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

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Sneak Preview To Crown Heights

It will be some time before I complete my article on Jewish tailoring of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York, as a lot of my writing will need to be approved for publishing and there are a lot of interesting facts that I need to check with a Rabbi in Sydney. However, I thought I might share with you just one image from my visit to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The first item to note is the traditional fedora Borsalino hats and the second is the coats which are worn by Jews all over the world but more frequently in New York. The coats are called 'kapotes' and they are often made in or near the shops that sell the coats. Because the Jewish population of each city is usually limited, for example, approximately 40,000 Jews reside in Sydney, it is not uncommon for Jews of Australia to source their kapotes and fedora hats from New York directly where there is a larger Jewish population and businesses which specifically cater for Jews. More to come on that later.

The suburb of Crown Heights in Brooklyn is yet another part of New York which seems to come from a movie set. The number of black and white dressed Hasidic Jews casually walking the street is surreal for a first timer. It was an absolute pleasure to be shown around by my contact Zalman who took me to a deli to try herring with jalapenos for my first time and then on to meet some of the interesting characters of the community. Had I known that herring was so good to eat I might not have rejected it at shabbas dinners in the past. Specifically I can tell you that I ate Benz's herring which I got from here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hello From Killington, Vermont

My girlfriend is writing an article on Vermont for the Australian newspapers. The exact angle she is taking I am not able to disclose but needless to say I think it was one of the reasons she insisted on driving the car from Manhattan to Killington yesterday evening. We arrived in the dark and she negotiated the snowing roads with trepidation but with the kind of stoicism you would expect of an investigative journalist. Last night I knocked myself out with a sleeping tablet at 6pm and this morning I awoke to this. Beautiful Vermont! I quickly searched the internet and found Moonlight In Vermont and I began to play it from my phone to wake my sleeping princess. Pennies in a stream, floating leaves, a sycamore, moonlight in Vermont! 

Oh and by the way, the old lyrics 'telegraph cables they sing down the highway and travel each bend in the road' was actually true in many areas we passed. Vermont, it is nice to finally meet you!

Dawn on December 24th 2012 in Killington, Vermont

Rose Callahan Dropped By

It was a pleasure to finally meet Rose Callahan of the Dandy Portraits. Rose was able to drop into town to meet me. We talked the many different varieties of silks and different weaves and chatted on the various ways in which you can cut and make bow ties, ties and pocket squares. In the end, and very unexpectedly Rose said 'we could also take some photos of you too if you like' and I was only too happy to run into the other room and get changed. An opportunity like this, to be in the Waldorf with the Chrysler behind, and one of your favourite photographers in front of you - these things don't happen too often.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let's Hear It For New York

I have now been in the city that never sleeps for 4 days and I have had to use sleeping pills to get some. It's so fast, it's so interactive, it's so jam packed that having a free moment to breath only feels like a wasted moment. I am typing this all out on my iPad. I decided not to bring my computer this trip to save some weight but in hindsight this upsets me because I can't share right this moment some of the momentous insights I have had into this city. But I will summarize.

1. Jewish tailoring of Crown Heights, Brooklyn

A contact in Sydney put me onto a lovely guy here called Zelman who met me in Crown Heights. It is an Hasidic neighborhood full of character but no so much colour since everything is mostly black and white with the Jews of New York. Fascinating and far more intricate than meets the eye, I was taken on a tour of work rooms which make kapotes of wool and silk and of wool and silk blends (these are the black coats worn by Jews). I was then taken to a hat store where I saw hundreds of Borsalino fedoras stacked outside the shop awaiting to be stocked on shelves and sold to Jews before Chanukah . The photos are phenomenal and over the coming weeks I will share with you what was a privileged experience. I will elaborate on some of the ins and outs of Jewish tailoring and the origins of their dress at a later date.

2. Shloime of AM Bespoke

I also met with AM Bespoke, a custom suit maker which operates in Crown Heights. They go directly to clients and although catering to a Jewish clientele offer everything from kapotes right through to the latest fashion trends with an excellent finish quality. Their go to client approach means that they offer all their designs from vector graphic illustrations on iPads rather than the traditional model of measuring that a tailor employs.

3. Dressing for New York

Nothing prepares you for the cold if you have not already done a New York winter. One of the most important things I could recommend for Australians is a decent overcoat. It is the one item which lets thos sartorially minded that you know what you are not a tourist. And gloves. I never knew there was so much choice in the world of gloves.

4. Tim Vernon Moore In Soho

Yesterday I caught up with Australian contemporary artist Tim Vernon Moore who is just finishing up on his latest collection. Walking the streets of Soho, I had a very Nick Nolte New York Stories moment as I glimpsed not only the world of an artist in New York but I was lucky enough to see one of the few authentic art studios which still remains in Soho.

5. Saks 5th Avenue

If I could recommend one department store over all the others it would be Saks. The department store had the best service, the best selection and the quietest atmosphere despite the hectic rush of the season. The Internet can never kill retail when it is done like this. Go straight to the 6th floor.

6.  Alexis Zambrano of Monsieur De Phocas

I have talked about the duo of Alexis Zambrano and Jesus Torres before but for the first time I met Alexis in person. He has an amazing style, perfect waves in his hair and his first collaborative design with Le Noeud Papillon for bow ties proved very successful. Keep an eye out for them. They are going big places.

7. Rose Callahan of the Dandy Portraits

I was fortunate to finally meet Rose Callahan of the Dandy Portraits. We talked silk and bow the styles and then I was privileged to be shot by her. More of that later.

8. Christmas In New York

Something must be said for the way in which New Yorkers all pitch into make Christmas exciting. We could very much learn from the way in which New Yorkers make everything sparkle and shine during this festive period. Retailers make beautiful window displays, decorate every wall, every ceiling, public space. Walking the street is a visual pleasure that entertains you and keeps you in the Christmas spirit even when its dark, you are zapped of energy and you are cold to the bone.

More to come.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Looking For Screen Printers!

Are you a screen printer and want to be featured on our blog? 

We are looking for anyone who screen prints, or hand paints on silk as part of their business. We are looking specifically for people who set up their own designs, print their own work and produce men's or women's accessories with their output. You would be willing to share some of your expertise with our readers and provide images of your completed work. Enquire at

New York State Of Mind

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips For Travelling Over Long Distances

I was packing my bags tonight. It was 11 years ago I arrived in New York on a freezing March day and the steam was billowing up from everything just like you see in the movies. New York for me is one of those fascinating cities where art and life coexist to the point that they meld into one another. The fire truck sirens begin to sound like hip hop, the 6th precinct police station looks uncannily like the set of NYPD Blue and there goes agent Gonzalez to get coffee. I can remember being held up at knife point in New York outside the loft I rented on the corner of Broome and Crosby. A black man helped me into my apartment as I was trying to open the door to carry inside a desktop computer. I thanked him and he walked away. Later he returned to the door and knocked. He asked if he could borrow a quarter and when I opened the door he put a knife to my stomach and told me to give him everything I had. Unfortunately for the chap, I had only 50 Australian dollars on me and at the time the exchange was only 2 to 1 - and he wasn't interested in my credit cards. The poor bugger just held up the wrong guy. Later I was told to present myself at the 6th precinct where a fella that was called O'Rourke (I mean, how do they make it just like the movies!!!) had a thick moustache and glasses and he coughed and splattered all over the table and accused me of knowing my attacker and that I was involved in some drug related debt. I won't tell you what he said to me after that, but it struck me as disagreeable. I was then asked to look at almost three thousand pictures of similar looking men to the description I gave on an old donkey of a computer using a 56kbps modem. Every one of the photos had captions like 'wanted for murder' or some such thing. It was really the first time I understood that interaction in the US between art and reality that seems surreal to someone who comes from a country which doesn't really have a similar melding dichotomy between the people and the stories they tell.

 .... Back to travelling tips.....Tonight I tried to recall what I wore and one thing sprung to mind, boots! There are so few times in the Australian winter in most of our cities where you need boots. Tonight I packed two pairs of R.M Williams riding boots (chelseas), one pair of Berluti Warhol's, no loafers, one pair of sneakers. I am keeping it light this time. I want to force myself to purchase something whilst I am over there. When it came to jackets I took a navy blue Corneliani jacket with a zippered waistcoat built in, one cream flannel evening jacket (the wool came from Will Boehlke at A Suitable Wardrobe if you ever saw his post about getting it made to order in Somerset, England), one big brown faux suede and faux fur lined jacket, one Harris Tweed jacket with suede lapel and mandarin collar. Pants wise I went for one pair of red wool, one blue birds eye wool, thermals and jeans. White jeans. I like them in the winter. I am totally not sure if I am unprepared or not, but one thing I do remember is this - no matter how light you pack, one or two items will be the majority of what you wear the entire trip. You will come back to them time and time again as your comfort clothes and bugger all the rest of them unless it's for something specific. All that jibber jabber aside, here are a couple of tips I have to offer for when I travel.

  1. Take a 6 point power pack so that one adapter will convert into 6 power points. Might look ridiculous in your bag but your girlfriend will thank you when she can blow dry whilst you charge your phone and hers.
  2. Take a shirt bag and use it as a wash bag.
  3. Use your old shoe bags as clothes bags as well as shoe bags. Okay, so you buy your expensive loafers and they come in nice little shoe bags with draw cords. These are the most ideal bags for stuffing underpants, socks, shoe horns, knick knacks and so on.
  4. Take a padded envelope for your bow ties, ties and pocket squares.
  5. Load and unload. It's always good to bring the bag up to full, then think about it, then pull stuff out. The very act is annoying and it makes you think 'I don't want to be doing this all the time, especially not with this item here....'
  6. Be sparing with your toilet. Honestly, if you are at a hotel, they usually have decent products in the bathroom. If you are staying with friends, they usually have ear buds. If you are travelling somewhere built up, whatever it is you need is best not packed but picked up or borrowed along the way.
  7. Pack for the flight from hell. That means whatever it is you are taking on the plane should take into account screaming babies, dry eyes, dehydration, body odour and, well, it must be said, no man should spend too much time in one set of underpants. You know what I mean. If you don't, well done for having super plumbing.
  8. Eat well on the aeroplane. It is the most shocking aspect of an international flight that altitude plus the crap they serve as food can make you look like a bloated fish at the other end. That being said, it gets so boring sometimes that that crap seems to be an oasis in a desert of boredom.
These little tips especially apply to poor old Europeans and Americans who are coming to Australia. We Australians are at least used to having to suck it up over long distances.

Good night.

Bond Nostalgia

Every now and then you come back to something which you are very fond of and you fall in love all over again. Such is the feeling I get for You Only Live Twice and the opening credits featuring Nancy Sinatra's cover. For me, nothing beats this Bond. Although coming back to it now I can see through many of the special effects and little nelly seems rather amusing, contextually as a younger man it filled me with endless inspiration. Take a look at this excerpt I found on You Tube and let me know if you agree. I liked this movie so much so that I named one of my recent bows 'Tanaka' after our man in Tokyo.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Best Christmas Card I Got This Year

Laurent Lemoine and his team from Dormeuil Australia sent this Christmas card. A man in Central Park in a white overcoat with a bow tie walking his black and white dalmation. It is amazing that a small thing like a well thought out Christmas card is enough to bring a smile to your face.

Instructions On How To Tie A Windsor, Four In Hand, Shell And Half Windsor Knot Tie

We are still teething on these ones and we may refine them over the coming months, but here is our guide to tying your favourite knot. More to come.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Comedy At It's Best - Jackie Mason On Sex And Marriage

Tonight I was having a hamburger with Oppenheimer and we were talking about comedy. He said that I ought to watch more Jackie Mason and then because his wife had taken his hard-drive to work, he was having to surf his You Tube on his apple tv rather than his movie folder. As we were searching we stumbled upon a young Jackie Mason talking women, sex and marriage.

The Journey Of A Bale Of Wool From The Australian Farm To The Italian Mill

Last week we had the pleasure of talking with Dom Knight on the topic of the journey of a bale of wool from the Australian farm gate to the Italian mill. It went longer than we expected but many listeners enjoyed it and we hope you find something of interest too. A big thank you to my anonymous friend from Italy that has been helping me put together this information.

The Expression 'Reaching Out'

As a last thought before I get some shut eye, another American expression which I had almost never heard of but which seems to be popping up more and more as I deal with Americans more frequently is the expression 'reaching out'. Specifically, the expression was used when referring to making contact with an American magazine. The email came back 'Thanks for reaching out to us'. It is very similar to the word 'epic' which younger Americans seem to also use very liberally. My question is 'is this a subculture use of an expression and indicative of a demographic or is this an epidemic that has spread across all the states of America?' The thought that every time I contact someone I am 'reaching out' really disturbs me because the only time I want to 'reach out' to somebody is when I am depressed and calling a lifeline or else being handed a life float from a lifeguard. This new bastardised form of the term, to me is on par with another term I like to use but in a different context and that is 'reach around'. In fact, I would venture to say that people who use the term 'reach out' too loosely and commonly can give me a 'reach around'. As for 'epic', I would like to reserve that term for watching a David Lean film.

You Don't Understand How Much We Absorb Of Your American Culture

The other night I was watching Homeland and they continued to refer back to Langley without saying 'The CIA Headquarters' or 'CIA HQ'. You are just expected to know that Langley is in Virginia and it is where the 'George Bush Centre For Intelligence' is because you watch the Homeland series and because you saw the Bourne series too. But mostly because Americans know that they are the number one television and movie making show business in the world and that pretty much everyone subscribes to their culture through iTunes, Pirate Bay and cable television. It did make me laugh, because when I considered the alternative, that if Australians had an 'ASIO' television show (our equivalent CIA) then not even Australians would know what the equivalent 'Langley' was. In fact, I could not even tell you where ASIO is located in Canberra. Such is the power and nature of the American film and television industry, that I know more about your cities than I do about Adelaide, Perth or Brisbane. In fact, when the floods hit Brisbane a couple of years ago and a floating bar was dislodged and sent down the river I thought 'oh, that's right, there is a river running through Brisbane'.

Coming back to my original point. Take the masterpiece of Woody Allen, Annie Hall, and listen to the dialogue between Allison Porchnik and Alvy Singer.

Allison: I'm in the midst of doing my thesis. 
Alvy Singer: On what? 
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature. 
Alvy Singer: You, you, you're like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y'know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself. 
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype. 
Alvy Singer: Right, I'm a bigot, I know, but for the left. 

Now, if you didn't know anything about American culture, specifically the lives of New Yorkers, then this would seem absolutely left of field for you and you might switch off. Tonight, I unmasked one of the elements of this diatribe, the reference to Ben Shahn drawings. Ben Shahn was a Lithuanian born American artist. The theme of his work is described by Wikipedia below:

" Ben Shahn’s social-realist vision informed his approach to art. Shahn’s examination of the status quo inspired his creative process. Although he often explored polemic themes of modern urban life, organized labor, immigration and injustice, he did so while maintaining a compassionate tone. Shahn identified himself as a communicative artist. He challenged the esoteric pretensions of art, which he believed disconnect artists’ and their work from the public.As an alternative, he proposed an intimate and mutually beneficial relationship between artist and audience."

I am going to post some images below of Ben Shahn's work but I am putting an offer out to you since I am heading to New York shortly.

If you can explain the context of the reference to Central Park West, Brandeis University and why 'liberal' is followed by 'socialist summer camps' then I will send you a free bow tie for Christmas.

This would be a chance for me to understand what the hell you Americans are often saying in your films and television series which we humble Australians have to spend days if not years adjusting to.



It's a small world…  I was watching Annie Hall again on Sunday afternoon, and the part you mentioned, the Woody-Allison meeting, is one of my favorites.

The "Central Park West - Brandeis University - liberal - socialist summer camps" bit all have to do with the way that Jews who lived in New York City grew up. 

I don't know how old you are, but certainly from the 1930s through the 1970s (and perhaps later, 'though I don't know for sure), it was normal for white kids in large cities of the US north-east ("New England") to go to summer camp, for anywhere from 3-to-6 weeks.  In the early 1960s there was a big hit in the US called "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh" which parodied this summer regime.  The song starts out, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, here I am at Camp Granada…" and goes on from there.  ("Muddah" and "Fadduh" would be New York-ese for mother and father.)

Jewish kids, of course, went to Jewish camp, and as the New York City Jewish community was, generally, left-of-centre politically, the summer camps were left-of-centre - hence, the socialist tag.

Brandeis University easily fits into this New York City Jewish arc.  Louis Brandeis was the first Justice of the Supreme Court who was Jewish.  Politically he would be considered clearly to be left-of-centre, and was an early supporter of Zionism.  Brandeis University, a private liberal-arts university located in the Boston metropolitan area, is named after him.

Woody Allen movies are windows to so many things, most of them windows onto Allen himself.  Whilst Annie Hall is, on the surface, a love story, a movie about the relationship between Alvy Singer and Annie Hall (that is, about Woody Allen and Diane Keaton - and as you know, Diane Keaton's real surname was Hall), it's also, I think, a movie about Woody Allen's relationship with himself...specifically, his Jewish self.

Throughout the movie Alvy/Woody is laser-focused on how Jews are treated - or mistreated.  Think about the long tracking shot early in the film, when Alvy and his friend Rob (Tony Roberts) are walking down the sidewalk, going to play tennis (when Alvy first meets Annie).  Alvy cites a long list of alleged anti-semitic remarks that colleagues say to him ("…he didn't say 'Did you eat?'; he said 'Jew? Jew eat'…" and so on).  In that regard, the film is one long riff on the classic Borscht Belt jokes, jokes that book-end the movie.

In fact, the Borscht Belt is a good place to end my post.  Do you know "the Borscht Belt"?  It was the name for the area in upstate New York which was a popular summer resort spot for Jews from New York City.  That just about brings the circle full-closed, I think.
Well, does this answer qualify?
Regardless, I hope that you have a wonderful holiday.
All the best,
PS: I also watched "September" this past weekend, which I completely forgot about.  I love Woody Allen's comedies, but his less-comedic movies I might love even more.=

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Great Song For Christmas

I discovered this song on a folder that came from an American girl who was doing a summer in Sydney two years ago. She taught me about American football and commented that Australian advertising was in the dark ages. She skipped town shortly thereafter and I have never seen her again. A week ago I was so tired of the music in my car that I dragged and dropped her folder just for some change and in the process I discovered Brett Dennen. Although he doesn't look like a prophet, he sure sings like one.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Happy Customer, Sydney, Australia


OMG, they're gorgeous!!!
They just arrived. Thank you so so much they are super amazing. You're
so kind to have fitted me in.

Thanks so very much and merry Christmas.


K. La Palombara, Sydney, Australia.

An Eternal State Of Flux

The hardest thing to do is to adapt to the constant changes that occur in the world around us. Just three days ago I was told that an old friend's mother had an aggressive dementia setting in and that soon she would be put into permanent care. It brought back so many memories of gathering around their family dinner table and breaking bread as the noise from conversation escalated. At the same time, news travelled past my ears that a couple I had known for years had decided to split after three decades of marriage. Life is a moving picture that waits for not one member of the audience and it demands us to adapt and change to it's whim, scene by scene; and the end, well, it's always the same ending for each and every one of us. As the year concludes I am now once again with more free time to contemplate the nature of existence and what on earth is my purpose on this tiny little planet somewhere in an absolutely incomprehensibly large universe. I hope to get through these times with good friends and good food. I wish you the most splendid of Christmas' and may you too enjoy every moment together because you never know when you may all be able to gather around the table again, or laugh like hyenas about something completely nonsensical, or eat until you must unfasten a button. Merry Christmas and may you be filled with good Christmas spirit.

Dandy Portraits 'Dandy' Wellington' Video By Rarebit Productions

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Traditional Wool Barathea Bow Tie Using Holland And Sherry Wool

As you know, we have built our reputation on Italian made silk but from time to time we experiment. A few people had noted that we didn't stock some of the other kinds of fabrics which are currently being offered around as bow ties. We are NOT going to join the foray en masse but we are going to offer barathea wool bow ties for those steeped in tradition and in doing so, we came up with Walter, 3 posts below, which is a silk and cashmere wool mix bow tie. In using these more traditional fabrics we have used Holland And Sherry wool which as far as cloth goes, is one of the oldest cloth companies still standing today.
Coming soon to

Declan, A Paisley Silk Bow Tie In Red

Coming soon to

Arturo, Using Holland & Sherry's Black Tie Elite Paisley Silk

Coming soon:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Walter, A Silk And Cashmere Bow Tie

We have never been ones to venture into wool bow ties, but since this Holland & Sherry fabric was both cashmere and silk we thought 'why not?'. One of 5 available after the sale concludes, I would consider it a collector's item since we cannot afford to keep this kind of fabric in regular production. Coming soon to:

What We Are Working On... L'Artisan Huit

A few weeks back I pulled apart a number of ties to work out how I wished to move forward in 2013. I had accumulated ties in my travels and I wished to first see what the rest of my peers out there were doing before I made my decision. There are many elements to a tie which people who make ties won't tell you about. I will rank them for you in terms of importance for me. Here are my top 5 important elements to making a tie.
  1. The right kind of fabric. You cannot turn any old fabric into a tie. You can, but the tie will suffer because of it. Too light and you will see through to the interlining or it won't tie nicely or else it will just feel very poor in your hands. Too thick and it can become unmanageable. You want to steer away from polyester and the materials of my choice are: 1. silk, 2. merino wool, 3. cashmere wool
  2. The right kind of interlining. From my experience, even the ties which are folded upon themselves, what we know as 6 fold or 7 fold ties, require an interlining. There are very few instances that I know of where the silk has been folded on itself with no interlining. If I am wrong, you may argue with me in the base of this post. That being said, which interlining you choose depends on the fabric. So in order to make a great tie you must have at least 12 different linings on file. This is usually a sunk cost which tie manufacturers wear which makes it difficult for the average joe to get into tie making. Of all the interlinings I have worked with, the double brushed wool interlining I have from the Netherlands is probably the most alluring and versatile. However, I have recently been experimenting with a wool and polyester lining by working with an Australian manufacturer of tie interlinings. Unfortunately, at this stage I cannot divulge my contact but no doubt if you keep reading the blog you will eventually find out my source.
  3. The right pattern. Every tie is made from a pattern. Developing those patterns takes time. The easiest way to develop a pattern is to first take apart your favourite tie and then make any changes you want. Ties used to be so expensive that you wouldn't dare do something like this, but these days you can find a very well made tie very cheaply from brands which don't care where their ties are manufactured.
  4. The right needles, the right threads. If you truly want to make a great tie, you are going to need to do a lot of running around and research. You will need a minimum of two thread types to complete the tie. In our ties currently we are using three. One will work the bar tack. One will work the tipping. One will work the slip stitch.
  5. The right kind of hands. My hands are much better at creating words and then typing them on a blog page, so when it comes to doing the physical work, I rely on people with greater expertise and skill. It is about knowing your limitations. If you don't know how to get fancy on your needlework, if you fingers do not have any callouses, then consider employing someone else to do the job.
And now I present to you my latest addition to the family. L'Artisan Huit - an 8cm tie made in the 'artisan style' with hand-stitched tipping, hand-stitched slip stitch, hand-folded, hand bar-tacked, hand everything really except for joining the front and rear blades. Could I do this? No! Not with my own hands. It has taken a great deal of time to first pick the right silk, a natte or basket weave silk, the right lining, an Australian merino and polyester mix, the right threads from Gutterman, the right pattern (this took about 6 weeks to develop) and the right seamstress. I have said enough. I will let you decide. Without further ado....

Friday, December 7, 2012

Really, Don't Miss Out.

As you know, we are nearing the end of our SALE. It was our Christmas gift back to you, the supporters of Le Noeud Papillon. As the SALE draws to a close, please take note of our current stockists here. After the web store closes on Monday these are the only places you will be able to find our products until we reopen in January. In Sydney, we recommend the team at Claude Sebastian in Martin Place and The Strand Hatters in the Strand Arcade. You can also order our bow ties through Patrick Johnson tailors in Paddington although they keep a smaller range of bows. In the USA, you can find our products through A Suitable Wardrobe and Tie Deals and in the UK, search for Exquisite Trimmings which also have a very fine range of gloves, ties, pocket squares and other men's accessories.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

They're Not Online But They Are In Store

Fords Pharmacy is selling limited edition Le Noeud Papillon bow ties coupled with Bresciani socks in gift packs for Christmas 2012. It is a very good man present. I believe they are roughly $120.00 for both the socks and the bow ties but you would need to go in as I have not been sent pricing information. They have two stores, King Street in Newtown and the MLC Centre located just below Bruno Cuccinelli.

A pair of over the calf socks and a hand tied bow tie - not bad as a man gift for Christmas.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New Ties Just Off The Bench

Literally made one at a time and no more than one or two ever in stock, these ties are very unique, made from a huge amount of silk and one day, we hope anyway, they will eventually be collectibles. If you find any of the silks on our website worthy of your next tie, you may request we cut a tie in our patterns for you. We keep on file a 7cm, 8cm, 9cm 6 fold and skinny 4cm tie pattern. We also offer a complete bespoke service at an additional price.

A Happy Customer From Ohio, United States Of America

Mr. A

Thank you for the update.

Wanted to also tell you how impressed I am by your product. Not only your eye for fabric and design but the presentation is just stunning as well. After my first order, I realized what the "modified" butterfly was all about, with the straight top edge which really makes the tie sit perfectly relative to face and collar.

Really well done.

All the best with the business, hope to be back in February for a robe and more.


J Harris, Ohio, United States Of America

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Happy Sydney Customer

Hi Nicholas,

Just wanted to thank you for your help with the bow ties. The Saxon went really well with the grey suit and I got a lot of comments at the wedding I attended. The ties are of such a good quality, nice to tie and very nice to wear. I really admire the business you've developed, I hope it's going well for you.

My friend Oliver said he spoke to you on the weekend, he also sent me a photo of the suit jacket! Loved the post about it.

J Keeler, Sydney, Australia

A Loyal And Happy Customer From England

Reproduced with permission:

Oh my dear Nicholas,

Thank you so much for the extra bow tie......

The Morris denim arrived - as if that wasn't marvellous enough.... but to discover the other bow in with it, that was just too much!

In fact, I have to admit: the Morris tie on your site...the photo doesn't do it justice (just didn't capture that shimmer to the fabric), so it never really caught my eye. It was only when I saw the diamond point version on another site with a terrific photo that captured that almost-mohair look.... That's when I fell in love with it. 

As I said to Tomas in Bogota (another LNP customer), this is my Christmas present to myself! - and I am well pleased with it.

Thank you again so much,

R Frensham, London, England

Friday, November 30, 2012

Funnily Enough, You Can Do Most Of It At Home

All the products we consume are mostly made up of little tricks that culminate in one big trick that makes you think 'Oh, my, I couldn't make that, how wonderful, I'll take it!'. When you break it all down, it's usually very simple processes added one on top of another until you look back and you think 'magic' to yourself, but it was really just putting one foot over another in the manner in which it is best done. The same could be said of dancing, woodwork, car making, music composition and cooking. Layer upon layer of refined techniques which usually are not that complicated at the most basic level, but, put together in the right technique over a number of stages make us marvel. I am beginning to repeat myself so I will come to my point. I had a lesson on my new sewing machine the other day. I asked many questions and they were all answered succinctly and visually in a row. 'You mean to say, I could make my shirt from start to finish on this machine?' - Yes. 'You mean to say that I could make a pair of jeans on this machine'? - Yes.

When it comes down to it, it can all be done by hand. So, adding a machine is just an extra workhorse.

Even the bow ties we sell, as much as I would love to tell you that they could not be made by anyone else, they can. A sewing machine, the right tools, the right silks, the right linings, the right metal clips - if you can source it all and you know how to make a pattern, it can all be yours. I do not advocate everyone giving up their weekends to sew their own clothes, but it is food for thought. Especially for Australian men, if you can't find what you want in a store (and is often the case Down Under), consider getting a sewing machine and making it yourself. You will get a great sense of enjoyment out of the process and you will create something uniquely yours.

Enjoy your weekend.

Carlo Riva Cotton Shirt, Red Woollen Trousers Using Holland And Sherry Cloth

The Australian summer 2012/2013 - a pop over and red pants combination
This is my latest adventure. Red pants and a tartan pop over shirt with navy loafers. It's a little unorthodox but the Carlo Riva fabric is light and airy and the pants were a stark contrast. It's hot, so you can't wear a tie.  The pop-over with the grandpa collar is the easiest alternative when it starts to get muggy and you don't want to wear a t-shirt. As for the red pants - well, they're made of Holland & Sherry wool and they could not be cooler despite the heat.

If Woody Allen Were To Die I Would Weep Like A Child

Oppenheimer the other night said 'did you listen to the soundtrack to Midnight In Paris?' and I hadn't. The music began and I was transported through all the nostalgia of Woody Allen's films from Radio Days to Annie Hall, The Purple Rose Of Cairo, Everybody Says I Love You, Hannah and Her Sisters, Whatever Works and on and on, the clarinet of Sidney Bechet just drifting you through the annals of his masterful film making and I almost wept like a child. Nobody can capture nostalgia like Woody Allen. When I first watched Annie Hall I was studying for my HSC exams and I switched off from my English studies to turn on the television. Diane Keaton and Woody Allen were walking through the sandy heaths of Long Island and I just fell in love with it instantaneously. The dialogue, the characters, the flow. In one small moment I became a lifelong disciple. I then told Oppenheimer about it and subsequently that is just about all we do with our lives now - wait for the next Woody Allen film and talk about his body of work so far.

Incidentally, the film below is close to my heart. In 2007 I spent 4 months in Paris and during that time I struck up a friendship with Owen Wilson who at the time was hanging out in Paris. I had the pleasure of cycling around Paris with Owen, going to jazz clubs, nightclubs and I believe I was the first person to take him to the Brasserie Lipp. I probably remember a lot more of it than old Owen, but nevertheless, when this film came out I could not help but feel that I had somehow played my own part in it. Enjoy the music of Sidney Bechet below and don't be ashamed if you too weep like a child recalling fondly all the memories of the cinema of Woody Allen and entwining them with your own experiences.

To read more about Sidney Bechet, click here

PS: Si tu vois ma mere - translates to 'if you see my mother' - how Woody!!!

Corporate And Uniform Bow Ties

Okay, so we rarely do corporate work but these just came off the work bench and I think they are incredibly fun. The team behind this business was after something 'fruity' and fun for their staff in a high end juice bar environment. In the end we had to re-design our existing tie your own bows to try and make them look as tied your own as a a pre-tied could look. It would have been nicer to get them to tie their own, but as  the owner of the business rightly said, the staff were still finding their feet, to ask them to learn how to tie a bow tie might be a bit much at this stage. Do you like these bows? You can enquire for something similar on 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Send someone a very special gift this festive season, one which they can't get anywhere else.
We, and when I say we I mean my lady and I (do I write 'me' here or is it 'I' ?), are off to New York for Christmas. I am off to stay with an old friend from Paris who moved back home to Manhattan post the GFC and then I am off to explore Vermont for a couple of days to see whether I can bear the cold. It has been a terrific year for us, one which we owe completely to our customers who give us a mandate to continue our work by buying our products.

This year our customers have come from the Ukraine, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Brazil, USA, Mexico, China, Canada, South Korea, Italy, France, Spain, Colombia and many more countries that I cannot remember off the top of my head. And then of course, my fellow Australians. To all our customers I say a very big THANK YOU.

During the course of this year we have expanded our product range, our silk suppliers, we've developed new products, challenged what can be done in a Sydney workroom, taken a quilting course, learnt how to embroider, discussed many sartorial topics with Dom Knight on ABC 702 and kept a blog about it the entire year. If anyone had ever told me that business could be exciting  I would have told them that they had rocks in their head. When I was a young man I worked in a newsagency and all I did in the morning was take the money for the newspaper and hand back the change. I vowed that I would never want to work in the realm of retail... but as the business grows, I think perhaps this might in fact be on the agenda for 2013.

Have a merry merry Christmas and we look forward to hearing from you in 2013 if not before.


Monday, November 26, 2012

My Girlfriend's Christmas Pillow

In order to appreciate this image you would probably need to expand it. This is the culmination of my new skill set having taken my stitching classes for two weeks. I cut by hand the rectangular repps silk (the best stuff for bow ties but now it has a new application) and then I used my new sewing machine to work the panels together. Tie silk is very hard to manipulate and having now worked with the sewing machine a bit more I have a new found appreciation for the workmanship that we do get out of our workroom. My number one seamstress, Linda, is often complaining about working with some of my new and fancier designs for bow ties and from here on in I might lay off a little. It really is difficult to get silks to work on squares, so you can imagine the difficult in getting concave and convex shapes right. To finish the pillow off, which took me a good forty five minutes to stuff, I hand sewed my girl's first initial into the bottom right and then finished off by hand stitching the label into the top right corner. It is the final cushion in a string of practice cushions I did over the weekend which became gifts for unsuspecting recipients. Were they happy? Yes, I think so, and what is more, a pillow is a nice gift for a girl so she can appreciate our silks without having to wear a tie.

The Simple Tricks Are Often The Most Useful - Sewing A Straight Running Stitch

I was having a lot of trouble sewing straight. I didn't come from a sewing background and I have had to learn everything I know all on my own. The other day whilst stopping in to see my tailors -who have created nearly all my custom made silk and wool jackets and have been so supportive no matter how ridiculous my ambitions - I was given a short lesson on how to sew a straight running stitch using a needle and a thread alone. Below I present to you old blue eyes, Frank the tailor.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Xmas Ensembles At Claude Sebastian, Martin Place, Sydney

Admittedly, I have never been a fan of the name Claude Sebastian, it sounds a little flowery and faux francaise for my liking but it apparently has a story which revolved around some dandy wandering around the  streets of Paris. However, it was Claude Sebastian that gave me my first break a few years ago when the buyer, a Persian named Sassi Jazani, after initially dismissing my idea that 'bow ties were coming back', took one of my velvet mayfair bow ties out of my hand and said 'Now that's a bow tie!'. Over three years I have watched them work slowly to build up the brand and it's placement inside the store. On Friday I popped in to see what looks they were running for Christmas. It was a pleasant surprise see that we were on every second mannequin and nestled amongst the Paul Smith and Valentino. Not bad for a kid with not one iota of fashion or textiles knowledge three years ago.

The first bow tie we sold Claude Sebastian - a velvet mayfair

Our silk grenadine ties

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fresh Off The Press - New Carlo Riva Cotton Shirts

I had no idea that a roll of fabric that is wound on a piece of timber is called a 'bolt' but you learn something new every day and occasionally I get an email from the oracle of menswear, Will Boehlke of A Suitable Wardrobe. It was a rejection of an invitation to purchase a length of my Carlo Riva fabric from me. His response was 'that's okay, if I need some, I will just order my own bolt' and then I quizzed him on it and his response sounded like 'Kid, you got a long way to go'. I sure do. Every day I learn something new in this game and the knowledge levels are like layers to an onion. You penetrate one level, then you have a thirst for the next layer and so on.

In the meantime, enjoy what we have put into play with our recent Carlo Riva bolts.
Blue white stripe voile with curved cutaway collar and band detail
Tartan yellow blue and white voile with grandpa collar on a pop-over shirt

If You Were To Give Something Different For Christmas... I'd Choose This

If you were to give one gift this Christmas that was different, and really, I do not need to sell this because they will no doubt be sold out in two weeks, but if you were, I would suggest the limited edition 'Speakeasy' range of felt hats from Akubra designed by the duo of Robert Caroll and his nephew Richard Caroll of 'Strand Hatters' fame. The colours to pick, in my humble opinion, are wine (pictured below) or the navy with grey trim. Like I said,  I don't need to sell these as they will most likely be sold out soon enough, but they have just arrived and I am telling you readers so that you get to them before they are gone. Anecdotally, Akubra hats are still made in Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia - so you are supporting something home grown.

Ingmar - Something Special For The Man Who Knows His Bows

So, an anonymous person left a remark under one of my posts on velvet bow ties and he said that I ought to try doing one side in silk and one side in velvet. Unfortunately, despite our best attempts, we still cannot feed the bow through our existing clip sets. As a compromise, we've created a made to order number as a single piece bow tie. That is, black mogador silk on the one side, black silk and cotton velvet on the other. Luxurious, you can get two of the best bows out of it. Either a velvet with a silk half knot, or a silk with half velvet knot. The choice is yours. We were going to name this bow tie 'Anonymous' but then I thought of black and white films and that wonderful Swedish film maker Ingmar Bergman and I couldn't help myself. 

How could this bow tie be anonymous? 

Magnus Omme Returns To His Work

Following our successful portraits in Sydney with photographer Magnus Omme, I could not give up an opportunity to work with him again. Magnus is now on an assignment to photograph the best and most interesting people of Scandinavia featuring our bow ties. His first submission is below. Follow more of Magnus' work here.

Anchors bow tie and Leo bow tie - available through

Chefs Ola Rudin & Sebastian Persson 

After a stint exile to New York and Stockholm Ola and Sebastian have set up their base in Malmö, south of Sweden. With the world as their kitchen, they often travel to inspire and teach food lovers about the New Nordic cousine. After their first success, gourmet restaurant Trio, they are now working on their new project, Saltimporten Canteen, which is located in the new hip industrial harbour of Malmö - 

Quilting Is No Stitch And Bitch

I said to Christine Mitchell, the woman who has been really helping me the most since I started on my quilting  odyssey, that if it weren't for her I would have given up ages ago. 

If I had my time again, knowing what I know now about the art of quilting, the time it takes, the planning, the patience, the skill sets required, I would have been tools down after the first bell and never come back. It is the fact that Christine has assisted me and broken the back of some of the stages of work that has allowed me to stay with it. 

Tonight she had sewn the last of the panels together which I had sewed with her last week using a sewing machine. Tonight the process we were working on was called pinning and basting. As to what was what, I could not tell you. (I think it could be a typo. Could have been pinning in which case I now know what she meant). What I can tell you is that we were doing a running stitch to each end and then a single back stitch. We were attempting to bind together the quilt, the wadding and the backing together to prepare it for quilting (the art of sewing the layers together using a design). The class began at 6pm and went until 8pm at Hobby Sew in Ryde. To be frank, I was so slow on the hand work. Christine was zooming around me using her A game whilst I was sluggish and stabbing myself  over and over with the needle. Eventually she handed me a spoon to help me get the needle through the three layers and to prevent me from putting any more blood on the quilt. I am going to post a photo below, because it actually looks like we were getting into the Harry rather than doing any quilting. I have to be honest, if I were to do another major quilt, I might get stuck into the Harry before hand just to make the time go a little easier. 

It's not a Stitch And Bitch, it's more like a Sweat And Get Stabbed In The Finger kind of affair. At one stage Christine said 'oh, don't you complain about a little prick, wait until you get a needle up under your finger nail'. I almost fainted at the thought. 'You won't go around saying that tailors are wussies anymore'. I never did, but yes, it should be said, don't discount the number of times your tailor stabbed himself getting your suit made.

Yes I am balding, but concentrate on what I am doing with the stitch work.

A better angle

The quilt almost ready for quilting....

Not what it looks like, that spoon is there to help raise the needle so you can pull it through. No, we don't use China White at quilting. 
See my dainty fingers and be jealous. I am a man of needle and thread these days....

What Thor Wore

Thor wore a skinny batwing from Le Noeud Papillon of Sydney
Honestly, I cannot keep up with the who's who but I did notice this as I was sitting with my shirt maker the other day. He buys all the magazines when they come out to see what's happening in the world of shirts. I was shocked that we were included in the GQ shoots. For three or four years I'd gotten so stroppy every time the GQ advertising rate cards were offered to me because not once had I been featured in their magazine yet they were always asking for advertising dollars. Someone must have finally taken heed or else they couldn't find anyone else with the product. I don't mind if it's the latter either. It's just nice to know that finally they are including product from their own countrymen. So, perhaps the cold war between myself and GQ is ready to 'Thor'??? Shocking I know, but it is late at night and I am ready for bed.

Not Bad, Looks Like My Attitude Towards GQ Is About To Change...

Australian actor Richard Roxburgh wearing a black mogador silk bow tie from Le Noeud Papillon . Many of you may remember him as the patron of the Moulin Rouge, but in my eyes his greatest performance was as the cold blooded police detective Roger Rogerson in 'Blue Murder'
Nicholas Littlemore, right, wearing Le Noeud Papillon marcella bow tie.

The chap second from the right is wearing our bow tie
His name is Wayne Blair and he is wearing our Premium Black bow tie. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fresh Custom Made Shirts Off The Press!

These just came in today for private clients in Sydney. We used a selection of Monti 200, Monti West Indian Sea Island Cotton and Canclini Lusso fabrics to create a range of predominantly white business shirts with these additional colours made as part of the client's order. As an additional detail, the client requested non contrasting initials to be placed at the centre of each cuff. If you are interested in making your own shirts, please do not hesitate to contact us here .

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Time To Take A Chance On The Lucky Dip!

Lucky Dip - Receive A Tie, Or A Bow Tie, Or A Scarf, Or Cufflinks Or Any Other Item From Le Noeud Papillon's Lucky Dip. Some Customers Will Receive A Lot More Than That.... It Just Depends On The Weather, On Whether, On Wherever We Are At... So, Give It A Go!!