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

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Monday, August 31, 2015

We're Working On It

Richard Carroll, who signs his work Dick Carroll, is the Sydney illustrator we used to knock us out a how to tie a bow tie instruction card last year which had a kind of laconic Sir Les Patterson /Bob Hawke feel to it.

Richard is now in New York pursuing illustration and comic art as a permanent career path and whilst he was there I offered him, if he had any free time, some side work producing how to tie illustrations for us for tie knots. He is near finishing two of them and from New York this morning I got the first hint.

If you have any other illustrations you think we ought to produce for tie and knot lovers, please shoot us a line. It's still very much a work in progress as you can see below.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Curved Cutaway Concealed Button Down Collar With High Collar Stand

One of the things I note about the tailor Edward Sexton is that he understands that with a bigger lapel you must proportionately increase the size of the collar and collar stand.

A standard collar that we make is roughly 8cm. The narrow collars, that went hand in hand with the trend for that Christian Dior narrow suit lapel look several years ago, were about 4cm. With generous Tom Ford / Savile Row/ Edward Sexton looking proportions trending more and more into the mainstream, you will be hard pressed to find companies that are offering shirt collars to match, which, as a general rule of thumb will still be approximately 8cm but with a higher stand nearing 4cm. 

One collar which I have been experimenting with recently which I think is superbly under-rated is a higher collar stand with a curved cutaway with a concealed button down collar. That's a lot of descriptives for one collar. So, essentially this is what happens. We heighten the collar stand to allow for a bigger collar. The collar is then made in a curved cutaway style so that you can fit a larger knot for a tie such as a generous double four in hand or bow tie. Then we add the concealed button down which gives versatility for when you don't wear a tie but wish to retain structure and curve in the collar.

The result is that we have a collar which sits well with the proportions of a wider peaked lapel or generous shawl. It has the benefit of being worn underneath a jacket of this size without splaying owing to the concealed button down. If you choose to wear a neck tie with it too, the concealed button down also allows you to keep that beautiful curved appearance of the collar after the knot has been tied.

This is a collar worthy of your consideration.

They've Moved - Leng And Gennaro Are Now In The Rocks In Sydney

They should be national treasures. These two men below are capable of knocking out some extraordinary work in tailored suits and jackets. Leng and Gennaro were once the workhorses behind the success of John Cutler, one of the oldest and most established names in tailoring in Australia.

Cutler has seen better days with rumours circulating that the business may be up for sale. It will be a sad day if JH Cutler no longer stands but over the years the local tailoring business in Sydney has been decimated by offshore manufacturers and MTM services by the likes of P. Johnson Tailors and a host of other companies which offer similar programmes such as M.J Bale and Herringbone.

Today there are fewer than ten work rooms in Sydney that I know of that still make tailored suits on site. Of those roughly four are older Italian gentlemen due to retire shortly. Of the remaining ones left, one which stands out is Leng Bespoke, the team of Gennaro Scuro and Leng Ngo. They are dedicated craftsman who still make (mostly) everything with a pair of scissors, a needle and thread and it is an absolute pleasure to watch them work. 

They have moved from their Kent Street address recently to Suite 8, Quay West Business Centre, 102 Gloucester Street, The Rocks. Leng is still available on +61430 388 528.

My advice is not to try and get there in your existing suit. The walk up the hill from George Street is tiring and you will break out in a sweat. There is a car park and valet service in the building or use an Uber. 

Yellow & Purple

As the wedding season approaches and more and more men choose to have day wedding attire in the form of a navy suit and tie as opposed to black tie for the evening, many of the grooms that come past are looking for something to pop with their navy or mid blue suit. It's not necessarily that they are looking for the brightness of a satin weave but more that they are looking for texture, colour and a playfulness in light. A wedding day is a celebration and in my opinion it should be a happy occasion rather than solemn and sober. I know that's how you are supposed to take your vows to one another but it is after all a time of merriment (for most).

So, before you set out to buy one of those dusty English madder silk ties or regimental stripes which look like they have been living in your grandfather's old suitcase in the attic since the 1930's, consider something fresh and fun. 

Marion Borgelt At Dominik Mersch Gallery In Sydney, Australia

It was a privilege a number of weeks back to be invited to Marion Borgelt's Studio in Sydney. As opposed to my own slovenly Studio, you could eat off Marion's floor it was so immaculate. Everything was in it's place, organised, thought out, examined and catalogued. It was inspirational. I made excuses that it was because fabrics are made of thread that it was impossible to keep my work space from being a pig sty but there was no excuse, all creative minded people could learn from Marion as her output is not affected by how well she keeps her space.

Last night the work that I saw in her Studio was on display at the Dominik Mersch gallery in Rushcuters Bay, Sydney. Marion wore a de-constructed Alexander McQueen jacket which was all basting, canvas and wadding on the outside like a first fitting for a tailor. It was a very charming thing to be worn by a woman who spends her live constructing and de-constructing objects and shapes.

If you have not been to this exhibition, I highly recommend it. More than anything I took from it was that Marion would have a keen eye if ever she decided to weave jacquard silks and I said as much to her. Let's hope we can work together on a bow tie.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Behold The Skinny Batwing

The skinny batwing bow tie is not one which ordinarily garners much attention. In my own experience it is a rare occurrence that we are asked to make one other than for a black tie event. Yet the slim or skinny batwing as it is commonly referred to, which ranges from 3 to 4.5cm in width, is synonymous with some of the most influential men of the 20th Century. 

In many instances this shape of bow tie is best suited to men with a particular height and stature, both of which are polar opposites. The narrow oblong wing is best suited to men who are tall and slender but at the same time they also very much suited to short men, rotund or slim, as they look well proportioned to their size. Larger shapes of bow ties are more ubiquitous and sell more frequently because they tend to suit more shapes of faces, head sizes and torsos but that doesn't necessarily make them better bow ties.

There is something 'less is more' about this, the minimalist of bow ties, coupled with the fact that they are so easily tied and can be stretched out to make a long or short bow depending on how you choose to tie it. 

With the wedding season approaching in Australia, perhaps it's time to take a fresh look at the slim batwing because apart from stepping out from the pack, you are also stepping into a world occupied by some of the more interesting characters of yesteryear. 

Charlie Chaplin, left, wearing a skinny batwing, Albert Einstein, right, wearing a mid batwing

A young Charlie Chaplin wearing a skinny batwing polka dot

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth wearing a Le Noeud Papillon skinny batwing

Sean Connery as James Bond wearing a skinny batwing in Dr. No

Founder of Bauhaus architecture, Walter Gropius, wearing a skinny batwing bow tie.

Playwright Arthur Miller with then wife Marilyn Monroe
Bill Masters, Sex Scientist

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

El Toro & El Lobo - New Bow Ties From Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

It wouldn't matter how many times I show customers how many different ways they can tie a reverso bow tie, some men cannot see how wonderful they are until they come to our Studio in Sydney. A reverso bow tie is about giving flexibility to the wearer, to have a variety of ways in which they can express their bow tie and to effectively give a man two bow ties for two occasions in the one bow tie. Below you will see El Toro, top, and El Lobo, bottom, both tied to give a different appearance. The top bow tie gives off a subtle piped look to the bow tie but remains a black bow tie. The El Lobo has been given a twist in the centre knot to show off the contrasting English 50Oz silk twill that has been used on the reverse.

Both bow ties are for the man who wishes to convey a subtle eccentricity at their next black tie event. 

Only Europeans Understand Sexy

The very first Pedro Almodovar film that I ever watched, not that I knew it at the time, was quite possibly the most sexually charged film I had ever seen. Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down  is one of those films that the brain instantly puts into the archives to draw down for inspiration from time to time. Although Americans claim to understand sexiness and films such as Basic Instinct would have us believe that Americans are sexy, to my mind sexiness is something which the European film makers seem to do much better than the rest and Pedro Almodovar is quite possibly their pin up boy.

If you have not seen this film I suggest you do. 

Photo Source: Miramax 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Our Pleasure Is Your Pleasure, The Scents We Use In Dispatching Your Treasures

For myself the great pleasures in life come from turning on my senses and conversely from switching them off. There is a great joy in using touch, smell, sight, sound and taste to explore and derive pleasure from the world. However, too much of anything is also not a good thing and after a while the same things repeated over and over, though first appearing pleasurable, in fact become a sort of hell on earth. Conversely, the other great pleasure I derive from the world is switching off all my senses when I meditate. It's probably incorrect to say that you are switching them off because in a meditative state I feel highly aware of my surroundings but I am not listening to anything, my eyes are closed, my hands feel numb, my mouth is not tasting anything at all. It seems like a strange dichotomy therefore that my two states of happiness are polar opposites, the one requiring me to explore my senses, the other requesting me to let go of them completely. Happiness, I would imagine, is therefore being at peace with both states of nature and everything in between.

I would be lying to you if I said that smell was my favourite sense. It's a combination of smell and taste that I find most enthralling. The smell of fresh bread that has then been toasted with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and olive oil, marinated feta cheese, the crunch, the squish, the swirl, the swallow. Mayonnaise on crumbed veal schnitzel and smashed avocado inside the freshest bread roll with a crunchy exterior, a pasta laden with shaved black truffles and truffle pecorino and a cracked egg swirled through it. Yes, yes, this is what ignites me! ....And, unfortunately it has taken a toll on my physical appearance.

One aspect that we have added to the delivery of our bow ties is the use of scent. A bow tie is something wonderful to receive and we have our smooth surfaced wonderful boxes with shiny foil logo which are purposely designed for them, then there is the braille like touch of the red foil seal on the instruction card contrasted with the smoothness of the cream paper stock. It's appealing to the eyes as well as to the hand. The bow tie itself is mixture of smooth or textured silk but then it has the contours which glide through your hand and finished with the hard and solid feel of the smooth edges of polished nickel or gold on the clips. The box is finished with a slippery ribbon of shiny navy satin and gold foil logo. But what of the smell? If we sent it out just like that your nose would only read the faint smell of the cardboard.

Enter my nose. Every now and then when I am in the city I hit the perfume counters at the boutiques and in the department stores and I look for the scents of the season. Over the last three years the ones that stand out are the ones that we use in our packs. They are as follows:

Tom Ford, Mandarino D'Amalfi:

The salesman Luca at Harrolds sold me this Tom Ford scent when he said 'have you been to the Amalfi, si? Well, then you will know it smells just like these mandarins". SOLD. With a story like that how could I deny my customers. It is really just a wonderfully fresh and citrus like scent.

Hermes, Terre D'Hermes:

The woody and I would say somewhat Morroccan spicy feel that I get from this scent makes me feel like I am on the set of a James Bond film set somewhere in Egypt with Agent XXX in a stunning ball gown next to me trying to find a boat that will sail us further down the Nile.

Creed, Virgin Island Water:

If ever I died at went to heaven and heaven was a tropical place then I would request that my bartender was Bryan Brown (though I would mute him), I would make Elizabeth Shue my girlfriend, the band would be the Beach Boys playing Kokomo alternating with The Models playing Barbardos, I would have a large pina colada in my hand with a white pyjama shirt, a pair of loose board shorts and I would have a large spray of Virgin Island Water permanently drizzling down my hairy chest. That's how it would have to be.

The Sale continues, although we are running low on the scents it seems...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Silk Bomber Jacket With A Silk Scarf - With The Help Of Top Shelf Apparel

There are brands that I love but I dare not shop retail. One such brand is Brioni. I recall once walking into Harrolds Menswear in Sydney and seeing a Brioni leather jacket with fur lining and a price ticket of $15,000 AUD. I did not understand how someone could make a decision between buying a small car and a leather jacket. But then, I have also never understood how a woman can spend $70,000 on a hand bag. Maybe it's just me.

To my mind the only way to purchase such extravagant pieces is to do one of two things - either grow your company to the point that it's an international behemoth and spending such money is not even noticed on your private expenses list, or wait for the garment to go to the high fashion graveyard, EBay. 

Trawling EBay reminds me of the wonderful classic Australian film 'The Castle'  where the Kerrigan's sit around the Trading Post exclaiming that the seller is 'dreamin'. It is a voyeurs paradise in which you can spend hours getting to know product specifications you wouldn't dare to bother the staff about in a luxury menswear store. 

However, sometimes you can find extraordinarily good prices for items which have moved off the high street shelves and into a warehouse somewhere further out. There the garment is photographed, catalogued and uploaded. It is here where our story begins....

Some of you might recall that I was searching for a silk bomber jacket and that I predicted it might be a good look to pursue. On a whim I began hunting across the internet to see if I could piece together something which would fit in with the kind of look I was trying to suggest. Below the dream was realised with our Mike scarf and a Brioni quilted silk bomber jacket from the EBay store Top Shelf Apparel . 

This silk bomber jacket and silk scarf look I think is hot for the Australian spring. It protects you when it is cold, but it is layered so perhaps you can wear a Moth Of Sydney collared t-shirt underneath or a round neck t-shirt for a more casual look. I'd suggest with this look a dark pair of navy jeans and a pair of penny loafers with some matching teal looking socks from William Abraham or, if the weather is a bit warmer, to pair them with some suede driving shoes sans socks. 

This blog post, however, is in two parts. You see, once I found my jacket I was then interested in knowing more about Ebay businesses in general and thankfully, I managed to get Eric, the owner of Top Shelf Apparel, to tell our readers a bit about running an EBay store.

Here is Eric from Top Shelf Apparel

Running an EBay store must be very time consuming  - can you tell our readers how you source garments and how you process them so efficiently for your eBay store?

It certainly is time intensive!  I have wonderful employees and lots of practice, so we have the process streamlined efficiently - from photographing and measuring, to inventorying and listing, and finally to shipping the garments to the customer.  It still ends up being a lot of work.

I'm fortunate to have developed relationships with several importers and wholesalers that have access to high-quality stocks at a nice discount off of regular prices.  Additionally, we'll buy overstock items directly from manufacturers.

You stock brands which have a known attention to detail and quality, how do you determine which brands you will stock and what are some of the determining factors which will make you include a brand on your eBay store?

For the most part I look for brands that have an attractive quality-to-price ratio.  Getting goods at the right price point can be tough - there's a certain discount off of MSRP that's expected when shopping online.  I try and hunt for the best bargains so we can pass on the savings to the consumer.

Of all the brands you stock, which one in your opinion consistently delivers the best quality of product?

Oxxford really hits the sweet spot in terms of a bang-for-your-buck suit.  The Highest Quality line has handwork that rivals the top-tier Italian makers.  Tom Ford's attention-to-detail is also stellar.  He ticks all the boxes - fit, finish, fabric, construction.  A lot of his detailing and construction techniques are borrowed straight from the Savile Row and Italian masters.

I imagine some items sit on an eBay store a lot longer than in a seasonal collection of a store. What is the rough time frame that a garment sits on eBay before it sells?

Some things sell the day that they're listed; others sit around for a while - especially for uncommon sizes or big-ticket items.    I try to price everything realistically, but our overhead costs are on the higher end of the spectrum and I always need to keep that in mind.  If I had to give an average, I'd say four to six weeks.

Are you someone who wears the brands that he sells? If yes, what sort of clothes do you wear day to day and what brands do you personally enjoy wearing?

Yes, it takes a lot of self-restraint to not keep every cool item that arrives in my size.  I try to dress comfortably at the office as I'm running around a lot.  My look is generally minimal - dark jeans, ankle boots, deconstructed jersey blazer over a solid dress shirt or V-neck tee.  I'm a sucker for neat outerwear, shoes, sport coats.

Can you recommend to our readers three products you are currently selling which you think are particularly wonderful but perhaps haven’t been picked up by EBayers?

I've got a lot of D'Avenza inventory currently listed.  The quality is exceptional - maybe half a notch below Brioni, at a fraction of the price.  They've done a lot of private-label work in the past, including for Bijan and the other Beverly Hills stores.  D'Avenza was recently purchased by Brunello Cucinelli, and I think we'll see a lot more from the brand after the restructuring and remarketing.
Battisti makes some intricately-printed pocket squares in wool and silks - they're favourites of mine.  Their ties are brightly-coloured and come with a hidden pocket at the tip.
Lastly, if you're looking to splurge, I have some out-of-this-world vicuña-blend jackets from Kiton.

What are some of the pitfalls of shopping on EBay and can you recommend to our readers certain things to look for to ensure that they don’t wind up dissatisfied?

The most challenging part of buying something online is ensuring that it will fit properly.  We post measurements of everything we sell; unfortunately it's not always a 100% guarantee for proper fit due to minutiae like armhole height, sleeve width, fabric thickness, etc.  Being familiar with the particular models that each manufacturer makes puts you at an advantage.  That said; always buy from a seller with a return policy if you're unsure of your own particular measurements.  Look for sellers that take photographs of the actual item for sale rather than lifting stock photos from other sites.
For the most part, eBay is good about protecting buyers from dishonest sellers.  Buyers should still use common sense and follow the adage of "if it's too good to be true..."

How often do you receive new stock?

We receive small shipments weekly, and big shipments every three weeks or so.  We list new items every day.  I'm always trying to get my hands on better stuff!

My hit prediction for the Australian spring 2015 - silk bomber jackets with scarves wrapped around the neck.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Antonio From Enrile Makes Le Noeud Papillon A Lizard Skin Watch Strap In Purple - Custom Made Exotic Skins Made In Seville Spain

If I allowed to my ego to get in the way of writing this blog I would open up with "I picked the trend that watch straps were going to have a big day" - there, I let my ego get in the way.

That being said I can move on and tell you that my obsession with purple has not subsided of recent and I keep following every lead I can toward the colour. Recently I asked Antonio from Enrile in Spain  if he would work on a leather watch strap for us to show the process of how a watch strap in an exotic skin is made. I am also, hopefully, going to convince him to make a leather strap with patina, but for the moment I am very happy with the purple lizard skin he has sourced below.

Poor Antonio's website doesn't do his skills justice. It's better to follow his Instagram on @enrileshoes to watch this man take up his tools and knock out some extraordinary work for one man in a workshop.

To this day, the patina brown weekend bag that  Antonio made for our company still draws such attention that the moment I walk into a place of business in Sydney the first question, before they see my silks and bows is, "wow, who made the bag".

I know that holding expectations of people will invariably disappoint, but I am hoping that Antonio will show us something equally unique with a custom made watch strap. In the interim, I have the photo he sent me of the skin and the chosen thread.

Materials for a custom made leather watch strap by Antonio of Enrile in Seville, Spain

Coming Soon - New 2015 Shape Velvet Bow Ties

My war against pre-tied bow ties softened recently when I saw a man tie his self-tying bow tie terribly. It was dangling out here and slouching there. I thought to myself, perhaps this one ought to have a pre-tied.

Our new 2015 shape for pre-tied bow ties is particularly chic and because of the way we make them from a distance it's not immediately apparent that you are wearing a pre-tied bow tie. In fact it gives off a certain style of look that reminds me of the way that Charvet pre-ties their self-tying bow ties in the Place Vendome store. Not that we were chasing that look at all. It just so happens that when you develop a new pattern you don't know what you are going to get until you've knocked one out in a chosen material. 

Below from left to right you will see silk and viscose velvet in black, grape purple and white and on the end you will see our purple ottoman silk. 

All will be available shortly on the website.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sparro - It Seemed The Only Fitting Name For A 'Black & Gold' Bow Tie

I never understand why more men don't adopt the reverso bow ties we make. The example below is a dual sided black and gold bow tie. I have tied it to remove the twist in the centre knot so that the bow tie is gold except for a hint at the edges of black. Conversely, the wearer, should he wish to be a traditionalist, can turn the bow tie around the other way and tie it black. Alternatively you can tie it with a twist of the contrasting silk revealed through the centre knot. And yet, many men recoil from this concept. They don't want a second side, they find it not to their taste. I am not hear to judge them, but merely to point out the utility in having two bow ties packaged in one. It's not mickey mouse, it's a reverso, and it works.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Four Menswear Fashion Trends 2015 And A Bit Of A Forecast - Expect To See More Of This

One: The Mandarin Collar

The mandarin collar is a magical collar which has not been used much in suits or jackets in recent years. Since the wave of over-sized peaked lapels has taken it's grip on menswear, it would not be surprising to see the trend-setters looking for something else to sink their teeth into. To my mind a mandarin collar with a notched lapel or, as it is seen below, with no lapel, seems like a pretty good move for a trend setter and his early adopters. 

Mandarin Collar - Photo Reference: Guerreisms

Two: Blue & Green

Blue and green should never be seen - or so that adage goes. But it's not the case at the moment. Blue and green are the hottest things to be paired together at the moment and I can't take my off those products that get it right. Just last night a Sydney newsreader was wearing a blue and green neck tie on the news and it was very arresting. 

Blue & Green - Photo Reference: Guerreisms 

Three: Patterns And Prints On Wool

This is the real deal. It's avant-garde, it's exciting, it's a way of making the same the same but different. This jacket cut is not something that's revolutionary but you apply the patterns and place them as they are and you have a brand new product in a brand new space. I wouldn't just consider paisley either, I envisage soon you will see big polka dots, geometric motifs and more. Keep an eye out.

Paisley Wool Print - Photo Reference: Guerreisms 

Four: The Magic Of The Right Pink With The Right Grey

Too many men shy away from pink in suits and jackets. It's why pink is like a beautiful country with a small population and very low immigration. Once you live in this space you can lord it over the rest because you are a renegade merely by picking up the colour. However, once you enter a world of pink you must be careful of two things. It must be the right shade or type of pink (some pinks are just not right) and you must pair it with the right contrast colour. Pink loves apple. Pink loves navy. Pink loves white. Pink loves grey. But the right kind only. Below is an example of someone who managed to find the right pink and marry it with the right grey. Stunning stuff. Perhaps not a menswear 'trend' but I envisage it will inspire more men to follow suit.

Pink & Grey - Photo Reference: Guerreisms