When I think back to the first days of Le Noeud Papillon I recall the number of people who said to me "who would want to tie their own bow tie?"
I wasn't exactly sure I would survive the adventure either but after 8 years I have tied more bow ties than I care to think of and one prime time news anchorman once remarked that if he couldn't tie his bow tie he wanted my home address so he could stop past on his way through to an event.
The art of tying a bow tie is peculiar because every bow tie shape has it's own personality which is conveyed better some ways rather than another. The skinny batwing is of course the easiest bow tie in the world to tie. Following on from that is the diamond point. Then the classic butterfly, the wide butterfly and the batwing. But as you complicate the shapes so too do you complicate your ability to tie a bow tie. The stakes are higher when you get to these shapes but so too are the rewards if you get them right.
Just last week week we finished our new Donald shape. It is a 5.5cm batwing with a gentle concave scoop along the batwing and finished with a concave scoop into the arm of the bow tie. This gives the bow tie an ability to be tied without having a hugely fat centre knot which is one of the pitfalls of a traditional wide batwing bow tie.
At the same time as a new shape came off the bench I received the note below from a customer who had purchased bow ties and was needing me to tie the last one. When you receive a note like this it brightens up your day. I had asked the customer if he was happy with the other two and what we could do to improve his experience and what he wrote back was so lovely that I requested his permission to write it here:
Nicholas they're perfect!
Whilst I haven't had the pleasure of wearing them yet (my wedding is in May), I've shown them to everyone, and they share my thoughts. I dread to think about how I'd have felt if I discovered your bows after my wedding day! It would've been crushing. The bows I see for sale around much of the city are not comparable to the ones I now have from LNP. As a graphic designer, I don't have much of a chance to wear fine clothing during work hours, but I appreciate hand-made work of all kinds. That your world class bows are made in my home city is such a delightful bonus! My concern ahead of getting the bows was that I wasn't sure how big or small they would be. The size, as you would already know, is fantastic.
I can't really suggest anything you might improve, as I think people are opening their LNP packages and thinking the same thing I am, which is 'this is the best'. I had trouble tying them, but I know that practice makes perfect, and I was just reluctant to 'overhandle' the silk on these bows by tying and retying them before the wedding.
As an aside I wanted to thank you for your write up of Leng of Leng Bespoke last year. I totally agree with your observation that people often keep knowledge of good tailors to themselves, and it's very thoughtful of you to consider the effect of that on the business of the tailors themselves. I've had so called 'tailors' ruin jackets of mine over the years, and never could I find a recommendation of fine tailoring/alterations from anyone. It was really generous of you to share your experience with Leng with the internet. I purchased my wedding suit, a japanese made tuxedo from MJ bale late last year and have been looking for someone to assess/improve it with me. I reached out to Leng this week and asked him if he would be able to help me, mindful that his talents are far beyond that of an alterations tailor. As you would expect, I received a very kind reply from Leng and am looking forward to visiting him in the next week or two.
Have a good weekend and I hope to stay in touch.
P. Teasdale, Sydney, Australia
|Invariably I will acquiesce to any demand if it's hand written on a note like this....|
|Donald, a new gently scooped batwing from Le Noeud Papillon|