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

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

And A Happy New Year From Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

Some say we make the best bow ties in the world - we don't necessarily believe that, there are other exceptional bow tie makers in the world today - but we do our absolute best to ensure that our customers get the highest quality silks with the most interesting designs and attention to detail.

Here are two notable reviews of our bow ties:

"Fantastic bow ties from Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney, the modified butterfly shape with the wonderful mogador silk is probably one of the most beautiful formal bow ties in the world"
- Hugo Jacomet, the Parisian Gentleman

"Often copied, never equalled, The Majestic Black bow tie by Le Noeud Papillon #probablythebestbowtieintheworld"
- The Snob Report

A staple in any man's wardrobe, the Majestic Black

Our Majestic Butterfly is a head turner

A superb dual sided reverso bow tie with grosgrain and mogador satin silk on the reverse and finished with rose gold plated clips. 

Finished with rose gold plated clips, this is a variation of the Majestic Black

Monday, December 28, 2015

An Accidental Cultural Phenomenon Might Have Just Been Discovered Down Under

Recently a friend invited me in to see something that he'd amazingly found in a vintage store - a cream silk serge double breasted dinner jacket from Harrod's of London. 

My meticulous friend is not the sort of type to wear vintage. Nor a silk jacket. So, as you can imagine, it must have been something partcularly wonderful to catch his discerning eye. 

So eager was he for me to see his jacket that he grabbed his old Le Noeud Papillon wedding shirt and put it on so he could throw over the jacket. However, he didn't quite feel up to changing his board shorts for trousers. Inadvertently he got me thinking about menswear. 

Quite often we lounge around like slobs in the Australian summer. It doesn't matter what Woolmark writes on their marketing platform, it's too hot for a suit. And when you come off the beach you are usually still hot into the early evening from the sun cooking your skin. As night falls if you are sitting outside al fresco the most you ever really want is a sports jacket. 

So, this is my take on it. What about making social events in the evening somewhat formal up top with your Sunday best board shorts on the bottom. It might sound a little ridiculous to start with but let me assure you that this is summer evening cocktail chic. A pina colada or margarita in your hand, your feet in a boat-shoe/moccasin/slipper/loafer/driving shoe, your best pair of fancy print board shorts and a light shirt with a fancy jacket. It's a way to celebrate dressing well without losing the comfort of dressing light for summer.

And if you are worried about it looking funny for photos, consider it the Ron Burgundy look of fashion, if everybody takes a seat you will get a photograph that looks like it's one helluva swish soiree.

Australian men, if you give one look a go this summer, try the Ron Burgundy. I know I will.

New Silk Designs From Le Noeud Papillon For 2016

I don't know which days are more exciting, either receiving strike outs from Italy or watching the first batch of bows come off the bench. There is perhaps more excitement when you receive a strike out, and there is more risk and trepidation when you are watching them come off the bench. 

We design silks for the application of bow ties so the silks invariably on the roll look fantastic. However, not always is it possible that the vision you had when you designed the silk will actually work when cut to the pattern specifications for a particilar shape of bow tie. Diamond points are usually the riskier patterns to get right. The easiest is a big butterfly.

Below three new designs came through. The first (below) was inspired by a piece of art I had seen of recent. The thought of creating simple shapes with contrasting colours on black backdrop was in part an homage to Marc Mendelson  after I saw one of this paintings "La Limites De La Nuit" on The Snob Report. 

The second design was completed by my friend in Milan, Alarico Arenosto. Alarico, as some of you may well remember, was the architect residing in Sydney who has in the past made some of our most interesting and notable silk designs. I asked Alarico to put forward a design which might have inspired him of recent and he came back with the design below (middle image) that was inspired by tiles he found on the Church of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. 

Finally, the simplicity of the stars, which is another new design we will produce for 2016, is probably the most simplistic design we have produced in some time which we think will work well for those looking for a less is more bow tie for day wear.

If you would like pre-order a bow tie or neck tie in your desired shape in any of these silks, please contact us on

The Boat Shoe - May It Return To Trend Again

Sometimes you don't know how to wear something until it is shown to you by somebody else. In the pursuit of personal style we usually head in directions we think are the ones that suit us most, only to find years later that we are bogged down in whatever it was we thought we were. It's refreshing to walk past another man in the street that shows you a new set of possibilities.

One such example of this was a fortnight ago when I was asked to have an early kids and family dinner with an artist friend of mine and his architect wife. Because there are so few people in Sydney that would fit that bill I will refrain from telling you the location but the location is important. They live in the sort of area that is famed for bohemians, artists, architects, intellectuals and journalists. It is a sort of Old World enclave of Sydney which has a certain quirky Royal Tenenbaums feel about it. The feeling I often get when I am in that area is one of brown corduroy trousers, tweed style jackets, viella shirts and ties handed down from grandfathers and so on - all with a certain smell of must and sea water mixed together (hint).

When I went to open the door to let in my friend who was returning from the fish markets I couldn't open the door fully because his collection of boat shoes was piled high in the door way. I was very surprised that there were so many pairs there. I must have counted four pairs of boat shoes.

I quizzed him about it later in the evening and he explained that boat shoes were his thing. He loved them, he found they could be worked into any ensemble he wore and he had no other reason than they suited him. And they did. I recounted all the times I saw him and I tried to remember him without boat shoes on and I couldn't. About the only time I had seen him without boat shoes was on his wedding day in his bespoke grape suit, but even then I could not be sure. 

For myself, I have never worn boat shoes since I was a teenager and I wore Timberland ones. That was during my most conservative 'wasp' stage circa 1993 before I had a mid-teen crisis and swung my pendulum heavily in the opposite direction towards urban cool. I can remember the time clearly, it was the time of Arnette blowfly sunglasses, v neck t-shirts, suede puma low cut sneakers, cashmere sweaters and my first pair of leather pants. I was a cool cat for a bit.

Now that I have gone through a series of re-births I am considering once again the boat shoe but with a new frame of mind. I am going to find a shoe maker that will work with me to make a more modern and sleek version. Once I have found such a person I will report back. But, mark my word, the boat shoe will soon have another day in the sun as people have become de-sensitized to the driving shoe and moccasin. My only problem is that if they start trending my artist friend will have to find a new mode of shoe. 
The boat shoe. Photo Source: Mr Porter

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Australia - You Will Soon Have More Options - Caulaincourt Comes Down Under

There are so few great shoe stores for men in Sydney. The big international brands like Ferragamo, Gucci, Tods, Bally, Vuitton etc, they are all here - but they offer variations on the same theme each year and often you get lost in their branding. I strongly dislike that branding stuff that companies like Louis Vuitton or Gucci do where you have to see their gold buckle take over the shoe or the leather has to be stamped over and over with their logo. It's so painful and I don't understand why they do it. To me it is a little like having someone walk up to you and repeat their name to you in conversation. If somebody walked up to me and said "hi, my name is Gucci, my name is Gucci, my name is Gucci, my name is Gucci, my name is Gucci, my name is Gucci, my name is Gucci, my name is Gucci " you would eventually just punch said person in the head to make them come to their senses and yet somehow thousands of people flock to buy these products each year.

I might add, and respectfully, that I am a little surprised that even brands like Hermes do this with their H. If I could tell you what I love most about Hermes it's when they make art out of a screen print on a pocket square, not an H.

So, pleasantly, I was surprised to hear that Caulaincourt of Paris, a brand that makes really nice footwear but not the type that is heavily branded, is coming to Australia. Caulaincourt, amongst many other things, make superb patina chelsea boots. Below you will see their wonderful shoes which were brought past the Le Noeud Papillon Studio in Sydney and I am hoping that at some stage in 2016 we might offer a drinks night and trunk show at the Studio to welcome them to our country.

Australian men, the wait for great unbranded shoes is over, let us just hope that the dollar picks up against the euro.

Follow Caulaincourt Australia on Instagram - @caulaincourtaustralia 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas From Jack Simpson Couture

Years ago around Christmas time you would get a whole bunch of Christmas cards and if you were lucky you would get a photo inside with an update. These days many of us are more likely to send these notes in the form of an email and I do love a good Christmas email.

The pictures below arrived from Jack Simpson. Jack had recently photographed our new 'Stafford' bow tie on some custom work he was doing. Jack is a tailor, not in the sense that  he sews with a needle and thread, but more that he creates custom and tailored clothing wardrobes for American men. He also designs silks each season which he turns into neck ties. They are very unique and I highly recommend them for our neck tie readers. Shop

However, there's only so much menswear that I can read about before I become a little de-sensitized to content, which was why I was so excited the other week when Jack started posting content about his other passion for vintage cars. He had photographed our bow tie with two other style influences in black and the car he posted was something I had never seen before. Yes, I had seen cars made in the 30's before, but none like these ones - they were perfection.

I would gladly type out the description, but I would prefer it to be in Jack's words. Jack knows vintage cars and I find that extra exciting, because I know nothing about them and I think I want to know more in 2016.

Merry Christmas Jack and thank you for bringing a new interest to my life.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Came Early For Us At Le Noeud Papillon

The world is getting more bereft of sartorial talent and where the Instagram has made the eccentric dapper gentleman look mainstream or perhaps 'generic', the quandry becomes separating the wheat from the chaff. The Snob Report (handle @thesnobreport ) is probably the most refined of the lot of them. Certainly if there are better ones to find, I have not found them. And, as I've often discussed on the blog, I like the fact that we never see his face so that the discussion is about the clothes, the art, the food - and not the blogger (although his beard is perhaps a moot point).

More importantly, and for the record, we didn't send him a bow tie, he must have bought it and loved it. That makes it even more of a Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Things That Have Caught My Eye This Christmas

Smythson 24 Hour Bag - 1295 GBP

I would most likely never ever purchase one of these bags because I don't do enough business to warrant the expenditure and I don't travel often enough overnight to warrant it either. However, if I were flush with money, I would not hesitate. Just look at that magnificent cognac brown, it's just so elegant.

Berluti briefcase $4340 AUD

For the pimps and the players. You might have seen us write about the bag we made with Enrile of Spain, well, this was one of my key inspirations for asking him to work on a patina bag. Berluti is magic.

Got free time over Christmas and the New Year? Finally having a boy's night? Consider this.

Lord Loafers - 124GBP

I have seen these guys on Instagram a lot but never tried them out. I might soon, price does not seem unreasonable. 

Mont Blanc Tolstoy Fountain Pen - $1350 AUD

It is somewhat ironic that a man who spent his entire life trying to do away with private property and intellectual property should be commemorated by a luxury pen company that specialises in items which people most definitely consider their 'private' property. Needless to say it's a beautiful pen in a very unorthodox manner.

Ralph Lauren Quilted Coverlet Bedspread And Pillows approx 650AUD

I am used to duvets and a sheet and you rarely need a blanket in a Sydney winter.  However, I like the idea of a bed as a decorative piece of art in the room and whilst my own bed is rather spartan, I would love to add some 'jazz hands' with a quilted coverlet from Ralph Lauren. The only trouble is you then need to know how to make your bed to get a 'hotel' finish. Could be good if your other half is into making beds of you have a 'Maria whoosh' to help around the house, if not, it might be too much hard work. Proceed with caution.

Monday, December 14, 2015

You Haven't Made A Success Of Yourself Until You Get A Troll

The below email was sent through the website on Friday night. It just happened to come through whilst I was using google analytics and I could see that someone in the United States was using our contact form. I was excited, I thought it might be a potential customer. It might still be, but I am not sure I would ever want to do business with this kind of character.

Last year a local celebrity woman, who was a presenter on a popular Sydney reality television programme, committed suicide. Part of her terrible frame of mind around the time she took her own life was brought on by people who were tweeting her and basically telling her she ought to 'off' herself. 

When the email below came through I didn't quite feel like that, but for a brief moment I needed to consider what this person was saying. Seneca, one of the great Roman Stoics, once said that if you are insulted you had a number of ways in which you could handle the situation. The first is that you need to assess if there is any validity to the insult. For, if someone is being truthful when they insult you, you ought to consider what they are telling you. So, for that, I owe my troll some respect. I am indeed overweight bordering on obese. It has been something I have not managed to get a grip on for some years. I exercise all the time but perhaps the stress of family life and running a small business plus the fact that I never seem to feel full when I eat until I am too full, is part of my general issues surrounding food. So, you are correct my 'friend', I am at best portly, at worst obese. 

Seneca then went on to say that if a man insults you and he isn't stating the truth, then the best way to retaliate is with humour, if you are quick witted. Today I am not feeling quick witted, so let me just answer the incorrect part with some reasoning. 

As for my products, Paul, you are not correct. My products are designed for people who love bow ties and who appreciate silk. I love all kinds of bow tie shapes Paul and over the years we have thrown a good two dozen or more on to the website but over time our customers continually come back to our modified butterfly shape, which is the one your 'colleague' wore no doubt. 

If reducing our prices and the size of our bow ties would make you a customer then I shall have to put my prices up and make bigger bow ties. If you knew how to tie a bow tie you would know that the size of the knot and finished tie depends on your skill at tying a knot.

I am wishing you a merry Christmas - I have never had a troll before - and in a way I owe you a thank you - you made me realise we are doing okay at what we do. 

 Name: Paul
  Phone: 555-555-5555
  Body: I have been looking at your bows for quite some time, and have come to the unfortunate conclusion that they are vastly overpriced.  I have also noticed from your bows owned by a collegue, that they are very generously if intended to be worn by a portly overweight gentleman.  Sure enough, I have noticed on your blog frequent photos of one of your models (who is at best portly, and at worst, obese), with dark hair and a beard, sporting your bows.  I assume I have guessed correct, and that your bows are cut for overweight men.

Perhaps you should consider both reducing your prices and reducing the generous cut of the bows, so men of normal size do not look dwarfed by them.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Review Of Mr. Porter - The Services Of Porter Dowd, Part Of The Team At P Johnson Tailors

Over the past four years or so Le Noeud Papillon has been making bow ties for P Johnson tailors. It's been one of the easiest customers to manage since Patrick, the designer behind P Johnson has a very succinct approach towards bow ties - black satin silk, black grosgrain silk and white cotton marcella. Anything outside of this is not part of the P Johnson oeuvre and never has been. It is a consistent and clean approach and it has meant that we have always been passed on the details of the flamboyant and eccentric customers that were chasing something different.

I can distinctly remember the first time I saw a P. Johnson suit - it was in the second bedroom of a menswear enthusiast's apartment as his clothes were relegated to the empty cupboards in the spare room whilst her clothes took up the master bedroom. Single men, beware, this will happen to you too.

He opened up this Loro Piana dove grey cloth with pin stripe and showed me the interior of the jacket, nothing over the top in terms of the lining construction but it was just a lovely suit. Soft shouldered, which at the time was rarely seen from any other Australian brand, a little de-constructed and not heavily chested for a double breasted blazer, certainly unlike the handle of anything you might have picked up in the stores at that time.

From that point onwards Patrick Johnson was a name which made me somewhat frustrated to hear. In truth, I am one that partly buys into the Gore Vidal line that 'every time a friend succeeds a small part of me dies'. Increasingly Patrick's name would be spoken of around town or, as was happening all too frequently, a customer would present himself to us with his white P Johnson suit bag in hand and say ' I need you to help me find a bow tie to match this suit'. If you can't beat them, join them - and slowly, when I realised that I would never want suits to be my core business and as Patrick did make suits his core business, we came to realise that it was better to work together than against one another - not that shots were ever fired.

Many years have passed and I have made suits with a variety of other tailors to express looks or feelings for the window and blog of Le Noeud Papillon but not once had I gone down the path of actually making a suit with Patrick despite having talked about it often enough over one of Patrick's bitter espressos (that's a jab, but it's not a jab against his business :) ). Finally the time came for me to want to try the services of P Johnson but the moment I walked into the showroom I discovered the vibe had changed, Patrick was now so successful he had moved to New York to expand P Johnson tailors, his poor old dog Winston was moping around  on the floor without his Dad and I was assigned a new chap to look after me, Porter Dowd.

Porter is my kind of tailoring guy. To start with, he's no oil painting Robert de Montesquiou dandy. Rather, he is a straight down the line guy that immediately disarms you because he's not putting on any airs and graces. The next thing to note is that he's well dressed but not in an effete way (except when he ties a sweater around his neck). He wears classic suits in cuts which seem to suit his shape and proportions. He has a sort of round figure which makes you feel like he might catch your drift when you say 'and maybe try to hide that and that'.

The measurement process was very thorough and a funny little mix between old and new world tailoring. An ipad was being held by an assistant as Porter went thoroughly through my torso and trousers, measuring me using a block size which they place on all their customers to base measurements off ( I was on the high side of those sizes). The process was lengthy but it felt very light and breezy owing to high ceilings, a quality air-conditioning system and decent natural lighting with the added benefit that at P Johnson they have wonderfully generous change rooms areas that allow you to really spread out. There's not a feeling that anyone is in a rush to get you in and out like you sometimes feel if you use the services of a city store at lunch time. It's your time and the team seem to acknowledge this by conversing with you in a manner which is personable and informative. There was a constant relay of information between myself and Porter all the way through the measurements to inform me of key observations and ways in which he might tackle a muffin top, the slope by which the trousers might hang on my hips, my shoulders and how how I'd like the suit jacket to sit. It is made all the more palatable when Porter declares that his weakness is beer and that he too has to find ways in which to work with what he's got as a silhouette.

The suit that had triggered me to finally set up an appointment was a navy double breasted jacket dinner suit I had seen a month earlier. It was quite possibly the most exquisite suit I had seen all year - mostly for it's cut and secondly for it's cloth. It was effortlessly chic, neither too outlandish nor too sterile. The double breasted sample seemed to hang and drape so well on the suit hanger, then there was the lovely faille silk in navy that had been used on the lapel which seemed to marry perfectly with the chosen navy super 130's twill worsted wool - it was all just bang on. The only additional change I wanted, which was just my taste at play, was that I wanted to the jacket to be longer than the middle of my thigh as I wanted it to carry a certain 'kapote' look that the Jews get with their Prince Albert frock coats. I am hoping that this will be 'trending' in 2016.

In the end I chose an orange satin fabric for a half lined finish in the jacket as I wanted to be able to wear this dinner suit all year round, including any summer weddings I might be invited to (though the invites were fast drying up and being replaced by kids party invites on my fridge ( :) :( - that signifies mixed feelings ).

My concerns with the programme, as nothing is ever perfect, is that there was demand for full payment up front before commencing the work. Traditionally I am used to 50% as a deposit and 50% upon completion but I am quite certain that customers must use the final 50% balance as a means by which to extort time and additional services/changes out of their tailor. In fact, I know this, as one English acquaintance once said to me 'it's always good to owe your tailor money, that way he'll always take on your next commission'.

My only other complaint is that despite the fact that Porter got the fit 99% right, I was a little disappointed that some things like the width of your trouser band could not be increased. As many of you that read this blog frequently will know, my admiration for tailors like Leng Ngo is that you can literally build your suit from the ground up. With MTM programmes like P Johnson, you can get your fit right, but you may be confined in terms of certain elements you might want to add or subtract. It is not possible, for example, to ask for a new shape of a lapel or to stand over the tailor whilst you work on changes to patterns or workmanship.

However, the argument against using traditional tailors is that often they are dogmatic in their beliefs and can be as inflexible as stubborn mules to changes in construction and design. P Johnson, by contrast, sit on a much more fluid platform in which they can seasonally alter design and construction and in doing so can offer products that a traditional tailor would not offer unless his customer specifically knew enough about tailoring to be able to say confidently 'make this using this material from this cloth company in this shape with this construction'.

Since most Australian men do not have this knowledge, men like Patrick Johnson and his salesman Porter Dowd are the next best thing. They have a style/aesthetic, they have the systems in place to fit any man within that aesthetic and when it comes to bang for buck, they are considerably cheaper than a fully hand-made suit by a Sydney tailor. Though strictly speaking there is no apple for apples comparison, a suit which would cost roughly $1400 AUD from P Johnson would start at $3750AUD from a bespoke tailor.

Anyway, why not try it for yourself and make your own decision. I am happy, I think you will be too.

Porter Dowd
0408 833 161

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pentagonal Tessellations - The Mathematics That Goes Into Making Something Repeat

Tessellations are very challenging from a design perspective. When designing fabrics you have a whole host of ways in which you might approach a fabric. The basics are changing the weaving techniques and keeping a solid colour and/or adding a hidden colour (through the warp). In this case you might choose a basket weave, a satin, a grosgrain, a grenadine, a hop sack, an ottoman or a garza for example. That gets you texture in a solid colour which is as much as some men want to go for. You can make an entire living out of this if you get it right. I can't tell you how many exactly but I would assume that hundreds of Charvet grenadine ties in solid colours would sell each Parisian summer as men flock to make a pilgrimage to the Place Vendome store.

Then there is the art of the motif or recurring image, be it a star, a horse, a gun or a bikini clad lady as one designer in the States specialises in. You can then add into genre of silks things like paisleys and geometric repeats which sit on top of the base warp whilst weaving the weft, usually on a satin, well at least that is what I am most familiar with.

Finally there is each season a wave of tessellations which have a very interesting effect on a silk and can really alter the appearance of the fabric both in how it is perceived as a weave and how it affects the eye as a motif or geometric repeat. If this sounds a little confusing it is because as I write I am not entirely sure I know what I am saying exactly either.

Examples of tessellations might be squares, rectangles, triangles, stars and other polygons. Of the polygons, the more sides you get to a polygon the harder it is to tessellate. For example, it is easy to make a rectangle tessellate into a herringbone formation or for that matter to make it into a whole bunch of tessellations which we might find commonly seen in parquet floors, or a quadrilateral which forms the basis of a chevron parquet floor. These more common shapes we find are expressed in silks each season too. Depending on the thickness and placement of these polygons you can change the handle and the appearance of the silk drastically. The smaller the shapes are the more it appears that you have changed the 'weave' when in actual fact the silk is woven in the same manner on say a satin warp.

Not since the 1970's has a new mathematical tessellation been derived for pentagons. They are a tricky lot to tessellate. The original tessellations had come from the German mathematician Karl Reinhardt in the early 1900's and then there was another wave in the 1950's through Marjorie Rice, a San Diego housewife. Recently, however, a new mathematical equation was derived for a tessellating pentagon and it was completed by Casey Mann, Jennifer McLoud and David Von Derau of the University of Washington Bothell.

I found the article in the The Guardian and immediately set about trying to turn this new pentagon into a silk. Whilst we were there we found another pentagon to tessellate and the results are very unique. No, they are not for everyone, but I envisage that the intellectual at an evening cocktail party would greatly benefit from one, something to begin a conversation with - about tessellations, about mathematics, about polygons or maybe just about about Christmas and the year that's passed.

Roughly 20 bows will be made from each silk. This is a limited edition silk.


Friday, December 4, 2015

You Know You Just Can't Find Anything Decent To Buy A Man At Christmas .....

I find people present me with a variation of the above blog title line every time they are discussing gift ideas - as though there really isn't possibly anything to buy a man. It continues in this vein "he already has a lovely pen, he doesn't wear shirts with French cuffs so cufflinks are out, he doesn't wear ties because he's no longer in the city, he's very picky when it comes to his sneakers and he has a wide foot, I could get him socks but then that doesn't say much does it? I was thinking of some gardening tools but then I am not sure he does anything around the house".

When people like this babble on in front of me, especially women, I keep thinking 'if they would draw breath I'd give them an answer'. The answer is a bow tie, because it's something fun and interesting that you don't necessarily have to wear this week or next, something you will keep for years, something which, if we did our job correctly, will remain timeless in his wardrobe. Yes, you can complain that you can't find anything to buy, but sometimes things are right under your nose.

The below silk has just come in and we have begun cutting them into bows. Every time we run a limited edition there is an inherent risk that it might all go wrong - there is no guarantee that your wonderful initial idea or sketch will translate well to silk. The shape below started in my head as a by-product from a drawing based on a shape I witnessed in the making of our Solitude silk last year. Refining the drawing over time I came up with the approximate idea I had in mind and I began re-working the design in vector graphics in Adobe Illustrator. Some might say it was part Indigenous Australian in it's look and appearance. For me it might be a mixture of that influence coupled with things we might find in deep space or as we break down structures in nature. Whatever it is that this thing represents, it's not normal, it has a life of it's own and if you thought wearing a bow tie was controversial then adding this jacquard into the mix is like pouring diesel onto the fire.

My advice is to let the bow tie speak for itself, paired with a navy suit and white shirt or in the instance of the gold colour way, with a lighter grey towards silver suit.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and hopefully you will be able to find a gift for the men in your life - be it dads, bros, broheims or beaus.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Join The Mailing List Before Christmas.

It will be a very good Christmas for you if you join our mailing list. As usual, we will be offering some wonderful exclusive hampers to our newsletter readers plus of course the usual limited time discount codes for those that are quick on the fingers. 

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Exciting New Silks Coming - Stay Tuned

There are some magnificent silks that are being finished for us as we speak in Italy. The designs are varied, some are geometric repeats based on tessellating polygons, others are abstract and some are motif inspired. The silk below was designed using the components of watches after a vintage watch of mine was pulled apart and repaired after it was exposed to salt water. When I picked up my watch it was still sitting there on the 23rd day of the month (yes, Michael Jordan, I know) and the cogs and balance wheel, as well as a host of other little parts so small you could barely see them, were bundled into a tiny plastic container for me to collect. I photographed them all under a magnifying glass and began to expand them and attempted to create vectorised images that could be read by the eye on a woven silk. A few weeks later I had a silk which reminded me of the passing of time and the often complex things that go into making up what appears to be a rather simple watch face. It's often no different in making products, the more smooth and simplistic something appears, the more a team has striven to achieve that simplicity. And time, that wonderful and yet destructive force which propels us all to our own inevitable ends, is both a form of order and chaos. 

Anyway, it is a fun silk of royal blues and gold. I do hope it translates well into bow ties. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Come Fill Up Your Stocking

There are times of the year when you are conserving money, desperately trying to keep the wolf from the door and to keep the engine rooms running. They are testing times. Christmas is the opposite in my opinion, if you played your cards right through the year then it's a great time to relax and enjoy the wind up of the year. Come see the latest bow ties just off the bench.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Marguerite, A Limited Edition Pocket Square Inspired By Alphonse Mucha and Jessica Rabbit

Marguerite has taken a long time to come to fruition. We started working on her some time ago. I found an illustrator on Instagram by the name of Alex Garcia in Los Angeles and I approached him with my goal. Garcia was wonderful at creating cartoon like imagery, which you can see here , but my goal was to fuse that skill set with the ornate and lasting imagery of Alphonse Mucha , the great image and brand 'taste maker' of the  Belle Époque period famous for making posters for Sarah Bernhardt as well as Moët & Chandon and cigarette companies.

So the brief became "I want Jessica Rabbit and an ethereal Mucha inspired beauty to merge into one pocket square". My own initial sketches has been done on Procreate on my iPad, none of which were worthy. I was very happy to have found Garcia.

I am very happy with the result.

You can pre-order the pocket square for delivery in early 2016. We envisage that we will probably run three colour ways but to begin with this is the only one on offer. No more than 150 will be produced before we move onto our next design.

As for the La Belle Dame sirens pocket square, we have received a number of requests for us to re-do these squares which we will consider running in a new colourway in 2016 but our main concern for the moment is seeing that Marguerite see the light of day, or the darkness of your breast pocket.

Can You Hear Me Calling, Out Your Name?

Whilst on the subject of music with the post below, I was fortunate enough to see Fleetwood Mac live in the Hunter Valley last week and one song which keeps coming back to me is the song 'Everywhere' .

The song was released is November 1987 and my first recollection of this song was it blaring out over the speakers of Mt. Selwyn ski resort in Australia's Kosciuszko National Park. It was about the same time that James Reyne's song One More River was playing.

It is amazing how we associate music with periods and for me these songs are always associated with skiing outfits, the smell of vomit from winding roads and the wind swept leaves of snowy alpine gum trees with frozen ponds and flowing streams. Where did all that time go?

Can you hear me calling
Out your name?
You know that I'm falling
And I don't know what to say
I'll speak a little louder
I'll even shout
You know that I'm proud
And I can't get the words out
Oh I...
I want to be with you everywhere

Friday, November 20, 2015

Your Tears Will Not Dry For The Duration - The Documentary 'Amy' Is A Must See

Who remembers the first time they heard Amy Winehouse? I was not around for the Kennedy assassination or for man landing on the moon, but I was around for Amy Winehouse and I think the moment I first heard her music there was a massive smack in my face that something big had just happened, like a musical lunar landing.

'Did she really just say that?'
'What a dynamo!'
'Does she write this herself?'
'She's just 23?'

These were the kind of things that swirled around. How could a woman of such tender years have so much gusto, such a dark soul, so layered and textured and how could whatever was in her soul leave the depths of her body and come out in song like that, as though there were no buffer between the very essence of her and her song.

Two documentaries that have grabbed me this year were both on Jazz singers. The first was that of Nina Simone which I found hauntingly brilliant. It is called What Happened, Miss Simone? You can see it here.

The second, is 'Amy', which is everything you ever wanted to know about Amy Winehouse beyond the hype and the media attention. It is such a personal and thrilling journey of a woman whom I must have played so many times as a former DJ that I have lost count. And, I am inclined to agree with Tony Bennett's statement in the film that she is one of the greats, up there with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday and might I add Nina Simone.

As the documentary progressed I could not help but recall visions of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - where the Log Lady stops Laura Palmer outside the roadside bar and says:

When this kind of fire starts, it is very hard to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises, and then all goodness is in jeopardy.

And, like Laura Palmer, Winehouse called her old friends just before she died to say she wanted to come home and back into the fold. I cannot tell you how much this raised the hairs on the back of my neck when I heard this.

If you have time to spare, watch 'Amy' here .

"Tears Dry On Their Own"

All I can ever be to you
Is the darkness that we knew,
And this regret I've got accustomed to.
Once it was so right,
When we were at our high,
Waiting for you in the hotel at night.

I knew I hadn't met my match,
But every moment we could snatch,
I don't know why I got so attached.
It's my responsibility,
And you don't owe nothing to me,
But to walk away I have no capacity.

He walks away,
The sun goes down,
He takes the day
But I'm grown,
And in your way,
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own.

I don't understand
Why do I stress a man
When there's so many bigger things at hand.
We coulda never had it all,
We had to hit a wall,
So this is inevitable withdrawal.
Even if I stop wanting you,
A perspective pushes through,
I'll be some next man's other woman soon.

I shouldn't play myself again,
I should just be my own best friend,
Not fuck myself in the head with stupid men.

So we are history,
Your shadow covers me
The sky above,
A blaze,
I wish I could say no regrets,
And no emotional debts,
'Cause as we kiss goodbye the sun sets

So we are history,
The shadow covers me,
The sky above,
A blaze that only lovers see,

He walks away,
The sun goes down,
He takes the day
But I'm grown,
And in your way,
My blue shade
My tears dry on their own.

He walks away,
The sun goes down,
He takes the day
But I'm grown,
And in your way,
My deep shade
My tears dry on their own.

He walks away,
The sun goes down,
He takes the day
But I'm grown,
And in your way,
My deep shade
My tears dry

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meet Robert Keyte - A Very English Interview With A Very English Silk Tie Company

I was introduced to Robert Keyte some time ago by an English silk printer who is, to my understanding, one of the backbones behind English printed silks. I am inclined not to mention his name because it would put a few noses out of joint. Suffice to say his silks have been worn by the Duchess Of Cambridge amongst other well-heeled Britons. I am a big fan of English printed silks, only that I am not sure that they necessarily fit in with what we created at Le Noeud Papillon. Often they are a little dusty to the eye and the designs, especially from English brands like Drakes Of London, sell a design ethos which is perhaps too stiff for my taste. Think of a Ralph Lauren tie in an aged yellow with pheasants flying across it. Think of little fly fisherman on a stream or a very basic floral pattern on a subdued pink. They are extraordinarily beautiful in their conservative and classic way, and often our customers complain that we don't do enough ties in this vein. I agree, we don't, but mostly because brands like Robert Keyte do them well enough already. Even E. Marinella ties, I was told by the team at Marinella in Hong Kong, are made from English printed silks. The biggest buyer of Robert Keyte silks, is in fact Italian workrooms. The mind boggles. Yes, at the top of their trade in Italy, are tie makers that purchase their printed silks from England. And the height of Italian sophistication and style is an Italian industrialist wearing a tie made from English printed silks. Well, so it seems.

It was great of Robert Keyte to find the time to answer some questions in between a trip to Japan for business. His answers are about as English as they come. Succinct. Stiff upper lip. No time for bullshit. By the tone and brevity of his answers he seems to me the very essence of 'Keep Calm & ...." . Without further ado, Robert Keyte.

Robert, I have always found it so astonishingly difficult pronouncing English names of things and places because it always seems to me that the English like to catch you out by changing the pronunciation of something just slightly just so that they can check if you are a local or not. I recall ‘Beauchamp Place’ was the first time it happened, I went full French but then my English friends made it sound like they were going to the beach. Your name, I would read it like ‘kite’ but it in actual fact is sounds like ‘Keats’ as in the poet but you drop the ‘s’. As an Englishman, do you find that you have trouble with this in your own country? For example, do you find yourself in a village and go to pronounce the name and the townsfolk start laughing?

With regards to how you pronounce my surname, it is as you suggest like Keats the poet but without the 's'. Secondly with regards to English pronunciation, I don't suffer particularly but maybe that its due to being a native.

You have been working in your current craft since the late 1960’s I understand; can you tell us some of the significant changes in technology that have occurred in printing silks in those years? Clearly the computer is one, but can you explain to our readers how that, for example, has changed your business?

When I started in the late 60's printing on silk was by hand block and screen printing but as screen printing was advancing hand block was on the decline. This was mainly due to  the fact it took a 5 year apprenticeship to learn how to hand block print and also pins were used for pattern registration. This was unacceptable to clients and lastly the slow process was not cost effective. Currently digital printing is now overtaking screen printing, in speed, accuracy and small minimums.

I am very proud to be making in Australia as I understand you are equally proud to be making in England, but there is always a temptation to move production over to a low cost country given the improvements in technology and production quality out of these countries. Can you tell our readers about the pressures businesses like ours face in a growingly competitive market place?

The pressures are always from Italy and China, hence it is important to offer high quality fabrics, flexibility in design , quantities and made in England is an asset.

British designs are so British that I have to be careful not to go near them because they seem to belong to British brands and those that print, weave and sew for them. Even when you see American prep labels borrow from the British, or when Italians replicate them for their customers, it lacks the same authenticity. Can you tell us and show us some of the hounds, horses, pheasants and paisley designs that really suggest something very British and do you think this is a function to some extent of the printing and weaving houses that remain in Britain?

British designs, compared to Italian have a masculine hand whilst the Italians have a fine and more feminine hand. Our largest export market is to Italian makers.

The American menswear writer Will Boehlke once told me in an interview that he believed that one of the reasons British men and women were inclined to be subdued in their dress is that after the First World War there were so few men and so many women that out of respect for the fallen, the men did not wear anything too bright and that a man didn’t need to bother wearing anything bright in order to attract a lady given the shortage of men. It seemed bizarre to me, like an old wives’ tale, so I thought you might be able to shed some light as to whether this is the reason that often British ties and accessories seem to be less razzle dazzle than their Italian counterparts.

I am afraid I cannot agree with Will Boehlke's point of view, the British are just more conservative in their dress.

Can you tell our readers about the work that is involved from the process of choosing a design to colouring it and then printing the silk? Obviously with screen printing there are many constraints both in colour and in definition. Can you explain to readers how difficult this process can be to get right?

We create two collections per annum for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. We have an in house design team that  produce the artwork using a CAD system. For each design we will create up to 24 colour combinations which are then presented to our clients. Once the design and colourways are approved we give instructions for the screens to be engraved, the silk fabric will then be put on to a self adhesive 24 metre table. This enables the printer to move the screens manually down the table without the fabric moving, whilst printing the design on to the cloth. After printing, the silk is steamed, washed and a gum finish is applied. This gives the silk the luxurious feel we know and love. Unfortunately this traditional technique is liable to cause imperfections however in my opinion that is the beauty of a hand made product.

Between the disciplines of printing and weaving silks, you seem to have chosen printing over weaving. Can you explain why you have a preference for screen printing and is this a cultural phenomenon as companies such as Drakes tend to also do a lot of printing of silks?

 I am biased towards print: As I started as a printer and weave came later. Also I personally feel that a printed tie has a softer quality. Plus printed silk is more versatile as it can be made into ties, scarves, gowns, pocket squares etc.

Woven jacquard silk tie versus printed silk twill pocket square - source: Robert Keyte

 Are you open to the public and can you tell is some of the more enjoyable things that there are to do around East Sussex if someone was ever to take the day trip from London?

Sadly we do not have our own shop, however we are based in the beautiful East Sussex countryside near to the border of Kent. We are lucky enough to over look the village of Bodiam which boasts its own castle, steam railway and offers boat trips along the river Rother.  This attracts more than 90,000 visitors each year.

SILKFINAL1280 720 from Robert Streeter on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Testimonial For Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney Bow Ties - Let Us Help You Find The Right Bow For Your Face

We are available at nearly all hours of the day to help you find the right bow tie and some times it really pays dividends to help our customers make good decisions about their bows as was the case with the customer below. It's great to hear from happy customers.

"So, today my tie arrived (in Brisbane) a day after purchasing online (along with pocket square). Calling this thing a tie would not be doing it justice. This tie is exquisite. If tie's were cars, this would be the Maserati or Ferrari of ties. The quality of material, quality of gold buckle, the little stamp on the clasp, the knot, the feel, the certificate (yes, it came with a certificate), the classy shape compared to 'every other' silk tie out there is just on another level. This tie will be proudly worn on my wedding day. Thank you for helping me out with style also."

P. Thistleton
Brisbane, Australia

Monday, November 16, 2015

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, ou la Mort

From Wikipedia

"The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 defined liberty in Article 4 as follows:

Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.

Equality, on the other hand, was defined by the 1789 Declaration in terms of judicial equality and merit-based entry to government (art. 6):

[The law] "must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, shall be equally eligible to all high offices, public positions and employments, according to their ability, and without other distinction than that of their virtues and talents."

The third term, fraternité, was the most problematic to insert in the triad, as it belonged to another sphere, that of moral obligations rather than rights, links rather than statutes, harmony rather than contract, and community rather than individuality."

Ideologically, Emotionally, Spiritually - We Stand With The French Against Terrorist Values

I was very happy to see that the French flag was raised on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge yesterday.

I owe a lot of my inspiration from the last ten years to the French. A short sojourn and subsequent re-visits to France was the core inspiration for Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney, as our name might suggest.

I spent a whole spring/summer riding around the streets of Paris on a bicycle reading Hemingway and Fitzgerald, writing a journal and just basically performing the role of being the overly indulgent romantic tourist that falls in love with Paris. 

It was an experience that I shall never forget and you take Paris with you wherever you  go, or as Hemingway once put it, 'Paris is a movable feast' . 

As for the values of the French, my thoughts are that as much as they can be difficult and inflexible on aspects of their lives, their value systems are in another stratosphere compared with those that would butcher innocent human beings before blowing themselves up. I do not consider them monsters, I think they are just brain washed kids. The monsters are those that instruct them and the ridiculous ideas they subscribe to. And I applaud President François Hollande's comment that:

'We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless. Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow'.

I think it is possible to interchange the nation 'France' with most Western nations that have had enough with terrorism and the ideological beliefs that drive it. 

Wishing our French friends safe and happier days ahead. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Whatever Happened To The Hiltons? Cody Simpson And Ruby Rose At The GQ Men Of The Year Awards

Last night I received an email from the team at GQ letting me know that one of my bow ties was identified on one of the men nominated for the Men Of The Year Awards held in Sydney. Our 'Stafford' bow tie was getting a run on a chap called Cody Simpson with a famous Australian gay rights activist and female actor named Ruby Rose.

I knew who Ruby Rose was because back in the day she used to come to my nightclub - named SHH - which was my equivalent to Rick's Cafe Americain.... only less dignified and I had no Sam to play my piano and no Ingrid Bergman ever tried to seduce me.

I was caught off guard the other night because I did not have the slightest clue who Cody Simpson was and so I began googling and I found that he had 2 million followers on Instagram. I ducked across to Ruby Rose, she had 6 million followers. I read about Cody on Wikipedia and found he had dated Gigi Hadid, a super model, who had over 8 million followers on Instagram.

I found it all overwhelming. When had I lost track of the world? What had happened to the Hilton sisters? Since when was there a 'Woman Of The Year' in the 'Men Of The Year' awards? How do I have 1000 followers on Instagram but they have millions? Combined between Gigi Hadid, Ruby Rose and Cody Simpson they have about the exact amount of followers that I would need in dollars to retire and never work again. That's my sunset figure. So, it made me think of two things. One, I miss Paris Hilton and I am going to find out what happened to her. The sun seems to rise and set very quickly these days on the jetsetter crowd. And, two, if I get to 24 million followers I am going to make my last post "please give me 1 dollar" with a link to my PayPal account and then I shall retire.

The world is evolving too fast for my liking. Thankfully, bow ties are still being worn and this one is available in store now. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Australia - A Bow Tie For A Proud Australian

There are not too many Australian menswear companies that design silks. Invariably they all buy from the same designs being offered by mills and roughly you will see very safe patterns, motifs, weaves and prints all tailored towards what the brand thinks is their target audience. Many moons ago we threw off the shackles of believing that we had to meet an audience and decided to go off perimeter and try a few things not seen before. Australia was one of those silks, two romantic emus facing toward each other under the glow of the Southern Cross on a moonless night. It was markedly Australian but for the fact that Americans have confused the emus on two occasions for flamingos.

Just four of them were produced this week as a dual reverso bow tie with our limited edition rose gold plated clips. The bow tie is a black bow tie for intensive purposes only that if you want to you can hint at the motif through the centre knot or flip the bow tie around and tie it as an Australiana bow tie.

One is sold. Three remain. Shop.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Alternative Idea For A Christmas Present For Your Dad, Uncle, Friend, Boss, Colleague, Angel Investor, Brother Or Bromance.

I can think of a dozen reasons why you would be better off getting one of our bow ties this Christmas over anything else. I will list them succinctly in the hope that we can entice you to consider purchasing one of our gift cards as we lead into the Christmas trading period.

1. Your boss will never forget our bow ties nor our packaging. 

If you work in a white collar styled job, chances are your boss has to go to at least one black tie function a year. If you purchase a bow tie from us, you'll guarantee he will look better than 99% of the other men in the room who don't own our bow ties and who don't know how to tie their own bow tie. As an added advantage, we can tie the bow tie for you when redeeming the voucher.

2. Your father should look old world chic.

Old men in black tie look that much more refined when they have tied their own bow tie and there is no better way of giving thanks to the man that in part gave you life than with something as wonderful and timeless as a self-tying bow tie. 

3. Scotch and wine are drunk and the bottle goes out in the recycling

Don't get me wrong, scotch is wonderful. I mean, fabulous. And I love receiving it as a gift. But unless you drink it with the person you bought it for it is rarely remembered and although you hope it will be drunk in some sort of ceremonious way where the recipient considers you and your friendship as the first drop is poured, chances are it will be drunk late one hot night in January when everybody is three sheets to the wind and can't find any more booze in the cabinet.

4. You rarely find one shape fits all.

Buying a gift card allows the recipient to choose the right bow tie shape for their face. That might not seem that important to you, but if your recipient gets the wrong shape for his face, he might not enjoy the bow as much.

5. You can't find a selection of bow ties like this anywhere else in the world.

There are other companies that offer a wider range of bow ties than us, but not in woven Italian and English silk jacquards. But, more importantly, it's not just what we have on our site, but what we have in our archives that we can cut which makes us a helluva lot more comprehensive than our competitors.

6. Said to be one of the best formal bow ties in the world today

It was  Hugo Jacomet of the The Parisian Gentleman who said in 2014 that our Majestic Black was probably one of the best formal black bow ties in the world today. We're pretty sure we've maintained that standard throughout 2015 and will continue to do so in 2016.

7. Our clips mean you only need to tie it once.

The way our bow ties are made allows us to tie the bow tie once and then using our hook and slide system the bow tie can be forever adjusted, attached and unattached without unfastening the bow. Of course we prefer you tie it each time for the sheer enjoyment of the process, but for the international man of mystery it's not a bad thing to know his bow tie is tied inside the breast pocket of his tuxedo ready to go once he reaches the tarmac of his destination. 

8. We really do mean limited editions....

Apart from black silk, Le Noeud Papillon prides itself in never holding more than 30 bow ties worth of silk in anyone fabric. This ensures that we cycle through fabrics relatively quickly and ensures that we stay fresh and relevant. So, the chances are, if you see someone wearing a bow tie from Le Noeud Papillon, you won't see it again on anyone else (unless it's black).

9. Made In Australia, how many companies can still claim that?

All our bow ties are made in Australia and have been made like that since we started and, we hope, long into the future. Making in Australia is something we have been passionate about because our whole ethos and identity is driven by the desire to be proud of what we make and the country in which we made it. Whilst some of our lines, such as smoking jackets, are made in Italy, our core business of self-tying bow ties, is still 100% made in Australia.

10. You are in good company.

We are prevented from bragging about who wears our bow ties, mostly because our customers can often be quite private about their purchases, but needless to say many of them end up appearing on our Instagram handle @ lenoeudpapillon . Not that buying one of our bow ties will make you famous, but certainly it's nice to know that people whom you might admire for their style and joie de vivre also happen to own our bow ties, ties, shirts and pocket squares.

11. We inspect every bow tie before it goes out.

There is never a bow tie that isn't inspected by us prior to being dispatched. That's not to say we have never made mistakes... It's just that we make very few because we care about each and every package that leaves the building.

12. New silks every other week.

We continue to research and develop new silks every week and receive a new delivery of silk designs every other week, so a bow tie not purchased today may mean you find something even better in the next fortnight.