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


With over 1.5 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, July 31, 2013

A Private Customer's Custom Made Bow Tie For The Royal Sydney Golf Club's 120th Anniversary 'Gatsby' Themed Party


This Friday evening the Royal Sydney Golf Club celebrates it's 120th Anniversary with a huge 'Gatsby' themed party at the club house in Rose Bay. We were called upon to make one of the guests a 'Lloyd' smoking jacket along with an oversized Ruby Black half velvet half black mogador satin silk bow tie. The recipient had a very large neck so our standard bow would not do. After two iterations we got it right and it was delivered yesterday to it's new owner. The bow was tied to show only the black mogador satin but reveals the velvet as an almost piped edge when you look at it front on. Unfortunately I was in a rush, so this is the only photo I managed to get of it. It is a superlative bow tie. See more

The Must Have Coffee Table Book For Christmas - The Dandy Portraits' 'I Am Dandy' By Rose Callahan

For those of you that read this blog regularly, you will know that in December at the Waldorf Astoria I was photgraphed by Rose Callahan of the Dandy Portraits. As to whether I made the cut of her new coffee table book, I don't know. However, judging by the cover I think I most likely did not.

Rose is a photographer and over the past few years she has photographed some of the most renowned and snappy dressers from Paris, London, New York and pretty much anywhere she can find seriously elegant men who stand out from the crowd. I also interviewed Rose here, and during the course of interviewing her she said that her great hope was to eventually make a coffee table book. Well, it's done and you can now pre-order it on Amazon and we thoroughly suggest doing so. Although Rose was a little disappointed by the editor's choice to name the book 'I am Dandy', I actually think it very quickly conveys the contents of the book inside.

Congratulations Rose Callahan, and we look forward to having our own copy on our coffee table by Christmas!

Rose Callahan's dream coffee table book is now a reality. You can now pre-order it on Amazon

What Exactly Is The Price?

It has been a hot topic of recent amongst my friends as to how and why they shop the internet. Just today a close friend said that he went to a retailer to price a clothes line. The shop was asking $240.00. He went online and within 40 minutes considered himself an expert on the matter of clothes lines and which ones worked better for various applications. He then found a website he liked and bought a better quality clothes line with 3 times the warranty for half the price to be delivered the next day. Such is the nature of the internet. Everybody is trying to get to the source and remove all the middle men. The shop that he might have bought the product from has high street retail rent prices, Australian wages, electricity, internet, insurances and so many hidden costs that there is not a chance on God's Green Earth that they can sell it for less than $240.00 and make ends meet. It is the same that is going on everywhere. You see 70% off from one website selling down last season stock, another claims to be making the product straight from the factory where the guy who is selling it for 70% off got it from and he is asking 50% less than the other guy's original RRP... And so the consumer juggles numbers around in their head.

Everything in retail world is at sixes and sevens. 

Unless you are selling a globally marketable product like an iPad with regulated prices, or you are Adobe selling software across the world from your website platform, I don't know how people are going to survive trying to retail. Plus, the retailers are dealing with very antsy customers who are getting whatever they want, whenever they want it whilst considering themselves as authorities on the matter throughout the process (see example above). Empowered by internet knowledge and hungry competition, they walk into a store and try on a suit, then go to the internet and scour the world to see if anyone is offering it at a better price. They come onto your website and ask for a discount if they buy two or more items, then go back to the retailers and see what they will do. When they see a discount they think this is the true price of the goods and don't want to pay a penny more and won't shop again until the retailer drops his pants. But, on the flip side, they might decide one day to walk into a store and when the sales guy gives him good service, they buy 3 times as much without so much as blinking.

Which brings me to my point - if retail is to survive it requires collusion in the market place, the precise thing that the internet was supposed to thwart which is why Adobe is probably on the right track and luxury French brands probably are too. The rest of us are stuck in a giant consumer sandwich getting eaten alive every day.

One little funny point I made to my good friend today as he told me about his clothes line was:

"The internet allows people to watch and wait on products 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Do you recall when we were younger that if you walked into a nice store, you felt almost obliged to buy something or otherwise you better leave the store and stop wasting the staff's time? Do you remember? I remember walking in somewhere and you swore to yourself you weren't going to buy a single thing and then you got so scared the item wouldn't be there tomorrow, with no chance to reference it anywhere else on the internet, so you bought it and walked out of the store thinking 'hell, they did it to me again. I swore I'd never buy another thing'. They were the glory days of retail. How sad they are gone."


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Gentleman's Gazette - You Can Spend A Full Day Here

Every now and then I stumble upon a blog which truly is authentic and original. Such was the case on the weekend when I logged onto Gentleman's Gazette. I had never heard of it, never been sent a link to it and it was just a chance other article I was reading that lead me to it. Although the front homepage did not startle and jump at me, I was impressed with the content and every article was bolstered by strong writing on any given product or theme. Gentleman's Gazette covers a huge amount of information for the sartorially inclined man and does not limit itself to clothes and accessories, venturing further and further into the realm of man and including perfume, cocktails, shaving techniques, factory and production profiles, manufacturing techniques of shoes, tanneries, sartorial profiles, cigars, socks and dressing gowns.

The trouble with Gentleman's Gazette is not the layout it turns out, it is wading through the in depth articles that are written with page after page of information you don't wish to skim over but you don't wish to continue reading for fear you are missing out on the next article. So, anyway, eventually I had to make contact with the author, Sven Raphael Schneider and as it turns out, we both knew and had been photographed by Rose Callahan of the Dandy Portraits. Raphael struck me as an incredibly well versed no nonsense kind of guy and as such I am certain to be reading more of his content. The only thing I would note is that with the kind of volume of information being offered, you sometimes run into spelling and punctuation errors from time to time. The other thing to note, which is enjoyable reading but akin to watching gladiators fight to the death, is Schneiders product reviews. My recommends though, for quality reading are:

1. Men's Swimming Wear Guide
2. Shirt Reviews
3. The Summer Pitti Florence Round Up
4. The Italian Elite & Clothing
5. Ralph Lauren Uniforms Made In China
6. A Review Of Sette Neckwear
7. The Great Gatsby Movie Review
8. James Bond Tuxedo Guide

A painting referenced by Schneider for his Men's Swimming Wear Guide - Source: The Gentleman's Gazette

This Too Shall Pass OR "Gam zeh ya'avor"

The other day Oppenheimer was prattling on about one thing or another during a lunch. At some point he was referring to some family affairs and that something somewhere had been dissolved or was rapidly changing. I said 'are you sad about that?' and he responded, 'I don't really dwell on it much, what was it Shakespeare said, 'this too shall pass' '. It was so deep from the old Oppenheimer and for a moment we just looked at each other and nodded our heads in unison as though something had transpired, some wisdom had come from the words like nectar from a flower or milk from a bosom. So I pondered the same thing today as business is generally a little quieter at the moment and in my absent-mindedness I found myself on Wikipedia again.


"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_too_shall_pass


And this is what Wiki had to say:

The phrase appears in the works of Persian Sufi poets, such as Sanai and Attar of Nishapur.[1] Attar records the fable of a powerful king who asks assembled wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and vice versa. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the words "This too will pass" etched on it, which has the desired effect.

Jewish folklore often casts Solomon as either the king humbled by the proverb, or as the one who delivers it to another. Many versions of the folktale have been recorded by the Israel Folklore Archive at the University of Haifa.[2] In some versions the phrase is simplified even further, appearing as only the Hebrew letters gimel, zayin, and yodh, which begin the words "Gam zeh ya'avor" (Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎, gam zeh yaavor), "this too shall pass."

In Turkish folklore, the phrase is commonly used in short stories and songs. The use of this phrase in colloquial Turkish is thought to have its roots in these songs and stories.
The story, generally attached to a nameless "Eastern monarch", became popular in the West in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in American papers by at least as early as 1839.[3] In 1852, the English poet Edward Fitzgerald included a brief version in his collection Polonius: A Collection of Wise Saws and Modern Instances. Fitzgerald's unattributed version, titled "Solomon's Seal", describes a sultan requesting of King Solomon a sentence that would always be true in good times or bad; Solomon responds, "This too will pass away". On September 30, 1859,Abraham Lincoln included a similar story in an address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in Milwaukee:
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
"

So there you have it, Oppenheimer was not entirely right about the origin of the phrase but the words will stick with you I promise.

In The Sun, I Will Come, To See Barbados!

Dear Readers,

The other night after a long day I was watching the late news on Channel 10 which had seemingly revamped itself to be something of a hybrid of entertainment show come late night bulletin. It had become increasingly noticeable, as though some young kid had taken over the control room and was trying to create his or her idea of how the news should be presented at this hour. I didn't mind it really. I thought, 'they ought to sack him but pat him on the back and give him his own programme'. In between news they were bringing on entertainers, such as Kate Cebrano, to sing new songs. It really was altogether perplexing because you were watching it all unfold in the usual newsroom. BUT, something happened. As they came back from the ad breaks I really was impressed with some of the music they were playing as the camera pulled into the studio. And one of the songs they came back to was a classic 80's Australiana anthem which I hadn't heard for years and almost brought tears to my eyes. Catchy as hell, here is The Models singing Barbados, have a listen and don't pass judgement until you get 3/4 of the way through.

Whatever you do, don't google the song for sadly the main search reveals that the lead singer took his life a few years ago. A bit of a bitter end to a rather sweet song.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Being Italian Must Be A Very Interesting Thing Indeed

In an interview I did with Parisian blogger Hugo Jacomet, he made a wonderful remark about Italians which resonated with me greatly. It was:

"In Italy, it's the exact contrary. Italians have an obsessional need to show up, to express their personality with clothes, to break as much rules as possible and mainly to attract attention as much as they can. I've seen in this country absolute wonders but also absolute vulgarity. But what I like the most with Italians, is that they are not afraid of making all the experiments possible to "shine" in public."

This is almost exactly as I have experienced so far in my workings with Italians. On the one hand they will show you the most sublime piece of fabric which has an aristocratic air about it, of lofty ideals, geometrics, and mathematics splashed with creativity and ingenuity and brought together by dedication and the pursuit of perfection. Then in the next hand they will place a seasonal bunch of cloth which makes your eyes start to see double. Hugo had it figured correctly. They are a strange dichotomy of the absolute best and the absolute worst. Tonight I went through some of the collections of Angelo Galasso and I was overcome by the same feeling. On the one hand Galasso created amazing outfits which you would love to own and you would consider timeless pieces which would most likely become heirlooms, on the other hand, you think "what the hell was he thinking". I do love Italians, I love everything about them, but you do have to sometimes wonder what kind of a country it must be like to live in with such extreme forces at play.


  

 

 For me, the top row is YAY, the bottom line is NAY. Your thoughts?




Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Models Are Now Up On The Website

www.lenoeudpapillon.com

The Royal Polka Dot....

I just received a piece of news which put a huge smile on my dial. It turns out our silks are made in the same place where the Duchess Of Cambridge's dress fabric was made.

I received this in my inbox this morning:

"I don’t know if you watched the television report of our Royal Couple leaving the hospital in London with the newly born Prince.
If you did, you may be interested to know that the dress Kate Middleton wore was Crepe de Chine, screen printed by us, using the same Dye and Discharge procedure we use for you.
If that bit of PR helps you to sell your products even better."

Congratulations To William And Kate and welcome George!

Grosgrain And Velvet - Be The Feature Piece Of Your Next Soiree

Exclusive to www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Ruby Black - When You Have To Knock The Socks Off Them!

Exclusive to www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And With Bated Breath He Waited For Her To Show Him Her.....


Introducing Karl Magnus - Limited Edition Black Grain And White Grain Reverso Duo Tie Your Own Bow Tie

Exclusive to www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Dreamweaver, I Believe You Can Get Me Through The Night..... Limited Edition Zig Zag Silk Dressing Gown

Here is something you don't see everyday and nor should you. This dressing gown was made using our Zig Zag silk and features a roped piping. Made in Sydney by a seamstress I used, it is unlined so as to keep you looking good, but not too toasty. My experience with silk dressing gowns in the past is that they make you too hot when they are lined. Silk being what it is, you will naturally heat up, so removing the lining seems to make for a more even temperature. Perfect for the Sydney winter. This is a one off in XL, if noboby claims it, I can tell you now, it will be mine. $1295.00 on www.lenoeudpapillon.com






Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Do The Drapes Match The Curtains? Fabric Covering Your Shoes With Trouser Fabric

I have never seen a pair of wool fabric covered shoes in the flesh, but I must say, I can think of a few applications where it would look rather nice. The shoes shown below come from a German client of Holland And Sherry named Stephan Goerner. The shoes are made using a pin stripe wool. Goerner is not the only person to champion wool covered shoes. I am told that Marc Guyot , located on the Rue Pasquier in the Paris' 8th arrondisement, also offers an interesting array of shoes, some of which have been used with wool in their two tones.

Regardless of whether you do or don't wish your drapes to match your curtains, perhaps it's a seed that might be sown for a future visit to your tailor if he offers a shoe service.

Although I believe the brown here is suede, these Marc Guyot two tone shoes have been made using wool in the past.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The iPad Procreate App For iPad And iPad Mini - Yes You Can Make A Portrait - Anyone Can!

I would not ask you to join in on a self-portrait competition if I thought you wouldn't be able to do it with a small amount of effort. By now, most of you readers and/or customers will have a favourite photo of yourself wearing a bow tie. And when I stumbled upon Procreate I realised that there was a new dimension we could offer to our portrait competitions. But, for those of you who insist you can't do it, here are a few videos to help instill confidence that you CAN indeed submit for this competition.









And, by importing a famous image into the programme, I was able to trace this icon of style and then begin creating my own portrait. Yes, it is a little like cheating, but since we are not trained professional artists, using a small amount of help to get you started is no different to tracing an image out on paper before beginning your own personal sketch.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

2013 Portrait Competition - Now Taking Submissions!

Exclusive to www.lenoeudpapillon.com

This is such a unique experience and I do hope a lot of our blog readers join in. Submitting is very simple and if you follow the instructions on the blog post below you should be able to knock out a portrait in a few hours. We look forward to our first submissions.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The New Portrait Competition - Entries Close September 30th 2013

FIRST PRIZE PORTRAIT WINNER WILL RECEIVE $500.00 AUD

The Portrait Competition 2013 is now delcared open! Submissions will close on the 30th September 2013. All portraits for this competition will be either painted on canvas or using digital art programmes such as Illustrator, Photoshop, or my new personal favourite - the Procreate app

The prize for the winner will be $500.00 Australian Dollars transferred or wired to your nominal account worldwide. 

The rules of engagement are as follows:

  1. The portrait must be a self-portrait
  2. The portrait must be done using a digital graphics programme or else a photograph of a hand-made painting in either watercolour, oil, airbrush or canvas. No portrait in straight photography or with a simple filter will be accepted.
  3. The painting must include a bow tie and feature a shirt. 
  4. The paintings (digital or digitally photographed stills of hand-made painting) must be submitted in a square image of exactly 1500 x 1500 pixels.
  5. All images must be sent to bow at le noeud papillon dot com.
  6. All entrants must be willing for their artwork to be used on our blog, website and or any other medium by which we advertise. 
  7. We thoroughly suggest using the Procreate app on your ipad or iPad mini. Procreate is an award winning app making waves around the globe for artists and creatives as a way to paint and express themselves using modern technology. The programme operates on 64 bit to give you fantastic versatility. I thoroughly recommend using a stylus for additional control but you may use your fingers just as easily. The app is $5.49 approximately and can be downloaded from your app store. 
  8. All images must be on a white background like the example shown below.

That being said, good luck and we look forward to seeing what you can create. You have plenty of time up your sleeve so don't be in a rush and let us know if we can be of any assistance. Happy painting!!!!


Janus Regel, initial photo taken by Magnus Omme, used in Procreate app to make this sample artwork

In Case You Want To See What Our Newsletter Readers See....

Below is an example of the newsletter we sent to our mailing list subscribers today. If you are not already on our mailing list, perhaps consider joining. You get a lot more than just new products we are offering. Join Our Mailing List Here
Dear John Citizen ,

If you haven't left this newsletter then we've known each other for a while....
Our blog commenced in February 2009 with some praise for a young Australian sunglass designer called Graz Mulcahy (Read here….)
Since then we have travelled far and wide to gather stories and you have come from far and wide to read them.  Just this week alone we have had readers come from The United States (1740), Australia (618), UK (312), Germany (216), France (195), Russia (137), Italy (102), Canada (58), Ukraine (50) and China (32) to name the top ranking alone.

It has been a long journey of meeting people and listening to their stories and it has been so enjoyable that it makes me about as happy as when a new batch of silk arrives.

 
So this week I am sending you the best of the best from the blog. It is broken into 3 categories:
 
1.Informative
2.Interviews
3.Discoveries

I hope you enjoy the links:

Informative:

1. Wool - Weaves
2
. Wool - Facts

Self Portrait Using Procreate

Last week I took a week off work to consider where we were going to head with our little business. July and August are usually our toughest months when it is too hot in Europe and it is too lethargic (not cold) in Australia for anyone to make choices about their fashion. There was a week about two weeks ago where we received not one enquiry from the website which is a very very rare thing. I looked through the stats to wonder where all our customers had gone and it was interesting to note that since the business began on the web, the historicals showed July and August to be the big dippers in web traffic. My assumption, given that we make luxury bow ties for sophisticated types, is that they are sipping Campari and blood oranges somewhere in the south of France wearing a pair of driving shoes and a Sunspel collared t-shirt. I could be wrong. I could be right.

Regardless, the time off was a God send. I swam most days last week in the pool at Cook + Phillip, backed up my data on my computer, tidied up my stock, took a trip down to the Snowy Mountains and, most importantly, I downloaded Procreate

Procreate was a lucky find I saw on my new iPad mini app store. I downloaded it expecting another crapola app but I gave it a chance because it had won some awards. However, once I opened the programme up I was shocked by how clever and intuitive it was. I was suddenly at the helm of an easel like some master painter with every conceivable tool at my finger tips. I am quite surprised that my results are not more enthralling because I certainly felt as I worked my fingers that I was on the cusp of some ground breaking material. If you have a creative urge, I highly recommend you give this app a whirl. For the price of two cups of coffee it will rock your world. 

So that you don't think I am more clever than I am, I will tell you that I created this self-portrait by firstly importing an image taken of myself by photographer Magnus Omme, then I sketched around that image using the tracing pencil tool and then I began to use a combination of 'shading graphite', inking, painting and airbrush tools. 


Self-Portrait, A Man And His Bow Tie , 2013 - Using Procreate App

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Charming Interview - Will Boehlke From A Suitable Wardrobe - One Of America's Great Menswear Blogs

Will Boehlke is one of two pieces of press we received during the teething stages of our business that were instrumental in the success of our business coming to life and being internationally recognised. The other was the Wall Street Journal. As opposed to print media, Will Boehlke is a man more immersed in digital content. His blog, A Suitable Wardrobe, has an average daily readership of 10,000 who come from all four corners of the globe. Will writes about worldwide issues relating to men’s wardrobes but his blog extends to wines, travel and craftsmanship, with contributing writers adding additional dimensions to the content. He is possibly one of the few bloggers who has a universal appeal despite being considered one of the more conservative observers of menswear. Will, thank you for being interviewed by LNP.

Will, can you tell us about some of the most interesting people you have met in the world of  tailored menswear in the past five years?

I most enjoy people who are as obsessed as I am, and those are generally not in the clothing business. The most interesting is probably RJ, the clothing-articulate weekly contributor to ASW, though I have never actually met him in person.  I have tried several times but he always finds a reason to avoid me. Slippery devil.

I also very much enjoy a friend who is an attorney in Los Angeles. He lives in a six bedroom house and every closet is filled with his tailored clothing. As is half the garage. I can relate to that.

What would you consider is the greatest obstacle to men wearing more refined and elegant clothes?

They have been brainwashed to think that clothes don’t matter, and fast fashion made in China to be worn a couple of times and thrown away is all they need. Women, who could demand more from their men, are apparently happy with that. I am always amazed by the number of women I see that are dressed for evening in Las Vegas and accompanied by a guy wearing dirty denim and a shirt worn out of his trousers.

I would describe your style as Old World Elegance – how would you be inclined to describe your style and those that read A Suitable Wardrobe?

I think of myself as wearing classic style, and ASW’s readers are either doing the same or aspiring to.

In the last two weeks I have had two Englishmen make snooty comments on our products. One said that he was far too conservative to wear our bow ties, the other saw me in an elevator and a woman complimented my lemon trousers to which he guffawed “I could never wear anything like that, I am too conservative!”  What is your opinion of the English and are you in agreement with them on their values when it comes to style? How might this differ with American conservatism?

I once read that the English became the most conservative dressers in the West after World War I when as you know an entire generation of men was lost. The survivors did not need to do anything to attract women. That said, personally I like what Michael Drake called English with an Italian sensibility, which is an ever so slightly edgier version.

American dress was most influenced by the English. Wealthy American men used to go to London for their clothes (some still do) just as their women went to Paris. That became diluted after the Italians took over ready to wear to the largest extent. Most Americans who spend money on their clothes wear Italian style. The rest wear sloppily made cotton and polyester that is as far from style as I can imagine.

The principal American contribution to style has been the prep or Ivy look originated by university students and co-opted by Ralph Lauren.

"The suit is made in Naples Italy from a special weaving of J&J Minnis Rangoon,
a tropical wool, done for a man in Singapore".  See More At A Suitable Wardrobe Blog

"This suit was made in the lake district of England.
It’s a 12 ounce gabardine, also by Minnis if I recall correctly."
See more at Will Boehlke's Blog - A Suitable Wardrobe


Every time I watch an American CIA film or something which involves intellectual Americans I see a huge amount of exposed button down collars in light blue cotton. Is there a reason that a portion of American’s are avid button down collar people? Here in Australia the trend does not seem to be as strong. Is there a cultural reflection of why this is a trend?

The button down came from India by way of England. It is very popular here thanks to the combination of Brooks Brothers which, for many years though no longer, made the iconic ready to wear version, and to preppy dress which made it the standard.

Wool! You know an awful lot about wool and I am quite certain you have seen a lot more bunches than the average Joe. Can you recommend for us 4 bunches of brands we may or may not know and the kinds of weaves and weights that stand out to you?

I like cloth made as it was before the development of the Supers, and before ready to wear retailers trying to reduce their inventories convinced men that they needed only one weight of clothing year round. I dress for the weather. I stay warm in 13 ounce/420 gram flannel in the winter and cool in 10 ounce/300 gram fresco in the summer (fresco is made to let air pass through it and on a breezy San Francisco day I can find myself looking down to make certain that I am still wearing trousers).

I like J&J Minnis for its fresco and its flannel as well as the flannel from Fox Brothers. Lovat Mill in Scotland makes some of the world’s best tweeds. The trouble is you have to have your clothes made to wear cloth like this.

The world is constantly evolving and as a result, things that were once considered important, like a necktie, seem to be less important than they once were, especially in Sydney where there is a more relaxed approach to business. What institutions are we losing and what saddens you the most about the evolution of menswear?

Barring the collapse of civilization, I honestly believe that people will wear little or nothing in the not terribly distant future. Clothing evolved to protect us from the weather, and to keep women from being attacked. As our control over the environment increases we won’t need the former, and as we become more civilized we won’t fear the latter. In my lifetime we have already seen a huge change in university educated men’s attitudes towards women based on co-habiting with them in their college dorms.

Of all the nooks and crannies in menswear production that you have explored in the last 5 years, what would be your biggest Eureka moment of both your business and the blog?

I don’t know that I have ever had a Eureka moment. I do what what I do because I like meeting and getting to know the artisans who make clothes by hand and the other clothing hobbyists who obsess over it. For example, I had lunch at the Travelers Club in Paris a couple of weeks ago with two men who are as crazy about this stuff as I am. I learned a great deal about Parisian bespoke from them, had a civilized lunch in a room full of men wearing suits (even pocket squares!) and enjoyed a game of snooker with a cigar accompaniment. Life has few better things to offer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mercury Textiles Definitions

Musk-Ox Wool

A "curiosity" wool with the colour of the darkest cashmere. The animal is more or less intermediate between sheep and ox, and is widely distributed along the Arctic Circle. It seems to be a good coarse substitute for cashmere, an is not unlike Indian wool.

Muslin

The name is derived from the City of Mossoul, where the fabric was first made (Marco Polo), (see Mosolin). It is a very light open plain weave cloth used for summer dresses and made in numerous qualities from super yarnsm such as 52 ends and 60 picks per inch, 80's warp, 70's weft. Hair muslin has fine cord stripes. Cammed muslin is in the same as hair muslin, but two single threads weave together to form cords.
Shirting muslins are heavier, such as 90 ends and 88 picks per inch, 90's warp, 100's weft; 80 ends and 86 picks per inch, 80's warp, 100's weft. Cambric muslins are between the light muslins and shirting muslins, about 70 ends and 56 picks per inch, 60's warp, 80's weft. Paper muslins are made about this quality. All muslins are bleached, dyed or printed in a soft finish. Book muslin and Tarleton muslin are not muslins, but hard finished plain cloths.
Muslins were not always plain, but had silk or even gold stripes woven in when made in Mossoul, but as cotton grew plentifully around the two and the women could spin yarns of great fineness, the cotton yarns gradually superseded silk.

Ottoman

A dress fabric of warp rib weave from hard spun yards. Originally silk was used, but now botany yarns or cotton is employed. The ribs may be formed at intervals to give stripes effects. The rib is known as the Ottoman cord, and is broad and flat. It is much used as a ground weave for figured poplins in which silk and wool or silk and cotton are the yarns.

There are three sizes of ottoman ribs known as Soleil, Ottoman and Ottoman Cord. Soleil has the smallest rib and is made in many qualities (see Soleil). Ottom has a bolder rib than the Soleil and is made slightly heavier, such as 104 ends and 78 picks per inch or even higher, using the same yarns. Ottoman Cord is like Ottoman, but the ribs are of different sizes and arranged alternately.


Seersucker

This term is common in the USA, and given to a plain and crimped stripe fabric either bleached or dyed, and used for drapery and furnishes as well as dress purposes. A common quality is 40-in wide 64 ends and 64 picks per inch, 26's warp, 20's weft. Woven from two beams in stripes of plain weave and crim which is also plain weave. The plain ground ends are firmly weighted and the criming ends are lightly weighted. Fance designs are obtained by using colour or rayon in the warps.

Viscose

Viscose was discovered by two English chemists, Charles F. Cross and E.J Bevan, working in collaboration at Kew, near London, who found that when cellulose was treated with disulphide of carbon in the presence of caustic soda, it was converted into a golden yellow plastic compound which dissolved rapidly in water. A solution of the plastic was of such viscosity that it was named 'viscose' a name that was destined to become world famous, seeing that round about 88 per cent of the world production of rayon is now made by the viscose process. In 1892 Cross and Bevan were granted a patent on the viscose process and it applied to many purposes before the production of a textile thread was successfully accomplished.
Fundamentally, the manufacture of viscose rayon is fairly simple. The raw material may be wood pulp, pulp from cotton linters, or a mixture of the two. The greater part of the world's viscose is made from wood pulp. Viscose rayon manufacture comprises seven distinct treatments as follows:
1. Making and purifying the cotton or wool pulp which forms the cellulose base
2.Caustic soda treatment of the cellulose base thereby forming alkalai cellulose.
(Sorry, I did not capture the last 5 points)

Wadding

Fabric comprised of wool fibres felted into a compact mass by the application of heat, moisture and pressure without weaving. Used extensively in tailoring, for upholstery, padding cushions, laundry presses and other machine purposes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Mercury Textiles Definitions Continued

I cannot get enough of this book. Knowledge is power, not to be abused, but certainly to be used in the right application. Not that I would ever want you to hold it over anyone at a dinner party, but it couldn't hurt to know a few of these definitions in case you feel the need to put someone in their place from time to time. Keep in mind though that this book is very out of date and more than likely there are many variations to every description offered as the world of textiles has evolved substantially.

Without further ado:

Damask (Linen)

A fabric of single structure formed by two satin weaves with figure developed in warp and ground in weft satin weaves resulting in a design that shows very clearly as a warp figure on a weft ground. The figure can be made more prominent by using coloured yarn. For table damasks a cotton warp with linen weft is often used. Damasks are made in numerous qualities, but all are figured in the five-or-eight-shaft satin weaves.
As early as the reign of Henry VIII a damask was a rich figured satin or linen and a damask was known in England as early at the 13th Century. The name is derived from Damascus and is presumed to refer to the design and not the material.
The first linen damask is woven about 126 ends and 188 picks per inch from superior flax yarns. The finished sizes vary up to 90-in wide, 6 yards long, and as a rule damask napkins and table tops can be obtained to match. Standard cloths of single damask are made: - Five-end satin, 60-ends and 56 picks per inch, 50'sT, 35's lea W., boiled; 8-end satin, 80 ends and 76 picks per inch, 50's T., 60's lea W., boiled (see Double Damask).

Denier

A term used to denote the count or size of silk and rayon threads. Denies is the namer formerly given to a small French coin. Its weight was quoted differently in different Continental towns and countries, and the number of metres in a unit length also varied. These differences hastened the general world-wide adoption of the International Denier System, based on data laid down at a Conference in Paris in 1900, which stated that the denier count is the weight in half-decigrammes of 450 metres of yarn. In practice the init length is taken as 450 x 20 = 9000 metres of yarn. Taking the equivalents of the metre as 1.0936143 yars, and the gramme as 15,432,356.4 grains, one pound weight of the denier yarn would contain 4,464,496.5 yars. From this figure the correct conversion factor for cotton is 5314.87, conveniently 5315, thus:.... (I have left of the equation because I cannot type it)

Denim

A course twill cloth, 3 x 1 weave, woven from coloured warp yarns, usually blue or brown, and made into overalls for workmen. Widths from 27in to 36-in, 58 ends and 58picks per inch, 20's T., 22's white weft. A fine quality is made from 90 ends and 52 picks per inch, 20's T, 14's W., and shipped to many South American markets.

Gaberdine

The gaberdine is a fabric having a whipcord effect made from worsted warps and cotton weft. It is usually woven on 11 staves as at A, in a dobby loom with a fine reed. The warp yarns are good quality worsted botany 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.


Gingham

An all cotton, plain weave fabric woven from dyed yarns in stripes and checks. An example:

USA: Width: 31-in, Ends per inch 68 /56, Warp 40's, Weft 40's

The widths, qualities and designs are numerous, as nearly all plain checks or stripes can be placed under this heading. The colours are fast to washing and the cloth is Scotch finished. In each case the coloured yarn is the same counts as the white. The name is derived from the Gingamp (France) where the cloth was first made in Europe, being introduced from India.


Grosgrain

A fabric of the poplin type, but with a more pronounced rib produced by using coarse cotton weft. Made about 40-in, 200 ends and 52 picks per inch, 75 denier silk warp, 12's cotton weft, and in many other qualities. Gros de Hondres, Gros de Paris, and Gros de Lyon are varieties of this rib fabric. Derived from gros (coarse of large) and grain (kernel).

Horse Hair 

The long lustrous hair from the tails and manes of horses. Cleaning, dressing and curling operations are carried on at many points, but the production of horse-hair textiles is confined virtually to the West of England. The hair is woven to make carriage and furniture seatings, interlinings, flesh rubbers, rugs and carpets. In Bradford some success has attended attempts to use horse hair as a core for worsted yarn interlinings. In Worcester an old-established firm has succeeded of horse hair, which is then used as a weft, in combination with a cotton or worsted warp. Horse-hair lining cloths are manufactured in Philadelphia (USA), the material is also worked in Germany, notably Leipzig.

Horse hair is sorted over suction screens, and is dyed black with logwood. The hair is curled by being twisted into rope, soaked two hours in water, and then baked for twelve hours at 350 deg F. the hair is left for three days to cool. Long white uncurled hairs are used for violin bows and shorter hairs of the same colour for brushes and plumes. Finishing lines are made from the brown hair, and selected lustreless hair is used for lawyers' wigs. The United Kingdom, North and South America, Australia, Germany, Russia and China are the chief sources of supply.

Honeycomb Weave

This is weave obtained by causing both warp end and picks of weft to float in a diamond shape to form ridges along the the lines of the longest floats.
A course of plain weave all around the floating warp and weft diamond shapes induces the formation of hollows. The weave is largely used in Bolton fabrics for quilts, toilet covers, etc and in Heywood for towels. The Brighton and Grecian weaves are adaptations of the honeycomb principal.
Honeycome weaves may be arranged as in design W., where the weft diamond is larger than the warp diamond, or as in design E., where the weft diamond is the same size and the warp diamond.

The Mercury On Textiles Definitions

Basket Weaves

An extension of the plain weave, both in the length and width, and giving a matt weave; also known as "hopsack weave". When the principle is extended to 16-shafts or more the floats of the warp and weft are stitched to bind the design to give a firm fabric, these are fancy basket weaves as used in the woollen and worsted trades.

Bird's-Eye Pattern

A small designed based on the diamond principle, with a small dot in the centre of each figure. Used for dobby and jacquard effects as a ground weave. Almost any design that gives a small spot of colour can be included under this term.

Chain Stitch (Embroidery)

One of the most ancient of embroideries, and first brought from the East, where it is still done by Persians, Indians and Chinese. It was done on any material and in all kinds of thread, gold, silver, silk, cotton etc. The stitch is much is in ornamenting Church fabrics. Tambour work is a chain stitch done with a hook instead of a needle.

Challis

An all wool muslin delaine, printed in somewhat faint designs. Made from very fine yarns in plain weave about 54-in. A soft dress finish is given to the cloth. Originally the challis was made with a silk warp and worsted weft, but imitations were put on the market, some with cotton warp and wool weft, others had cotton and wool mixed warp and weft. Also made all cotton in 24-in and 36-in finished widths, and used for cheap dresses in America. Made plain weave about 80 x 96 per inch, 50's/60's, printed and dyed.

Chambray

A light-weight cotton or linen dress fabric, plain weave, weighing 13 or 14 yars to the pound. Great similarity to a soft finished cambric fabric, made in 27-in to 30-in widths. A gingham style of check or strip has has this term applied to it, the cloth being plain weave, and printed in checks or stripes with white slevedges. Such as 32-in, finished, 68 x 52 per inch, made from good American yarns, about 32's/30's. Used for overalls, aprons and children's dresses.

More definitions to come. This book is thoroughly enjoyable.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The "Mercury" Dictionary Of Textiles Terms Published By Textile Mercury Limited Manchester

I am searching for a book which I would like to have in PDF version. It is called "The "Mercury" Dictionary Of Textiles Terms Published By Textile Mercury Limited Manchester" and it is about sixty years old. I have a friend in the industry who owns a copy of one but it is old and it is something of historical significance to him. Therefore, I am laying down a challenge to all you brilliantly minded fellows out there that know a lot more about fashion than I do, if you have a PDF copy, and you can email it or Dropbox it to me at bow@lenoeudpapillon.com I will reward you by making you a single piece bow tie in any fabric we have in stock cut to your desired collar size / measurement.

Part of the reason I am chasing this book is the wonderful information it contains inside of it for patterns and being able to describe in detail what kind of fabric is in your hand. This is very important for me not only for writing the blog but when dealing with cloth merchants. I will give you an example below.

This is the Mercury definition of Barathea:

A worsted fabric in twill hop-sack weave weighing  15 Oz or over 58-in. The cloth is dyed indigo. Woven from 2/36's botany warp and 66's weft, and in fine reeds and picks, about 92 x 160. The finishing process shrinks the fabric about 20 per cent.

Mercury textiles dictionary diagram of the weaving process for Barathea

The diagram shows the weave. Another cloth is woven with a silk warp and a fine botany weft in weft rib weave. Used for dresses. This term was originally adopted as a registered trade name for an armure silk tie, but is now generally used for silk or worsted fabric with a pebbled weave of the armure. A fabric used for army clothing which had this name is made of all two-fold worsted yarns and in a double twill weave.

If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them!

Last night I watched the Lions tear the Wallabies apart and deservedly. I am not a huge fan of sports in general but I find myself enjoying it more and more these days, probably as a respect for people who have physical fitness and endurance as I seem to have none at the moment. So, tonight, rather than constantly throwing rocks at the British, I have decided to support them by wearing a bow tie of green grass and orange tennis balls and I am going to watch Wimbeldon and I am rooting for Andy Murray. Because, if you can't beat them, you may as well join them!

'Wimbeldon' limited edition bow tie from Le Noeud Papillon - www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Friday, July 5, 2013

Diamond Dan On : How To Choose An Engagement Ring - A Guide For The Australian Male

I first met Diamond Dan a number of years ago when I was sweating to buy a diamond for a woman who would eventually throw the ring off the side of a highway so that I had to spend forty minutes on my hands and knees in mud just to find it. In a strange way I really think that they owed me my money back after such a terrible ending to such an expensive experience, but today Dan paid me back by writing something for you readers which is invaluable. A guide to buying an engagement ring. Don't go through what I went through - here is Dan putting his best foot forward to help you navigate the world of diamonds and rings.

{Incidentally, if Dan looks familiar it is because he is an actor and you would have seen him on The Underbelly series amongst a number of other roles.}

Diamond Dan, in your opinion, if a man between the age of 25-30 was on a salary of say $120,000 a year, what do you think is a sensible amount of money he should allow for on an engagement ring? What about $60,000?

The standard rule is that a diamond and the engagement ring should cost roughly 2-3 months’ worth of your salary. That notion was created by industry leader De Beers in the early 20th century as global diamond-awareness marketing campaign. Some people may tell you that the deeper you reach in your pocket, the deeper your love but we don't agree. We believe that the more time you spend and effort in attaining the right diamond / ring, the more your partner will notice this. Sometimes bigger things come in smaller packages.
In saying that, buying a diamond ring shouldn't be looked at as an expenditure but rather as a form of investment which can be passed on from parents to children and hold its' value over the years.
On a romantic note, I would like to remind you that diamonds are nature's product and are billions of years old. Therefore, what better symbol of eternal love to give your partner than a diamond! Instead of looking at rings for their investment value, buy ones that symbolize your love, and that you'll want to wear for the rest of your lives.



Carat or clarity? And can you please explain to us a little about how you grade diamonds and how someone might go about researching diamonds before they go looking to purchase them? Is there a type of diamond which perhaps represents better value or better re-sale value?

When you first start researching diamonds, it is best to start with The 4 C’s – Carat, Cut, Colour & Clarity. All 4Cs are important. GIA (The Gemmological institute of America) created the 4Cs as a universal method for establishing the quality of any diamond anywhere in the world. The 4C's gives diamond consumers and retailers two very important things:
Diamond Dan

1. The quality of diamonds can be communicated in a universal language

2. Diamond-buying consumers can know exactly what they are about to purchase.

The combination of the 4Cs directly affects the cost of the diamond, but at the end of the day it comes down to personal taste and budget.

In my view, a diamond has to stand out and therefore I'd first go for size. Then I’d make sure that the cut grade is of very good to excellent to maximise its' sparkle. Next, my preference would be colour, the higher the better (the top 4 colours from D to G are colourless, called in the trade 'collection colours'). The human eye is able to distinguish between colour and the whiter the diamond (clear) the more fire it emits and captures the eye.

Now, the Clarity: Diamonds, like people, have imperfections; imperfections are what make us beautiful.  There is nothing wrong with some inclusions. I would go lower on the clarity, so long as there aren’t any major inclusions that stand out and scream at me.

Diamond Cut Shapes


In conclusion; to get more bling for your buck: Colour E-F , Clarity Si1-Si2, Cut Excellent to Very Good . That way you can go higher on the Carat and get more diamond.

Practical knowledge is second to none. Unlike buying a car or a TV, diamonds are a rare commodity that we seldom purchase and the average person's knowledge of them is small.  I highly recommend getting a very basic understanding of the 4Cs, having a good idea of what your budget is, and decide on the style and shape of the diamond you are after. However, speaking to an experienced industry person who you can not only trust but who understands you and your personal needs, is the most useful thing you can do in order to make the experience an enjoyable and memorable one.

Okay, so the cut of a diamond – brilliant seems to be the classic, but what do you think about cushion cut and what other cuts can people experiment with? What keeps the best re-sale value?

Round Brilliant cut- The modern Round Brilliant cut, with its' average 58 facets which maximize the amount of light that the stone gives off is the most classic and famous throughout history. It will never date and will always keep its value over time. There are many other beautiful shapes but they do go in and out of fashion with changes in market trends.
Photo: GIA

Personally, I love the Pear-Shape cut a.k.a Tear-drop. I find that shape both elegant and feminine as it is edgy and sexy, and you will not see it very often so it is quite unique. The Cushion Cut is another favourite, as it has the brilliancy of the Round Brilliant and soft rounded corners, but since they are cut 'heavy',  the beauty of the stone stands out more once they go up in carat weight, say from 1.00 carat and over.


What kind of engagement ring would you propose with and what would be the story behind your choice? You mentioned hearts & arrows, what is this characteristic of a diamond?

I would propose in one of 2 ways depending on what my ‘future bride’ is like
The 1st option – I would propose with a loose diamond presented in a clear glass top box. This way my fiancé would have a say in the final design she is after and we could enjoy this experience together. After all, it takes two to make a marriage and what a better way to start than with such an experience. This option is also good when you are not sure of the design your partner is after.

This is not for everyone as some people want to be surprised and be presented with the final ring. And so, if I had a clear idea of what my future bride likes (given the hints and magazines left casually lying around), I would choose the Diamond Solitaire Engagement ring………..

White gold or platinum for the setting and what kind of setting is very popular these days?

White Gold or Platinum is a matter of taste and budget. Platinum is dearer than white gold and has a matt look as opposed to 18k white gold which is less expensive and is generally shinier. Personally I like to say that Gold is Gold is Gold.



The Classic Solitaire Claw Setting is the most popular, with either a plain band or a band with small Round diamonds. With a minimum use in metal it maximizes the amount of light hitting the rock and still keeps it safe and protected.


Has the demand for ‘bespoke’ or ‘custom-made’ designs been increasing with your business?

Most definitely!  At Rich&Mor we value our customer’s involvement and input. We believe that buying a diamond ring should be as enjoyable as it is a memorable process. A high degree of ‘customisation’ and involvement of the end-user (a happy bride in most cases) is something we pride ourselves with. A custom-made diamond engagement ring is the right way to say I love you.

Rich & Mor custom work


 If you could design an engagement ring again, with a budget of say $120,000 dollars, what would you design and could you sketch it for us?

With that kind of a budget I'd go for a big rock of the highest colour D and si1 or si2 clarity. A 4 CT Dsi1 will fit that budget.  That way the size and colours are maximized. As I said before inclusions are ok as long as not black or standout and take away from the stone.
I’d also like to stay with a classy look that showcases the rock on its own without adding any smaller diamonds and with minimum use of metal. A beautiful handmade 6 claw ring with a fine 2mm band in 18k white gold will look elegant, powerful and timeless.

Diamond Dan in his office, Sydney CBD
For more information you can contact Rich & Mor Diamonds by clicking here. They also run a nice FB page here.

And, as a really interesting post script, have a look at Dan take you through some seriously huge diamonds at the Tel Aviv diamond exchange below.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ivan Crivellaro - Now The Toast Of Pitti

You may recall that last year I had shoes made by Ivan Crivellaro (see FB Page) after I saw his work on the GQ Italia writer Angelo Flaccavento's wall. Ivan went on to create a pair of the most fabulous shoes which were painted with little papillons and a Dali face with a handle-bar moustache on the sole. I adore them. To this day people often stop me in the street to pay them, not me, a compliment. Today Crivellaro released photos of his latest work for Luca Rubinacci and Andrea Luparelli. The work, posted below, is so unique, that you could consider it on the interface of art and artisan and the photos that I posted of my shoes have become somewhat internet sensations for those that post and repost content on shoes. Without further ado:

Shoes For Luca Rubinacci

Ivan Crivellaro, left, liases with Luca Rubinacci, right, on his new shoes



Shoes For Andrew Luparelli


A Fellini inspired painting on the sole of this shoe