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With over 1.3 million page views, Le Noeud Papillon's blog continues to provide lovers of bow ties with unique stories and content relating to menswear through interviews with industry icons and vignettes into topics relating to suits, shirts, shoes, ties, designers, weavers and much more.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Coming Soon To Le Noeud Papillon

It is very hard to stay fresh in this business. If you spend enough time looking at what everybody else is doing then you can often stymie your own creativity and in many instances you can lose your confidence and your identity chasing the modal audience. There is that old economics anecdote about ice cream vendors on the beach and as to where they will place their stores in order to capture the most amount of revenue, and the answer is that both stores end up being in the very centre of the beach as close to each other's customers as possible.

However, we have always wanted to create a unique identity and that was endorsed when we ran a Survey Monkey in which most of our customers requested that we spend more time cultivating unique limited edition silk designs rather than staying on solids and weaves.

Below is one of our new designs, it draws partly from space, partly from nature and partly from Australian indigenous culture. How it will look as a bow tie we won't know for a while yet but suffice to say it will make an extraordinary scarf if the design does not lend itself to a bow tie, which I am fairly confident it will.

It is hard to stay fresh as I said, but I feel more and more inclined to pursue things which relate more to Australian culture moving forward to try and separate what we do from our English, French, German and Italian counterparts. After all, a bow tie must tell a story and ours is most definitely an Australian story. 

A new bow tie silk design coming soon from Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

Saturday, October 10, 2015

To Our Suppliers And Our Customers - May They Never Meet On Instagram

In a really great piece by Wei Koh of The Rake Magazine the owner of the world-renowned shirt maker Charvet of Paris, Mr Jean-Claude Colban, said that when his father took over the business after being one of the main suppliers of the world's oldest "chemisier" he was finally able to use the front entrance of the business he now owned. As Colban says in his own words: “At the time, he rarely visited the old Charvet shop on 8 Place Vendôme. That was because there was a rule that all suppliers had to use the back door. It was rather nice that on the day he purchased the brand, he finally walked in through the front door.”

In years gone by there were distinct lines between suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, customers, workrooms, weavers, manufacturers, cloth merchants and so on that prevented each from meeting the other with the hope that the industry is protected by pockets of knowledge being what glued the various people in the industry taking a clip on whatever function they performed. Over time as businesses try to vertically integrate what they do from top to bottom they spend a great deal of time cultivating relationships from the profiles of their workers right through to their Instagram page tagging customers. Marc Jacobs recently spent a good deal of time on his Instagram creating profiles on his floor staff. The superlative shoe maker Gaziano & Girling has a profile page for their best artisan shoe maker. Tailors show off their customers and their creations. Materials suppliers and workrooms that make items often "like" the products they make on their customers pages. It served to remind me of a now famous letter written by one of the most highly regarded Sydney tailors and his shirt maker upon learning that his shirt maker was trying to start his own label. The gist of it was "when your supplier is trying to steal your customers it's time to cut ties" - although by 'cut ties' he did not mean the silk variety. 

The point being is that quite often these days you have to be wary of who is liking and following your content on Instagram. If they are not a competitor trying to ascertain your competitive advantage or to find out who your core customers are then potentially it is your customer looking to connect the dots about how you do what you do. It is therefore only fitting that I propose a toast:

"To our suppliers and our customers, may you never meet on our Instagram! Bottoms up! "

Famed Parisian shirt maker Charvet of Paris - the old rule was that suppliers used the back door. Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Some Things In Life Are Free - Our Dick Carroll For LNP How To Tie Instruction Cards

For a limited time we are offering these for free. Order yours - 

Leng Bespoke - Why Having A Workroom In Sydney Matters

In an effort to engage more of Sydney's tailors and MTM services to write more content for this blog I recently engaged the services of an MTM programme in Sydney, which I don't need to name, and during the course of the fitting from a block made suit I said "now about the size of the trouser band, I feel this is too narrow for my stomach" to which there was a pause and it was met with the response "we can't change anything like that".

The salesman then suggested to me that they were working on allowing more changes like that to occur but that I was limited to lapel and pocket details and sleeve buttons but the basic overall template was what was on me as they measured. 

These MTM programmes are excellent price points for your every day knock around suit or even for that matter if you were going to buy all your groomsmen a suit instead of renting, but they are limited. Below you will see some of the details of the trousers that Leng Ngo is making for the purple suit we commissioned. The larger waist band on the trousers is finished with an "inbuilt belt" if you like which sweeps around to the side. There is a single pleat in the trousers exactly where I asked for it to be and the cuff, lapel size and roping is as we agreed upon in the specifications too. 

But what is more important is that if for whatever reason you don't like what you see or if it's not as you requested, there is an opportunity to make changes, something which you cannot truly get with an MTM service. You can keep an alterations person on hand to try patch things up but ultimately, the person that will make those alterations didn't cut the suit and didn't sew the suit.

There is the old adage, pay once, cry once. I do believe that holds true for many things including a new suit for spring. See Leng's work in progress. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Apple Watch Cuff By Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney, Custom Made Shirts For The Next Generation Of Elegant Men

Our new Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, instructed us when he addressed  the media recently after the bloodless coup to remove sitting Prime Minister Tony Abbott, that our country needed to embrace a 'disruptive' market place and embrace the changing face of business in the face of a modern global economy. 

To do our bit we have come up with a cuff for the Apple watch. This cuff is designed specifically to the dimensions of the Apple watch and allows the wearer to look at his screen, an addiction most of us suffer from, without having to lift up his cuff. It's a window to keep you connected, to your calendar, your phone calls, the number of steps you've walked and how far you have to go to reach your destination.

However, we have fused it with Carlo Riva fabric, some of the oldest looms making fine cotton shirting in the world, so that it is in effect 'Old World meets New World' . Carlo Riva cotton is also famous because it took wooden shirting cotton weaving machines and used new technology to re-calibrate them and get them working for the 21st Century.

In effect, the cuff and the cloth are all embracing change. We hope you are pleased Mr. Turnbull. Now if Mr. Tim Cook would buy out our company, we are open to mergers and acquisitions....

Book an appointment with the Studio. 

Apple watch dimensions according to Grail Watch

In time for summer, two lovely new fabrics from world renowned fine shirting cotton maker Carlo Riva

Friday, October 2, 2015

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Those that we revere in music, art, literature, film and dance are often the ones who step out of the confines of comfort and seek new horizons. They are not afraid of experimentation, they are not afraid to fail. In that zone and in that zone alone is where you'll find that thing which sets you apart. 

Below is a bow tie which most men might recoil from. It's burgundy Loro Piana velvet contrasted with a crimson limited edition Zig Zag silk by us. 

How you would wear this bow, only a few will know. We hope that few find us.

Dreams And Meditations Are Our Most Fertile Grounds

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
   The shadow of the dome of pleasure
   Floated midway on the waves;
   Where was heard the mingled measure
   From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

   A damsel with a dulcimer
   In a vision once I saw:
   It was an Abyssinian maid
   And on her dulcimer she played,
   Singing of Mount Abora.
   Could I revive within me
   Her symphony and song,
   To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Have magnificent dreams with our new silk eye shades -

Thursday, October 1, 2015

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Testimonial From A Customer In The United States Of America

 "Again, love your tiesYour navy bow tie with my navy Tom Ford shawl collar dinner suit.  Its great how well and easy they tie. Also, they really stand out and let the world know you tied your own."

D Meisenburg, USA

A Banquet Of Consequences By Australian Economist Satyajit Das - A Good Gift For Christmas If You Want To Depress The Recipient :)

I had the pleasure of walking with Satyajit Das one morning recently but only because I requested some of his time to explain to me the Greek debt crisis.
When you have a simple mind like mine you need to be explained things in simple terms. Economists like 'Das' (I am told nobody calls him Satyajit which personally I think is a really cool name) are unique in the sense that they can break down really complex structures, systems and literally hundreds of millions of unique transactions to look for trends and key understandings about this ever changing world of global finance.

Within a few minutes of walking with Das I was able to know more about what was happening in Greece than anything that I could get out of a newspaper or out of a friend who was returning from Athens with reports of how the country was progressing.

I decided to purchase his book 'A Banquet Of Consequences' and I must say that so far it has really blown me away in terms of being able to adequately comprehend movements of funds between banks and businesses, between governments and banks and between governments and citizens and everything in between.

But more importantly, everything that we witness today in our global economy is a flow on effect of so many significant changes to financial markets and regulations that often it's not until someone breaks down the historical moments in time which caused certain triggers that you can begin to understand how such a gigantic global debt crisis is .... a banquet of consequences. My opinion of the author was only bolstered when the following day there was a massive sell down of Australian mining stocks.

I highly recommend this book. I only wish that these economists would find us ways out of the fox hole rather telling us that we better be ready to jump into one. 

The end of endless credit looms near. It is time for us to get back to work and pay back our borrowings - which makes it uncomfortable to read this book on a sofa. 

Two Recommends For Board Shorts As We Approach The Sydney Summer

There are a variety of factors which make up good board shorts which make it hard to shop them on the web. Durability stands to mind as the first and foremost pre-requisite. The one thing which put me off Vilebrequin shorts was that the cotton mesh used to rip out of them by the end of an Australian summer leaving you with expensive shorts that were useless outside the water. Good board shorts need to function both as swim trunks and as something by which you get to go drink coffee in them and not lose your wallet through a trap door.

The next critical thing I look for is cut. I am not a fan of shorts that sit around the knees, preferring a mid thigh cut like the shorts made by Australian company Venroy, seen below. Then comes the colours and prints. Sometimes all you need is a strip and solid band. At other times it is the print you want to do all the talking, paired with a solid coloured t-shirt and perhaps some orange espadrilles and a panama hat.

Below I have selected two shorts I recommend for the forthcoming Australian summer. The first is by Mexican designer Pineda Covalin, a vibrant Mexican inspired print which will set you apart from the other blokes who didn't bother to search as much for a unique pair of shorts.

The second pair is what I think should be a staple in Australian men's swimwear, a pair of Venroy black shorts with navy band that will fade nicely in the harsh Australian sun. I have a good deal of experience wearing Venroy and they are both durable and functional, with a range of simple and elegant designs being offset by more contemporary designs which sit well with a modern Australian audience. They're shorts equally at home on the harbour as they are on our beaches and in our cafes.

Mexican designer Pineda Covalin

Australian brand Venroy

Monday, September 28, 2015

If The Protein Make Up Of Silk Is Closely Related To Skin Then Why Aren't We Using It More In Eye Shades

The protein make up of silk is very closely related to human skin. In scientific studies silk seracin , one of the two main proteins found in silk, the other being fibroin, have been used to aid the man made building of human tissue fibroplasts, the stuff that is used to rejuvenate skin. In fact, humans have been using silk as a way of nurturing and protecting their skin and hair for over 3500 years.

Because man made fibres are cheaper and easier to produce than silk, we often find that when board a plane we are presented with poxy polymer based eye shades for the flight which end up irritating you more than they give you comfort.

On a recent flight home from Hong Kong I had such an experience and I decided it was better to go without eye shades and use something else to cover my face. I am a very very prejudiced towards natural fibres.

On returning to Sydney I began to knock out something a little more comfortable for those long flights that Australians know too well and which yanks and poms scoff at when they hear your Antipodean itineraries.... "19 hours, are you kidding me? 24 to Moscow? Why I never...".

So, I present to you below the silk eye shades we've come up with. They are finished with a more vibrant silk jacquard on the exterior, the interior is a softer and sheer silk jacquard and the elastic is enveloped in silk to ensure that you are comfortable all the way around. Of course, we recommend you snip the label off and it's been hand-stitched only in two points so it's not exactly difficult to remove. Finally, to add comfort for the eyes, the sponge centre is made up of a type of wool felt we source from South Australia. So, it's all natural (save the elastic inside the strap) and it's all comfortable. And, you will look dapper even when you are snoring and the saliva is dribbling onto your neighbours arm. That's if you still go cattle class like myself.

Friday, September 25, 2015

How Was It Made - A Purple Lizard Skin Watch Strap From Enrile In Seville, Spain

There is more to a watch strap than meets the eye. In fact, when a leather watch strap looks elegantly simple it's usually far more complicated to produce than you'd imagine which is why there are factories dedicated to perfecting the craft in Switzerland as evidenced by this 'how it's made' video on Hermes watch straps

For starters there is the choice of the leather which needs to be split down to a very specific mm thickness which is then married up with the appropriate thickness of the backing leather. In this instance the top layer of purple lizard skin was split down to 0.4mm with the appropriate underside backing leather then adding an additional 0.4mm to create a total of 0.8mm for the finish. This however is not including the padding which is run between the two folds of leather which adds another 0.2mm raised along the centre of the watch strap.

Although I am sure in larger factories the means by which watch straps are made would be refined down to reduce excess use of leather, the process remains mostly the same regardless of how many machines are available in larger operations to help with specific aspects of production such as sewing or, stamping, sealing or buffing the leather.

In a nutshell, once the leather is cut to a desired length and width, the craftsman, in this case Antonio from Enrile , glues together the top and backing leather together with the padding sandwiched in between. Once that process is complete the desired shape of the watch strap is cut around the padded area based on the pattern. The tunnel for the spring bars is created by turning the leather back over onto the backing leather before glueing down and cut to the desired mm width of the lugs of the watch that the strap is being made for. Lugs can vary from 14mm on ladies watches to 23mm for large diving and instrument watches. In this case the strap is being cut to 19mm. 

The watch strap now needs to be sewn. The manner in which the sewing is done is best described in the video referenced in the first paragraph. It requires a heavy leather sewing thread which is alternated by two needles and two threads interlocking the stitches in through perforations made in the leather by the artisan. In some factories, such as the quality strap maker Hadley Roma, machines are used to sew the less expensive watch straps but where a watch strap is finely made it will usually be sewn by hand.

It was a pleasure working with Antonio again and his watch strap is a thing of great beauty. Of course, you can never expect an artisan's work to be finished in the same manner as a Swiss factory's with their additional tools and instruments to finish a strap fit for a fifty thousand dollar watch, but then that's not what I was searching for. Those watch straps are a little like a Warhol can of soup, whereas this one is for a very special snowflake.

The selection of the leather, a purple lizard skin is chosen

The leather pattern is cut

Using a gauge, the leather is checkd for an even 0.4mm thickness across the leather

The leather is backed

The leather thickness is checked for both sides of the leather with a total of 0.8mm thickness

An area is defined for the padding of the watch strap

The backing leather is stamped for our company

Antonio is preparing the leather to be glued together

The indentation of the padding can now be seen, this will be trimmed around to define the end shape of the band

The leather is now ready to be trimmed

The hand sewing begins

The final strap is ready for shipping

The final result, an outstanding purple lizard skin watch strap rests in front of two Le Noeud Papillon purple silk bow ties

A purple lizard skin watch strap for a purple bow tie. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Design Which Does Belong To Moth Of Sydney And Le Noeud Papillon Jointly

Gianni Agnelli was famous for asking his shirt maker to come up with a cuff which allowed him to have his wrist watch sit over the cuff in between folds of fabric to ensure that his watch bracelet and face did not make contact with his skin as it was said to have caused him irritation. 

That cuff was replicated a few years back by Italian banker turned designer Angelo Galasso whose designs are opulent and perhaps are designed to show off the expensive time pieces worn by his rich and famous customers which include Stevie Wonder, Roger Moore, Mickey Rourke and Ray Liotta to name but a few.

The genesis of the cuff below was from a totally different angle. The story begins with my walking partner that I pound the pavement each morning with in Sydney. We walk along the Rose Bay promenade and up Heartbreak Hill and back ending with three sprints of 20 seconds in order to get our heart rate up and because the both of us had watched some English documentary on a doctor who has studied the benefits of exercise spikes on weight loss. My walking partner is an accomplished mathematical nerd who hails from banking but spends his spare time flying planes. He is also technologically very  ahead of the curve, so it was no surprise when he became an early adopter of the Apple watch.

One of the first hurdles he ran into though was that in order to use the watch it had to be in contact with your skin or else it would shut down. You also had to have it face you in order for it to work. These were to my knowledge security and battery conserving features respectively. 

It got me thinking that in the winter time wouldn't it be great if you had a cuff which allowed the watch to remain fixed against the skin but also gave you ease of access to the screen so that you could easily access information via components such as the crown (which doesn't show on this sample because I am left handed) as well as the screen itself which was displaying all the pertinent information of your run time, distance travelled etc. It didn't just have ramifications for your walking and hiking enthusiasts, it would be useful also to pilots, cyclists, medical professionals and many many more. 

It is my cuff. And, I am still working on it. I do hope my competitor's don't also steal this idea too.

Copyright Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney. Request permission before posting on your blog or website. All rights reserved.

A cuff designed for an Apple watch so that the wearer can keep the watch in contact with the skin for security and functional (heart beat etc) needs but also allows you to glimpse easily the content being offered by the watch for activities such as flying, racing, running and walking. 

Just Because You Brought The First Pig To Market Does Not Mean You Will Corner It

I never wanted to get into the 'fashion' business because I thought of myself, though many of my fellow contemporary bloggers will disagree with me, as a man of classic style. That being said, recently in the superb Netflix series 'Chef's Table' the chef Ben Shewry says something along the lines of 'people assume that creative people are creative because it's just in their soul and they need to be creative, but in reality you become creative to keep your customers coming back'. I am paraphrasing and perhaps I have not done Shewry justice but the gist is, you become creative in your work out of necessity in some instances rather than the desire simply to be creative. Perhaps distilled further we arrive back at that old adage, necessity is the mother of invention.

Many years back my shirt maker and I started working on patterns for pop-overs. The original design I had seen in Italy. It was I think in a back street of Como during a visit to the silk mills. I had asked my shirt maker why Australians hadn't worn more of them given our climate and the need to be more casual with shirts. Accordingly I began wearing them regularly and slowly my customer's took to them and I started writing about them after a period of time. One of my earlier posts is here.  And another is here.

Then an idea came to me one day to fuse the work I had done on pop-overs and merge them with t-shirts as a solution for Australian men who wanted something with more structured than a ribbed collar pique polo but less formal than a shirt. Merging the structured collar and mid placket of cotton shirting pop-overs with jersey and pique cloth both in long sleeve and short sleeve seemed to give Sydney based men the flexibility to move around this dynamic city without the need to change. I then approached the subject with my friend Raja Farah, who was one of my first customers for a pop-over and the concept of Moth of Sydney was born and we agreed to a partnership.

I asked Raja during those first gestational months of patterns and research whether we could patent our design in the same way that one Sydney family had patented the clip-on bow tie plastic clip a few decades before but he informed me that the fashion game was not like that and it was almost impossible to patent aspects of fashion garments. 'It's a good thing' if they copy you, he said, 'don't take it personally'.

I try not to take it personally because in fairness I have emulated and sought guidance from the great masters in tailoring and tie makers in the process of developing Le Noeud Papillon and I am sure those that I draw inspiration from might sometimes find it frustrating themselves to see us come along. Except to say that when it is other small companies which copy you, you don't seem to mind so much as when it is fashion companies like Uniqlo and Zara that can really bamboozle your design and take something which you held most dear and somewhat exclusive and then feed it out to the masses with almost no regard for your hard-work in refining and changing that product over time.

To say that we were the first to put a structured collar onto a t-shirt would be false. Since coming up with the design I have found numerous historical references from companies like Brioni that had made similar products in the 1970's. To say that our design of our plackets and collars was unique to our company, that's also false. Both the pop-over and the collar styles we have used have been around for a long long time. Perhaps the only thing we actually created was the fusion of shirting cotton collars and plackets with jersey bodies. And in doing so, what really is there to pat yourself on the back about?

The push of our product category into the mainstream by tennis playing icon Novak Djokovic and others reminds me that in the end, the world favours marketing over designers. I write this wearing a beautiful curved cutaway high collar stand in black oxford Moth of Sydney long sleeve pop-over in a black Filoscozia yarn dyed jersey mourning the fact that you might just be the first pig to market but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll corner it. Shop Moths

A process of refinement, the transformation of pop-over shirts to our Moths took time to gestate and required a wide search for materials and the refinement of patterns. 

New additions to the world of Moths are those that have been featured on tennis player Novak Djokovic

Recent designs by Michael Bastien for Uniqlo

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Pink Bow Tie And Pocket Square

One 50 Oz English silk twill in orchid pink has been left on the website along with one of our raindrops silk pocket squares in a pink which is very similar to the bow except for our camera which reads them differently. We're throwing in the pocket square on the house.

It's spring. Perhaps you have a cream jacket and you would like to take an early evening stroll along the side walks of Paddington, taking in both the fragrance and beauty of the new wisteria that is blossoming across our fair city only to arrive at dinner in Five Ways where you will start the night with a Negroni. Careful as you take your first sip not to spill any on your fresh pink bow tie.

1 only.
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