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

With over 1.7 million page views, Le Noeud Papillon's blog continues to provide lovers of bow ties with unique stories and content relating to menswear through interviews with industry icons and vignettes into topics relating to suits, shirts, shoes, ties, designers, weavers and much more.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Legacy Of Bill Whitten - Is It Dead?

Some of you will have read a post I did many moons ago on Neil Diamond and the fact that his outfits were made by a chap called Bill Whitten in Hollywood. I asked the question as to whether anybody knew if his shop was still open. A couple of days ago I got a message on the blog from one of his employees' daughter who wrote to tell us about her family's involvement in Whitten's operation.

My name is Sarine Marie Berberian and my current business is Sarine Marie. Sarine Marie is a high-end women's contemporary line that's both designed and manufactured in our facility in Los Angeles. My family's relationship with Bill Whitten started in the early 80s. My dad, uncle, and grandmother all worked with Bill Whitten at the Melrose location. Bill would work closely with musicians and celebrities, designing one of a kind pieces for them. My family would bring his designs to life from beginning to end.
Where did Bill Whitten source a lot of his materials from? What inspired him? 
I don't know where he got his inspiration or where he sourced his materials from. I do know that a lot of the fabrics he used were European. In order to make quality clothing, you need quality materials.
How long would your uncle and father work on a commission piece for? Where did the actual work take place?
The actual work took place at the Melrose location. Everything was made there.
Which commission is a) the one they loved most working on b) the one the world reveres the most?
My dad and uncle would say that every project was different and that's what made it more exciting. The one that the world reveres the most is definitely Michael Jackson's glove and beaded jackets. The glove was my dad's idea! Bill Whitten was telling my dad that Michael Jackson wanted a signature piece, a piece of clothing that defines him. That's how the glove came about. My dad first created a white glove and later they came up with the idea of adding lights to the glove. I have attached a picture of one of the jackets. On the left, the jacket is hanging on the mannequin in the studio and on the right Michael Jackson is wearing it to the Grammys. We still have that mannequin!
What is Bill Whitten doing these days? Are you father and uncle still working?
Bill Whitten passed away a few years ago. My father and uncle are still working. They are both still in costuming. I want to try and get my father into costuming for movies or theme parks.
Does Hollywood still have a 'go to' place for commissions?
Hollywood has changed a lot within the last 20 years. Artists used to love to wear one of a kind, custom pieces. Now designers gift things to artists left and right. The custom, one of a kind pieces have died out (in my opinion).
Have you worked on wardrobe on any film sets? If yes, tell us a little about it.
I haven't directly worked on wardrobe on film sets but wardrobe stylists have pulled from my Sarine Marie collection to use for film. There are two films that have used my pieces and it's "Bullet" and "And Then There Was You".
Tell us about your own creations, where are you taking the next generation?
I'm following my family's footsteps but I'm transitioning their experiences and putting it in a modern perspective with the use of technology. The business mentality is "old school." I'm using the power of the internet and my education in marketing. My family started a menswear boutique after they stopped working for Bill Whitten. The menswear boutique was located at Bill's former studio on Melrose. My mom designed the menswear collection and my father and uncle produced it. Everything was done in-house. There was a boutique in the front and a small work shop in the back. I love that concept and I really think it gives the definition of "high-end". Everything was made to order and sizing was all custom. I would eventually want to open my own boutique with the same concept.

Bill Whitten's 1984 Michael Jackson Thriller outfit is a signature piece

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Pocket Squares And Yes, We Are Still Shipping

Although we may not be as active on the blog, we are still selling bow ties every day. Below you will see a Romeo bow tie and a Bobby which are off to the USA. At the same time, our new pocket squares which are hand-roll stitched with dye and discharge polka dots are finished and are now on the website. Whilst I am always proud of my pursuits, I think it is fair enough to say that these are some of the best made pocket squares to ever reach Australia. Don't be afraid to purchase one now

Our new pocket squares, dye and discharge polka dots in red/blue, white/blue and orange/green

We've Been Out Of Blog Action But We Have Something We Need From You

There is a reason you have not heard as much from us as usual. Between moving offices, adjusting to a new apartment and being swamped in social media and bereft of creativity, I just decided to stop writing. Instead, and because we are generally getting lazier and lazier as a society when it comes to sharing new content, I have turned my attention to those things which you can do whilst sitting in a cafe or changing the channel on the television.... Instagram and Pinterest

To be honest, my girlfriend is tired of me using the expression 'to be honest' and 'frankly' and 'basically', which basically, to be honest with you, I find it frankly appalling. But, to be honest with you, I am over social media. I am frankly addicted to it. It is a great way to share the small stories of your day and the little wins of your business but it is fluff in my opinion. The only thing I can say in it's favour is that if a picture tells a thousand words then it is a very succinct message to people out there - telling them what you do and what you aspire to.

By all means have a look at our two accounts, some of which gives you a portal into what I am looking at but by no means am I done with the blog.

And, on another front, I would love some help from my blog readers. I cannot decide which of my two designs I prefer for my latest pocket square. If you could be so kind as to leave a comment below, perhaps it will help me make a final decision. 

Any comments are more than welcome but do keep them constructive. The genesis of this new pocket square has come from Norman Lindsay's water colours (which I will discuss later) and John Keat's poem 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' both of whom have created works that have left a lasting impression on me. 

We worked with a German illustrator in Cologne who has been so supportive in going back over the work until we were satisfied. We are now down to the last two iterations and I am looking forward to putting this new work into production.

The work started as a series of pencil illustrations which over time have been modified until we were happy. Once this process was completed, the illustrator, a man called Christian, spent a number of days vectorising the graphic until the entire process was shifted from a pencil drawing into an Adobe Illustrator file. 

Eventually the design will be sent to our silk screen printers who will then transform the design into 6 different screens which will then be printed on layer by layer until the final silk is ready at which point the dye is set by a process of steaming the silk. This is a very laborious process and accordingly we will be charging more for these pocket squares.

Copyright  Le Noeud Papillon 2013 - Design 1 - YAY OR NAY?

Copyright Le Noeud Papillon 2013 - Design 2 - YAY OR NAY?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Testimonial From A Discerning Japanese Customer

Do you ever find yourself questioning whether you made the right choices in life? I do. Less and less these days, but I still do. At the end of my university studies I might have gone on to trade gold, resources, agricultural commodities or I might have got a job in a bank. All these options were available to me or so I believed. After I failed at most of the different jobs I tried I decided that the only way I might make a crust was to try working in the obscure jobs that either nobody else wanted or didn't have the skills to do. I have managed the Sydney Comedy Store, I have managed a newsagency, I have sold compost bins and worm farms, timber floors, I have been a wedding dj, a website designer, I have worked as a building labourer and owned a nightclub. Nobody, apart from the nightclub where you can't believe anyone who slaps you on the back (fickle industry), has ever paid me a compliment for my work. Until my present vocation.... So, I think I might just stick to this trade because at least people appreciate my little papillons.

Dear Le Noeud Papillon,

Thank you very much for your kind email and most pleasant service. I sincerely appreciate it.
In fact I have received the parcel already. WOW! I am truly impressed first of all with this gorgeous package, and with the unique quality I haven't seen for a while for the bow ties!
Please accept my compliments for the great job you have done and for those amazing styles you have developed. Thanks a lot for the small present too, it is truly awesome!
I am going on a world travelling expedition and I am planning on stopping all my internet connections, but I am looking forward to being back online to choose more styles from your shop.
Thank you very much once again.

Best regards and good luck!


PS:  I have taken a glimpse of your blog, for me that's quite interesting and I wish I had more time to read it, just wanted to note, you have a great style of your own and very nice sense of fashion! :)
If you have a real shop of yours I will happily get there whilst I travel, who knows maybe will have fate to meet you there as well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Final Touches To Your New Suit >>> Holland & Sherry's Personalised Wool Weaving Service

When it was time to stop past Holland & Sherry's Sydney office for some new wool I took the time to go through the master books and talk to Simon about some of the wool weaves that were in the book. Part of the process was to refer back to the Mercury Textiles Dictionary which he had lying around. It is one thing to go through wool in a bunch, but to have the Mercury thing there to show you the exact weaving diagrams adds a bit more depth to your analysis. As we checked off Gaberdine for example we got the following definition from the 1954 edition.

The gaberdine is a fabric having a whipcord effect made for the worsted warp and cotton weft. It is usually woven on 11 staves as at an A, in a dobby loom with a fine reed. The warp yarns are good quality botany worsted and well spun to give uniformity of surface in the finished cloth. The weft is two-fold good quality cotton. Gaberdines are usually set with about twice as many ends as picks per inch....

 And it then follows on gaberdine:

This term was known in the 16th Century when in the Merchant of Venice Shylock reminds Antonio that he "spat upon his Jewish gabardine" which indicates a "rather long cassock" than a cloak or mantle. Blount writes: "what is gabardine"? "a rough Irish mantle", "a horseman's clock" or "a long cassock".

What a fascinating little book the Mercury is. I ended up following my nose and photographing a number of weaves which I shall talk about over the coming weeks.

At the end of my talk with Simon he showed me a lovely little bit of Holland & Sherry pride which was a special machine which allowed them to weave names, logos or text into the selvedge of the wool. According to Simon, the machine was still owned and operated by Holland & Sherry and he relayed anecdotally some of the more colourful stories of those who had used this service. The wool costs roughly $1200AUD per metre of wool at 1.4m to weave. The fabric component of a suit would therefore be in the vicinity of $4200AUD for the cloth alone but you would be joining the ranks of men such as boxing legend Evander Holyfield who is understood to have had 'World Champion' woven into his cloth, or a husband and wife who had their names woven into their white wool with a contrasting black thread. Using a service like this is not something you can do with any old tailor and Simon has said that any enquiries of this nature can go directly through to his office on +612 9267 8030. Of all the men I know in Australia, not one would dare use this super 120's worsted and cashmere wool service but I would put it to you that it would get far more attention than buying a Rolex and it would cost you half the price.

Customise your life or pimp your suit using the large number of colours on file at Holland & Sherry to create your own unique name or design to be woven into the slevedge of your wool. Not for the faint hearted, this super 120's blend of merino wool and cashmere will set you back around $1200.00 per metre.

Now this would be an absolute delight, a box check personalised. Well worth the money in my opinion.

The Barksdale Floyds, enjoying the unique offering of H & S by weaving his/her wool.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cold Comfort For Change

There is a go-to song that really hits the mark whenever you feel you are living like a genie trapped in a lantern and it resonates as cold comfort with men struggling with change in their lives. Tonight as I drove home across the Harbour Tunnel from the North Shore it was such a soothing anecdote. You have to love Supertramp. As I once said to an Australian music artist, it is one thing to write a catchy tune, it is yet another to combine it with intuitive and emotive lyrics.

So you think you're a Romeo, playing a part in a picture-show 
We take the long way home, take the long way home 
Cos you're the joke of the neighbourhood, why should you care if you're feeling good 
Take the long way home, take the long way home 
There are times that you feel you're part of the scenery, all the greenery is comin' down boy 
Then your wife seems to think you're part of the furniture, oh it's peculiar, she used to be so nice 

Lonely days turn to lonely nights, you take a trip to the city lights 
And take the long way home, take the long way home 
You never see what you want to see, forever playing to the gallery 
You take the long way home, take the long way home 
When you're up on the stage it's so unbelievable, unforgettable, how they adore you 
But then your wife seems to think you're losing your sanity, oh calamity, well is there no way out? 

(Ooh, take the long way home) 
(Take it, take it, take it home) 

Does it feel that you life's become a catastrophe, oh it has to be for you to grow boy 
When you look through the years and see what you could have been, oh what might have been if you'd had more time 
So when the day comes to settle down, who's to blame if you're not around? 
You took the long way home....

Autumn Leaves Fall, The Creative Juices Slow And Nostalgia Sets In

The Australian winter is near as autumn leaves fall off the scarce deciduous trees which overhang some of my favourite streets of Sydney. Today as the wind swept some leaves up and I sped along my route for home, I was drawn to colder music and I felt bereft of new ideas and a nostalgia for time that had passed. It is something that you ought to let wash through you but today it had me in it's grip. Some new silks had come off the press but the usual delight I got from seeing new stock wasn't there and I held some nervous energy about whether I was changing and evolving at the same pace as everything around me. It didn't help that last night I watched old videos from my travels in 2001 and how much I had changed, no longer as fresh and bright faced as I once was. As my friends and I watched the videos we noted that one of the party guests had died when his heart had ruptured and another was now a quadriplegic. So you can imagine the effect on me when the following song randomly came up on my shuffle.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? 
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground. 
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meet Danish Director Sune Lykke Albinus - A New Portrait From Photographer Magnus Omme For Le Noeud Papillon

Copenhagen based Danish director, Sune Lykke Albinus was educated at Denmark’s own independent film school, Super16. He lives in Denmark at the moment so he can focus on his production company, Green Copenhagen, but his work as a director has taken him all over the world. While his talents lie primarily in telling powerful, emotionally engaging stories about everyday life through film, he is also an excellent, highly charismatic film teacher.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Read Our Interview On Keikari, A Finnish Blog On Men's Sartorial Elegance

See the full article here:

VR: Your age and occupation?

NA: In 2008 I held a share in an upmarket boutique nightclub where you were sent a 4 digit code to your mobile phone and then you entered that code at the door to let yourself into the nightclub. No bouncers, no attitude. When you got inside it was all ruby velvet, low level lighting and a gilded golden painting frame behind which you saw the djay. The genesis of my business started there. I was thirty and I had just mastered the art of tying a bow tie and then my doorman followed suit. After I sold my share of the nightclub I decided to try my hand at making bow ties. Now 35, I founded and own a unique bow tie company called Le Noeud Papillon in Sydney, Australia and we have an international audience of blog readers and customers who seek us out because of our unique shapes and our exclusively designed silks......

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