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

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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. 

The Hanger Project Acquires A Suitable Wardrobe

Will Boehlke, left, and Kirby Allison, right. 

In a newsletter out from both companies, it was announced over the weekend that Kirby Allison, owner of The Hanger Project , bought out his competitor,  A Suitable Wardrobe.

In the newsletter Kirby Allison says : "We are excited to announce that The Hanger Project has acquired A Suitable Wardrobe. I, Kirby Allison, grew up reading A Suitable Wardrobe and learning from Will Boehlke’s writing. When he launched the A Suitable Wardrobe web store, I was continually amazed at his taste level and capacity to seek out the highest-quality makers. It is a huge honor to be able to continue the legacy of A Suitable Wardrobe."

I would be inclined to agree with Kirby. Will Boehlke was certainly instrumental in putting us on the map for bow ties within the United States and he was certainly my fall back menswear blog / writer before he was eventually overtaken my Simon Crompton and Hugo Jacomet's blogs.

I have no idea what the real reasons are for the acquisition but I do think that some serious mistakes were made by Boehlke when he moved the content of his blog onto the store and switched off his blog from every day casual readers. One of the most astute moves by Allison, mentioned in the newsletter, would be to republish the entire archive of content from ASW onto a new blog and to then employ Boehlke to keep doing what he did best, which was communicating.

Although I am slightly more vivacious and colour-loving than the folks at ASW and Hanger Project, I must say that from a conservative stand-point, Boehlke did always have an extraordinarily tasteful array of products which were precisely what you would need for a long term wardrobe and nothing that was ever really fad or fancy.

I am sincerely looking forward to seeing what Kirby Allison does from this point onwards and hope that he does whatever he can to make sure the content of ASW / the writings of Boehlke, become readily available to blog readers because, fundamentally, this was what kept us coming back to ASW time and time again and was what was instrumental in guiding a new generation of men towards quality menswear.

Good luck Kirby and Will!

Purchase the final remaining ASW stock by Le Noeud Papillon here:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Recommended Black Tie Bows For Your Upcoming Christmas Events - Choosing The Right Bow For Your Face And Suit

I thought I would elaborate on a few different styles of black bow ties that we currently offer which might give you a little piece of mind prior to going on the hunt for your black bow tie. This short explanation is intended to be a rough guide and we do emphasise that choosing your bow tie is subjective and requires you do some of your own research.

Stay Between The Red And Blue Lines

Below you will see a Le Noeud Papillon customer wearing our Majestic Black bow tie. You will note that the bow tie fits between the red outer edges of the customer's eyes (although given the angle of the photo, the left hand side is slightly over the edge!) . Between the red lines and the blue lines is where a bow tie should sit. Bows that sit outside the confines of the red are often bows that are jumbo in size. The following shapes should roughly sit in between the red lines.

1. Diamond Point:

a bow tie ideal for shorter men or else pointier slimmer faces. Also works well for peaked lapel tuxedos as the peak of the lapel and the diamond tip complement one another.

2. Skinny batwing:

 a great bow tie for all types but it take a certain personality to pull it off. It's also a bow tie shape that has appeared on some of the most interesting characters in the 20th Century from Albert Einstein to Walter Gropius. They tend to be roughly 4cm in height.

3. Batwing:

Famed Parisian 'chemisier' must sell thousands of batwing shaped bow ties each year as this shape is their signature. Theirs is roughly 6.5cm in height with a straight top and bottom.

4. Butterfly:

The English love a classic butterfly bow tie. Between 6 and 8cm in height, this bow tie is perhaps the most understood 'classic' shape of a bow tie. 

5. Modified Butterfly

Straight edge on the top and curved underside, Le Noeud Papillon actually coined the name 'modified butterfly' when the name of the shape was published in our Wall Street Journal article in 2011. If you read any other website describing their bow ties as a modified butterfly, you can thank us! This shape ranges from 6.5 to 7.5cm in height. Depending on the bow tie is tied it can be 11 to 12.5 cm across. This shape works very well for men between 5"11 and 6"3.

6. Wide Butterfly:

Think Don Rickles. Think Dean Martin. Think Las Vegas and your favourite entertainer. This shape is for the gregarious, the outspoken, the funny and the charming. But it takes a certain person to have those traits and if done incorrectly it can look clownish. This shape ranges from 8-12cm in height.

7. Mid Batwing:

Most men don't see this shape often. It is slightly bigger than a skinny and slightly less than a regular batwing ranging between 5 and 6cm in height.

8. The Papillon:

The papillon is a bow tie which looks like a butterfly when tied. It is very rarely seen, as rare as sighting a Sapho Longwing butterfly. 

Bow tie shapes outside of these shapes are usually specifically designed for either a) men with exceptionally large necks or b) men who are searching for something to accentuate the lines or shape of a suit.

You might ask, what kind of bow ties are smaller than the blue lines? The answer is none really but some skinny batwings can be tied to be very short and stubby and the closer you get towards the blue lines the more the bow tie starts to appear unnatural. So, it's not that you are going to get to the blue lines but that you ought to realise that the closer you get the less appealing the bow tie.

Satin Silk Or Grosgrain Silk

Although wool and silk barathea and silk moire is popular amongst some men, 99% of all bow ties made for black tie events are made of satin or grosgrain silk. When I say 99% of all bow ties, I mean premium bow ties. Anything made of polyester should be given the cold shoulder if you can afford to purchase silk. Not all customers have the budget for silk, and to be fair, there are some nice polyesters out there, I have seen them myself, but they are synthetic fibres and they rarely make the same kind of dimpled contours as silk and they give off a slightly different lustre. You should ultimately aim for natural fibres in your neckwear in the form of silks, wools or cottons.

Satin Silk:

Satin is a style of weaving where by the weft threads are woven interlocking over a number of warp threads giving a very flat and shiny finish to a silk and giving a great deal of reflective light which means it's usually shiny and rich to eye and soft and smooth to the hand. As a general rule, the English are more inclined to go grosgrain, whereas Italians are more inclined to go satin.


Grosgrain is made by having alternating threads of different weights weave alternating lines of weft threads across the warp. This gives a grainy effect in the silk and it looks ribbed. Grosgrains tend to look a little bit like a micro repps silk. Because of the grain and texture they tend to reflect less light making the appearance of the silk slightly more subdued which is perhaps why is often favoured by English suit makers and tailoring houses.

Looking After Your Suit: Permanent Style & Richard Anderson

This is a handy bit on how to look after your suit from Simon Crompton's Permanent Style.

New Testimonials In Favour Of Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney's Bow Ties And More...

Last week we thanked our customers via our email newsletter. We are only here as long as our customers allow us to keep our doors open. A Sydney businessman once told me a story about a Greek shipping tycoon who was asked how he remained successful in the wake of so much competition in the market place to which he replied "we stay close to our suppliers and we stay close to our customers". We try to do the same thing here at LNP, we want to have good relationships with the people that provide us our silks and cottons and good relationships with our end users, YOU.

And, humbly, I acknowledge that without your continued support then we would merely wilt like a flower and be forgotten tomorrow. Small business is just that, small business. The freedom we have in design is based on the fact that we are not merely pumping out big orders for department stores or government contracts for the army or navy. We are small, dynamic, flexible, adaptive and creative. I do hope we get to keep it that way.



I would like to take this time to opine my experience regarding Le Noeud Papillion (LNP) products.

I have the privilege of owning LNP bow ties, braces, pocket squares (both cotton and silk), ties and lapel flowers.
To some a bow tie is a comical attire and, upon witnessing the lower grade representations, one has to agree. However, I have been granted with the highest level of compliment, imitation from those once loathed to participate in the discourse, with regards to my LNP bow ties. Never once have I received anything but admiration and astound concerning LNP bow ties. When one has the opportunity to wear something of the highest quality, and I use this term in its absolute sense here, not just as a matter of course, it is noticed, it is admired and when it really reaches the superlative, it is then copied.

I have enjoyed every one of my 27 bow ties. I have also had the pleasure of owning a magnificent set of purple silk braces and many other LNP products, all of which attract admiration for no lesser reason than they are the superlative.

M. Stockwell
Queensland, Australia


The postage is great, I am also impressed with your regular engagement with followers on instagram and your emails always have me checking the website, though I seldom have the funds to get as I'd like.

Also really enjoy the instagram, one of the better men's fashion ones in general.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

S. Campbell
Darwin, Australia


Hello LNP,

I recently bought the Phillip bow tie - it was awesome. I received a lot of compliments and it was definitely a beautiful and original piece. The way it was tied was especially impressive.

E. Greenwood
Sydney, Australia

I love Le Noeud Papillon bow ties and I believe they are the best of quality. I have never been able to find any other bow tie out there that even comes close. I have a passion for having good quality ties and bow ties. I am always eager to show people the bow ties that I have bought from LNP. I have even gone into stores that I shop to show them the quality and have asked them to contact Le Noeud Papillon to see if they could do some orders.

My worry is what happens when you stop doing business?

A. Reynolds
British Columbia, Canada


See more testimonials here. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Chaser Events - Bassem Youssef At Sydney's Town Hall Next Monday Night

As some of you may well know, I occasionally do a spot with Dominic Knight on the evenings programme at ABC 702. Dominic was formerly one of the founding writers of the Chaser group as well as being an author and radio presenter.

Next Monday night the Chaser team is holding an event at Sydney's Town Hall for Bassem Youssef, who I am told is Egypt's equivalent to Jon Stewart.  Jon Stewart incidentally introduced Youssef when he won the 2013 International Press Freedom Award . For those of you interested in attending, there are still tickets that you can purchase here.

It looks set to be an entertaining segue from the usual Chaser team's productions so I am definitely going to attend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Interview: Lorenzo Cifonelli - A Modern Tailoring Deity Who Is About To Go Global

How many fashion brands can you think of out there right now that are born out of a genuine tailor or tailoring family who took their craft onto an international stage. I think Giorgio Armani started like that. My guess is Yves Saint Laurent could tailor a suit start to finish. Alexander McQueen could I imagine as he was a cutter at Anderson and Sheppard from memory. I am not sure that anyone from the Zegna family could actually make a suit themselves but for arguments sake let's include them.

The reason I mention it is because it's not easy to do. If you gave Tom Ford a pair of scissors and 4 metres of cloth  on a Friday and said chalk a suit and sew it - my guess is you would come back on Monday and he would have done a deal with a tailoring workroom in Naples to knock out his sketch. 

I am not having a dig. I am being genuine. Lorenzo Cifonelli and the Cifonelli family have been at it since the late 1800's starting in Rome and eventually finding a home at 31 Rue Marbeuf in Paris' 8th. They ARE proper bespoke tailors.

I was supposed to meet Lorenzo in 2012 at Cifonelli but Hugo Jacomet was stuck in traffic so I bought a tie and I moved on. I was supposed to meet him again this year at the symposium after I was invited by Simon Crompton but I am glad I couldn't afford the trip since everyone looked so well dressed and so well versed. I didn't feel that Australians had much to offer the conversation other than a fresh bale of wool if I turned up.

So, I don't get to meet Lorenzo but I did get him to answer some questions for our readers and you are getting Lorenzo at a very interesting time for Cifonelli as it begins to move from bespoke tailoring into more RTW. And, I think that's a great thing - that a family as hands on as the Cifonelli's will be able to apply their craft on a new and wider audience. If you are going to Paris, make sure you check out their new home on the Fauborg St. Honore. 

Massimo Cifonelli, left, and Lorenzo Cifonelli, right, working at their atelier and showroom at 31 Rue Marbeuf, Paris 8eme.

Cifonelli tailors has been at 31 Rue Marbeuf  in Paris' 8th since 1926.

Arturo Cifonelli - the grandfather of Lorenzo and considered to be one of the great geniuses of tailoring.
Lorenzo, I noticed that at the 2015 Permanent Style Symposium you chose to wear a navy double breasted jacket with shirt, tie and a pair of jeans. I really got excited when I saw that because I felt it was a subtle and yet bold statement to make. I know what my interpretation of that was, but can you explain to our readers what you were thinking when you wore that ensemble?

As a tailor, I often got questions about my personal style: if I can describe it, what I like to wear etc…. All of these questions are totally justified but it is quite difficult for me to answer. I’m not sure I have a specific style… just my own. I obviously like clothes and nice quality fabric but I’m not a fashion addict and I don’t think I dress to make a statement. I dress just how I feel like, depending on my mood of the day. Wearing a double breasted jacket with a not matching pair of trousers is just me. I’m not overly fond of business suits and I love to mix clothes because it is who I am. Maybe it is a bit surprising for a tailor not to wear a complete suit for such an important event but it just felt natural to me. I believe elegance is about being true to yourself  and if you feel comfortable, you’ll be confident. Maybe it can be interpreted as a bold move but it is just my vision for tailoring: using new and original fabrics, exploring new combinations… improving and evolving all the time! Bespoke tailoring can be considered bold or modern – well, that is rather good news, right?

The signature Cifonelli shoulder is a variation of a roped Savile Row shoulder called "La Cigarette" by Cifonelli and it is made by using layers of wadding instead of using rope as some tailors do in Savile Row. The cut is also defined by a very high armhole which, when tailored correctly, gives greater movement and a sharper silhouette. 

Alexander Kraft, the Sotheby's CEO for International Realty, one of the long term patrons of Cifonelli and regarded as one of the best dressed men in the world right now. 

I have seen in a number of examples of your work with gussets in the back and gussets in the pockets of your jackets and a certain “safari-esque” game-hunting theme to some of your work. Is this something which is an historical theme since Cifonelli began or is it something which both you and Massimo have developed?

Cifonelli is the result of several cultures. We have Italian roots thanks to Arturo Cifonelli, we also have a strong English influence when it comes to the structure of our designs. In addition, the House has been installed in Paris since 1926 and hasn’t moved since. So, I believe there’s no need to say our identity is the result of various influences! It’s obvious. As a natural continuity, my cousin Massimo and I often travel abroad to meet our foreign customers and we get inspired by these visits a lot. I suppose that is why our bespoke collection – we also like to call it contemporary couture – has these sometimes maybe surprising details. This “international” influence can also be found in the materials we use. There are some amazing jersey fabrics we import from Japan for example or the Qilian jacket made of rare yak wool: a first in bespoke tailoring!

How would you define the roping and sleeve shoulder of your jackets in defining them against a Savile Row look because your jackets often look in that vein but yet they hold a very distinct look?

As I have stated previously, we indeed have an English influence. Traditional English tailoring focuses on the shoulder structure with higher armholes that is inherited from the military past of the bespoke tailoring Houses. The Cifonelli signature takes this structure and precision whilst incorporating a forward cut and felted welt that allows a unique freedom of movement. That is why the Savile Row look might look a bit stiffer compared to our style.

I have read on your tailoring house that you offer an exceptional amount of hand-work on your suits and jackets and I have noticed that , for example, that you offer a lot of contrast top stitching on pockets and lapels. Is this something Parisian or is it a personal touch of Cifonelli?

Indeed, our bespoke is exclusively made by hand in our Parisian workshop situated at number 31 Rue Marbeuf. It requires at least 80 hours of work and three fittings per suit. To reach such a high standard that is expected for bespoke, every detail counts. We not only take extra care of the exterior of our jackets but also every stitch in the lining too. To have a great result, it is central for the insides to be just as flawless. No one wants a beautiful house with bad foundations that may collapse later… I suppose that is what the French influence brought us: this perpetual and unceasing search for excellence and the quality in the work and finish details.

Can you tell us a little about the kinds of collars and cuffs you like on shirts and can you tell our readers a little about the shirting cloth companies that you prefer?

I prefer soft collars with an opening in-between the Italian and the French style. Cuffs wise, I wear a special model with a peaked finish that has been especially created for me. And I believe Albini and Testa have the best fabrics for shirts.

A window pane check suit by Cifonelli
In Australia we have a lot of men wearing suits in cities where it is hot and sticky or else very hot and dry. Choosing the right materials and construction can be very tricky. If an Australian explained his predicament to you in your Rue Marbeuf studio, how would you go about incorporating his concerns into your guidance in terms of cloth and construction of a suit or jacket? Can you specifically tell us of any work you have done recently where such concerns were raised?

We have customers coming to our Studio from all around the world so it is essential for us to adapt. As a contrary to ready-to-wear, bespoke really implies a discussion with the customer. The first thing for us is to understand the customer’s needs and then only can we give him some advice. It is a real exchange where the knowledge and expertise that we bring has as it’s ultimate goal the realisation of the customer’s most prized desire. I don’t have a specific example right now, but of course we are not going to make the same thing for someone living in Moscow as for someone living in Singapore where it is hot and humid all year around. For that we are lucky to have more  than 8,000 fabrics in our showroom coming from high quality Houses such as Drapers, Loro Piana, Harrisons and Holland & Sherry to name but a few….

I am sorry to do this to you but I do like to ask tailors and designers this question, what are your thoughts on bow ties and how men should wear them?

No problem at all! I like bow ties even if you won’t see me wearing one often. But that is the same thing, you won’t see me wearing business suits often either – NOT that I don’t like them but it is just not really my style. I love the elegant touch they add to an outfit though and there are so many possibilities…. Just have a look at your Le Noeud Papillon website! When we launched our ready to wear line last year, we also wanted to include accessories so we can have a larger variety of products to offer in our new flagship store on Rue Du Fauborg St. Honore (Paris). Classic, we started with ties but if you have a close look at our F/W 15 Collection, the four last looks are brightly coloured velvet jackets. Two of them are styled with bow ties and I think nothing else would have looked better with these looks!

A smoking jacket in purple velvet with turned back cuff by Cifonelli on Parisian fashion blogger Antonio Manlionieto

My favourite time in Paris is spring. I am sure I am not alone. What is your favourite time in Paris and can you tell me a little about your favourite restaurants and places you go to relax in Paris?

I love Paris during spring as well! It’s always good for the mood to feel the weather is getting warmer. I like to have walks in Montsouris park in the South of Paris. Otherwise for restaurants I would say Jin for Japanese, Stresa for Italian and Allard for French.

See Cifonelli's website for more information on their atelier. 

Unlike many other tailored suits brands in the world today, Cifonelli, which is currently expanding into an RTW line, has a rich family history of tailoring dating back to the late 1800's in Rome. Here, Arturo Cifonelli, one of the great tailors of his time, is standing next to design sketches at their Paris home of 31 Rue Marbeuf. 

Something Is Up With RM Williams Leathers - A Certain White Ghosting On The Leather

An intellectual property lawyer in the city of Sydney came past the Studio last week to request our help with a pair of RM Williams chelsea boots in black calf leather after he stumbled upon our posts on patina on google.

The owner of the boots explained that he went travelling and got stuck in the rain one day and that when he got back to Sydney he tried to restore the shoes with polish but that a sort of chalky white ghosting appeared as a film on the shoes when he tried to polish them. He enlisted my support and though I am no expert I set about trying to restore them in the following manner.

1. I brushed the shoes thoroughly.
2. I put a generous layer of Saphir Renovateur on the shoes and left them overnight.
3. I applied a black pomade by Saphir to the shoes.
4. I brushed the shoes thoroughly again.
5. I began to apply Saphir glacage wax in black in multiple layers over the shoes.

This was where we came a little unstuck. After many layers of shoe shine it seemed that we were unable to reach glacage and, to my surprise, despite using Saphir products, a certain white ghosting did start to appear on the shoes. The black calf leather on these boots also seemed to be unable to get to a layered glazed look like those found on vegetan leather finished shoes as opposed to this chromium leather from RM Williams. It was as though the grain of the leather prevented a glazed form forming.

I am not sure if anyone else out there has ever had this same experience but it was extraordinarily frustrating because I had not sweated any less that I usually did in order to get the shoe to glaze. My second problem, apart from not being able to reach the glaze of glacage was that I had to somehow get rid the white ghosting. On my preliminary reading of chromium leather I was under the assumption that this could be the by-product of the chromium salts that were used to in fact give the leather the depth of colour that it did have. So, I decided to try something that I read about from Berluti, the idea of using alcohol, in their case champagne, in between the layers of wax. If anything I felt that it might help to lift off any salts that were in the leather. I then proceeded to continue with another layer of wax and the result seems to be that that white ghosting effect has been substantially removed if not completely.

If you know anyone at RM Williams then perhaps its worthwhile asking the how they shine their chromium leather shoes to prevent this ghosting from appearing. Otherwise, perhaps consider giving the alcohol a go like I did, but don't be surprised if you can't reach a glaze on the finish.

Why Australian Men Lack The Cultural Sophistication Of Europeans - The Melbourne Cup Conundrum

My dear underground informant, Mr. Carlos Oppenheimer, aka The Jackal, has often made the remark that when making a critique of people it is 'better to praise individually and criticise categorically'. That being said I have decided to not publish any photos of the blokes I think that got it awfully wrong at the Melbourne Cup yesterday.

At almost every Melbourne Cup I am thoroughly disappointed by the 'mean' in menswear that gets observed on social media and yesterday that was the only means by which I was able to observe the Cup as I was on baby-sitting duty the entire day. So, let me start by stating those things which to me are the hallmarks of tacky Australian menswear.

The slim notched lapel is dead. Get over it.

How sad it is to see so many men still donning those awful cheap suits made for $699 with their skinny notched lapels that, especially on solid-build fellas, just look tacky and outrageously disproportionate for their shoulders. To my fellow Australians, take a page from the man who can't put a foot wrong at the moment, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and note that accordingly the breadth of his shoulders and the width of his notch is roughly proportionate. You must also recognise that there are two other styles of suit lapel, shawl and peaked, and on a day like the Melbourne Cup, you might like to experiment with both alternatives.

The skinny tie died with the skinny notch.

If you are built like a brick shit-house and you have cauliflower ears from rugby AND you already made the faux pas of wearing a skinny notched lapel that doesn't suit your torso, don't then try and put on a skinny neck tie to boot. It's like adding insult to injury. If then you also happen to tie a standard four in hand knot, give yourself another uppercut. You look silly. It's about as stupid as seeing a dad of three wear skinny jeans and a muffin top into his late thirties. I think it was Eminem who summed it up by saying "you're too old, let go, nobody listens to techno".

A pre-tied bow tie is a clammy handshake

I do not understand Australian men that spend a great deal of time getting together an outfit for the Melbourne Cup only to finish their ensemble with a pre-tied bow tie. It's an instant slap. It's offensive to see so many pre-tied bow ties still running around the Birdcage after so many years of us working tirelessly to show you all how to a tie a bow tie. If you are wearing a pre-tied bow tie in 2015 you are a muppet. We make exceptions for people who are handicapped or too old to tie their own bow. If you are able bodied, you should be tying it yourself.

Lose the cheese dick sunglasses

It was so lovely to see that, eventually, Australian real-estate agents that all wore the same Prada wrap around sunglasses circa 2000's, came to realise that they all looked the same. So many of them moved on. However, there are still so many Australian men, usually the ones that also subscribe to the skinny notched lapel movement, that still have no idea about eyewear. Lose the cheese dick sunglasses. There are literally thousands of places around the world to buy magnificent, fashionable, stylish and timeless sunglasses.

When pygmies cast tall shadows, the day is well and truly over

You can always tell a trend is on the way out when the even the least trendy friend you know is onto the same stuff. Use your least trendy friend as a litmus test. If he's wearing what you are wearing, stop wearing that thing.

If you 'belong to a tailor', don't let him own your real estate

Sadly, some of Australia's best known tailors and measuring and style specialists (ie: they don't actually make a suit but they style the suit and measure you before it's made off shore - in which case we ought to have another name rather than 'tailor' which we should call them) end up owning their customer's looks because the customer ends up going for the house style which may not suit his physique and style. The best known example I saw yesterday was a nightclub identity that is built with quite a substantial presence but whose shoulders are sloping downwards quite heavily owing to the weights and fitness regime this person must employ. Having an Italian soft shoulder does not suit this kind of torso. Nor does wearing the tailoring house's muted silk ties. This kind of personality might have looked fabulous in a Thierry Mugler-esque or Edward Sexton-esque suit but because they go to a tailor that tells them what they 'ought' to wear, they end up looking like a a badly managed clone of the tailor himself - subscribing to Neapolitan values they know nothing about and which don't in fact suit them at all.

The shirt cuff should extend past the sleeve end of your jacket

On certain angles during the course of the day it is impossible for your sleeve cuff not to get caught up in your sleeve - especially if you are cheering on a horse etc. But at least when you look in front of the mirror as you depart for Flemington, try and and make sure that a thumbs width of cuff is showing beyond your jacket sleeve.

If in doubt, look it up on the internet

There are so many wonderful resources these days on good tailoring and how to dress well on all kinds of budgets. Do not be afraid to use the internet to do some solid research and avoid menswear blogs that are tying to sell you something, even mine for example. We are pushing bow ties - let's not beat around the bush. So, if you don't like bow ties, you may not want to use our blog to research your look.


Now that I have got that off chest - here are two men that I though showed a level of personal style which separated them from the pack. These are not the only stylish men that got it right, but they are two I managed to find on Instagram. The first is Edward Hoddle, an art salesman in Sydney, the second is Miles Wharton, an Australian fashion blogger. Both expressed personality and a certain level of panache despite coming from very different angles. Whilst Hoddle seems to channel more of our British roots (apologies to Indigenous Australians that find that offensive but how else am I supposed to write that) , Wharton carries a certain colour flair that seems to be part Italian part Ace Rothstein.

Here ends the rant.

Edward Hoddle, looking sharp at the Melbourne Cup

Miles Wharton, progressive but charming.