mr. Boyer’s statement. By reading books by the likes of Mr. Boyer and Alan Flusser, you slowly learn what you like and what you look good in. Mr. Flusser’s is a big proponent of dressing in accordance with your colouring and skin tone. I agree with that belief. I also believe the juxtaposition of pattern, texture, and fabric is the true definition of style. I have also learned a lot from artists and their use of color. For me, my favourite style of dress is the three-piece suit. I believe it is an elegant and versatile addition to any men’s wardrobe. Also, I have learned a lot by working with various tailors, watching movies, reading books, the illustrations of the great Laurence Fellows, and conversations with great men of style, like Jack Simpson and Domenico Spano.




________________________________________________________________

 If you could have a pair of bespoke shoes made for yourself at any price point can you please tell us where you would go and what shoes you would want to make for yourself?

I would commission a pair of crocodile loafers from either George Cleverly, John Lobb, or the House of Bijan. These shoemakers/designers have a fantastic level of craftsmanship and quality.

GJ Cleverley Bespoke Crocodile Leather Shoes
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I received a couple of years ago a Christmas card from Dormeuil which romanticised a fictional cartoon character of a sartorially dressed man in a long coat walking his Dalmatian dog through Central Park in the snow. It was beautiful but it seemed out of tune with the world we live in today.  Do you think elegance in menswear, whilst having an internet revival, is merely just that, an internet revival? Are we doomed to eventually all end up looking like Mark Zuckerberg? Is there a true place for elegant menswear in the 21st Century?

I do understand the point of your question. Many men have little or no interest in true style. However, there are pockets throughout the world, mostly in major cities, where you will find men of great style and great tailors/stores. In addition to a variety of tailors, my favourite stores, here in New York, are Bergdorf Goodman Men, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys NY, Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, and Domenico Vacca. In these stores, you will find a mixture of the avant garde and the classic. Additionally, many of today’s best-dressed men meld a variety of classic and modern styles. They include Lapo Elkann, Alexander Kraft, Luca Rubinacci, Rafael de Medina, Giancarlo Giammetti, Churchwell brothers, and Matteo Marzotto. I believe a mixture of influences leads to true style. This is what I try to do with my style of dress each day.  Hopefully, more will follow!


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Social Media Contacts:

My style blog:  beautyisgenius73.blogspot.com
Instagram: Anthony3073

Monday, February 16, 2015

$1000 Australian To The Winner Of Our Anonymous Portrait Prize

We are offering $1000 Australian to the best 'anonymous' portrait submission. There are 60 days left to enter. All you need to do is show us how you wear your Le Noeud Papillon bow tie and with what ensemble. We are looking for the most unique shot of both bow tie and it's accompanying shirt and/or jacket.

Submissions should be sent to bow at le noeud papillon dot com or else you can lodge them on Instagram via #lenoeudpapillon or the @lenoeudpapillon handle. Remember that you do not need to show your face unless of course you want to. We are merely looking for personal style and something fresh, something different.


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Tangled Up In Blue - My Prediction For Menswear Trends In 2015

The end of the Australian summer is closing in and from there we will be looking at a warm March followed by a cooling down in April. Whilst it is too hot to try for any changes to the wardrobe right at this very moment, remember that March is Australia's version of 'The September Issue' - meaning that if you are going to change your wardrobe or you are going to think about how you might progress in 2015 - now is the time that you will start considering those changes.

For my hit prediction in 2015 for men I am considering the following as possible trends we might see.

Many Shades, Tones And Colours Of Blue

Navy seems to be out at the moment - especially navy in it's old form - especially in suiting. I think that 2015 will be about stepping away from baby blue shirting and into more unchartered waters of blue shirting fabric, contrasts in cuffs and collars, matching one shade of blue with another shade of blue on your tie or scarf coming into winter. Putting twill silks on top of plain weave cotton shirting for tonal differences, matching a mid blue pair of trousers with a navy sports jacket or vice versa. Below I posted a crocodile leather watch strap I sourced in navy from LG Humphries in Sydney. This is another possible accessory detail which is inexpensive and adds to the layering of blue in both garments and accessories. Using multiple layers of blue in various shades and textures also creates a versatility in your wardrobe as most of us have blazers and sports jackets in blue, jeans in blue, blue shirts and blue trousers in our wardrobes but all have been mixed and matched over the years which makes them open to re-interpretation. 

Watch Straps

I think watch straps will be a huge business in 2015. I said this earlier in the month when I posted a blog post on how to remove and add a leather watch strap with a deployment clasp. This is one way to make versatility out of your existing watch collection and pair your watch with a particular ensemble be it black tie, cocktail or lounge. It is also a cheap way to make you feel like you've bought a new watch without having to buy a new watch. Of course my hit prediction is blue and green watch straps.

A Move Back To Traditional Ties

I don't know why I seem to be writing this because I have invested heavily in having my seamstresses work out how to hand roll stitch tie edges but to be frank, I am getting more and more customers come past who say they don't like buying the artisan styled ties that have been on offer for the last few years because they don't wear well. I have been getting more and more requests for sturdy well made ties but with light interlinings. In fact, the whole no tipping / exposed underside silk look seems to be fading somewhat. This is however only coming as feedback from my Australian customers as they seem to want ties which aren't hot and heavy but they want them to last well as they have so few ties these days in their wardrobe.

If you would like a shirt made in the cloth below, or the Zini bow tie or if you want to know more about leather straps on watches - feel free to drop me a line on www.lenoeudpapillon.com 


Zini bow tie and custom made Le Noeud Papillon shirt with hand made silk flower and mid 90's Omega Seamaster watch with crocodile leather watch strap from L G Humphries Sydney

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Have A Poke About Today - It's Almost Valentine's Day

I added some wonderful stuff to the website today which includes silk flowers and Carlo Riva pocket squares that we cut from our final bolt of popelin (popeline) plain weave fine cotton.

Remember, if you cannot find what you want on the website we have about 300 other woven jacquard silks in our archives along with luxury velvets, printed silks, wools and cottons.

New stock added  - www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Key To Personal Style Is Knowing Yourself

In an interview on the blog Permanent Style, menswear writer G. Bruce Boyer refers to something I once wrote about in an interview with Keikari blog in Finland. I was asked what my definition of style was to which I responded "Knowing yourself". This sentiment seems to be reiterated by Boyer in the blog post for Permanent Style. In his own words he says:

"My feeling has always been that a man should get to know himself, set his style, and then work at perfecting it. My other feelings about this are that he shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort to look well dressed and groomed, that simplicity is indeed a virtue (Diana Vreeland famously said that real style is refusal), mixing town and country clothes can be fun, and that a person should dress his age and have a concern for quality (which means I have a veneration for old clothes).

So my experiments take the form of small details: a two-button jacket instead of a three-button perhaps, a bow tie in place of a four-in-hand, a brightly colored scarf or pocket square, maybe a pair of pink socks or cordovan tassel slip-ons. I will probably never try cowboy boots, bowling shirts, tight black jeans, or a knit cap with a pom-pom. Although I shouldn’t say never."

It seems knowing who you are is possibly the most important aspect to being able to adequately convey that message to people who pass you by on the street. Most people would agree that Mahatma Gandhi was not a Western style icon - but in effect his garb that he wore was a reflection of his philosophical beliefs that a man need not have complicated clothes when searching for the truth. His simple round spectacles and the robes of a peasant produces a more lasting style impression on humanity than the traditional tailored suits that he wore as a lawyer in South Africa which is why those images survive and proliferate. He adheres to that basic tenent Boyer states that personal style is knowing oneself. 

Gandhi in peasants robe - a personal style he pursues in search of the truth. Photo Source: Daily Mail
Gandhi as a young lawyer circa 1906

The more you know yourself, the more you can be comfortable with the clothes you do choose and in my experience the most effectively stylish men I have come across often are not limited by one particular design aesthetic. Once you establish who you are you are then able to experiment with different aspects of your attire which can be extensions of that basic tenent of your style. There might be happy you, sombre you, sloppy you, stringent you, conservative you, bohemian you - and yet by staying true to who you are you set yourself an anchor point from which you can sway like the centre point of a pendulum.

When I consider this thought from time to time I fondly recall a story once conveyed to me of when Alexander The Great bumped into Diogenes the Cynic in Corinth. One might imagine how much pomp and ceremony was in Alexander the Great's battle gear and yet when confronted by a man who truly knew himself and whose personal style had lead him to wear very little or nothing at all he was somewhat envious. An excerpt from Wikipedia says that:

"Thereupon many statesmen and philosophers came to Alexander with their congratulations, and he expected that Diogenes of Sinope also, who was tarrying in Corinth, would do likewise. But since that philosopher took not the slightest notice of Alexander, and continued to enjoy his leisure in the suburb Craneion, Alexander went in person to see him; and he found him lying in the sun. Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many people coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. And when that monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, "Yes," said Diogenes, "stand a little out of my sun". It is said that Alexander was so struck by this, and admired so much the haughtiness and grandeur of the man who had nothing but scorn for him, that he said to his followers, who were laughing and jesting about the philosopher as they went away, "But truly, if I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes."

Style is about ascertaining who you are and then wearing what reflects that knowledge of yourself.

So my advice is as I once said in the past - start by ask yourself the question: "Who am I?" and then work that into your wardrobe.

You Can Effect A Change In This World If You Are Willing To Serve Others

When I think back to the first days of Le Noeud Papillon I recall the number of people who said to me "who would want to tie their own bow tie?"

I wasn't exactly sure I would survive the adventure either but after 8 years I have tied more bow ties than I care to think of and one prime time news anchorman once remarked that if he couldn't tie his bow tie he wanted my home address so he could stop past on his way through to an event.

The art of tying a bow tie is peculiar because every bow tie shape has it's own personality which is conveyed better some ways rather than another. The skinny batwing is of course the easiest bow tie in the world to tie. Following on from that is the diamond point. Then the classic butterfly, the wide butterfly and the batwing. But as you complicate the shapes so too do you complicate your ability to tie a bow tie. The stakes are higher when you get to these shapes but so too are the rewards if you get them right.

Just last week week we finished our new Donald shape. It is a 5.5cm batwing with a gentle concave scoop along the batwing and finished with a concave scoop into the arm of the bow tie. This gives the bow tie an ability to be tied without having a hugely fat centre knot which is one of the pitfalls of a traditional wide batwing bow tie.

At the same time as a new shape came off the bench I received the note below from a customer who had purchased bow ties and was needing me to tie the last one. When you receive a note like this it brightens up your day. I had asked the customer if he was happy with the other two and what we could do to improve his experience and what he wrote back was so lovely that I requested his permission to write it here:

Nicholas they're perfect!

Whilst I haven't had the pleasure of wearing them yet (my wedding is in May), I've shown them to everyone, and they share my thoughts. I dread to think about how I'd have felt if I discovered your bows after my wedding day! It would've been crushing. The bows I see for sale around much of the city are not comparable to the ones I now have from LNP. As a graphic designer, I don't have much of a chance to wear fine clothing during work hours, but I appreciate hand-made work of all kinds. That your world class bows are made in my home city is such a delightful bonus! My concern ahead of getting the bows was that I wasn't sure how big or small they would be. The size, as you would already know, is fantastic. 

I can't really suggest anything you might improve, as I think people are opening their LNP packages and thinking the same thing I am, which is 'this is the best'. I had trouble tying them, but I know that practice makes perfect, and I was just reluctant to 'overhandle' the silk on these bows by tying and retying them before the wedding.

As an aside I wanted to thank you for your write up of Leng of Leng Bespoke last year. I totally agree with your observation that people often keep knowledge of good tailors to themselves, and it's very thoughtful of you to consider the effect of that on the business of the tailors themselves. I've had so called 'tailors' ruin jackets of mine over the years, and never could I find a recommendation of fine tailoring/alterations from anyone. It was really generous of you to share your experience with Leng with the internet. I purchased my wedding suit, a japanese made tuxedo from MJ bale late last year and have been looking for someone to assess/improve it with me. I reached out to Leng this week and asked him if he would be able to help me, mindful that his talents are far beyond that of an alterations tailor. As you would expect, I received a very kind reply from Leng and am looking forward to visiting him in the next week or two.

Have a good weekend and I hope to stay in touch.

Kind Regards,
P. Teasdale, Sydney, Australia


Invariably I will acquiesce to any demand if it's hand written on a note like this....

Donald, a new gently scooped batwing from Le Noeud Papillon

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Testimonial For Our Wilde Dual Reverso Velvet & Silk Bow Tie By Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

On Saturday evening I went to see Tosca at the Sydney Opera House. It was a wonderful experience - not just because I got to catch up on some sleep but because I managed to wake up for the two songs that I truly love from this opera, both male arias. 

However, it was something I saw on the way up the escalator and towards the steps which particularly caught my eye and that was the billboard below for As You Like It, a production that was coming in late February. The female model who looked akin to a young Prince (or symbol) was wearing our 'Wilde' bow tie which is a velvet bow tie contrasted with mogador satin silk on the rear side of the bow tie. It really caught me off guard because the image was fading in and out between one ad and another. "Was that what I think it was?" I thought. Then I waited and waited and waited for the image to show up again. Yes, that was our Wilde bow tie. 

And then today I got a lovely email from a customer in Brisbane that had bought one and loved it. I leave you with Placido Domingo, our testimonial and the billboard ad below.



A Testimonial:

I recently purchased one of your Wilde bow ties and am very pleased with the product. The bow is striking and the quality is remarkable. The same can be said for the accompanying silk lapel flower and the packaging that both items came in. Rave reviews all round.

Best wishes,

Z Skyring, Brisbane, Australia



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Testimonial From The Cradle Of Modern Civilisation

Dear Le Noeud Papillon,

I don't often purchase clothing on the internet as it very rarely turns out to be what you expect.
Le Noued Papillon is an extremely refreshing exception to that rule! It's materials are superb, design
is classic (but with a twist) and most of all service is sincere and caring.

Thank you LNP! Keep up the great work!

M. Lepouras,

Athens, Greece.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Best Way To Subdue Bling - How To Add Natural Beauty To Your Gold Or Steel Watch

Recently a friend of mine put me onto a website called Chrono24 and between that and Ebay I have found about fifteen watches I would easily consume if I were a rich man but owing to my bank balance and my recent philosophical crutch of Stoicism I have managed to look but not desire to touch.

In the late 1990's I bought an Omega Seamaster and it was for many years my pride and joy. However, as time wore on I came to find it impractical. I did not like the size of the face or the weight of the bracelet and with time I found myself, the more I worked on computers, not wanting to wear a wrist watch. That changed when in the mid 2000's I purchased a used Rolex Air King from the sister of Elle McPherson. It had originally belonged to the supermodel but she palmed it off to her sister who palmed it off to me. For a smaller wristed bloke like myself it was the ideal size and weight that allowed me to look elegant and keep typing.

One of the things that puts me off these days about Rolex and the like is that there is a preference to have these clunky heavy bracelets coupled with larger 41mm watch heads. The pursuit of bling over taste has been fortunate for those who prefer understated elegance as the previous model 36mm faces seem to be overlooked on the used market and can be bought for much better prices. And if you can find one that's just the face and not the bracelet, the price often comes down substantially again.

One of the most elegant wrist watches I have seen in the last three years was a brown copper face Rolex Daytona on a brown crocodile leather strap finished in rose gold. These watches, new, are a large face and up to $30,000 AUD to purchase. So what if you wanted to get the same look on a smaller face? The answer is that it is possible to do with very little money.

Places such as Wholesale Outlet 990 offer a variety of leather straps with deployment clasps that look almost identical to the real thing. So long as you marry up the the mm width of the lugs on a watch face with one of these bands, it is possible to give a new lease of life to a vintage watch face coupled with the practicality of both being lighter than a bracelet. Add to this a deployment clasp which makes the watch easier to get on an off and improves the lifespan of the leather and you have, in my opinion, a no brainer. Let the bling blingers have their huge faces and big bracelets and give me a lighter less intense watch that can allow me to keep typing.

NB: For those of you residing in Sydney who are looking for a quick fix, try LG Humphries & Sons at 151 Castlereagh Street, Sydney as they keep both leather bands in stock along with deployment clasps and have a number of vintage watch heads on display from the best brands. Click here


So what do you need to do in order to achieve this?

1. Purchase a vintage watch from the likes of Ebay or Chrono24 
2. Find out the size of the lugs on either side of the watch face and whether they are simple enough to attach with spring bars. The older the model the less complicated this will be.
3. Purchase a leather strap through the likes of Wholesale Outlet 990 . Your preference, if you are strapped for time, is to choose one pre-made with a deployment clasp.
4. Wait patiently for the postman.
5. Remove the existing bracelet or springs bars from your watch face.
6. Load the springs into the ends of your new leather watch strap if they are not already in place.
7. Load the springs onto the lugs.
8. Adjust the size of the strap.





An example of a faux crocodile watch strap in ever green  with a Rolex Daytona styled deployment clasp which was applied to a vintage watch head. The green strap can be purchased from Wholesale Outlet 990 on Ebay

Smitten But Needing Some More Love From Vianel - A Review Of A Purchase From Vianel New York

I really like Vianel . I found them on Instagram a while back and I have been meaning to try out their wares for some time. The eternal problem facing wallets for me is that credit cards and membership cards can vary between countries and so too can currency. The Australian dollar notes, as many of you who have ventured here would know, are made of polymer and are a unique size very different from the Euro, Sterling or Greenback. Accordingly the hunt for great wallets is a tiring pursuit since the brands that make the best products such as Hermes and Smythson often concentrate on wallets for currencies where they will most be used. The only place I have found for great Australian wallets is DiCroco in Darwin which used to hold a store in Sydney but no longer does.

For this reason I was attracted to Vianel because they seemed to understand that men want something sleek and made of a nice quality leather but finished in a manner which was more 2016 than for a man who was trying to fit all sorts of currencies in his wallet.

I purchased what was called their V1 wallet during their sample sale. The wallet is made very well and the quality of the leather is as good as that which is in my Hermes card holder. However, I don't wish to see Vianel go out of business so I offer them my constructive criticism.

Firstly, the box that it arrived in was a size overkill. After removing the stuffing I found the original box for the item. It was made of a reasonable but not exciting matte black cardboard with some embossed foil in gold which was not particularly well done. Inside the box in tissue paper was another plain white pouch, unbranded and relatively unexciting. The wallet itself, when I went to check my credit cards and place them in, was unable to sit the cards one on top of the other without making the wallet look awkward. When you use the rear pouch to then place say 2 credit cards and 1 drivers licence, the wallet looks altogether unbalance and so stuffed full that there is no room to add in any folded cash or a new contacts business card. It also makes it near impossible to retrieve your second or third card without having to use considerable force.

Finally, the gold foil embossing on the leather was not particularly clear. When it is a new or emerging brand you are always willing to forgive these sorts of details but in the long run, when you consider future purchases, these things become very important. It's the reason why I return to Smythson and to a lesser more infrequent respect, Hermes.

I hope that Vianel keeps refining their product because I think it's a great looking brand with a great future and I look forward to giving them more of my support and business when they do.

See their website:

Ignore the Tony Soprano styled driver's licence shot...


You Don't Have To Be A Genius To Work It Out - The Falling Australian Dollar Will Benefit US Shoppers

When the USD was at parity with the AUD six years ago two visiting American friends of mine, one a New Yorker, the other a Bostonian, decided to piss themselves when at a Christmas cocktail party someone said in a laconic Australian voice to them "yeah, the dollar's about 'even Stevens' at the moment" . It became immediately apparent that the expression which was part of our vernacular down under, evidently was very fresh on these two.

At the time those two Americans were quick to complain that the trip was costing them a pretty penny and not what they imagined of Australia and what it would do to their American dollar wallets. Sydney, especially, is a very expensive city to live in or visit. 

The good news is that the AUD is dropping in value and it's making our products much more alluring to those overseas. I had a look on the Barney's website today for bow ties ( click here ) and to be frank, we kick ass all over the selection and now our prices are far more competitive against even their house brand bow ties, especially when you factor in our regular discount offers to newsletter readers.

Perhaps 'Even Stevens' might not gel with Americans, not even Cheap As Chips (fries in the USA), but certainly Bang For Buck is a universally appreciated expression and so too is Make Hay Whilst The Sun Shines.



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