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

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Shirt Is An Extension Of Your Personality

Make No Mistake.... 

We've been very lucky with our strong Australian dollar. It has meant that cloth which used to make a luxury bespoke shirt start from $400.00AUD upwards, has come down to as low as $275.00AUD. Cloths from companies such as S.I.C Tess, Canclini, Monti and Carlo Riva were once upon a time unheard of in Australia. Technology, the internet and digital ordering systems and faster and more flexible courier services have helped change the landscape of custom made shirts. Coupled with our high dollar, there has never been a better time for an Australian man to indulge in the luxury of a custom made shirt. 

Your Details On File: 
The benefit of using our shirt service is that you don't have to worry about the sizing. Once we have done your template it sits as a CAD drawing on our computer system and every time you order a shirt we just press click and print. For some of our customers we keep up to 4 patterns on file. From day casual shirts right through to the intricate nature of business shirts and evening dress shirts, we have you covered for all occasions. Better still, when your details are on file and no changes are needed to your pattern, you can order fewer shirts the second time around. 

 The Bespoke Or Custom Process Versus Made To Measure: 
A bespoke or custom shirt is a shirt that is made from scratch to the measurements of the customer. The difference between a bespoke and a made to measure shirt is the time taken to make the shirt. With respect to a made-to-measure shirt, only elements of a block (the sleeve length, the length, the cuff size  and collar size etc) are changed. In a bespoke or custom shirt, over 10 measurements are taken at the first fitting, coupled with a try on shirt process to identify tweaks and changes needed before final completion. We do, however, offer a made-to-measure shirt service with over 19 try-on shirts available and a reduction in the price of the shirt; but we truly believe that for an authentic long term relationship, you should choose our bespoke service. 

The Benefits Of Great Cloth:
Only a man who wears a fine cotton shirt can truly appreciate the role of the shirt maker. When a shirting cloth is like cardboard you seldom see the difference between a finely tailored shirt and one which is off the rack. It is only when you see the draping effect of a fine cloth that you can suddenly appreciate all that went into making your shirt fit. This year we are still working from Canclini's Lusso collection as well as our limited bolts of Carlo Riva fabric available in white, light blue, tartan and blue white stripe. 

Personalise Your Shirts:
Our shirt maker is one of the best shirt makers in Australia. He knows it too. So when we set about making your shirt, every aspect of it gets looked over and we are mostly happy to do any detail you want. Whether you like your French cuffs, whether you want a contrasting satin ribbon inside your collar or whether you want your initials embroidered in the centre of your cuff, we can and we will do it. 

Choose The Silk Of Your Tie To Match The Cloth Of Your Shirt And Jacket:
We now have a huge amount of silk on hand. Choose from over 100 rolls of silk from the world's top silk weaving companies to find a personalised tie to suit your needs in one of our 12 tie patterns or 19 bow tie patterns on hand. And if you think you know better than us, bring your favourite tie and we can match the shape.Feel free to contact us with your questions on

The 2013 Limited Edition Gift Box From Le Noeud Papillon - Sydney

Our new gift boxes will be used for our limited edition and premium bow ties. It features a blood red matte exterior and a red and white polka dots lining. Exclusive to

Monday, January 28, 2013

Custom Wedding Ties And Bow Ties

A few weeks ago I was called up on a Sunday night to organise the ties for a friend's wedding. The brother of the groom selected the silk and we cut the groomsmen 5 ties at 8.5cm and the groom an alternative silk using a white ribbed silk with light blue polka dots in a 7.5cm tie. It took 4 days for us to finish the ties and they were all hand-finished in our Sydney workroom. All in all, the bridal party was on of the most handsome lot I had seen in some time. It was nice to have played a part in it all.

It is of course no trouble at all for us to make you a custom made tie from our silks on - all you have to do is ask.

NB: The delightful last minute choice of the groom's sartorially inclined brother from navy to marine blue was a real smash hit. It was that subtle point of difference which was one of the conversation points of the day.

In The End I Did Something Completely Different

Greetings from Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia. This weekend I attended the wedding of a friend and I chose, well, not really chose, I was more 'instructed' to wear a bow tie to match the dress of my girlfriend. I hid the red satin bow tie from her and tried to suggest something reddish but she shook her head. Then as we   were moving everything around she spotted the red satin bow 'what's wrong with that one, that's perfect' she said. The game was up. It was of course perfect for the ensemble and in hindsight I don't know why I put up the fight. Maybe it was because I was concerned that eventually my outfits would be laid out for me like Oppenheimer's wife does for him. A man and his own clothes. It is our last refuge. You may take away my opinions, you may re-decorate my man-cave but please please let me choose my own clothes!!!

In the end I went for a panama hat, my new Graz octagonal sunglasses, a Le Noeud Papillon bone coloured suit, a Le Noeud Papillon Carlo Riva royal oxford shirt, cream Albert Thurston braces from A Suitable Wardrobe and a red satin Le Noeud Papillon bow tie and a pair of Berluti Warhols on my feet. This may be one of the last occasions when I can mention these things without writing 'she laid out for me a pair of slacks by.....". 

Honoré, A Bow Tie For The Chic French Set

The best way to describe this bow tie is that it is a burgundy or wine basket weave on a black satin ground with white polka dots. The silk just arrived in Sydney and is, for the time being, exclusive to . I am not a stylist, but if I were to proffer any advice on how this bow should be worn, I would suggest it went with a white shirt, a white or cream coloured jacket, some braces, a pair of shiny patina shoes in burgundy, a polka dot pocket square, a big panama hat. Something like this. And then, well, to finish it off, you must walk the streets of Paris somewhere near the Rue De Seine and drink rosé whilst talking about some other exotic place you had just come from using your finest French with an international english accent somewhere behind it. Good luck living up to my expectations - it will probably cost you a lot more than the bow tie.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1 or 2? Choosing A Winning Combination.... Or Not

1: Choose a contrasting colour to the pink. Throw in a white collar super curved cutaway shirt with a Canclini 2013 blue stripe fabrics, and a bow tie of navy ground satin silk with pink paisley..... OR

2: Use a red and white stripe shirt to go with the red hues on the pink jacket with the reddish pocket square and the crimson in the bow tie and offset it with whites and creams in both the shirt fabric, the collar and the bow tie. These are the dilemmas one suffers whilst other people out there have genuinely difficult problems to navigate through. My dilemma is not really a problem - I know which one I will probably go for. I just would love to know what you think out there, because when I first started pairing it up I thought the blue was summer fun. But I am leaning to the reds now.

Romeo, Just Released Today

Exclusive to

A New Quote From Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac was considered the father of 19th Century French dandyism. He had the following to say about the bow tie (which he referred to as a “cravate” as the neck-tie had not been invented at that stage and so there was no need for the comparative term “noeud papillon” ):
Firstly:«Ce n'est ni par étude ni par travail qu'on arrive à bien ; c'est spontanément, c'est d'instinct, d'inspiration que l'on met sa cravate. Une cravate bien mise, c'est un de ces traits de génie qui se sentent, qui s'admirent, mais ne s'analysent ni ne s'enseignent. Aussi, j'ose le dire avec toute la force de la conviction, la cravate est romantique par essence ; du jour où elle subira des règles générales, des principes fixes, elle aura cessé d'exister.»
(Traité de la vie élégante: Physiologie de la toilette, 1830)
My own translation:“It is neither by study nor by effort that one is successful; it is spontaneously, by instinct and by inspiration that one ties his tie. A tie well tied is one of those traits of genius that is felt and admired but never analysed or taught. I would dare to say, with all strength of conviction, that the tie is romantic by nature: The day that it submits to static rules will be the day that it ceases to exist.”
Secondly:«En effet, de toutes les parties de la toilette, la cravate est la seule qui appartienne à l'homme, la seule où se trouve l'individualité. De votre chapeau, de votre habit, de vos bottes, tout le mérite revient au chapelier, au tailleur, au bottier, qui vous les ont livrés dans tout leur éclat ; vous n'y avez rien mis du vôtre. Mais, pour la cravate, vous n'avez ni aide ni appui ; vous êtes abandonné à vous-même ; c'est en vous qu'il faut trouver toutes vos ressources. La blanchisseuse vous livre un morceau de batiste empesé ; selon ce que vous savez faire, vous en tirerez parti : c'est le bloc de marbre entre les mains de Phidias ou d'un tailleur de pierres. Tant vaut l'homme, tant vaut la cravate. Et, à vrai dire, la cravate, c'est l'homme ; c'est par elle que l'homme se révèle et se manifeste.»
(De la cravate, considérée en elle-même et dans ses rapports avec la société et les individus, 1830)
My translation:“It is true that, of all the aspects of one’s dress, the tie is the only one to belong solely to men, the only one where a man can find his individuality. For your hat, your clothes and your shoes, all the credit is owed to the hatter, the tailor and the cobbler who have delivered these things to you in all their finery. There is nothing in them of yours. But, for the bow tie, you have neither help nor support. You are abandoned to your own devices. You must find whatever you need in yourself. The laundress leaves you with a heavy piece of fabric and you must use what knowledge you possess to make something of it. As though it were a block of marble between the hands of Phidias or those of a stonemason, a tie will only ever be as good as the man that wears it. In all truth, it is the tie that makes the man as it is through his tie that a man’s measure is revealed.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

From M. Burton, Perth, Australia - Regarding Millhauser On Tom And Jerry

Hello Le Noeud Papillon,

Sorry for sending this to you in an email; I am not a Facebook user. Anyhow, there is a pretty cool quote within a short story in a recent collection ("Dangerous Laughter") by a guy called Steven Millhauser (who until I read "Dangerous Laughter" I had not heard of, but who has in fact previously won a Pulitzer Prize). The story opens the collection and is called "Cat 'N' Mouse" and is a slightly absurd blow-by-blow description of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, containing such magnificent lines as:

The cat understands that the mouse will always outwit him, but this tormenting knowledge serves only to inflame his desire to catch the mouse. He will never give up. His life, in relation to the mouse, is one long failure, a monotonous succession of unspeakable humiliations; his unhappiness is relieved only by moments of delusional hope, during which he believes, despite doubts supported by a lifetime of bitter experience, that at last he will succeed. Although he knows that he will never catch the mouse, who will forever escape into his mousehole a half inch ahead of the reaching claw, he also knows that only if he catches the mouse will his wretched life be justified. He will be transformed. Is it therefore his own life that he seeks, when he lies awake plotting against the mouse? Is it, when all is said and done, himself that he is chasing? The cat frowns and scratches his nose.

Anyway, the quote in question, which I think perfectly encapsulates the impossible coolness of wearing the exact right bow tie, occurs when the mouse assembles a robot female cat to entrap the cat, and the cat falls in love with the robot on sight and is instantly transformed into a dandy:

The mouse is standing at his workbench, curling the eyelashes of a mechanical cat. Her long black hair is shiny as licorice; her lips look like licked candy. She is wearing a tight red dress, black fishnet stockings, and red high heels. The mouse stands the mechanical cat on her feet, unzips the back of her dress, and winds a big key. He zips up the dress and aims her toward the mousehole. In the living room, the mechanical cat struts slowly back and forth; her pointy breasts stick out like party hats. The cat's head rises over the back of the armchair. In his eyes appear hearts pierced by arrows. He slithers over the chair and slides along the floor like honey. When he reaches the strutting cat, he glides to an upright position and stands mooning at her. His heard is thumping so hard that it pushes out the skin of his chest with each beat. The cat reaches into a pocket and removes a straw boater, which he places on his head at a rakish angle. He fastens at his throat a large polka-dot bow tie. He becomes aware of a ticking sound. He removes from his pocket a round yellow watch, places it against his hear, frowns, and returns it to his pocket. He bends close to the face of the cat and sees in each of her eyes a shiny round black bomb with a burning fuse. The cat turns to the audience and then back to the dangerous eyes. The mechanical cat blows up. When the smoke clears, the cat's fur hangs from him in tatters, revealing his pink flesh and a pair of polka-dot boxed shorts.

Anyway, sorry for the long email! I always enjoy reading whatever is posted to the LNP blog and, as you so obviously do also, I love to read and I figured at the very least that you might find a fair bit of enjoyment in pursing the work of Mr Millhauser!
Have a great week,

M. Burton

A Literary Quote From C. Stavrianou, Sydney, Australia

This comes from C. Stavrianou, Sydney:

The cat (Behemoth) in The Master and Margarita facing interrogation from Satan / Woland regarding his choice of attire to Satan's ball:

"What the devil do you need the bow-tie for, when you're not even wearing trousers?"

"A cat is not supposed to wear trousers, Messire," the cat replied with great dignity. "You're not going to tell me to wear boots, too, are you? Puss-in-Boots exists only in fairy tales, Messire. But have you ever seen anyone at a ball without a bow-tie? I do not intend to put myself in a ridiculous situation and risk being chucked out! Everyone adorns himself with what he can"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Casa Nero - A Dual Sided Bow Tie For The Super Playboy

In order to own this new bow tie of ours I would venture to say that you not only have to have the means, it costs $175, but you need to have the panache and the attitude to pull it off. Made from silk and cotton velvet on one side, black mogador satin silk on the other, with an adjustable rear band which allows you to alter the size of the neck, this bow tie is not only a little more difficult to hand tie because of the velvet, but you need to treat it carefully since it is made of some of the best silk and velvet you can find on God's Green Earth. So, if you think you have the following, please consider adopting it into your next ensemble:

1. You can tie your own bow tie
2. You can tie more than one shape of bow tie
3. You have delicate hands which know how to handle velvet
4. You are a lady killer
5. You own a stellar tuxedo
6. You are not into fads but like a classic bit of elegance with a bit of panache
7. You drive a sports car
8. You don't use condoms

(Okay, the last one was tongue in cheek but it reminded me of Austin Power's comment that condoms are only for 'sailors').

Enjoy your weekend.

An Excerpt From The Boy Who Never Grew Up By David Handler

He looked me over top to bottom. I wore the glen plaid double-breasted cashmere suit I’d had made for me in London by Stricklands. There was a fresh white carnation in my lapel. The white cotton broadcloth shirt and burgundy-and-yellow silk bow tie were from Turnbull and Asser, the silver cuff links from my Grandfather, the cordovan brogans from Maxwell’s. My trench coat was over my arm. My Borsalino, freshly blocked from the fall, was on my head. I did not look like any of the others. This he couldn’t deny. Grudgingly, he gave my name to the doorman, who gave it to the desk.

Literary Quotes On Ties - More From T Molina, Colombia

Another great quote was sent in my Tomas Molina of Bogota in Colombia:

This is about one of the great bow tie wearers of the XX century: 
Vladimir Horowitz:

"Mr. Horowitz is reluctant to dwell on his birthday. ''You just tell everyone you came here, I'm still alive and that's all,'' he says impishly. As is his custom when receiving visitors, he is dressed in stylish formality: an off-white afternoon jacket, striped shirt, suspenders and a green bow tie with blue and red polka dots. Horowitz began collecting bow ties in the 1950s, and at the time of his death, his collection was said to number nearly six-hundred."

NB: To see more of these quotes as they stream in, log onto our Facebook page here

Literary Quotes On Ties Continued. F Scott Fitzgerald's Early Work

F Scott Fitzgerald From His Early Works

He watched her for several minutes. Something was stirred in him, something not accounted for by the warm smell of the afternoon or the triumphant vividness of red. He felt persistently that the girl was beautiful – then of a sudden he understood: it was her distance, not a rare and precious distance of the soul but still distance, if only in terrestrial yards. The autumn air was between them, and the roofs and the blurred voices. Yet for a not altogether explained second, posing perversely time, his emotion had been nearer to adoration than in the deepest kiss he had ever known.
He finished his dressing, found a black bow tie and adjusted it carefully by the three-sided mirror in the bathroom. Then yielding to an impulse he walked quickly into the bedroom and again looked out the window. The woman was standing up now; she had tossed her hair back and he has full view of her. She was fat, full thirty five, utterly undistinguished. Making a licking noise with his mouth he returned to the bathroom and reparted his hair.
“To you… beaut-if-ul lady,” he sang lightly.
“I raise…. My eyes – “
Then with a last soothing brush that left an iridescent surface of sheer gloss he left his bathroom and his apartment and walked down Fifth Avenue to the Ritz-Carlton.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Neck Tie And Bow Tie Literary Quotes; A. Byrne

A second quote has been sent in by A. Byrne, Sydney.

Salman Rushdie, "The Moor's Last Sigh", page 150

Within days he had moved in; no formal invitation was ever issued, but one way and another he stuck around for thirty-two years. Aurora treated him, at first, like a sort of pet. She unhicked his hairstyle and convinced him to stop trimming his moustache, and, when it grew luxuriant and long, to wax it until it looked like a hairy Cupid’s-bow. She got her tailor to run up his outfits for him: broad –striped silk suits and huge floppy bow-ties that convinced le tout Bombay that Aurora Zogoiby’s new discovery must be a raving queen (in fact he was a genuine fifty-fifty bisexual, as many young men and women in the Elephanta circle would learn over the years). She was attracted to his huge appetite for information, food, work and above all pleasure….

Neck Tie And Bow Literary Quotes; Tomas Molina, Colombia

Sent In By Tomás Felipe Molina, Colombia

The following quote is from E. Waugh (Brideshead Revisited, of course):

"He was tall, slim, rather swarthy, with large saucy eyes. The rest of us wore rough tweeds and brogues. He had on a smooth chocolate-brown suit with loud white stripes, suède shoes, a large bow-tie and he drew off yellow, wash-leather gloves as he came
into the room; part Gallic, part Yankee, part, perhaps Jew; wholly exotic".

Neck Tie And Bow Quotes #1 A. Byrne, Sydney

Sent In My A. Byrne, Sydney, Australia

An Excerpt From Martin Amis, "Lionel Asbo: State of England", page 118:

There was laughter from the three representatives of the Fourth Estate. This laughter went on for longer than usual – because Lionel did in fact quite closely resemble a bingo caller. His tuxedo, true, and his vast trousers were impeccable and super accurately cut; his buxom bow tie was no elasticated clip-on but a fine length of schmutter (Eamon, who earned his living in a bow tie, showed him how you looped it); and the shoes, at ten thousand pounds apiece, performed as expected – two padded floats of glistening ebony. On the other hand, only an unusually confident and sexually secure bingo caller would have consented to wear Lionel’s shirt and waistcoat. The waistcoat was of canary-yellow suede, with turquoise buttons. And the white shirt was an impossible orgy of vents and flounces (his hands were only just visible beneath the ruches of its cuffs). He slowed as he lit a cigar, saying,
‘Here, lads, I got one for yer. What’s got lots of balls and screws old ladies? …. A bingo machine!’
‘You won’t win a hundred and forty mil on the bingo, Lionel’.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Calling All Bookworms!

We are looking for the most riveting descriptions of neck ties and bow ties in published novels, poems or short stories. 

Find your most exciting passage describing a bow or neck tie from your most cherished author and post it on our wall. The three most riveting descriptions will each win one of our most recent silk bow ties. We kick it off with Guy De Maupassant's Bel Ami - GOOD HUNTING!!!

Our Facebook Page:

Some authors you may consider searching through: Evelyn Waugh, Guy De Maupassant, Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Virginia Wolfe - You name it, chances are they wrote about a neck tie or bow tie at some point. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

An Excursion Into The World Of Jewish Tailoring In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York

It was a cold and dark morning a week before Christmas in New York City when Rose Callahan and I got to have a talk at my room at the Waldorf. I could have stayed all day talking to Rose but I had to cut the meeting short to hail a cab and set out for my next journey.  I was en route for Crown Heights, which had been described to me as a Hasidic Jewish neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York that I must visit if I wanted to see Jewish tailoring in New York. 
It was my first time back in New York since 2001 so I was quite lost as my Nigerian cab driver took me across what I now believe to be the Brooklyn Bridge. We passed the new Barclays Nets Centre which was pretty damn special and I struck up a conversation with my driver about the cost of living in New York. He was adamant that if you knew all the angles, you could live New York on the cheap.
‘You can get a 3 dolla lunch in Chinatown, nobody gonna tell you that, but you can. I eat there all the time’. Don’t ask me how I came up with that as a Nigerian African American accent but that’s what I had in my notes. I was busy trying to get one decent photograph of the journey but it was cold and I was losing my enthusiasm as we wore on and Crown Heights did not appear immediately as we crossed over into Brooklyn. I started to have that nervous trepidation that new tourists get ‘hey, is this guy taking the piss?’
Eventually we pulled up at 1561 Union Street in Crown Heights. I was about to say to the driver that I was concerned that it wasn’t the place but he pointed once to the building number, rather emphatically, and then he drove off. It certainly did not look like what I had anticipated. My contact for my excursion was Zalman, a young Jewish guy I had met in Sydney. I had tried to sell him a yarmulke made of my finest black Mogador silk for $100 and he laughed. Today I was on his turf ready to see something different.
When Zalman answered the door I was surprised by his outfit. Whilst looking very elegant in his navy notched lapel 2 button suit, with his navy grenadine tie with yellow polka dots; it was apparent from the outset that he was still unmistakably Jewish - his yarmulke, his tzizits and his beard gave that away. Whilst it is not for me to create stereotypes, it was of course the stereotype I was looking for when I journeyed out to Crown Heights. My contact in Sydney, a young rabbi, had shown me photos of Crown Heights and it was the bearded, frock coated, oversized fedora wearing Jewish gentlemen I was looking for. Zalman, on the other hand, was dressed in a refined contemporary manner.

Zalman answers the door in Union Street, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York
Zalman's Tzizits

Zalman took me in to meet my first contact, Shloime Hect. Shloime is the owner of AM Bespoke, a contemporary tailoring business based on Union Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn but with a client base which mostly either works or resides in Manhattan. Shloime’s business is not specifically catered for the Jewish community, but being in Crown Heights and servicing New Yorkers has meant that Shloime has adapted his business to design and manufacture garments specifically relating to the Jewish community. Within his range he is able to make yarmulkes (skull caps), kapotes (long black coats) and to source fedoras. We will discuss this in detail further on.

Shloime and a recent kapote completed
I sat with Zalman and Shloime for about half an hour and asked as many questions I could about traditional Jewish tailoring but my questions could not all be answered. As Shloime explained, AM Bespoke offered contemporary menswear for the younger Jewish sect who were not limited to black and white. AM Bespoke was making elegant modern suiting using cloths like Prince of Wales checks, birdseyes, and super 120 twill wools in navy, grey and beige to name but a few. They were trying to move away from the traditional world of the stereotype which was in fact what I had come looking for. Still, Shloime and my contact Zalman were the best points to start. They knew why I had come and they explained to me a few major points about Jewish tailoring.
The stereotype I had held in my mind for an Orthodox Jewish man was that he wore a yarmulke, a big black felt hat, a long black coat, a white shirt,  little side strings that pop over the side of his shirt, black pants and black shoes. This is where I got my first clarification. The coat was called a ‘kapote’ and it derived from Eastern Europe, or Poland to be specific, but it was generally said to be called a ‘Prince Albert’ frock coat, named after Queen Victoria’s husband who made this ¾ coat famous. While Shloime had one to show me that was about to head back to Sydney, he explained that it was not their core business and they would take me around the corner to see a competitor's workroom. As for the hat, it was just a plain old fedora which had been modified to have a high crown and a wider brim. This caught me by surprise, I had thought it was something that would be made solely by Jews for use by other Jews. As for the side strings, they were called Tzizits and they were specifically entwined a number of times so that the multiple of this number equalled 613. The reason why they were entwined to this number, so I am told, was that there are 613 commandments dictated to the Jewish people through the Torah.  I already felt much more informed but I had a few more questions to ask.
‘So, tell me, I see a lot of young Jewish guys wearing all this stuff back from the shul around Bondi Beach on any given Saturday, even in the middle of summer, do you guys sweat or are you using something different that I don’t know about in your wool?’
‘No, we sweat like anyone else would’
‘And what about the wool? Do you use anything specific for the kapote?’
‘With the wool there is only one thing against tradition, and that is to mix wool and linen but this is not something that is specifically relating to Jewish tradition and you will most likely see this phenomenon with many cloth producing companies regardless. You will find that the most common mixes for a kapote are super 120’s merino wool, merino wool and cashmere, merino wool and silk. Mostly blends of wool and some other fibre, but not linen.’
Before I left AM Bespoke I looked over their product. It was made on the mainland of China and sent to New York within 14 working days. The suits were very well made, similar in construction to the suits of Hugo Boss, Ted Baker and so on. The fabrics books ranged from generic wools right through to the Loro Piana and Holland & Sherry books you would expect to find in most tailoring houses. If I had had more time, and given the prices, I would have considered purchasing one. Suits started from $850.00 and went to $2500.00USD. Kapotes, should you need one, started from $450.00 and a fedora started

Super 120 merino wool and cashmere; often used in the making of a kapote

 from $150.00. More importantly, AM Bespoke was able to make translate designs very well. Every document was in illustration form on the iPad that the team from AM Bespoke used. The type of felt on your coat, the collar, the lapel, the colour stitching of your button holes; every aspect of your new suit  or coat was decided on by the use of the iPad which translated the design back to the sales rep which then sent the order back to the head office. What is more, they come to you.
Zalman and Shloime inspect a recently finished suit from Am Bespoke
The next stop was to meet a kapote maker who had more experience in kapotes than AM Bespoke. I was on the hunt for a person who could pin-point exactly when and where Jewish people started wearing the ensemble previously described. But before we could go there, I was told I had to try Herring with Jalapenos from Benz’s deli. But, before I could try the Herring, I had to see the range of cufflinks and accessories of AM Bespoke at the back of local Laundromat. I bought two of my most cherished cufflinks sets, champagne flutes and 50’ microphones, before we set off to meet old Mr Benz in the back of Benz’s deli (located at 334 Albany Avenue, Brooklyn).
Benz's - most famous for herring with jalapenos
‘I am told you have the world’s best herring with jalapenos’ I said.
It was like saying ‘open sesame’. Shortly thereafter I was admitted into the back office part of the shop and there I met old Mr. Benz and he gave me some crackers to have with my herring and jalapenos. I would venture to say that although I had passed on the herring plate at Shabbos, I was now a convert. Perhaps it was New York, maybe it was the quality of the herring, could be the jalapenos, but whatever it was, it was certainly not what I had imagined herring would taste like. I fell in love almost instantly and now, as I was told by my friend Benz, I can get it from his son’s store down on Bondi Beach. It was actually quite amusing at how many of these Crown Heights fellows had family or friends back in Australia.

On the shelf at Benz's deli, Crown Heights, New York

The next stop we had was to meet Mendy Sacho. Mendy was a competitor of AM Bespoke but at the same time there was generally a good feeling amongst competitors that it was still one community. Mendy specialised more in kapotes than AM Bespoke and sold a huge number of fedoras through Primo Hatters. I met Mendy inside the store Primo Hatters. 

Mendy Sacho at Primo Hatters
Outside of Primo Hatters  (366 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn) were six or seven columns of Borsalino fedoras stacked up that had just been delivered and were ready to be stocked on the shelf for the festive season rush. It was here that I got a run down on Jewish hats.  I had believed that the hat was specifically made by Jewish artisans. I was wrong. The very fact that the hats were made by Borsalino threw me. I then enquired as to what the big difference was between a Jewish hat and that of a standard fedora.
‘There is no big difference; you just have a higher crown and a wider brim’. It was said with the kind of laconic rationalism you expect of a wise old Jewish guy. By this stage I was having the time of my life. I was trying on kapotes, picking up fedoras and checking myself out in the mirror whilst organising camera shots. In a strange way I felt home – though I was quite sure I was the only chap on the block without the snip.
After my flirtation with another life I might have lead as a Chabad Jew (by the way, Chabad means ‘Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge’ – isn’t that beautiful!) , Mendy suggested I walk up to see the workroom above Primo Hatters. Upstairs he showed me some of the subtle intricacies to a kapote which often go unnoticed. For one, the kapote’s single vent usually has one side curved and the other side straight as a mark of Jewish tradition. It is also possible to choose a different material for the collar, with some men choosing felt or fur. In other variations, and sometimes denoting seniority, it is possible for the lapel to be made of silk and the buttons on the double breasted coat change from four to six to eight. Again, whilst some of this will denote seniority and some of it may point to sects of Chasidism Judaism, none of these points hold true in all situations. Although there are different sects of chasidim  eg: Chabad, Gur, Satmar, all which derive from the towns from where they originated from, there is no over-riding difference between sects in terms of their dress. 

By the end of the my excursion I had purchased my own Hebrew Hammer fedora and I was talking to Mendy Sacho about sending me a kapote but the time slipped away and I had to get back to my hotel. Coming back to it now I realised I ought to have headed out there again after I returned to New York but it is a fast city and the nature of a working holiday is that you usually have commitments on every day. 

A few weeks later I was back in Sydney and I gave my rabbi friend a lift home. He asked me about my time in Crown Heights and then, after I told him that I would find it rather difficult to be a full time man of faith, I asked him a spiritual question relating to marriage. I told him that I was worried that at times I was driven by my animal which could be more powerful than intellect in my opinion. He then asked me what I would do if I could use my intellect to harness the power of my animal and to use it for good. It was a small moment when I felt like I had truly connected with someone. He got out of my car and said ‘one day, you might be buried with the righteous gentiles’. He shut the door and I drove off. And, so ended my excursion into the world of Jewish tailoring of Crown Heights.

A Bespoke Tuxedo By Am Bespoke
Art on the wall at Primo Hatters
Mendy shows me the finer points behind a kapote
The sidewalks of Crown Heights

An AM Bespoke Kapote
God is in the detail.... Your initials hand sewn into the your belt loops
Borsalino had a great day....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Our New Decision Cubes Have Arrived!!!

Our decision cubes are made from tangerine dauphin leather by the highest quality makers in Great Britain. Our first cube features the decisions: Meditate, Mediate, Fabricate, Hibernate, Designate And Deliberate. Limited in numbers, please don't miss out on these fabulous little decision helpers which make excellent gifts. Only available on

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dressing Your Window To Tell Stories

Saks 5th Avenue window display December 2012

I had a discussion with a store in Sydney some months ago in which I relayed my idea that a window display was not so much about mannequins displaying clothes as it was about telling a story or capturing a moment. The store owner understood my vision and then we brought in a talented young woman to do the work and once the $$$$ were quoted the project was shelved. Saks 5th Avenue, on the other hand, totally understands where I was coming from. Their display this year told the story of the idle rich lounging around miserably discontent with how fortunate they all were - like some vignette from a Brett Easton Ellis book. We could learn from these Americans. They know what retailing is all about even when they take it too far. In particular I would like to pay attention to the young man on the right wearing a cream dinner jacket in the middle of winter. I believe, and have been pushing this for two years now, that cream and white dinner jackets in the winter, especially in those places that snow, look fabulous. Don't be afraid to try it yourself.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Personal Style Of Alexis Zambrano Of M. De Phocas

The first time I had contact with M. De Phocas was through Jesus Torres, one half of the dynamic duo behind one of the most beautiful cufflink and men's accessories brands that I have ever known. The other half being Alexis Zambrano, whom I had had less contact with, but was scheduled to meet up with whilst in New York.

I see all sorts of cufflinks and studs come past my computer screen these days and in the stores that I wander into - none of it, and I mean this, none of it has the kind of personality that is offered by M. De Phocas which is probably why they were picked up Bergdorf Goodman and will likely be in-store by February.

Alexis came past the Waldorf to pick up some bow ties we had made for M. De Phocas. I was in a rush, and I wish I had not been, because when Alexis showed up I started running for my camera. His personal style matched their own brand philosophy. Here is what they say on themselves:

"Our creations are intended for those who find pleasure in the anomaly of substance, rather than rely in the absence of imagination. It is made for those selecting their accessories and wardrobe not through rules, but through the true understanding of style. Our clients consider the experience we provide to create a statement of their own identity. It is that expression that makes a man unique and is presented in ways that enhances a remarkable sense of style."

I would have to agree. The person that was in front of me was meticulously dressed and almost everything that was on him was made specifically for him. If I had more time I would have loved to have talked more. Me, I am not quite like M De Phocas - catch me on the wrong day and I look like a slob. I wear jeans, open shirts and I am very relaxed when I am at home - right now for example I am wearing a Balinese sarong. I don't think the same could be said of Alexis Zambrano - my experience of him is that he is the best example of his own brand's philosophy.

See below some of the work they have coming up in 2013.

One of the best Christmas emails I received this year.

A Pleasant Surprise: Turnbull & Asser's New York City Store

One of the most pleasant surprises from my recent New York trip was discovering Turnbull & Asser's New York City store whilst en route to Nike town which was a let down. 

Eleven years ago when I lived for a short time in Soho I pretty much stayed downtown since I had no money and no friends that lived above 14th street. It was only in my final days when I was no longer working that I explored the parts of New York I hadn't got to. It was therefore quite refreshing this time round to spend my days walking the streets of midtown and uptown New York. I don't know where uptown exactly starts but I am certain that 57th must be close to it and this is where I found Turbull & Asser. Approaching the store was a lovely moment, it struck out from the streetscape as one of the more attractive and regal businesses on the strip even before I caught the name. I had been always wondering where James Andrew of 'What Is James Wearing' got all this T & A shirts from and now it became apparent. Nobody, not even my Know-It-All friend Oppenheimer knew that they had a New York store since the brand is so heavily associated with London for us Australians.

Inside Turnbull & Asser was some of the best shopping to be had in New York. If I had not spent most of my money by then they would certainly have got more of my budget. In particular I was very much enamoured with the range of velvet smoking jacket tuxedos (approximately $2600.00 USD), the authentic and very well made traditional smoking jackets (approximately $2500 USD) and then of course the superb selection of silk dressing robes. Apart from those things which Turnbull & Asser are famous for, I also note that they had an amazing selection of socks in all sorts of colours and some very well made umbrellas. The prices were a little steep on some of the items, but needless to say that the quality of production was evident the the moment you picked something up in your hand.

For me, any gentleman looking for a unique shopping experience in Manhattan, far from the madding crowds, try some peace and quiet at Turnbull and Asser and explore the many floors. 

Turnbull & Asser Manhattan
50 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022, United States
Phone: +1 212-752-5700

On their wall of famous customers - the smooth Miles Davis

Barack - A Bow Tie For A President

Only available on

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Tyranny Of New York Choice

I arrived in New York expecting to find that every store that I went to see would lay down the red carpet and beg me to stock my bow ties in their store. Period. I did not expect anything other than this because I had so many New York customers, so many American blog readers, so much enthusiasm from that nation which has no limit as to what can be achieved. I believed, like Americans believe, in the American dream. That if you have something unique, if you have a gift, then Americans will buy into it and build you up until you too fly around in your own jet, with your women and your benjamins....

The truth, which is often a lot more realistic and less erotic, is that you have to sweat to make it in New York. Sweat harder than you would ever dream about. Everyone sweats in this city. Everyone has a price and everyone is looking to make it. From the moment I stepped off the plane I noted that everyone was courteous and helpful - for a price. I noticed that anything could be done for you at any time of the day - for a price. Add another observation here and then add a hyphen and then 'price' and so on and so on. In the end, what appeared from the outset to be a glorious titanic structure was nothing more than a concrete heaving jungle which ran itself on almost the exact same natural laws of survival. What I was extremely surprised about was something I had read about many years before - the idea that there was tyranny in choice. When I first heard about the tyranny of choice I did not quite understand what it meant. I thought that the idea that there was so much choice was so tyrannical that it gave you analysis paralysis and that you could not navigate your way through the decision making process. What I now understand is that the tyranny of choice is more likely to refer to the fact that with increased choice you are likely to receive less utility from any given choice. This to me summed up the entire state of New York in many ways. The idea that people were confronted with so much choice on a daily level, from the type of pretzels they ate to the kind of cream cheese spread they put on their bagel, meant that in the end they were mostly dissatisfied with the decisions they did make.

The same, of course, could be said of bow ties. By the end of my New York sojourn I was almost ready to give up my pursuit of making bow ties. In the face of heavy competition, Americans love to compete. But for myself, as it has always been, in the face of competition I like to close up shop and go somewhere else. So many of the designs I had done in the last two years were in the collections of bow tie makers from Sean John right through to Turnbull and Asser. And, whilst on the first day at Saks 5th Avenue I was quite sure that I made some of the best bow ties in the world, by the end of the trip I was no longer as confident. The range of choice was so large for the Americans that I wondered where on earth I might fit into their world of bow ties. My bow ties were almost 5 times the amount of a bow tie from Macys by Sean John. Whilst made in China they still seemed like nice bow ties. My bow ties were better quality than the Hermes one I bought and less expensive, but as a New Yorker said to me 'yeah, but you don't have the name or the fit out'. Then there were my favourites - the bow ties of Charvet which I always always admire. Then Turnbull and Asser, Brooks Brothers, Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers, J Linberg, Bruno Cucinelli, Ralph Lauren, Ferragamo and many many more. The choice was endless. And in that alone I realised that I had a big task in 2013. In order to make sure that my customers are happy - I am going to limit the number of bow ties we release this year. Because, just as I felt after I left New York, there was a certain level of anxiety associated with the choices I did make.

Regardless, take a look at the bows I did add to my private collection this year. I think you will enjoy seeing what I saw.

From top to bottom. Turnbull and Asser, Sean John, Hermes, Macy's house brand, Charvet, Turnbull And Asser and Brooks Brothers. 

Armand - A New Silk Mogador Bow Tie

Currently only available on

Tell By My Attitude That I'm Most Definitely.....

The last time I witnessed New Year's Eve in New York was in 1992 in Times Square when I saw the most uneventful ball drop and everyone got excited about what I considered to be a rather banal event. The only thing I seemed to experience was pushing an shoving and the only pleasant experience I recall from that trip was picking up a limited edition Jimi Hendrix 'greatest hits' cd which I still listen to to this day. That, and seeing the Black Crowes 'Sometimes Salvation' film clip for the first time which really was something very different at the time.

Fast forward twenty years later and I am taking the train with a bunch of New Yorker friends on a train for Brooklyn to see Jay-Z and Coldplay at the Barclays Center. It is a state of the art facility which takes the whole experience of going to a concert to another level. Having also been to a corporate box in Australia, I can also tell you that being in one in the USA is a totally different experience. There is no nanny state here. You have full bottles of vodka and gin laid out, plenty of full strength beer, great food and you can do as you please. This is definitely an area which Australians could improve upon. We are so afraid of letting our citizens get drunk and disorderly that we take it too far in the opposite direction.

As for the concert? Whilst Coldplay performed an amazing set, I would have to say that it was Jay-Z everyone waited for with bated breath. As for how Jay-Z performed, that I would say was somewhat of a let down. Whilst he has the fashion down pat, the midnight blue Tom Ford dinner suit with black satin shawl lapel, the big black satin bow, the huge overcoat of patent leather and wool - the look of a man who has fused hip hop with black tie evening wear - unfortunately the rapping eventually blended into one long monotonous song to me. I do love Jay-Z and hip-hop, but as a former Dj and nightclub owner I will attest to the fact that it needs to be blended with other music for me. Too much of it and I just feel thuggish. 

As a side note, and to pump myself up a little, as I left the concert that night I was standing outside the bathrooms waiting for my girlfriend in a Saxon bow tie with a red merino sweater, a  Begg blood red cashmere scarf, a red pair of Holland And Sherry pants and an overcoat of black wool. A black man walked past me and said 'Man, you dressed better than Jay-Z!' . That was my start to 2013. Let's hope I can keep on that roll.