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


With over 1.4 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.

To see the latest products we are working on, visit our online store on www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Want to search the blog for something or someone you've heard about? Use the search bar below to search for all related content.

Google Le Noeud Papillon's Blog

Loading...

Translate This Blog

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's A Certain Kind Of Graffiti - Elegant Menswear Is In It's Own Way A Clash With Culture

For a man, dressing well is counter-culture these days, it's as subversive as wearing an Adidas tracksuit in the mid 80's a la Run DMC. You can disagree we with me, fine, but take a look at almost every person you pass in the street these days. None of them appreciate the theatre of dressing well but for a sprinkling of men you pass in the street - and most of them in the city. The world has changed. Sadly, we that dress to the next level are the Run DMC's of our generation...

Keep up the fight. And if you really want to get subversive, start tagging walls with bow ties and top hats. That ought to show them that we mean business.





Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Parisian Gentleman Real Heroes Ad Campaign

Although there is no real narrative to the Real Heroes ad campaign by Parisian Gentleman it does signal one thing to me - that well dressed men are fast becoming as rare as Super Heroes. For that reason alone I enjoyed the video although my concern is that it won't sell better quality menswear to the masses or even the aspirational middle class. A short walk around David Jones today in Sydney's Bondi Junction reminded me that so much of what we consume in Australia is reliant on one country, China. Although Vietnam, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Thailand also featured on some of the garments, the overwhelming majority of clothes was from mainland China.

Whilst making in China does not worry me, our reliance on one country does. Especially when there are potential conflicts brewing between the Phillipines, Japan and the United States in the South China Sea.

My overwhelming thought was this: if a conflict ever arose over disputed territory, how quickly would the majority of these fashion companies survive in terms of trading before they would run out of product? If the Chinese government closed all the ports, how much of what was on the trading floor at David Jones would still be there? My detractors would tell me to stop being negative. They would say I was forecasting an event that would never occur or that businesses would re-route their manufacturing to other countries quickly. In fact, they would say it will be a cold day in hell before I'd be right... and... well... they might be right. And just as well, because I would not be wanting to rely on an army of Parisian Gentleman Super Heroes to fight a trade war against the wave of production that heads to China each and every year and does not seem likely to ever come back.

Thoughts On Designing A New Pop-ish Silk For Bow Ties

For a long time now we've stopped publishing new silk designs before they come back to us - not out of fear of being copied, it was more just the time constraint that it placed on us.

On the design below, however, I'd love to get some feedback. It's a repeat and it's quite loud and very different from anything we've done in the past. The basic themes I have been looking at recently are hand-drawing, square tiles, curvatures and graffiti. Graffiti is probably the most interesting area of design I have been using for inspiration. I have for some time been pulling down inspirational images from brick walls between New York and Rome (the Italians have a lot of graffiti) and also looking at pop/street art in that context - especially Jean-Michel Basquiat.

To say that there is a narrative to these designs would be a lie. I merely start with things that I find interesting or beautiful - as was the case with the ziggurats I spoke of earlier in the year. Once I have  found a well of inspiration, I draw as much water as I can before putting pen to paper or else pen tool to Illustrator artboard.

In the design below the focus was to make the centre piece fit right to the four corners to create a tesselation which joined at the four corners to create the print. The initial sketch was done using a stylus and an iPad, then it was exported into Adobe Illustrator where the shape was then vectorised. 

You will never be able to determine what the end result will look like but you have some idea. If the square is made too small, the nature of those sharp lines and cuts will not translate, if you make it too large, it will not repeat well inside the confines of a bow tie (all our silks are design with the bow tie in mind). 

Then finally the concern becomes the colours and what will work on warp and weft. You might be chasing something pop-ish but then you need to think about the end user and what he might be willing to tie around his neck and still be confident it will work with his suit and shirt. If you get it wrong, you may find you end up selling the last of the silk as eye-shades for wives and girlfriends. 

It's a tricky game, and one in which your confidence needs to be checked in case you've gone too far but then you can't be passive either, for playing to the crowd will make you like every other Tom, Dick and Harry. And, I never want any of our customers to feel like any old Tom, Dick or Harry.


According To One Source - His Best Work - Prince At The Capitol Theatre 1982

I had mixed feelings when Prince passed away. Part of me was sad, of course, because Prince was such an important part of my musical landscape growing up, and part of me was happy for him, because I felt he had a death which didn't require him looking tragic in old age.

Prince was most definitely a period piece. Even though some might say that his personal style was unique, it ultimately belonged to a period that has well passed. He is the eighties. He is the early nineties.

All of us perhaps want to have some long standing career where we are celebrated and recognised for all our contributions at each stage of our lives but when you look at most authors, writers, musicians, poets and artists, the truth is that most of us have very few tricks, and once we have developed them it is merely a matter of trying to reinvent ourselves with the same tricks over and over again. 

For Prince, he was sublime, magical, extraordinary in his time -  but then his time passed. At least now he gets to remain immortalised rather than some relic wheeled out at music festivals to remind us of what glory once looked like. Vale Prince Rogers Nelson, may you rest in eternal peace and thank you for the music. I shall remember you in the context of the meme below, young, cat like and sexually ambiguous.




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Where To Buy Luxury Phone Covers From - For Samsung And Apple Smartphones

It really bugs me when technology gets upgraded to a new device etc but the support systems for that service, software or device have not yet caught up. Such was the case the other week when I was offered a new phone and on receiving it I asked the sales clerk whether they had any cases to match the colour and design of the phone.

"This phone's really new so we haven't gotten in many options at the moment I'm afraid" and they give you that cutesy shrug that makes you want to punch them in the face but instead you just mimic them with the same sort of retarded face and say 'oh, that's a shame'"

In fact it's more than a shame. It means you are usually rendered with the most beautifully designed new device wrapped in a gigantic condom should you want the first iteration of covers. I had decided to run the gauntlet and let my phone sit in my pocket for a week commando. It was lovely and sleek but as is the problem with most of these phones today, the surfaces are so slippery that you can't leave them anywhere without watching them go flying the moment someone bumps the table, hits the brakes, slaps you on the back or asks you to hang on to their bag whilst they search for keys. It's plain old slapstick comedy. And with each time it hits the ground you play a game of probability, like Russian roulette, did I crack my screen or not? You retrieve your phone. Yessssss! I survived. But then, on that one day where you think that it hardly fell anywhere, it just so happened that it hit something on the way down and low and behold you have a cracked screen and you will do absolutely anything in the world to ensure it's fixed that very same day. 

So when you walk into the same store and the sales clerk, who by now forgot he even sold you the slippery sucker says in the same tone "this phone's really really new and we haven't yet got the screens in to replace them, and with that model, it might be like three weeks away and they're really really expensive screens to replace". Again, you feel like punching him in the head, this time twice, but instead you give him the same look as you scrunch up your face and say "really, such a shame, can you sell me a condom for my phone in the interim....".

Anyway, if all of this has not made your skin crawl then I don't know what will. The good news is I tried a new company the other week for phone covers and it's just plain old excellent. Caseology is designed in California but made in South Korea. The covers arrived and, well, whilst perhaps not as robust as my previous grey condom, I am finally at a point where there is a trade off between the functionality of a phone condom and an aesthetic that actually works with my razzle dazzle new phone.


Rose gold and blue cases for mobile phones amongst many other great designs. Excellent quality and I highly recommend them. From Caseology

The Caulaincourt Paris Trunk Show In Sydney

On the weekend I wore a pair of chelsea boots that I had done a custom  patina on and I must have had a dozen compliments. Mine were Gieves & Hawkes chelseas and the patina I had done took over 3 months to get right (I do it myself). Caulaincourt Paris, which is holding a trunk show this weekend at our Studio in Sydney can make you an even better pair. A stunning pair. A pair that will make mine look like child's play. There's no shill in this. I am not making a buck out of it. I would merely like my customers to have a chance to own a pair of these wonderful shoes of which they can custom select their patina colours. Caulaincourt also does patina in carry bags, belts, briefcases, wallets, passport covers and more, all of which can be ordered on the day. See some of their recent work here.

If you are conservative, they can still make you a pair of black Oxfords for the city - the kind that will turn investment banker heads that pass you, but to my mind it is the patina, which I think is so Australiana that I can't believe it's European, that I wish my customers to indulge in.

To sweeten the deal I will be putting out a whole bunch of brand new Moth of Sydney collared t-shirts that are just off the bench. Winter long sleeves, summer weights too. They will be on sale but as to the % discount I could not tell you right now. We'll also be offering 40% OFF all custom made bow tie and tie orders (normally 235AUD starting price) and 40% OFF any of our other stock you can find in the store including silk flowers, bow ties, ties, cravattes, fabric, shirting, shirt samples, smoking jacket samples, robes, braces, cummerbunds and more. Whatever you can find, just make me an offer. 

Caulaincourt Paris Australian Trunk Show
When : Saturday 30th of April from Midday till 3pm
Where : Le Noeud Papillon studio in Vaucluse (36 New South Head Road)
Price Range: 800AUD up to 2500AUD.




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Top Menswear Acquisitions In 2016 - The Pure Indulgences

Every year I consider all the things that I would buy if I had the money. Cars never feature heavily, nor do boats. I am skewed towards things I can put on my back, walk the street with or carry on me personally. Mostly I choose these things because they have low maintenance costs. Cars need tyres, oil, servicing, fuel and washing. Boats need anti-fouling, washing down with water, sanding, polishing and much much more. Indulgences shouldn't require so much work. So, here are a list of indulgences that require little active maintenance.


C'mon you know you don't need one but wouldn't you just feel the part in this robe. Think of a winter weekend away in the country, your slippers by the bed. The warm feeling of a real timber fire. Let's take it back to the Old World and switch off our phones and pull out out biros. It's reduced currently from 1795GBP to 995GBP - yes, I imagine nobody could afford them at their original RRP - but let me tell you that's a helluva lot of workmanship and English woven jacquard silk in one garment so don't be a tight arse if you have the dough. Indulge.




Around about now the autumn polo tournaments are being played across Sydney and if the sun is still shining you will find a fair few panama hats dotted amongst the lawns. So when they zig, why not zag with a navy panama hat from Borsalino. The price is $273.00 AUD




3. YSL Varsity Jacket 

It's not St Laurent without Yves but admittedly they are far more finger on the pulse with these sukajan style jackets than they were in the final years before Yves passed away. This is a hot look with jeans and either a sophisticated round neck t shirt in high grade jersey cotton or else paired with a white shirt. It's eye catching and the jacket is somewhat a mobile piece of art. Not for everyone, especially not for the conservatives, but very 2016. $2825 AUD

4. The Versace Bomber Jacket

You know what I like about Versace? It's unmistakeable. You may find it gaudy, you may think only Floyd Mayweather could pull it off, you may think it requires a Ferrari and 2 kilos of coke - but whatever you conjure up it's still wonderfully unique and very Versace and I have enough tizz in me that I could think of 20 ways I'd like to roll with this jacket on - but mostly if I did I would like Will Ferrell's character 'Gator' to walk side by side with me. 675 GBP from Harrods.

Based on the drawings and art of Alfonse Mucha, this limited edition Belle Epoch styled pocket square is hand-roll stitched and 1 of only 60 pocket squares. A fine white pocket square is enough for most men in life, but or those thinking outside the 'square' , consider this one. 


There are phones and then there are those models which gain some level of notoriety that even after the technology is dead and buried and the world moves on, people are still emotional about it. Nokia has had a few models, blackberry, iPhone - now Samsung has made their magnum opus, the Galaxy S7 Edge in gold. No, it's not a gimic. It is literally making design and technology work together in a symbiotic nature that changes the way you view a mobile phone. The software on the operating system works, the screen is magnificent, the camera is at another level. Of all the phones I have used in the last five years, this one stands out the most. Approximately $1200.00AUD



Made from woven Italian jacquard silk, these silk eye shades are completely encased in silk so that there is no irritation on your skin. The front eye patch is filled with a felted wool from South Australia that provides soft luxurious cushion for the silk. Wear them on an aeroplane, in bed, during meditation or when you simply want to shut the lights off. $100.00AUD



There are many reasons why Charvet shirts are so good, beyond the mystique of it's long-standing history coupled with it's famed patrons, and that is that a Charvet collar is built up by using shirting cotton. So, whereas the standard shirt collar you buy off the rack gets it's collar's stiffness from a fused interlining, a Charvet shirt is made by non-fused piece of cloth layered between the top and bottom piece of fabric. It's a trademark of the house. Getting a production shirt maker outside of Charvet to make a collar like this is a rare find, so hold onto the contact if you do find one. $652.00 AUD


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Here's Some Depressing News - Kate Bush Is 57

The other day a Sydney real estate agent with quite a sense of humour tagged me on an ad from News Corp's Facebook feed where they had unearthed a very funny ad from 1980 in Melbourne. The ad was for a shopping precinct that was called 'The Walk'. Words do not describe how funny it was, though obviously at the time it was no doubt serious marketing. The narrator's voice sounded more English than Australian and he described this mall in Melbourne as 'The Walk' where one could find 'a touch of Paris, the flavour of Italy, a flash of the Orient'. He continued to say that this precinct was 'a walk of fashion, a walk for elegant gifts, a fabulous walk through a world of exciting shops, The Walk, the international talk of the town' . It had me rolling on the floor for hours. My my, how provincial Australians were... you can see an excerpt of the ad here.

But, as usual, I digress. The sole reason I mention the ad was because it was made in 1980. 1980 was now 36 years ago. And it seemed from that ad like a whole other world. In fact, I remember the cars and the buildings and the way people were back then, and it saddens me that most of it has passed, never to come again. It got me thinking about things that I loved about the 1980's and one thing which stuck out was the song 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush. The song is still fresh today but Kate Bush seems to have been a period piece for me which, fortunately, we haven't had to watch her life unravel in tabloid magazines like some of her contemporaries of that time. That in itself has only ever added to the mystery I feel about this woman with her tussled dark brown hair and that essentially 80's look about her which seems distilled now - she was the thinking man's Kelly Lebrock a la Weird Science.  If Kate Bush is now 57, then this video below, shot in 1985, makes her 26 years old. Again, I don't mean harping on about it, I am no ageist, it just saddens me that that moment of time, distilled now, has passed.

How those years seem to have just whizzed by and how on earth did Kate Bush become 57 years old? For me, Kate Bush will always be the woman from her music videos. And I leave you this Sunday with one of my favourite songs of hers below. I do hope she comes to Australia again, I will most definitely go and see that show.

"C'mon, baby, c'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh..."

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems."

Silk Eye Shades - I Don't Understand Why Some Things Take So Long To Sell And The Argument For Bricks And Mortar

There is an argument for bricks and mortar stores that can be explained by witnessing a good salesperson on the floor engaging with a customer. Whereas us online retailers try our very best to emulate such an experience on our web stores; even going to the point, as I have seen recently, with 360 degree pictures of shoes on Saks' website, and, in the case of some of the others, a model walking in and out of your browser pane wearing the garment and doing a full turn so you can see it on all angles; none of this comes close to replacing a hands-on one-on-one approach between a well-versed salesperson and their customer. It simply cannot be replicated.

Which is why we end up having to discount so much of our silks online - mostly to entice customers to explore new patterns, shapes, geometrics or simply a new product. Below this week I was forced to spruik my silk eye shades. It felt ridiculous to have to do it, but seemingly no amount of enticement on the website, even by way of heavily discounting them, would get the ball rolling for our international customers.

In the store it's very easy to sell them. You simply ask the customer if they've ever owned a pair or used them on a long haul flight. Then you ask them to try them on. Already you've got them 75% sold. The silk is so soft, any ambient light is blocked out. They are so very comfortable, the customer feels a soft cushion wrapped in silk covering their eyes, what's not to like? Then I show fold them into a top pocket of a jacket and show them how they can be worn as a pochette with a sports jacket on a plane or with a smoking jacket to a wedding (see below). By that stage all you need to ask them is which colour do they prefer. Sold. 

Meanwhile on the web.... Customers look up and down an image. If you haven't deep etched it properly they think something is wrong with the product. If you didn't give them 55 angles of the product so they feel like they know it inside and out, they'll pass, because they don't want to take any chances, play it safe, this guy makes great bow ties.... what do I need silk eye shades for anyway?

The web is a wonderful place and it is filled with beautiful things being made all around the world, but it can never and will never be a bricks and mortar store. For that, thankfully, we have the Studio in Sydney, where we can serve our customers one on one.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jersey, A Fabric I Cannot Get Enough Of

Jersey is one of those fabrics that has enormous influence on our wardrobes and yet most people I come into contact with know very little about what goes into jersey in terms of fibres and how it is knitted.

The cloth's name is derived from Jersey in the Channel Islands where it has been knitted since medieval times, however, it's rise to prominence in Western fashion only came about from the early 20th Century onwards.

NB: What is the difference between a knitted fabric and a woven one?

A knit fabric is made from one continuous thread (much like the one continuous yarn in your hand-knitting) and it stretches all over. Woven fabrics, on the other hand, will only stretch on the bias.

As the world continues to become more and more casual, woven fabrics such as shirting cottons, loomed fabrics such as wool and jacquard fabrics such as silk, become less used in daily life. Jersey, which is also known for it's draping properties, is therefore likely to continue to rise in prominence.

Circular knitted jersey, as is seen in the video below, is often capable of weaving many different blends of fibres and so accordingly you find it has a wide range of uses in fashion. Most commonly we see jersey in t-shirts but the use of jersey is also seen in women's dresses, skirts, tops and casual trousers.

Of all of the applications that jersey is used for my favourite must be t-shirts and polo tops. The nature of jersey is that it has a great deal of stretch and that stretch means that it has great draping properties, giving a very relaxed and free flowing look for a garment. When the suits and shirts are off, there are fewer more relaxing and comfortable fabrics to wear around the house.

Whilst jersey can be woven in a multitude of fibres and was predominantly woven in wool at the beginning of the 20th Century, today fibres used can range from all manner of polymer based fibres, cellulose fibres, wools, silks, cottons and bamboo.

In my own experience, the best jersey fabrics are made of fine cotton and often the term 'Supima' , 'Egyptian' and 'West Indian Sea Island' cotton is used for the finer yarns used, with each referring to the the provenance of the fabric. Supima is a portmanteau of the words 'superior' and 'pima' cotton referring to cotton from the USA, Egyptian cotton is obviously from Egypt and  Sea Island cotton comes from the Carribean. There is also the Filosozia yarn of Italy which is offered to a select group of knitting companies. Each industry body marketing their cotton will make many claims about their product but it is up to the individual to work out what suits their skin.

In the past I have preferred pure blends of jerseys having found that mixtures such as silk and cotton or silk and wool can irritate the skin at times in the case of wool or in the case of silk where the fabric is too shiny and body hugging. And, whilst synthetic fibres can assist in the structure and movement of a jersey, they can also make garments smell after frequent use. Essentially, if you are looking for a great t-shirt, try looking for straight cotton jersey of a higher quality staple.


knitted sleeve cuffs left, and navy pure blend cotton jersey, right
cotton jersey fabric


Peter Overton Of Channel Nine News Wearing The Occasional Le Noeud Papillon Neck Tie

There is a certain level of satisfaction that comes from seeing your product on a celebrity journalist over and above a Hollywood or music industry star. Possibly it's because a journalist might cover an event or story that might become part of the national or world psyche which will mean that the footage will get sent to the National Archives in Canberra and perhaps one day you will see your tie on the anchorman as he reads out some historic news, perhaps something as tear jerking as the assassination of a President, or the elation that we have finally landed Elon Musk on Mars. 

We have done a tie for Peter Overton, current anchorman of National Nine News Australia, about two months ago, but I wasn't over the moon with the result. Peter subsequently came past the Studio the other day and collected a few more ties, some of which you will see over the coming weeks on the news. 

Now I have to pray for something significant to happen in the news so that the tie will live on long past it's shelf life.

A genuine thank you to Peter Overton for supporting our small Australian business.

Peter Overton of National Nine News Australia wears an 8cm neck tie from Italian mogador silk. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How Much Land Does A Man Need? Of All The Didactic Dialogues Of Leo Tolstoy, I Like This One The Best

There is something about land and buildings in Sydney, Australia that really brings out a great deal of lust and greed in even our best citizens. It corrupts our councils, it secretly fills the political slush funds, it makes our politicians bend in all sorts of directions and it fills so many hearts with pangs of regrets. If ever I have heard a story repeated more often by old men in Sydney it is the one of "I should have bought that building then.... I had so many other opportunities too, but all my money was tied up doing X, Y and Z".

In my heart of hearts I know that land and buildings are the key to amass a great fortune in Sydney, Australia and of the fortunes built in X,Y and Z there are a dozen great more stories of individuals and families that made their money in land and property. And when people/families make money in X,Y and Z they tend to cash out and buy property.

This city, which I love, seems to be undergoing a massive transformation as apartment block after apartment block rises from suburbs such as Mascot, Rosebery, Tempe, Wolli Creek, Pyrmont, Glebe, Darling Harbour and Broadway to name but a few. Up and up and up and up. Sure, it's not Hong Kong, there is plenty of construction that can keep going on for the next fifty years and they won't have built out the city. But where does it all end?

As I drove across Sydney today looking at some wonderful pockets of real estate that are unspoilt and under-valued, at suburbs not on the hot property market, not lying adjacent to a railway station, not ear marked for re-zoning, I remembered a wonderful story that was one told to me at Cafe Hernandez in Kings Cross late one night by a man who refused to buy property. I can still remember what he said "have you read 'How Much Land Does A Man Need ? ". I said I hadn't. He said I must, but with a conviction as though there was a message in it that I ought to heed sooner than later.

Don't get me wrong, property is essential for the functioning of an economy. We need it for shelter. We need it for controlled environments for storage, manufacturing, processing, distribution, commercial offices, retails spaces and much much more. We need functional property and accordingly we need land on which it needs to reside. But how much? And when can we expect growth to halt or die down? I recall once reading an economist who said that 'the only thing that grows endlessly without reason is cancer. '

Anyway, today as I drove through Sydney with the endless cranes and modern apartment blocks towering over places where once there were exceptionally beautiful waterways I could not help but feel a little sad and reminded of the character Pahom from How Much Land Does A Man Need and his final moments on earth. You can read the story here.

So Pahom hurriedly dug a hole, and turned straight toward the hillock. Pahom went straight toward the hillock, but he now walked with difficulty. He was done up with the heat, his bare feet were cut and bruised, and his legs began to fail. He longed to rest, but it was impossible if he meant to get back before sunset. The sun waits for no man, and it was sinking lower and lower. "Oh dear," he thought, "if only I have not blundered trying for too much! What if I am too late?" 

He looked toward the hillock and at the sun. He was still far from his goal, and the sun was already near the rim. Pahom walked on and on; it was very hard walking, but he went quicker and quicker. He pressed on, but was still far from the place. He began running, threw away his coat, his boots, his flask, and his cap, and kept only the spade, which he used as a support. "What shall I do," he thought again. "I have grasped too much, and ruined the whole affair. I can't get there before the sun sets." 

And this fear made him still more breathless. Pahom went on running, his soaking shirt and trousers stuck to him, and his mouth was parched. His breast was working like a blacksmith's bellows, his heart was beating like a hammer, and his legs were giving way as if they did not belong to him. Pahom was seized with terror lest he should die of the strain. Though afraid of death, he could not stop. "After having run all that way they will call me a fool if I stop now," thought he. And he ran on and on, and drew near and heard the Bashkirs yelling and shouting to him, and their cries inflamed his heart still more. 

He gathered his last strength and ran on. The sun was close to the rim, and cloaked in mist looked large, and red as blood. Now, yes now, it was about to set! The sun was quite low, but he was also quite near his aim. Pahom could already see the people on the hillock waving their arms to hurry him up. He could see the fox fur cap on the ground, and the money on it, and the chief sitting on the ground holding his sides. "There is plenty of land," thought he, "but will God let me live on it? I have lost my life, I have lost my life! I shall never reach that spot!" 

Pahom looked at the sun, which had reached the earth; one side of it had already disappeared. With all his remaining strength he rushed on, bending his body forward so that his legs could hardly follow fast enough to keep him from falling. just as he reached the hillock it suddenly grew dark. He looked up-the sun had already set! He gave a cry: "All my labor has been in vain," thought he, and was about to stop, but he heard the Bashkirs still shouting, and remembered that though to him, from below, the sun seemed to have set, they on the hillock could still see it. 

He took a long breath and ran up the hillock. It was still light there. He reached the top and saw the cap. Before it sat the chief laughing and holding his sides. Pahom uttered a cry: his legs gave way beneath him, he fell forward and reached the cap with his hands. "Ah, that's a fine fellow!" exclaimed the chief. "He has gained much land!" Pahom's servant came running up and tried to raise him, but he saw that blood was flowing from his mouth. Pahom was dead! 

The Bashkirs clicked their tongues to show their pity. His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to lie in, and buried him in it. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.

Leo Tolstoy portrait Source: Wikipedia


Sunday, April 3, 2016

One Knot At A Time - A Review / Testimonial In Favour Of Le Noeud Papillon's Black Majestic Bow Tie For A Groom And His Groomsmen

The below testimonial was received from a groom in Sydney who was particularly happy with our Majestic Black. Like many Australian men of recent, he has made the switch to self-tying bow ties and it is not just another feather in our cap but for men around the world. An argument was raised on ABC 702 last week as to whether a black bow tie should be included on a list of 10 things a man must own. I was not there to listen first hand, the story was relayed to me over a beer. My friend said "and then James Valentine and Richard Glover debated the merits of whether you should tie a bow tie or not, and Valentine said 'who wants to tie their own bow tie anyway?'

There is a war that I fight with Australian men like that each and every day. I cannot explain exactly why there is something culturally significant / sophisticated about knowing how to tie your own bow tie, but I can say that looking at men in photos that wear pre-tied bow ties, the evidence is obvious even if the exact words escape me. 

Consider tying your own bow tie. Or else, if you think my opinion is skewed, consider what Tom says below and regard the confident stride of the groom and the groomsmen:


I wanted to say a big thank you for your beautiful bow ties. It is great to see Aussie businesses with so much passion in their product.

The Majestic Black bows looked great at our wedding. I had never worn self-tying bow ties before so I have now taught myself to tie them up. I have now decided that I will never wear a pre-tied bow tie again!

Thank you again.

T. Messenger, Sydney, Australia



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Beware The Pied Piper Of Hamelin

In my business life I have seldom reneged on my commitments to contracts and terms of trade. Occasionally I stretch things out past their due date if I can and if I have troubles with cash flows in particular parts of the year I let my suppliers know so that I can allay their fears about payment or having offered credit.

I would never venture to say I was the noblest of businessmen, I make poor decisions regularly and I often have a pragmatic 'trial by enough errors' approach in business rather than purporting to be the brightest spark in the room. So far in life it has got me thus far, what exactly defines 'thus far' I could not tell you, for I fear if we don't get to sell our businesses and assets when we are most confident about them then we might be severely thrashed by the gap between what we thought we were worth and or had created and what we were sold down for. 

The thing that really galls me in small business is managing supply lines and making sure that those that do work with you understand and respect your boundaries and your needs. But over time those lines are always blurred and recently one such exchange happened where, frustrated,  I felt that our work had been brushed aside whilst the supplier concentrated on milking other corporate customers and had ignored not only our production timetable but also our production quality. Clear instructions were ignored, phone calls and emails were not answered. Then Christmas. Then silence through January. In February when the supplier felt like things were slow enough, they produced the items poorly, as noted, and then demanded payment upfront before shipment. A stalemate ensued.

Recently on a morning walk a brothers Grimm story was re-told to me concisely by a friend. The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, not that it necessarily has any bearing on my own recent experience, but it does remind me of what happens when relationships go south and toxic. In a nutshell the story is this:

Once upon a time there was a town in Germany named Hamelin that resided next to the banks of a river. The citizens were for the most part honourable and over a number of years the town had grown very rich from good trading and good resources. 

Then one day, the strangest thing happened. The town was infested by rats. They were eating through everything, the timber in the houses, the food in kitchens, pantries and cellars. The cats that usually took care of the rats could not handle the growing population of fatted black rats that swarmed the streets without the slightest fear. For if one rat was stomped down, another replaced him. 

The city elders, lead by the Mayor, called a town meeting. They thought an army of cats might quell them but the cats were now being killed by the swelling numbers of rats. They thought they could poison the food supply but the rats had eaten their way through all the food they could find. The village elders hung their heads in dismay and saw nothing but a bleak future. Then, just when they thought they would have to pack up and leave the town, in marched into the village The Pied Piper wearing a brightly coloured ensemble with his magical pipe. 

"So you have a problem with rats ay? I will remove all the rats from this village for a thousand guilders. Do we have a deal?"

The townsfolk were so happy that they said "we'll do anything to get rid of the rats" and the Mayor added "yes, if you can get rid of them we'll give you fifty thousand guilders! Why it's a cheaper price than giving up the whole town!"

So the Piped Piper took him up on the offer. The following morning a heavy fog descended over the town but the lofty haunting sound of the magical pipe pierced the morning air. All the rats began to follow the sound and as the fog lifted the villagers looked out their windows to see the Pied Piper slowly walking through the town and the rats were all in tow. He continued to walk down to the river until all the rats had followed him into the water and either drowned or else were sent on a long journey down river. By midday there was not a rat left in the town.

The Pied Piper presented himself at the Mayor's office for payment. "I am here to collect my fifty thousand guilders" said the Pied Piper softly. But the Mayor returned "I saw how easily you did that and the rats are all dead. You're kidding if you think that's worth fifty thousand guilders!". 

The Pied Piper was astonished. "Are you serious?" he asked searching the Mayor's face. 

"Quite!"said the Mayor. 

"Well then at least pay me the original fee of one thousand guilders" said the Pied Piper who was becoming visibly distraught.

"No! Here is fifty guilders and that's about as much as we will pay you for such a service. Now be gone!"

The Pied Piper's eyes were enraged but then he calmed himself and said simply to the Mayor, 'I can assure you, all the people of Hamlein will regret this".

The following morning an even heavier fog laid siege to the village than the day before and a chillingly haunting tune could be heard piercing the thick air from all the houses in the village. All the children began to rise from their beds and they walked out into the streets, enveloped by the fog, their eyes glazed over with grey, and they began to follow the Pied Piper who marched through the thick fog out of the town, through the adjacent woods, into the forest and out the other side to the base of a huge stony mountain continuing on around the base until they came to the mouth of a giant cave. 

The Pied Piper walked all of the children into the cave and then a rumbling began and a huge slice of the mountain began to slide down until the entrance of the cave could no longer be recognised at all. Only one small boy who had tripped some kilometre back, struck by a rock unconscious, had woken to see the carnage. He made his way back to the village to recount the story of the fate of all the little children of Hamelin.

It would take some years before the sound of children's voices flourished in the streets again but the memory of the town's loss would never ever be forgotten. 

I am not entirely sure how this applies to my rogue supplier, but needless to say, I think the residents of Hamelin learned to keep to their commitments after that. 



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Join The Mailing List - It's Worth It

Sometimes we offer our mailing list subscribers limited time code offers which give up to 70% off selected items when we are over stocked on one bow tie or we want to free up cash tied up in a very unusual silk so we can move onto another design. We are small and growing, so we can't always afford to hold onto a silk which is perhaps a design too outlandish for our American surgeons, or too purple for an Australian intellectual. Really, it pays to be on our mailing list.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required