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

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spare A Thought For The Fabric Linen This Easter Weekend

Regardless of your religious beliefs there exists a linen shroud in Turin, Italy which many Christians believe cloaked the dead body of Jesus Of Nazareth. Although many scientists would concur that the cloth dates back to the middle ages based on radiocarbon dating - believing in the shroud therefore comes down to a matter of faith.

Linen as a cloth also seems to attract the same kind of faith based appreciation. Ciccio, my Italian informant, once told me that there was no better form of fabric for the summer than linen. In my own experience I have always favoured cotton and shunned linen since my first bad experience of a very flouncy and unstructured linen shirt gifted to me by my mother. 

Linen should not be over looked though. If it was the final choice of cloth for Jesus of Nazareth perhaps there must be something worth investigating. 

Left, the impression on the shroud of Turin, said to be that of Jesus of Nazareth, and right, the negative image of that impression.

The full shroud of Turin.
Linen is a fabric made from the fibres of a flax plant - Linum usitatissimum . The word linen comes from the latin word for the flax plant, linum, and is originally derived from the early Greek λινόν (linón). According to Wikipedia the name has also given rise in English to words such as line (from the use of the flax thread to determine a straight line, and is also the reason we use the generic term linen when referring to laundry or closets. This is because linen was used a great deal in the making of items from napkins, shirts, detachable shirt collars, towels, handkerchiefs and, you might have guessed it, lingerie and the lining of your jacket are all derived from the word linen as they were once made of the same stuff. And it doesn't end there either - we also use flax in the making of linseed oil and linoleum flooring, wallpapers, upholstery, suits, shoes, luggage and more.

It's not really surprising that humans have been able to use this plant in so many manners as it was one of the first ever cultivated plants for textiles weaving dating back to Egypt over 4000 years ago. It's also not the first to shroud a religious or cultural icon. When they uncovered the Pharaoh Ramses II in 1881, who died in 1213 BC, they found that the linen wrappings were perfectly preserved after 3000 years. The same was found of Tutankhamen. But not all faiths were as happy with linen. In Jewish law it is said that you can wear linen, but it is strictly forbidden to weave it with wool. It was in Leviticus 19:19 that is was said "Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together". It goes to show that the Jews were probably ahead of the rest when it comes to the rag trade as no doubt they were trying to say, in my humble opinion - why weave something that keeps you warm with something that's supposed to keep you cool.

So, as Jesus prepares to make his ascension this weekend, spare a thought for the 3 to 1 herringbone twill weave linen that's about 4 and a half metres long and 1.1 metres wide with it's impression which has captivated Christians since the middle ages as to whether it is or isn't the final piece of cloth to touch Jesus' skin.

As to whether you choose to believe in linen as something you will wear, that also is a matter of faith. 

A contemporary blend of linen and cotton used in this blue and white striped custom made shirt. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Move Over Polos, Here Come The Moths

Saturday 28th March, 2015
Richmond, Sydney

This weekend a team that played at the Countess Of The Dudley Cup at the Sydney Polo Club in Richmond was named 'Moth Of Sydney' .

There is nothing quite like the sound of the spank of a ball hit in the sweet spot of a mallet then followed by the sound of galloping hooves in the turf as the players charge towards the ball. It's a dangerous sport, it's a physically demanding sport and it requires the right kind of clothing for both functionality and appearance.

We thought there was no better way to check off the quality of our Moths than to put them through the paces of four chukkas. 

The result? The four players of The Moth Of Sydney team stayed effortlessly elegant and cool to boot resulting in an 8-2 victory. 

It marks the first custom team Moths that we have produced and of course we hope to produce more in the near future. 

Move over polos, here come The Moths!

A Baby Blue Shirt Is The Most Versatile Accoutrement

In a world where suits generally speaking are becoming less and less prevalent, the shirt seems to be one item of clothing that is still relevant regardless of whether you wear suits or not. In summer it becomes a focal point, especially if you don't wear a tie. In winter it becomes the base cloth from which you then layer items on top from pull-overs to scarves. It's also nice to know when you are layering that whatever layer first touches your skin is soft and comfortable.

The most versatile and wonderful shirt I have owned over the last five years has consistently been baby blue shirting cotton in a fine twill or popeline. Many companies that produce luxury shirting will all offer a variation on this cloth - it is to shirting weavers what the fruit bowl is for painters. 

Of all the greatest twills that I have come across there are only two which really stand out for me. The first is the Monti 200 West Indian Sea Island Cotton which is exquisite in handle but also is hard wearing and looks fantastic two years into the life of the shirt. The other is the Rothschild 200 2 ply by Canclini in their Lusso range of fabrics. Both in my own experience are exceptionally long lasting fabrics with a particular lustre and handle which radiates a certain luxury.

A great baby blue twill like the one below is so exceptional because on top of feeling lovely against your skin it is also the most versatile shirt to work into your ensembles. It works well with pastels in the summer, it works well with navy jeans in the autumn, and when winter arrives you can layer over the top your favourite cashmere scarf. In the spring you will have use for it when you start to play with your newly nature-inspired colour palette. In summary, it is a shirt that can be worn year-round. It is to shirts what navy is to suits. 

Why not consider rewarding yourself with one nice baby blue shirt.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Testimonials Are To My Eyes And Ears What Good Cologne Is To My Nose

We got a lovely testimonial yesterday from a happy customer from the United States. I post his comments below with permission:

"I received my bow tie today. Thank you very much! I'm thrilled with it, as is my fiance - I will be wearing the bow tie for my wedding. 

I do have a question though - what is the scent that the box smells of? It smells like a cologne ... my fiance also loves that so if you could pass along the brand or scent It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


C. Casazza,
Philadelphia, USA "
To answer his question, this month many of you have been smelling Terre D'Hermes by Hermes. It's a lovely scent I found and it's made quite a few of you ask the question. Next month we have another surprise scent for you. 

Scent of a bow tie - a spash of Terre D'Hermes with every bow bought from our website on

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Bow Tie Portrait Competition By Le Noeud Papillon Continues....

The winner of our portrait competition will receive $1000.00 Australian dollars in cash. So far we've been chuffed with the submissions. Each of them shows the unique character and fashion sense of the wearer and tells something of their story. We encourage you to submit via Instagram using the #lenoeudpapillon and letting us know by placing @lenoeudpapillon into the message content. Feel free to remain anonymous or to let us see your whole outfit top to bottom - it's as you like! The only thing we insist is that it's a Le Noeud Papillon bow tie and if you can remember which model it is, let us know.

Here are some of the fantastic portraits so far:

The LNP bow tie portrait competition - show us your unique style and let us know on instagram by placing an @lenoeudpapillon in the comments section. We look forward to seeing your personal style. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Magical Sunrise Over Sydney

I rose very early this morning to go on my morning walk and as I reached the headlands just past the lighthouse of Christison Park in Vaucluse I found myself glimpsing something so breathtaking that I prayed that the camera might capture some of it's beauty. There are so few times when the camera delivers a good portion of what the naked eye sees but here, in this shot, I feel it was the best a mobile phone could do. 

I had always wondered what kind of skies the impressionists must have sat under to paint the way they did. Now I have seen it with my own eye I can see that all we ever really do is try to imitate mother earth or mother nature. The same goes for those of us that attempt to recreate beauty in textiles. We'll never get near the beauty of nature, but it's inspiration for us and hopefully it filters through from time to time in whatever we put our hand to.

Sydney sunrise 24.3.2015 - Photo taken by N Atgemis, Vaucluse Headlands, Sydney, Australia

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spare A Thought For The History Of What You Put Around Your Neck Today

The modern day neck tie and bow tie have a long history - some say that the first known examples of neckties are on the unearthed statues in China of "The Terracotta Army Of The First Emperor Of China" circa 221BC. Cloth has been used around the neck and other parts of the human anatomy for centuries to signal things such as tribe, battle groups or social ranking.

Cloth around men's necks is nothing new to Western culture too. It can be traced back to the Romans who used cloth to define military groups circa 101 BC.

However, it is widely accepted that modern menswear neckties and bow ties stem from Croatian mercenaries employed by the French during the battle of the Thirty Years War (1618–1648). These men from the Croatian Military Frontier wearing small knotted neckerchiefs were known for their bravery and were highly regarded as warriors, wearing their neck wear into battle. Around about the same time was the introduction of the cardboard collar for shirts. Until then men of society wore ruffs made of lace fabric which used up to 15 metres of fabric and were very costly to make.

A Croatian Mercenary From The Thirty Years War  (1618–1648)
Modern day examples of jabots worn by judges. 

The French upper class were quick to adopt the trend they saw on their Croatian friends but it was still not accepted dress at court until the boy-king Louis XIV (1638 - 1715) succeeded as king of France and began wearing a lace cravat around 1646. Within one year of Louis' adoption of the cravat the English were enamoured and Kings Charles II sent orders to Venice for lace so that he might adopt the trend. At this stage most cravats in lace were white. A variation of these neck ties is still worn by judges and they are known as jabots.

The 'earliest adopter' .... King Louis XIV of France, the founding father of modern neck wear which includes the neckerchief, ascot, cravat, bow tie, tie and bandanna. 

Neck wear remained in this manner for some time - mostly in black and white laces. Beau Brummel (1778 - 1840) changed this to some extent when he began championing new knots for neck wear and in doing so managed to convince the Prince Of Wales to adopt those changes.

In the 19th Century the weaving machines making fabrics began to produce more coloured fabrics and clubs, societies, military, sports and hunting groups would use colours and stripes to identify themselves. By the middle of 19th century the number of neckties and variations as well as the number of knots that were being employed gave way to the modern 'bow tie' as we know it today. By now we also see the beginning of the modern long neck tie.

The modern long neck tie as we know it today was first implemented by Jesse Langsdorf (a New York tie maker) in 1926 when he came up with a method for cutting tie fabric on the bias ( cloth is made up of warp and weft, the bias is the 45 degree cutting of fabric which gives more flexibility to cut cloth) and sewing the tie into three parts giving great elasticity and allowing the tie to return to it's original shape after being knotted. An improvement on this technique was added in the late 1920's when a Richard Atkinson of Belfast added what is known as a slip stitch down the centre of the tie to both allow the silk to return to the line of the stitch and to fasten an interlining to the inside of the tie to give greater structure to the tie and to allow less fabric to be used in the making of the tie.

(Did you know that the four in hand knot is said to come from the English nickname "four-in-hand" for a carriage which had four horses and one driver? A club was formed called the The Four In Hand Driving Company in 1856 and that the carriage drivers of those clubs used to knot the reins of the horses with a knot which was what we today call a "four-in-hand")

So, when you knot your next tie or bow tie consider for a moment all that wonderful history that is wrapped up in that one bit of cloth from the first Croatian mercenaries of the 17th Century to King Louis XIV of France, Beau Brummel, The Duke Of Windsor, Jesse Langsdorf and Richard Atkinson and every chap that has worn a ruff, jabot, cravat, tie, ascot, bandanna, neckerchief and bow tie along the way. And let's not forget the terracotta Chinese soldiers unearthed in the 1970's - they (China) may be the first and the last word in neckties given that the world seems to care less and less about the use of neckties in every day lifestyle and business attire and what remains of necktie production continually drifts in that direction.

External Links Related To This Post::

Wikipedia  -  Neck Tie
Nice Tie Store  - History Of The Neck Tie
Today I Found Out - The History Of The Neck Tie


It's often when you rummage through your drawers or someone else's that you discover some amazing silks from God knows where. I have so many ties from the 1990's which are just so superb but they are either stained, food damaged, too wide, not what I would wear as a tie any more. You can't bear to throw it away. You can't bear to see it sit there like that just doing nothing. Well, why not turn it into a bow tie? We have been doing this service for some time for our customers but we've never really turned it into a service we offer to all our customers but those that can get to the Studio in Sydney. 

So, from today onwards you can purchase the service when you shop online, then simply pop the tie in the post and we will be in contact to confirm your order. #Reclaim your old tie now. 

Be Like Sean Connery's 'Bond' - Consider A Slimmer Bow Tie

Roger Moore's lasting impression as James Bond was in those bigger 70's styled bow ties which generously flared top and bottom. More than any of the day wear it's the evening wear that we seem to remember best and in Moore's case, the cream/off white dinner jacket in a wide peaked lapel is the most iconic image.

Sean Connery's Bond, on the other hand, was in most cases much more reserved in the evening. In the tropics he still took his white and cream dinner jackets but more often than not his bow ties are a little slimmer, a little sleeker and his lapels a little less generous. For those of you seeking a more subdued evening wear look, for those of you who would like to say more with less - you may want to switch to a slimmer black bow tie in either a skinny batwing or diamond point shape in satin silk or grosgrain silk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leonard Logsdail - Famed New York Tailor And Suit Maker For Some Of Your Favourite Cinema Characters - A Short Interview

Leonard Logsdail is no stranger to celebrities. You can follow him on Instagram on the handle @leonardlogsdail  and watch all the fun unfold. If you have liked the suits of films such as American Gangster, The Wolf Of Wall Street, The Good Shepherd, or Wall Street 2 then chances are you've already seen his work. A big thank you to Leonard Logsdail Jnr for typing out Snr's answers last month. 

Leonard what an impressive oeuvre of work you have done for film and television! Can you tell us about your favourite signature pieces that you have done for film and how your suits have accentuated the film character?

It's hard to bring it all down to one movie.  I have worked on so many and enjoyed just about all of them.  American Gangster was great.  I was making clothes I used to wear in the early 70's so it took me on a trip down memory lane and reminded me how I must have looked at that time!!! (Although I thought I looked great at the time).  For Winter's Tale (not a successful movie) I made for Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and William Hurt.  This had me making clothes styled for New York circa 1920.  Great fun and quite a challenge.  However, I think if I boiled it down to one movie, I'd pick Wolf of Wall Street.  DiCaprio, particularly, needed to show a powerful presence on the screen.  We worked hard to active this.  Working with such a talented costume designer, Sandy Powell, made the project just as much fun, too.  

Denzel Washington & Leonard Logsdail look over a jacket during a fitting in his New York Studio

Leonardo DiCaprio's suits in The Wolf Of Wall Street were done by Leonard Logsdail

When it comes to cloth I often ask the same questions of tailors – do they prefer Italian or English looms for their cloth and is there a difference? Can you tell me what it is you are searching for in a cloth and what are you most trusted bunches?

Frankly, I'm not too concerned as to where a fabric might be woven.  I'm more concerned in how it feels, how it will tailor and how it will work for my client.  Every new bunch that comes through my door is inspected personally by me.  If it passes my fingers, then it stays.  If my hand tells me it might cause problems, then it goes.  Just because it may come from the UK or Italy, does not mean it is good.  I enjoy the Ariston range of fabrics.  They offer interesting designs and good quality.  Holland & Sherry, Gladson and Harrison's get a large proportion of my business.  But I'm sure not all of their fabrics are woven where you might think. But the quality is good.

A tweed smoking jacket by Leonard Logsdail

I see you love to make linings with reclaimed silk scarves from brands such as Hermes? Do you advocate silk over synthetic linings and if yes can you show us your best example of this kind of work?

I offer my clients the opportunity to choose different linings.  Most decline.  But for those who do not, then the sky is the limit.  I sometimes go to fabric district of New York City and peruse the stores there looking for interesting linings.  I might spend $5000 on these and can then offer unique linings.  Hermes scarves are also enjoyed by several of my clients   As far as wearability is concerned; I think the synthetic's work better than the silks.  They last longer.

Reclaimed Hermes scarves used as jacket lining for private clients of Leonard Logsdail

Is there something quintessential that New Yorkers might ask of you when making a suit that sets them apart from an English or European customer or for that matter a Californian? For example, I heard recently that having an MP3 or phone pouch with a slit for earphone cords was very popular with New Yorkers who ride the subway. Do you have a similar sort of experience?

I doubt many of my clients ride the subways, and so I have not made any suits with slits for the cords.  I have made specific pockets in jackets or pants for the iPhone.

In terms of weights of wools – New Yorkers must really get the raw end of the stick when it comes to winter – can you tell us the difference between a summer weight and a winter weight wool you might cut for the same gentleman and does this change in the weight affect the pattern before cutting?

More and more people are asking for year round fabrics.  In New York, particularly, I do not believe this exists.  It gets so cold in the winter and then so warm in the summer that anyone who tells you they have a fabric that works for both is probably not telling you the truth.  I believe that clients who try to ride the middle road in fabric weight are missing out on some fabulous clothes that can only be found in specific weights.

The Logsdail cut

What is your favourite brand of shoes in the world? And, can men wear boots with suits in your opinion?

As for shoes, without a doubt I would say that George Cleverly make the best shoes out there.  I only where their bespoke shoes and recommend them whenever I have the opportunity.

There is a line from Ridley Scott’s film A Good Year in which Uncle Henry says “Quite right, a blue suit is the most versatile of accoutrements.  More important than the suit itself is the man who fits it for you.  Once you find a good tailor, you must never give his name away…not even under the threat of bodily harm.”

Do you:

a)      Agree with the statement about a blue suit

Absolutely.  I only wear blue suits for this reason.

Leonard Logsdail - in favour of a navy suit. 
b)      Believe that you should never give the name away of your tailor?

From a tailor's point of view I believe this to be terrible.  You make like to keep your tailor to yourself, but if he does not have enough business to keep going, everyone loses out.

How do you feel about bow ties?

If you like them, wear them.  They do not suit me, but I have many clients who wear them so well that I am often tempted.  We make them regularly for our clients from all sorts of fabrics.  I always think that a bow tie shows that a person has thought about his appearance and not just thrown something on.  It shows you care about your appearance.

The bow ties in use for formal wear in a peaked dinner jacket by Leonard Logsdail

Father and son - Leonard Snr and Leonard Jnr Logsdail

Sunday, March 15, 2015

OOoooh Thank God - It's Starting To Get Cool In Sydney

Muggy heat in Sydney which pervades the air from late January to early March means that, certainly for me, wearing a shirt and a tie is forbidden. I mean to say unless I have a specific event to go to I will avoid at all costs wearing a shirt and tie. It's for this reason I worked on Moth of Sydney . 

Some of my friends pray for an endless summer and would gladly spend their days walking around in board shorts and polo t-shirts for the rest of their lives if it were possible. I am of a different ilk. I love my summer but I like it to be about as long as I like a good vacation - around 3 weeks. The rest of it, the flies, the mosquitoes, the sweaty back, the perspiring forehead, sunburn - well, you can keep it all as far as I am concerned.

When the winds picked up yesterday and the nights got cooler I was already thinking fondly of wearing shirts and trousers again and tying my first bow tie of the Autumn. Which brings me to my point - on rummaging around my old drawers I found the three ties below and since I wear ties so irregularly these days I thought about making myself three bow ties from the fabulous silks below. I will keep you posted on how they turn out.

One tie I note is the Charvet tie in the centre. You get to know a tie pretty well when you cut it up and as bloggers more reputable than myself have observed, there isn't really much to making a silk neck tie. But that's just it - since there isn't much to a tie, you really notice when a neck tie has been made very well and you get a gist of this when you cut it up. The Charvet tie was particularly well made with a lovely weight of interlining which perfectly married up to the weight of the silk coupled with a beautiful yellow slip stitch which was very well executed and lovely attention to details on the label.

Sometimes it's when things are supposedly simple to make that you therefore note the quality when one brand surpasses another. It looks simple on the outset but when you break it down it is the right handle of woven silk jacquard with the right interlining with the right folding and slip stitch and the right label that make it so. Small things that all add up and the subtractions are equally as important. I guess it's like good Italian cooking.

Charvet of Paris, makers of very lovely ties.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Shop The Latest Silks

Just arrived at Le Noeud Papillon - a distinguished range of English woven jacquard silks - SHOP THEM NOW

Celebrate The Ides Of March

Sometimes you don't know whether something new is a good omen or not. I felt the same way about the new platform that I employed to run . It's comprehensive, it's easy to use and it's not that difficult to implement and yet something inside me, perhaps it's part of ageing, became very wary of change.

The initial site for Le Noeud Papillon had been developed in Columbia six years ago and I had used all my energy to design the site specifically for the sale of bow ties and I had a hand in every aspect of it's production. That was then - this is now.... How far the world has come in that short period of time and how many more items we have gone on to sell whilst retaining bow ties as our core product.

Time has a way of wearing all of us down and of forcing us to confront some things which we might otherwise not like to accept. In my own sphere I had to accept I am falling behind on technology and my code writing for CSS has slipped away from me. Furthermore, I had to accept that when we started we sold a hand-full of bow ties when nobody else had tie your own bow ties on the web. These days we run through so many silks that inventory has started to become a concern. Alas, if you can't beat them, join them - and so without further ado, I implore you to use our new website and I offer you our first iteration of the new website - WWW.LENOEUDPAPILLON.COM - and I kindly ask you to give your feedback if you find ways for us to improve the site experience.

And considering that I feel a sense of ominous change in my life just around the corner, and considering we are so close to the Ides Of March I offer all of you a chance to shop the website till Tuesday 17th March with $50.00 Off your order. The code word is: THEIDESOFMARCH

Shop the code now. 

The ominous Ides Of March is upon us  - a time for change - both in our website at Le Noeud Papillon and potentially in your wardrobe.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Disruption To Service

We are currently experimenting with a new platform for our website and it will disrupt both our website and blog over the coming days. Apologies in advance.  LNP

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jack Simpson On Dressing Well And That “American Glamour Is The Velvet Hammer”

When Americans get style right - which is not to say that it happens all the time - but when they do - they create iconic images that spread themselves in a much more populist manner than say the esoteric style images of Savile Row or their Milanese / Neapolitan / Biella counterparts. Americans tend to have less stylish men per capita than most European nations so my guess is when one crops up they celebrate it more universally. Jack Simpson was known to me for some time and I had intended to interview him a long time ago but I had forgotten about him until it recently cropped up in an interview with Anthony3073 which is posted below. The following are some well considered answers to menswear and style, and anyone who wanted a conduit into the American style psyche will find his answers very enlightening. Jack's a man who has a deep appreciation of menswear, from Australian Tasmanian Merino wool tops to the structure and silhouettes of American 20th Century style icons.
“American glamour is the velvet hammer” - Jack Simpson
Jack, when I decide to dress particularly well I find that it is a very ceremonial process from socks to braces and tie knot and it takes a fraction of that time to dress casually. The truth is, I know tailored garments are supposed to fit like a glove and to be comfortable – but often there is an inverse relationship between elegance and comfort. Does this hold true in your opinion or can you offer me some advice on how I might approach things differently?

I favour the idea of appropriate dress for every occasion. We encourage our clients to develop a balanced wardrobe; this includes elegant casual wear in addition to a tasteful, demonstrative professional wardrobe. Comfort is clearly easier to find in sportswear.  Yet, tailored clothing can be developed to achieve the same.  We all know that it is happenstance to find the ideal fit quality in ready-made suitings.  Custom clothing, however, be it bespoke or made-to-measure, offers the opportunity to find one’s precise anatomical balance, and a gifted tailor will create a pattern to capture this balance.  Select a fabric with natural elasticity, like Escorial, and you will achieve both comfort and elegance, with quite likely a side benefit of enhanced confidence.  Even if it might take a touch longer to get ready, it should be well worth the time investment.

Can you tell our readers about the three most beautiful suits you have ever made for yourself and whether or not you still are in possession of them and/or still wear them?

This is a difficult answer, Nicholas, so perhaps I’ll give you four.  Our house design centers on exacting architectural disciplines in model and pattern development, with the objective of providing a client the opportunity to wear a suit for upwards of 15 years.  My favorite garments are among the most expressive in my wardrobe.  During my tenure as Creative Director for Oxxford Clothes, I discovered a magnificent soft roseate cashmere and wool flannel from Trabaldo Togna, which was made into a vested suit with oyster pearl buttons (2003).  When I wore it to the  Ideabiella fabric show, one of the most elegant and deeply classic gatherings of men in the world, the first appointment was with the mill Carlo Barbera.   The creative team from Kiton was at an adjacent table, and much animated discussion ensued when I walked by.  Remarkably, the US agent came over to my table to issue his praise of the suit.  I asked him to convey to his Italian partners a polarizing message: “American glamour is the velvet hammer”. Five years later, several young women who were the hosts at various stands at Ideabiella, remembered that suit in very endearing terms.

Also in a lighter hue is the winter white Bedford cord from Dormeuil, accessorized with a cashmere and wool twill waistcoat of the same color, made in 2000.  The sturdy cloth carries the architecture of the model in an extraordinary way for a light ground suit.

Dormeuil Bedford Cord by Jack Simpson Couture
In 1998, I sampled for my personal use a stunning chocolate and cream Prince of Wales plaid.  It was made in a 6/2 DB with self vest.

Prince of Wales plaid by Jack Simpson Couture
And in 2005, a navy and eggshell diamond dot jacquard in Escorial, a cloth woven in Huddersfield like the chocolate glen plaid; both fabrics were selected from mill archives and then modified for construction and color.  The dot jacquard was modelled in a single breasted peak lapel with softly roped shoulders and is worn with a contrasting waistcoat of navy blue.  If you will allow me one more favorite, I’ll add the Agnona pure cashmere winter white topcoat.  We used oversized natural horn buttons and added a belted back to give it a less formal feel.  As with the suits above, it remains a special pleasure to wear and a salute to the pursuit of glamour.

Agnona pure cashmere winter white topcoat by Jack Simpson Couture

Designers like Rick Owens sometimes send me into fits of laughter because I can’t believe he manages to convince even his models to show their doodles and happy sacks on the runway. Conceptually I can see the utilitarian benefits of being able to pee with no obstruction but I cannot see the aesthetic value. How does someone like yourself, given your classic tailoring background, perceive changes in modern menswear fashion and do you see us all heading in that direction in the future?

Nicholas, I shall default to the concept of correct anatomical fit.  Aside from the Speedo swimsuit for men and related active wear, very form fitting, low rise garments are functional only on the runway or when standing in a provocative manner to garner attention.  The prior one hundred years has provided little fundamental change in the design of tailored clothing, save the reduction in the weight of linings and the advent of soft construction.  Young men are embracing the well cut suit and its attendant trouser.  May it always be so.

If you were to make a suit with three other houses across the globe which would they be and why might you want to experience their craft?

In its 13th Annual Best of the Best issue, the Robb Report cited five brands for superlative work; Oxxford, Brioni, Jack Simpson for Dormeuil (my partner at the time), Kiton, and Sartoria Attolini. As I enjoyed the opportunity to develop garments in the Oxxford factory, it would be wonderful to experience the hand disciplines in the other three of this group.

Over the last three years there must have been cloths or bunches for you which really stood out for one reason or another. Can you our readers some of the most exciting finds you’ve had in woollen cloth over the past few years be it blends, weave or finish?

I mentioned Escorial in earlier comments.  It is a truly remarkable cloth, both in terms of comfort and performance.  It is perhaps the ideal travel suit stemming from its light weight and remarkable ability to recover; any wrinkles fall out completely overnight.  The fleece from the Escorial sheep was the exclusive provenance of Spanish Royalty in the 16th century.  A small flock of the original breed was discovered by Peter Radford in Tasmania, and the expanded flocks are now tended to in natural habitats in Australia and New Zealand.  The fiber has a unique crimp that creates a natural stretch when woven.  A range of fabrics is available on a cut length basis to select tailors through England’s John Foster.  Also in England is Joshua Ellis, handcrafting cashmere fabrics for over 200 years.  The weaving and finishing processes are without peer, and the mill is especially adept in complex weaving on jacquard looms, as well as printing on select cashmere cloths, a uniquely challenging endeavor.  The mill produces extensive ranges for coatings and jacketings for the cut length market.  In Italy, Tessitura di Novara weaves the world’s finest Dupioni silk for tailored clothing use.  It is my favorite summer cloth, feathery light yet pleasantly crisp.  Its hand-loomed process yields aesthetically pleasing slubs, a mark of the fabric’s aristocratic bearing.  Loro Piana continues to scintillate the personal tailoring market with its light weight silk, linen, and wool blends.  This season’s Proposte Giacche is a truly beautiful collection of handsome, masculine designs that transition well from summer into early fall.

How do you describe the Jack Simpson design and style ethos?

We believe in the spirit of Polite Wear, a philosophy which embraces the notion of beautiful clothing to be worn out of respect to special people in a special venue.  I find that most men, even those of great achievement, are often under-served in the area of special occasion clothing.  We have made it our passion to develop unique concepts for this each season and incorporate these ensembles into our  presentation, “The Nine Categories of Dress for Accomplished Men”.  If we were to adopt one phrase to describe the design service that we wish to deliver to each client it would be, “taste and intelligence laced with wit”.

I have heard numerous tailors say that the most important role in a tailoring house is that of the cutter. Are you in agreement with this or do you find someone else in the workroom has the most influence over the finished product?

In my view, it is the interface between designer and pattern maker that is the most critical.  For small design houses, both of these functions may be assumed by the same person.  As our garments are produced in a larger shop, hand cutting is a separate process and is quite consistent.  For bespoke shops, the garment must also be sewn on premises to ensure precise consistency.

What are the most defining films for you sartorially speaking and can you tell us historically in your opinion which cinema films have the most elegantly dressed men?

Films are of acute interest to me, and I am appreciative of the contributions of Hollywood and the international film community to the advancement of male dress.   Cary Grant, the one leading man who regularly clothed himself, was especially memorable in To Catch a Thief.  From beach wear to black tie, his resplendent wardrobe still resonates today.

Both McQueen and Brosnan were beautifully attired in The Thomas Crown Affair films, and both wardrobes were created by legendary tailors.  McQueen’s rough masculinity merging with Savile Row elegance was deftly handled by Doug Hayward, who through his clothes reminded a generation that elegance is a delight.

Gianni Compagna created one of the most sartorially inspiring suits of modern film with his navy herringbone 3 button peak lapel model for Pierce Brosnan.  Its refined proportions, in conjunction with stronger shoulders to suggest authority, provide a lesson in the power of the well cut suit.

But it is Sean Connery, a former labourer turned elegant rake, who may have had the greatest impact on the male viewing audience.  His clothing in Goldfinger, much of which first appeared in the thriller Woman of Straw, was made by English tailor Anthony Sinclair.  The brown barleycorn tweed hacking jacket took Bond from Stokes Pages Golf Course in Buckingham to the mountains of Switzerland, as seen here aside his Aston Martin. This ensemble, which also appeared accessorized with a waistcoat in Thunderball, underscores the sophisticated virility inherent in beautifully cut tweed. This jacket was paired with calvary twill trousers and like those above, carries a natural shoulder line with a slightly roped sleeve head.

A bit more recently, Richard Gere, in both American Gigolo and Pretty Woman, spoke to the appeal of the sultry male as defined by graceful movement and equally graceful clothes, presaging a dramatic shift in men’s tailored clothing to less structured garments and more fluid fabrics.

Each of these films, and the many others worthy of mention, serve to remind us of the foundation of elegant male dress, the military uniform; its heritage dates to centuries ago when the man, not the woman, was the style virtuouso. I had the honour to make quite a number of suits for Paul Newman in the twilight of his career.   Each was modeled in a 4/1 vested DB with 3 open patch pockets, including his barathea tuxedo with grosgrain facing. Although Paul greatly favoured casual wear, he wished to honour the requisite special occasion through original thought;  in his case, it was the union of mild irreverence and tradition…. a decidedly cool message for each of us, regardless of our age or station.

To find out more about Jack Simpson visit his website on

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Moth Of Sydney - A Brand New Way Of Looking At Collared T-Shirts -

Recently when we showed a sample of our new Moth Of Sydney concept to an investor he said to us that it was significantly altered from any t-shirt or shirt that he owned and that it deserved to have it's own identity. We explained to him that it was derived originally from a pop-over shirt that I had worked on many years ago and he said 'no, it's not a pop-over, it's a 'Moth''.

Of course we were already calling them Moths adding a description of the suburb of Sydney from where each one was derived. It was a very bold move to suggest it was in it's own sphere and deserved it's own title but we've decided to run with it. You see, it's not right to call them a t-shirt. Yes, it's in the design of a T but it is more of a shirt. But it's not a shirt because it's made with a body of jersey or pique. It is more of a pop-over than a polo styled ribbed collared t-shirt but then it's not that either. It is a Moth

Regardless of whether we survive long enough to become part of the vernacular in fashion in Australia (think RM Williams boots or RM's as people often say down here) - we have cultivated something which has both form and function. Function wise the response so far, as one of our customers aptly said referring to his collar "it stayed hard and up all night long". Crude if we allow ourselves to read into it, but to the point regardless. 

Another customer wrote in and said:

"Thanks for sending my Moth yesterday. Arrived safely. It’s a cracker and most importantly it passed the wife test with flying colours!"

In case you are not from around these parts, 'cracker' is a very good thing. It wasn't the first time I'd heard that either. One of our first customers that bought a Centennial Moth said it was a cracker too.

So what is it that makes these Moths gel with the men of Sydney? 

Firstly, the product is designed for Sydneysiders by Sydneysiders. They are made to be worn in a variety of environments which mean you can dress them up with a suit for the evening or down to shorts for the beach. You can stroll along the harbour foreshore on them or tee off on a fairway. You can walk into a bar with them in the summer time without feeling under-dressed or you can head off for a weekend in the country with a pullover for the evenings. We are immensely proud of the city we come from and it is most definitely one of a kind. It is a city which, like a Moth, requires a continual metamorphosis in your attire where in the space of one day you could be in the Blue Mountains, on the Hawkesbury River, sailing across the harbour on a yacht, dining on the Finger Wharf, eating freshly shucked oysters at the Sydney Fish Market, catching a play at The Sydney Opera House, taking a stroll along Mrs. Macquaries Chair, cycling through Darlinghurst or catching the last waves at sunset on Bondi Beach. It is a city of many settings and it needed a product to allow men to seamlessly move through it.

Our Moths are designed to be worn with everything. They are intended to be the staple that men have been missing between the product categories of shirts, t-shirts, polo collared t-shirts and pop-overs. They are a little bit of each but not one in particular and therefore they open up a new category of product.

The features are that the collars are made of shirting, either inside or outside. The placket too is made of shirting and drops much lower than traditional polo ribbed collar t-shirts. It is also there to provide more structure to the garment. At the same time the sleeve head is finished with one of two options, either a sleeve head cuff or a ribbing. In the case of ribbing we have used companies which produce both yarn dyed jersey and matching yarn dyed ribbing. Invariably our Moths are made with one or two exotic fabrics. The Oxford contrast below, for example, comes from the esteemed shirting company SIC Tess which produces some of the finest cotton shirting in the world. In other models we have used Carlo Riva cottons for contrasting because they offer a particularly light finish for the collar.

The result of our work and trials, which has taken more than 18 months of prototypes before we were absolutely sure we could sell them to customers, is a product that works. It is not contrived. It is not fashion (not in a fad sense anyway). It is a long term solution to providing elegance and sophistication in a reasonably priced alternative garment for Australian men to wear in the hotter months. Jacket on, jacket off, with a suit, with shorts, with swimming trunks. It doesn't mater which way you wear our Moths, you will most definitely be more comfortable and more confident to negotiate a multitude of social settings and environments.

Shop them on or please enquire with us directly on moth at mothofsydney dot com as we have a number of models we are still waiting to load up onto the website.

Our plan, as we move ahead, is to tell the stories of Sydney along with every Moth that finds a new home. A city that dazzles tourists, that is always celebrating something, that grows more sophisticated with every passing year and that has finally found it's own place in the world. Welcome to Moth of Sydney. 

Using navy Italian yarn dyed jersey with contrasts in a blue and white striped SIC Tess Oxford shirting cotton.
Shop this Moth now.