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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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello Folks, The Show's Not Over Until The Curtain Is Lowered

We have received two submissions overnight for the silk design competition. It is now 9:47 AM in Sydney. We will allow for the competition to close on 1st January 2014 in whichever is the last time zone on planet earth. So, still have quite a few hours up your sleeve. The two new designs are worth of giving David Meisenburg some competition however I will not post them until January 1 as it is New Years Eve today and I would like a day away from my computer.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Competition That Had Only One Entrant...

As we are only 24 hours away from our DESIGN A SILK COMPETITION ending, I thought it rather amusing that we had only one entrant. In the end, it was only David Meisenburg from the United States that entered a submission which means he will be a shoe in....

His design, which I will post below, will be turned into a silk and he will $200.00 in cash and 3 bow ties of his design once the silk has been woven in Italy.

If you were looking to give David some competition, you have a very short window indeed. Entries close December 31 2013.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Would Love This As A Gift, Preferably The Fountain Pen - The Mont Blanc Limited Edition Leonardo Da Vinci

One of the pen's that stuck out for me this year was the Leonardo Da Vinci Limited Edition from Mont Blanc. It was recently that I learnt how to write with a fountain pen. I have lived in fear of them since I was a child because I was a left hander. It was after I met the team at Penultimate that I bought my first Lamy to write with and now I am itching to own a full blown collectors piece which I can hand-write the occasional note with. In a world where everything is done by email, I consider it a 'gift' just to receive or send a hand-written note.

So, if you were inclined to purchase this pen, either for yourself or for your special someone, you can head into Penultimate in Sydney's QVB or you can visit Mont Blanc itself on King Street.

About the pen:

Leonardo da Vinci – a man of many talents, was not just a remarkable painter, sculptor and architect; he was a man of science and a brilliant inventor with a particular interest in the study of flying. Montblanc celebrates the genius of the great artist with its Great Characters Limited Edition Leonardo.

The cap and barrel of the writing instrument are crafted from anodized aluminium, a reference to the material now used to build today's flying machines or aeroplanes. The polished platinum plated fittings are reproductions of da Vinci's studies for wedge connections, the shape on the cone refers to the double movement transmission conceptualized by da Vinci over 500 years ago and the red gold plated gear at the end of the clip is reminiscent of the many cogwheels the Italian master used in his designs.

This design is completed with the engraved nib with one of da Vinci’s famous drawings of a bat whose wings he studied, while the forefront of the pen is etched with his own sketch of a mechanical wing. A subtle reference to his  practice of mirror writing gives the Montblanc emblem in precious resin which is unexpectedly concealed within the cap and its reflection can be seen in a mirror placed inside the cap top.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reverse Patina, Patina And Shoe Shine Interview With Steven D.R Skippen - Shoe Shine And Patina Artisan - London, England

I found Steven Skippen on Instagram. I have been obsessed with this app of recent, mostly for the rich content offered in the department of menswear. You can get lost for hours on searches as you move from a patina artist like Steven, to an architect with a passion for watches, over to a London based fabrics designer. But one of the real treasures so far has been watching Steven on Instagram, both in static images and in videos. His handle is: @ShoeshineUK . Here is Steven in his own words:

My story is one that begins as thousands of others do. Over a decade ago in 1999, I lost my job. Sometime later I was waiting for my stewardess girlfriend in the great hall of the London City Airport, when, despite being unemployed, I decided to treat himself to a shoe shine, because there is nothing better to do when you wait for someone in an airport. In between two shots of nourishing cream, the Shoe Shiner offered to hire me. It's a safe bet that most people would not even have raised the proposal, but I agreed and made my mind up that instead of being in despair, I would instead become the best in my chosen field. I am now somewhat renowned in the field of shoe shining and as a patina artist. With over a decade in the profession I have both experience and have refined and honed my skills. I have worked at many esteemed places but have now remained  in The London Hilton on Park Lane as the resident shoe artisan for 13 years. Because of my unique skills in patina and colouring I have in due course been courted by Berluti on two separate locations, Jeffery West and numerous other institutions.

Steven, what is the most important stage of the patina process that perhaps is the most critical one to get right? Do you consider, for example, that it is the brush strokes of the dyes or the final spit and polish which is most critical?

I feel that every stage of patina is critical it is a piece of artwork and requires both patience and skill.
The final stage of patina before the glacage is blending of the colours and making them flow as one this is done by lightening the darker areas so that the edges are cloudy and also so that the lighter colour shows through the darker colours in certain areas chosen. 
This is a part of patina that needs surgeon like precision and concentration as all your hard work before hand can be dismantled with one small mistake.

When selecting dyes to apply to the leathers, how do you know what colour palette can work on the leathers? For example, can you work blues and red together or blacks and oranges? How do you approach this aspect of colouring shoes?

Regarding colours every pair of shoes are different. When you have nude leather you can decisively say that the colours applied will turn out the same on every pair however with older shoes or darker shoes obviously they can only be lightened to a certain degree hence colours will come out differently.
I usually lighten colours with conditioner if either the leather is darker than I need or if the leather is quite worn and I feel that the dye will be absorbed more creating a darker effect. 
Mixing of dyes i.e. blue and red isn't as daunting as it may seem after many years of trial and error experimenting on old shoes I created my own palette and now know exact measurements of each to apply to certain types of shoes.
Patina is the reinventing of your shoes old or new and demands surgeon like precision in every aspect including preparation. 

What is the ultimate blank canvas for a patina shoe expert – do you prefer brogues or do you prefer shoes such as chelseas? In your opinion, if a consumer was wishing to purchase a patina shoe, which style of shoe would you recommend?

My favourite shoes to patina as you can see by my images I provided are brogues with a wonderful medallion the best condition are nude bespoke shoes fresh from the factory a completely blank canvas and good quality leather to compliment the patina. This provides the best results possible yet the quality of our patina can improve dramatically even the worst of leather shoes. 

How long do you roughly spend doing a patina from start to finish?

The time it takes to do a patina varies widely based on the type of shoes and patina that the client requests. A typical two colour patina say red with burnished black toecap and heel usually takes between two or three hours however the adding of more colour tones can increase the time taken.
A recent job I did which was used as a sample by a major Jermyn Street shoe company was a very complicated process producing an oxblood toe cap and heels and the remainder of the shoes black with burgundy showing through the black. I was honoured to do this job and overall it took six hours to complete using four dye colours and acetone to lighten many areas to produce certain effects. I have an image of this job included from start to finish attached to this email.
This particular job is a sample of what I will be producing early 2014 for this company.

Do you know how to make shoes from scratch? Is this something you are interested in?

Shoemaking intrigues me and is Definitely an ambition of mine. I would like to introduce a style and brand of shoe that would revolutionise the UK market and with my 14 years experience within the shoe industry I feel that I have a fair idea on what people want.
Patina is a word most English people wouldn't of heard of in regards to shoes and sadly this naivety on how beautiful a shoe can be is seen daily in London were black is as far as the imagination goes. My shoes would be varied in shapes and style but all have a range of colours that would bring some much need vigour to UK streets. I am good friends with many shoemakers and next year will be visiting Giacopelli from Parma in Italy and JM Le Gazel in Paris to learn aspects of the profession. There is no immediate rush for me to do my own line of shoes as I wouldn't want to rush something so important and my immediate concerns are to first change the publics perception on shoe care and how important it is to buy good shoes and to maintain them. 

When I took my Berluti’s in to be refurbished I was told that you could never go lighter than the original colour of the patina. I have since read about reverse patina’s and stripping back leather. Can you tell me, is it possible to take a pair of black boots and strip them back and then turn them into say a cherry red patina?

Reverse patina to a degree is possible yes. I wouldn't listen to much to what shoe companies tell you as most of it is fabricated to keep an aura around them. A black shoe certainly can be taken lighter with acetones and a cherry red could be added which would be darker red in effect Oxblood in colour as the result. Just recently I took a dark brown pair of boots to a nice tan colour using this same procedure.
A similar story is all shoe companies have there own products which are actually re branded from a famous French shoe product company this goes for dyes and wax polish.

What is your absolute favourite colour of patina and do you have an example of the finished shoe you could show us?

My favourite colour of patina has to be the ruby red toecap blending into various tones of black and burgundy as mentioned earlier. This style of patina looks striking in many colours ruby red and blue have to be the most potent in there visual impression.
This job is the perfect patina in my opinion and due to its difficulty is extremely rate to find. Only a select few have attempted this patina due to its complexity and I aim to continue to up the ante in shoe care and make people understand that there are such artists outside of Paris.

Is doing a patina something one could undertake at home and if yes, can you tell us some of the basic materials we could purchase to try a very basic patina? If we wish to get this professionally done by yourself, can you service international customers?

Patina is a skill that can be taught however to get to the standard seen in my images it takes many years of practise however the basics can be grasped quite quickly such as how to apply the base coat and burnishing of say the toe cap.
Typically the products needed are good quality shoe dye I use a combination of two dyes from France and the USA, conditioner (acetone) to strip the leather and a paint brush and I use ladies stockings to add effects.
Every patina artist is different to the next as in effect it is art and we all have individual styles which is reflected in our work. I use a combination of my bare hands, brushes and cloths to apply the dyes to produce different effects. Due to my experience in glacage the final result is always to the clients satisfaction.
I offer my service to many overseas clients and regularly have an influx of shoes from various parts of the world. My base is The London Hilton on Park Lane address and details supplied and soon to be Selfridges on London's Oxford Street. 

To see Steven complete a pair of shoes from start to finish, please see the video below.

If you would like to contact Steven, you can do so on the following details: 

Steven D.R Skippen, Shoeshine UK, , Twitter @shoeshineuk Instagram @ShoeshineUK, Mobile: 07941045275, Office:  08454632911, London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1BE, United Kingdom.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Most Unusual Contest - Naming The Heady Scent Of My Summer

Every summer a plant that is in my mother's garden makes a fragrance which only comes out at night. It is such a heady and sweet smell that it's perfume makes you feel all the fullness of summer. It makes you want to breed, it makes you want to breath life into everything around you.

Unfortunately we don't know exactly what it is. At first my mother used to refer to it as Chinese Jasmine. Then later she referred to it as Star Jasmine and later still she referred to it as Evening Night Shade. I really think that towards the end she was just throwing me off the scent (pun), much like Italian women will never pass on all the ingredients of their signature dishes.

So, I am putting it to you enormously intelligent blog readers and I am offering a pocket square to the winner if you can tell me exactly the latin biological name of this species and what is is commonly called in English. If you can do that, you will hopefully receive a pocket square before Christmas. So far we received one lead from a customer, he thought it was jasmine too - but there seems to be a difference between the leaves on the link from Wikipedia (click here) and the leaves of the actual plant that I took myself two days ago.

Name this plant correctly (biologically and in common English) and I will send you a pocket square for Christmas


Dave Rose from Sydney Wildflower Nursery  wrote in the following:

The plant in question is commonly known as Queen of the Night, or the Night Blooming Jasmine. Its botanical name is Cestrum nocturnum Have a look - When grown from seed it can vary in its form, but I believe this is the plant in question! Hope this settles your frustration. 

Dave Rose
Sydney Wildflower Nursery

My Best Offer - Limited To 6 - Valid Only For 11.12.2013

This is Hector, the latest bow tie addition to the Le Noeud Papillon family. For today only I will add our recently arrived Decision Cubes - made by Geoffrey Parker of London - to every Hector purchased on 11.12.2013 and limited to 6 units in total.

There Are Presents And Then There Are Presents

It's the first time we have offered embroidered initials on a smoking jacket. We feel they turned out quite well. Smoking jackets are something that are really almost defunct today. So fewer people smoke. So fewer people live in houses that aren't regulated in temperature by air-conditioning. Owning a smoking jacket therefore is more of an aesthetic possession that one of functionality. I do love wearing one in the winter time at home when I'm about to sit down to a nice film but in Sydney, for example, that is a very small window.

Above you will see the latest creation, a quilted silk satin in electric blue, ordered by a father for his son for Christmas. The customer resides in the United States in a city where real snow might actually be at their door step on Christmas Day. I can only image what joy the customer's son will receive when he opens the box to see this beautiful creation. Which reminds me, I ought to show this to my father so that he might step up to the plate.

Merry Christmas from Le Noeud Papillon, and if you want to make a smoking jacket, contact us here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Right Under Your Sydney Nose - The Treasure Trove Of Hugh Stewart On Instagram

If you were to walk past Hugh Stewart in the street you would think nothing of it. 

He is rather laid back and somewhat dishevelled in appearance but it masks a very gifted and unique human being who has been behind some of the most famous portraits and branded images you will see in magazines or on film posters. The New Zealand born Sydney residing photographer is one of those mysteries of antipodean life where they manage to succeed and break through on a global stage and yet remain completely comfortable in their own skin and very unaffected. And what is even more surprising is that you can often can meet him on any other weekend in Sydney when Stewart takes portraits for the public in Sydney's Paddington. 

Within Stewart's oeuvre are portraits of Johnny Cash, Judy Davis, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and Michael Caine to name but a few. His list of celebrities that he has shot is as long as his arm but it was his recent flower portraits that caught my eye because they had a certain Margaret Olley appeal about them.
Hugh Stewart's work is as organic and natural as his own personal style. His use of light is rustic and natural and he captures the essence of the person as comfortably as we might see them if  were to sit down and have a cup of tea with them one on one on any given Tuesday in June. Perhaps this is why he is so in demand because there is nothing manufactured about his work. It is as real as the man behind the camera.

My suggestion is to take advantage of Stewart's wonderful Instagram account where you can see his work condensed.


Philip Skovgaard Bow Tie Portrait By Magnus Omme For Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

Philip Skovgaard

Raised in Montalcino, Tuscany Italy - the home of Brunello Wine. Danish By Blood.

Philip has a BA in philosophy from the University of Copenhagen. During his last semesters of study he began to import biodynamic wine. The wine storage room quickly developed into a small takeaway restaurant based in Vesterbro, a cool / hip area of Copenhagen.
Philip now owns Mangia Mangia Italian takeaway and Bevi Bevi an Italian
‘bar con cucina’.

Philip adores the more relaxed Italian way of life as well as Italian cuisine and sees it as his goal to bring some of the Italian enjoyment of living to Copenhagen .

Let Us Cut You A Single Piece Self-Tie Bow Tie

When you do one thing over and over and over again, you tend to get reasonably good at it. Certainly better than those who do say two or three things or a whole suite of them. Our core product is bow ties and we love making them. 

Recently I witnessed two people at the top of their field say the same thing about what they do with their lives. The first was Murray Rose, a six time  Australian Olympic medallist who sadly passed away last year. I used to train in the next lane to Murray in my local swimming pool. He rarely said a word and just swam and swam. In an interview with Australian Story he was asked as to whether he ever tired of swimming and, given that one could assume that swimming up and down a lane might be boring to many, he paradoxically answered 'no, I never get bored of it, there is always something new to learn and until we get as good as dolphins, we're not there yet' (I am paraphrasing as I don't have the transcript in front of me). 

Then, interestingly, last night I watched Charles Wooley interview Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones before his world tour for 60 Minutes Australia. Richards seemed lucid and when asked about whether he grows tired of being a Rolling Stone he also answered 'you are are always learning something new, that's why we're here'.

There is a truth in this, no matter how many times you do something, there is always something new to be discovered. Just recently we made a small discovery on our own fabrication methods which seemingly small and unimportant, has had resounding implications for our heavier woven jacquard silks. And, we also made some more inroads to our single piece bow ties, below, creating a chart for neck sizes based on shape - because, as many of you would know, depending on the size and shape of a bow, you may need a smaller or greater band relative to another shape.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When Should I Wear A Pocket Square ?

Summertime Wardrobe: When Should I Wear A Pocket Square?

As I have always said, December is the month for Sydney. It is when all the ships come back to the shore and festivities begin along with the summer garden parties, canapes and drinks parties, product launches, art gallery openings and the hive of activity in bustling restaurants from Potts Point to Bondi Beach as people hurriedly catch up and exchange mini histories of the year that just past. Of course, suggesting Sydney starts and ends from Potts Point to Bondi is completely disgraceful, but I don't have the time to list every suburb in Sydney that has it's own charm and character. Although I will say that as you get further and further up the Pacific Highway as you head north to Hornsby, it's hard to tell what charms may lie on either side of that scar of a road which cuts the upper North Shore in half, with just a hint of heavy greenery and what looks to be paradise for funnel-web spiders (these are peculiar to Australia and can kill you very quickly- see other post on Australia, Where Everything Wants To Kill You). Why upper crusty North Shore people pride themselves in living in areas where allegedly such spiders congregate in pool filter boxes, I do not know. Perhaps it is some sort of rite of passage.

The reason I write is that Sydney, as it gets hot, presents a challenge. Wearing a shirt gets a little too hot for some, especially for myself. You can wear a very light cotton shirt, but these tend to crumple. Then there is the choice of suit to wear in the summer and whether or not you wish to stand out or blend in. Below is a small example of whether or not to wear a pocket square.

In the photos I am wearing a navy peaked lapel jacket with a pop-over styled t-shirt by an Australian company called Moth. The shirt is made of  Italian mercerized cotton in navy. The blazer is a Holland & Sherry Black Tie Elite wool and kid mohair wool in a deep navy with a plain weave. In the top photo I have La Belle Dame square in my pocket. By contrast, in the bottom photo I am sans pochette.

It's a small detail change but it has a very big change on the look of the ensemble. In the top photo it is playful and paired with white jeans and some colourful suede loafers it will be a very summery outfit. By contrast, if you were to take the bottom image and pair it with some darker jeans or say grey or caramel trousers, you would completely alter the look to one of more power or authority. Depending on which function it was and what kind of message you were wishing to convey, I would suggest thinking about a combination like this for the summer. It's very easy to wear, light and breathable and can be dressed up or down with a pocket square. It requires no tie or bow tie ( Sydney summer time can be intolerable for neckwear on certain days) and could still get you into any golf club or members lounge across Sydney. It might even be accepted on the far North Shore.....

Black Diamond - In Stock

It's back in stock. Shop it now -

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Closing Up Shop Soon!

We are cutting our final runs of bow ties over the next week and then after that we will be relying on whatever stock we have until the New Year. Which means, essentially, we will not be able to offer a bespoke service from the middle of December to the middle of January, which means, if you want something made to order or anything particularly different in design, you will need to let us know this week. Contact us here:

3 Christmas Gift Ideas For Men: Jorden Boom Of Tie Deals Recommends:

Kiton Seven Fold Tie

Kiton sevenfold tie with orange and olive medallion design, wool/ silk blend, hand made in Napoli, Italy.
$285 Sale $175


Genuine White Tom Ford Dress Shirt

Genuine white Tom Ford dress shirt, french cuffs, hand made in Italy. $660 Sale $330

Battisti Wool Scarf

Wool men Battisti scarf with gray/ fuchsia paisley design. Battisti Napoli is a sartorial quality brand from Napoli, Italy. 
$350 Sale $140

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

3 Christmas Gift Ideas For Men: Tim Cecil, Henry Bucks Menswear Recommends:

Baxter Shaving Kit

Baxter Finley is credited with being the father of the new skin care awareness in California and his range of products using natural and skin invigorating oils and ingredients are popular with the guys next door as well as Hollywood celebrities. The Baxter Shaving Kit 1.2.3 comprises a natural badger shaving brush from Germany, a super-close hydrating shave formula 240ml and an aftershave balm. 120ml. $150.00

John Chapman Yorkshire Wool Wet-Pack

From famous Chapman of Cumbria, traditional craftsmen in the Lake District, a waterproof, tough, Yorkshire border tweed wool, bonded with a natural rubber core, wash bag with bright red washable cotton lining, strong brass zip closure, interior zip pocket and parachute webbing hanging strap. In blue melange. 25 x 13 x 13cm. $185

Derek Rose Striped Cotton Long Pyjamas

Derek Rose is renowned for incomparable quality of fabrics, fine attention to detail and perfect stitching. Satin striped cotton long pyjamas with elastic waist, breast pocket in bold greys and blue stripes. Available in sizes S-XXL. $245

3 Luxury Christmas Gift Ideas For Men: Will Boehlke From A Suitable Wardrobe Recommends:

 Rubinacci’s Victory Ashtray, $350. Rubinacci's oversized ceramic ashtray shows Nelson's ship "Victory" with the famous message "England expects that every man will do his duty" flying from the mainmast. Made In Italy. BUY IT NOW
Unlined Peccary Gloves, $295. Hand stitched unlined Peccary gloves with an all natural texture. Rigid and strong as well as soft and supple, Peccary is considered the ideal natural skin for gloves. Made In Italy. BUY IT NOW

Russian Leather Key Case, $250. A pocket protecting key case cut from 18th century Russian reindeer hides, a leather so rare that alligator is commonplace by comparison. Made In United Kingdom. BUY IT NOW

Gift Ideas For Men This Christmas - The Perfect Gift For A Man - Bow Ties From Le Noeud Papillon

This post is not so much for the men that might read this blog but for the women out there that don't know what to buy their man. So many women complain that it's so hard to buy for men but in truth, it's not that difficult. Above you will find a range of the finest bow ties made using the best silks, the best velvets and with quality workmanship. They are limited in number, they arrived neatly packaged in boxes with ribbon and an instruction card and videos on how to tie a bow tie. It is a gift that will no doubt remain within the family for a long long long time. Be generous with your man this year, give him a timeless gift, one which is synonymous with the greatest men of style that have walked this earth. Give him a bow tie and make it from Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Price Rises 2014 And Closing Dates

Dear Blog Readers And Customers,

We are writing to inform you that as of the 1st of January 2014 our base model bow ties will be rising from $145.00 AUD to $155.00 AUD. Our limited edition silk bow ties and premium silk range will move from $155.00 AUD to $165.00AUD and our 'Half and Half' bow ties in velvet and silk will move from $195.00 to $205 AUD.

The price rise comes after 5 years of having kept the price of our bow ties at the same price. We base the price change on changes in value of the Australian dollar and higher costs to running our business each year.

We are also writing to inform you that we will be closed in early January from the 4th Janaury to the 14th January 2014.

Writer's Block

I have been trying to put my finger on why I have nothing to say at the moment. I have decided that it's most likely writer's block.

I have been looking at the same blogs, websites and social media feeds for far too long. I have seen too many celebrities try black tie, I have seen too many designers trying too hard to be different. I am unfortunately in a state of mind where I am a little over the whole menswear thing. If it gets any worse I am going to start writing about bikinis instead. I figure the content will be more enjoyable to digest.

In fact, I will tell you what, the most stimulating menswear content I have enjoyed over the past two weeks has been Ben Pearson writing in to tell us about his outfit.

I am going to suggest, so that you don't have to read more posts about my writer's block - send in a description of something you wore recently that thrilled you or thrilled those that were with you - and we will scour the web and try to piece the outfit together for our readers. You can remain anonymous, you can drop in the labels you love, you can leave your labels out of it all together. But please, provide me with something interesting about what you wore recently as I am so so tired of seeing photos of Ryan Gosling in tuxedos.