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

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fairfax And Roberts - Sydney's Oldest Jeweller

Jewellery is a topic that fascinates me because I have a very limited knowledge in this area and when I canvas most of the men I know, they are pretty much in the same category. Men might know diamonds and the price of gold because they are aware of it as an investment class or that it's something safe if the economy decides to go down the gurgler, but how many could name all the precious and semi precious stones there are or what are some of the names of the more intricate workmanship that goes into making a unique piece.

So, I decided to go and see Fairfax and Roberts, which is Sydney's oldest jeweller, in Martin Place in the heart of Sydney's CBD. It has been in operation since 1858. There I met with Kalle Kortelainen, their marketing director.

I went armed with my usual questions but I got lost in the world of jewellery and in the end I don't think I really got the interview I was looking for. So instead, I would like to impart what I did learn.

Firstly, I was curious as to what men buy for their women outside of engagements, weddings and anniversaries. Kalle said that the most popular items that are purchased by men for women are cocktail rings.

What is a cocktail ring? I would assume, like most men I know, you don't know either.

A cocktail ring is a ring which is worn by a woman for an occasion such as a cocktail party or a semi formal event. In a semi-precious form this might have a main stone of citrine or amethyst and these will usually be less expensive that anything which features precious stones. Precious stones, which I needed a refresher on, are diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies.

The hardest of the precious stones is the diamond (which I am sure that most of us know) and the most favoured by consumers. But that doesn't mean that the other stones are not more expensive than diamonds. Jewellery is quite an intricate art form which comprises the colour of the stones, the grade of the stones, the quantity of stones, the metals used to set the stones, the type of precious or non precious metal chosen and the quality of the workmanship in the metals. For example, in much of the stunning art deco pieces that I was shown, there were examples of saw piercing, millegrain and filigree workmanship, which are not abundantly clear to a naked eye like mine. This intricate workmanship increases the number of man hours taken to create the piece, forming not only the labour cost component, but the level of skill that is displayed by the resident artisans which adds its own value.

I do hope I am not boring my readers, but I really knew very little about jewellery until yesterday, so bear with me whilst I continue.

A pair of earrings usually takes a resident artisan between 80-100 hours to complete. By contrast, a ring might only take 16-20 hours. As a general guide, Fairfax & Roberts will custom make designs for customers from a price tag of $5000AUD upwards. This is often done for men who present the jeweller with their own stones or, in many instances, where jewellery and or stones that have been in a family for generations are re-configured or re-set to achieve a more contemporary look.

Whilst many of the pieces I saw and which I post below are more than $40,000 AUD per piece, Fairfax & Roberts does cater for tastes that start from as low as $4000.

When I asked Kalle what would be the top 5 items that a man might consider to purchase for a woman (or man depending on the couple) - he said that the most popular items he would suggest purchasing for a woman outside of weddings and anniversaries are as follows:

1. Diamond stud earrings - a classic that will never not be appreciated by the recipient.
2. An art deco ring - a classic piece which shows off the artisan's skills, from a period that is timeless and in a style that is always elegant.
3. The tennis bracelet - also known as a diamond line bracelet - was called a tennis bracelet after Chris Evert who wore them when playing tennis and whose bracelet fell off during a match in the US Open where she asked the umpires to stop play until she found it. Tennis bracelets are a classic which every woman desires to own. They usually consist of diamonds but in more elaborate forms feature unique chain designs and contrasting semi-previous and precious stones.
4. A 'Shamballa' style bracelet. Whilst 'Shamballa' is a branded item stocked by Fairfax & Roberts, the popularity of this style increases each year owing to the versatility with which it can be worn. Shambala styled bracelets and necklaces are often made using materials other than metal, such as leather and rubber, to set the stones so that they are can be worn with less formal clothes as consumers tend to dress down more than up these days. See more of that style here. And here.
5. A cocktail ring - whilst cocktail rings I viewed were more than $45,000AUD and included emeralds surrounded by diamonds, the cocktail ring is a great entry point for a man and will always be received well by a woman because it can be used for so many occasions. Kalle recommends semi precious stones as a wonderful entry point for gift purchases.

My world of jewellery is only just opening up and I hope that some of my new found knowledge helps other novices learn more about the art form. Kalle explained to me that the level of workmanship and artistry shown by their resident jewellers in the form of art deco pieces is becoming some what of a dying trade, with more and more brands making mass production pieces marketed to consumers who seek out trend, not craft. The story was a familiar one - one this blog well recognises.

One of the wonderful discoveries I made whilst at Fairfax & Roberts was not in fact jewellery. The Australian artisan David Boucher (no, not French sounding, more like couch) has on display at Fairfax & Roberts a considerable amount of his furniture, boxes and trays which feature his inimitable lacquered shagreen which is inlaid into exotic timbers such as ebony and American redwood. If you are stopping by Faifax and Roberts it is well worth your time asking the staff to show you the intricate nature of Boucher's work, the secret compartments, the drinks cabinets and desks. Boucher's work is world renowned and some of you might have seen recently the work that he has done with Rolls Royce on their Phantom range of cars. See more of Boucher and Co's work here. 

For more information on Fairfax and Roberts go to:
Instagram @fairfaxandroberts (link for inspiration) 

Boucher and Co lacquered shagreen with Fairfax and Roberts Tahitian pearl necklace

Boucher and Co drinks cabinet valued at over 200k AUD

Art deco rings are a specialty of Fairfax and Roberts

Emerald encircled with diamonds

Inclusions in emeralds are normal and often add character to the stone. 

Intricate workmanship is a cornerstone of the Fairfax and Roberts offering

Tennis bracelets, the name coined after Chris Everet lost hers during play at the US Open - make for a universally loved jewellery gift between from a man to a woman.

David Boucher's 17k AUD waste bin. Only for the most important rubbish!

A strong seller in the gift market for jewellery - Tahitian pearls and black spinel longuard chain.

Superb moving jaw solid gold cufflinks for men on display at Fairfax and Roberts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beyond Earning A Living, There Is Something Else That Propels You

There was a time, about thirteen years ago now, that I was driving along in my silver hatchback in the traffic and I was wondering how I would ever afford to live a life independently of my family and pursue my dreams. 

If you asked me back then what constituted my dreams, I would probably say that it was to be a writer of sorts. More specifically, a novel writer. I had developed a man crush on a few key writers and all I ever wanted to do was to be as talented at them in describing the world around me.

I wrote a novel and I discovered that it was a lot harder than it appeared and more importantly, it took a lot more courage, knowledge and experience that I had first assumed. I would not say that I reached my limitations as a human being, but it gave me perspective of what a writer's life must be like, to repeat that process over and over again - well, the first one seemed like a catharsis, I didn't feel like I had anything left to give after it, not then anyway.

So, I pursued a variety of other jobs. Some more glamorous than others. I was the general manager, at a young age I might add, of The Sydney Comedy Store at Moore Park, Australia's largest comedy theatre. I learned there that I hated the life of a comedian. It was one thing to be hosting the Oscar's, it was another to rote learn a 45 minute piece and tour with it up and down the comedy circuit each week along the eastern coast of Australia. Then I went into garbage compost waste systems, which was my first experience in web sales and web marketing. Then I learned how to code websites, which I did on the side whilst improving my compost system business and learning the ropes of the wedding DJ market. Then I dropped the waste systems in favour of DJ'ing and web development. Then I sold timber floors. Then I travelled overseas and wrote my first novel, failed, and came home. Then I opened a nightclub. Then I sold my share in it. Then I started making bow ties and writing a menswear blog.

I am probably not done just yet. But for the moment, I am getting to do two things I really enjoy, communicating, in the form of this blog, and creating, well, it's perhaps not art, but it's my kind of art - silk bow ties and accessories.

Yesterday, my accountant came past and delivered some bad news - we weren't making enough money. We didn't lose money, but we didn't make a profit. 

Ordinarily I am trained to consider this a tragedy - what kind of man works up to 7 days a week and stays up late every night either engaging or entertaining his customers for no money? What sort of idiot is this man?

But yesterday, I decided to change my tune after seeing a bank's television commercial the other day which said "it's more than money". I tend to agree with them. If I focused solely on profit each year we would not have nearly as much fun with our silks, most of them would be solid colours, devoid of anything different, afraid of experimenting, staying within the confines of what we know would sell, never offering discounts, rarely doing giveaways, not putting exotic perfumes in our boxes, always trying to cut corners. If I wanted a business like that I probably wouldn't cut my own bow ties but pay some chap in China to produce me 1000 of them for a dollar each and mark them up to $20.00. 

I could do all of that, yes I could  - and maybe one day I will sell out exactly as I just described - but then I wouldn't get sent the photo below and the feedback - which is just as that bank said  - 'more than money'. It's the thing that propels you long after bow ties are no longer on trend. Long after you are out of favour with the magazines, when your fellow bloggers no longer respond to your emails on time, or the world is holding up some new dandy to admire.

If I can continue to write my blog for another year and have customers buy our bow ties for another year - well, that's success to me, and thankfully, this year at least, I didn't lose any money.

"Dear LNP,

Your bow ties are the ROLLS ROYCE of bow ties.
Bow ties are exceptional in every way, they stimulate human special senses. For myself when I wear them (daily), they give me the feeling that each bow tie is made exclusively for me.

Best wishes,
H. Paul,
Western Australia."

Monday, August 29, 2016

Wedding Party Enquiries - Yes We Do Discounts In Person At The Studio

Many of our customers will find it hard to find anywhere else that can sell you four or more bow ties in any one particular shape. Certainly not in silk bow ties. That's because most other menswear companies don't offer a comprehensive range of shapes, let alone hold stock of black silks. Because we concentrate on Australian made product and because we cut and sew our own bow ties, we can offer our customers a comprehensive range of options for the groom, the groomsmen, the father of the bride and the father of the groom. In fact, we can cater for your entire wedding guest list if needs be.

So whether you are after black satin silk, grosgrain silk, silk twill, silk basket weave in black, black silk with polka dots, white marcella cotton, black wool or barathea - well, we have you covered. And it's a nice way not only to see our silks, but to get some personal attention about what bow tie will best suit your face. 

Quite often our customers arrive seeking out our Majestic Black, mostly because it's been featured so many times in magazines, but then when we have them in front of us, a new world opens up of other possibilities. The father of the groom looks better in a wide butterfly, the groom looks better in our scooped mid-batwing shape, the best man suits a diamond point.

You won't know unless you come and see us for personal service. And yes, we do discounts on wedding parties depending on the quantity of bow ties. And for bespoke work and single-piece bow ties, there is a wavering of our surcharge if enough bows are to be made. 

Congratulations To Our Customer David Meisenburg On His New Organic Vodka Brand 'Treboles And Key'

The green velvet smoking jacket worn below by our customer David Meisenburg is quite possibly the most beautiful one I have seen since David Beckham wore a particularly fetching one in a commercial for a Scotch whisky ad directed by film director Guy Ritchie.

For many of you who have stuck to our blog for a few years, you might recall David has submitted portraits to LNP during our portrait competition, but also he's one of the only customers that has ever successfully submitted a silk design to us which we've then processed and sold out of. In fact, just last week I was visiting a retailer in Sydney who loved David's design so much that he asked when we would be producing another batch like it.

This morning I received this wonderful photo from David who informed me that he was about to start marketing his vodka company which is now up and running in the United States. When he's done getting himself up and running, I promise our readers I will quit my recent sobriety to try out his new brew for the blog. David had this to say about our bow ties. 

(Which reminds me, the feedback competition is still in effect until September 15th 2016. You could win a bow tie with solid rose gold hardware and diamonds inlaid.)

Hope all is well. As I had said 100 time before, I just love your bow ties. I must have nearly 50. I wear them nearly everyday. My recent purchase of the velvet and the bottle brush bow ties have been perfect for the retro-looking shoot. 

Thanks so much,

David Lee Meisenburg
Treboles and Key Organic Vodka

A New Commission From Le Noeud Papillon - A Portrait Series In Pencil

Recently I came across an illustrator residing in Sydney and I proposed a new series with her which commenced last week. We are looking for famous historical figures who wore bow ties to create a set of unique sketches hi-lighting both the person's character and their personal sense of style - but with a twist.

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks to see the sketches come to life. Each sketch will be accompanied with a blurb about the chosen character.

You will be able to download the final sketches from and we will reveal the identity of the illustrator at the end of the process. 

An Artist To Watch - Arkiv Vilmansa

Despite the interview below being ridiculous, the artist Arkiv Vilmansa's work continues to excite me since the first time I saw it in 2013.

Arkiv Vilmansa was originally an architect who moved over to painting in 2005. His work is inspired by Disney characters and his enjoyment of Looney Tunes cartoons growing up in Indonesia.

Although I am sure it would be hard to place his work in most living rooms, the use of curves and colour as well as the appreciation for contours and shapes  makes me think that if this man ever learned to mathematically tessellate his work, he'd make a second fortune in textiles. 

Is There A Place In Sydney Where You Can Get A Silk Bow Tie Or Neck Tie Made To Order Quickly ?

When I began my journey into silk bow ties I was certain that I would be successful although somewhat nervous owing to the fact that Australian men, back then, were so belligerent in terms of fashion.

What was on offer in Myer and David Jones, our leading Australian menswear department stores, was a deplorable offering of very average polyester bow ties made in China predominantly, and for the most part, of the pre-tied variety.

I was used to bow ties from Charvet of Paris and Turnbull & Asser of London. The web was still budding and these types of brands had little to no presence in this arena. So, as per that old adage 'in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king' , I thought to myself 'how hard can this be ?'

Well, it was hard. Harder than I expected. I had to work out what kind of silk weaves, weights and patterns suited my product. Then I had to source the silks, something I had no knowledge of. I had to work out what a pattern was. Then I had to start thinking about sewing techniques, packaging solutions and more. And it wasn't just on bow ties, there were ties, shirts, smoking jackets and pocket squares to think about. And finally there was the other constraint - I hadn't been a big drawing type growing up, I preferred words - so I had to both pick up pencils and paper and then go off for basic training in Adobe Illustrator. Thankfully, I had already learned the art of coding at a website design school I attended years earlier when I had the idea that I might design websites for a crust.

Today we hold one of the largest caches of Italian and English woven jacquard silks in Australia specifically for the application of bow ties but equally as beautiful for neck ties and other accoutrements such as scarves, lapel flowers, face masks and pocket squares. 

Regardless of our inventory, the world has changed significantly since we came into being, and almost everything that the world has to offer is on sale between online department stores and ebay. 

What we continue to offer though, especially in the realm of neck wear and shirts, is a custom made experience with a one on one approach to finding the right solution to what you require. So, if you are getting married, if you have a cause to celebrate, if you want to stand out from the crowd, if you want something just for yourself or if you just have a plain old curiosity about what we do - come visit. We are on a beautiful stretch of road on the way to Sydney's famous Watson's Bay and there is a stunning view along the way of Sydney Harbour.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Spring Is A Spiritual Awakening

Yesterday a groom dropped past the Studio to get some advice on what to wear for his wedding. It was a day wedding, with the reception in the evening. Traditionally he is a black tie sort of guy and he was one of the first to support Le Noeud Papillon many moons ago when we first set up shop.

But with his wedding 6 weeks away he had not yet organised his attire and wasn't sure what he wanted to wear, so he was reverting to black tie as safe fall back position. 

I have been a proponent of black tie and will remain so for many years to come, but this spring, more than the last, I am reminded that the world is changing rapidly and that just because something was the done thing last year or for the last decade, does not mean it will hold suit for the years to come.

In the end I pushed the client to go and see an MTM suit service in Sydney, there are quite a number of them these days, but here are a few that I can recall off the top of my head:

1. Leng Bespoke
2. MJ Bale
3. Herringbone
4. P Johnson Tailors
5. Zimmer Tailors
6. Zink and Sons Tailors
7. Canvas By Cutler
8. Sew 253
9. Montaggio
10. Canali
11. Harrolds
12. Giorgio Armani 
13. Salvatore Finnochario
14. Henry Bucks
15. Bijan Bespoke
16. Rochefort

Of all of these tailors that will make you a suit, most will not be made in Australia, however, our distance to Asia means that more often than not, the time between measuring and the delivery of your suit is approximately 4 to 5 weeks. 

From the list provided, the suit makers that genuinely cut and make in Australia from their own Studios, off the top of my head are:

1. Leng Bespoke
2. Bijan Bespoke
3. Salvatore Finnochiario

Both made in Australia and made offshore programmes will roughly take the same time to make, the added benefit with locally made is the additional fittings you will get and the fact that you are part of the process from start to finish. As a general rule you will come out the other side with a sturdier and more robust suit, but perhaps you will not get the same directional look that some offshore MTM services offer.

The important thing to note this season is that it's a new spring, a dew dawn, and thinking outside the square is the soup du jour. One groom recently commissioned a navy birdsye wool suit for himself and made gold button blazers for his groomsmen as the wedding was in the Greek islands. Another moved from originally considering a tuxedo to moving into a brightly coloured blue suit. Some are doing neither a suit nor a jacket and getting married in linen draw string trousers and shirt.

Whatever you do, think creatively and have fun. If your wedding is not in the evening, consider what will best complement the bride's dress whilst also being playful in the strong light of spring and under a blue sky canopy.

This spring brighter blues and electric hues are a welcomed change. More playful use of colour is a good thing, especially for day weddings.

The Problem That The Best Man Faces - How To Tie The Groom's and Groomsmen's Bow Ties In A Jiffy

Let's face it, most of us in this life get married without having a valet around so if we are more than likely to be tying our own bow tie as we come into the Australian wedding season, it's time to brush up on knots. It's so close that you can feel it in the air. In Sydney, the recent pleasant days of sunshine and blue skies signal that it may very well be one of those superb springs we get in Australia where the days are sunny enough to enjoy a colourful and playful palette, but cool enough that we can wear our best clothes without being uncomfortable.

One thing that we offer customers that come to the Studio in Sydney is to pre-tie, especially for groom's, their bow ties before they head off for their nuptials. By now I've probably tied more than 10,000 bow ties so it's second nature. For those of you unfamiliar with how to tie a bow tie, it's cumbersome and timely the first time around, which is why I often instruct grooms to learn the trick of our Groomsmen's Knot so that they don't need to worry if they start to get stressed trying to tie a bow on their wedding day.

The Groomsmen's Knot is a way in which you can tie a bow tie on a flat surface, requiring nothing but your hands and a small amount of time to get a near perfectly symmetrical with an even centre knot that you can adjust in your hands prior to re-attaching around the neck. It is something unique to our brand of bow ties owing to the unique custom made clip and slider that we use as hardware on our Le Noeud Papillon bow ties.

Although we have shown a great deal of people how to tie the Groomsmen's Knot, it still remains something which is rarely used by men. The thing is, if you are in a rush, if you arms are numb, if you are sweating and if you feel uncomfortable when tying your bow tie in the mirror, then perhaps it's better to be 'tools down' and start afresh at the nearest dining table or counter.

I promise you, this is five minutes of your time that will reward you for many years to come. If you don't know the 'Groomsmen's Knot' - it's time to consider learning it coming into the wedding season.

Top, a half twisted centre knot that is the house knot style of Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney, below, the even centre knot of the Groomsmen's Knot, the method of which is shown below on the video.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

When Technology Moves So Fast And Leather Goods Cost Just As Much To House Them ...

There is something that I find extremely amusing about leather goods and luxury items made for housing technology that I can't quite put my finger on. A while back I bought an iPad Pro, which I have mentioned in the past, for my design work on silks. It was such a beautiful looking thing when I purchased it, rose gold backed, sleek lines, slim in the hand, smooth to the touch. Then the ugly part of the transaction came, where I realised the practicality of having a valuable piece of equipment not available to me if it's screen was cracked so I had to ask the sales clerk, wearing his chipper "i am over the moon with my job" blue apple t-shirt about what kind of cover best suited my device.

"There's not too many options at the moment" he said and pointed to the condom section. I walked over and looked at what was on offer. He wasn't lying. Either you got something with a keyboard but it didn't protect the back, or you got something that was so solid it looked like it was military grade for the set of Avatar 2, or else you got next to nothing, leaving you exposed like a feather weight condom in the middle of the Rio Olympics.

What a first world dilemma to have.

I went searching online for lovely iPad Pro cases and you won't believe it, Smythson, my preferred company for journal books, did in fact have them. The only trouble was they were 425 GBP. That's roughly $722 AUD not including freight. That's just $500 bucks shy of the $1200.00 AUD I paid for my iPad Pro. And this is where I felt like smiling ear to ear, because it was a joke but one I still bought into.

When you consider how much time and energy is wrapped up in an iPad Pro as well as what it can do for you in terms of utility; it can run your business, entertain you, educate you, guide you and soothe you - all for $1200.00 plus in app puchases.... what then by contrast was Smythson able to offer you ? A stylish life, some protection against damage, and perhaps somewhere to stow business and credit cards. And? perhaps a level of impracticality, since owning a cover from one of these luxury brands is always more cumbersome than the tightly engineered housing cases offered by the original manufacturers and their cohorts. 

I know all this because I own a Smythson iPad case and I don't use it. It's stunning. It's a work of art. But it's impractical. Thankfully I did not purchase it at RRP but through someone who no longer wanted theirs, perhaps for good reason.

Rubbishing these luxury technology accessories is not something I get enjoyment out of. Aesthetically I understand their value, but when I think about the journey I have done in ten years, from the Nokias to the Blackberries, the HTC, the Samsungs, the iPhones, the iPads, the mini iPads and now the iPad pros - I can't help but feel that buying a luxury leather bound cover for such devices is a pure indulgence that's rather short-lived.

I'll keep my Smythson journals for a life time I hope. I can't say the same for my technology case. 

Smythson Mara Ipad Pro Case - 425 GBP from Smythson.Com

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Who The Fuck Is Justin O'Shea? Has Brioni Been Hijacked By The Donald Trump Of The Fashion World?

The other week I was standing outside my Studio when the Australian film director George Miller just happened to be walking past. I encouraged him to shop at the bakery located next to the Studio and winked at the baker, Nina. I suggested he stop past after at the Studio if he was free and to my delight he dropped in. To be fair, I sometimes lack the appropriate boundaries with celebrities. I often just assume we have a like minded appreciation for the same things, or perhaps I am more familiar with their lives than they are with mine. Whatever it is, I often have to be careful around famous people because they can become quite cagey and quite quickly.

Whilst George was in the shop (you see, there I go being too familiar), I suggested to him that he ought to own one of my bow ties but he didn't seem too interested. He said "I have a beautiful bespoke tuxedo that was recently made for me by Brioni for the Cannes film festival. Do you know the new creative director is an Australian called Justin O'Shea ?" .

I had absolutely no idea who he was talking about. I adore Brioni but I don't really follow it closely in terms of management. I was just getting used to the idea that they had a creative director, and that his name was Brendan Mullane. I did not say as much, I felt that George was very aware he had his finger more on the pulse than the man in front of him, and through his signature round frame black spectacles and without the slightest derision in his face I felt him say this to himself "no wonder you are here in Vaucluse and I've never heard of you". Of course, this could have just been my own insecurity playing out. Regardless, I knew from that point on I did not have a new brand ambassador in George!

Let's fast forward to Justin O'Shea because once my famous film director left I made a small note to myself to follow that up. Firstly I found an interview with O'Shea by Luke Leitch which I found really fascinating. To whittle it down, O'Shea comes out of the left field. He has had some big success as the buyer for a German web retailer MyTheresa which sky rocketed from a bricks and mortar store to turning over 130M a year in web sales. This contact with high brow fashion brought this otherwise rough and tumble looking Australian male into contact with suits and fashion which he then used as a spring board for a life of gritty luxury on social media. Bottles of vodka, hotel rooms, parties, suits, cars, travel etc. It looks cool, it sells and his own hype has worked because it's caught the eye of Kering, the owner of Brioni, and they've given him the keys to the castle.

The easiest thing to do would be to want to tear Justin O'Shea apart. From the outset he has no experience as a fashion designer (at best he was a buyer) , he looks like he runs off hype and lacks any real depth of genuine menswear knowledge. He looks like he is no more than a social media shooting star, somebody that will burn out before he will add anything serious to the Brioni story. For those of us that love Brioni for it's craft, the respect the 'institution' holds for materials, the understated and inimitable details they offer - handing the reins to someone like O'Shea seems to be like handing a hand-gun to a monkey and expecting there to be no casualties. His first move, to re-design the logo, seemingly was the first affront. Taking the logo and re-configuring it to look like a hip hop record label that might have otherwise said "Gangsta" was the first slap in the face for many of us. But, precisely it was at that moment that I stopped to think - maybe this guy has a point.

In the interview with Leitch, many of the things that O'Shea says seem caustic and uneducated but after sitting on the article I have come to the conclusion that he is indeed correct. The brand of Brioni has been synonymous with quality for decades now but for many of us you have to pick and choose from a tiny amount of their products which you can actually wear. The rest of it seems to be for men aged between 50 and 80 who want the highest quality products and who don't mind Brioni's Italian look. And whilst most of the suits have stayed conservative, there has always been something not quite right about the majority of the products they offered. If you consider that most of the patrons of Brioni are exceptionally wealthy but most likely going to die within the next decade, the only way that you might be able to salvage the brand is to hit the old customers on the head and find new ones.

It was never going to be possible to form a nice and easy bridge between the customers of the Old Brioni and the customers of the New Brioni. They would be diametrically opposed to one another, like seeing a face off between the 'Greasers' and the 'Socs' in S.E Hinton's classic novel 'The Outsiders'. You can literally imagine O'Shea and a band of tattooed circus freaks standing on one side with the band Metallica playing the backing music (something George Miller would be able to set up well on camera), whilst on the other you can see the greying Italian aristocrat and his cronies.

What O'Shea is roughly saying to the world is this: "the world is rapidly changing, I represent the new wave, we need to make stuff cool or else it won't sell, and we need to change the way we appear so we can find a brand new audience long after the old guard of Brioni have been placed in nursing homes". And to do this will be difficult, challenging, and to some degree violent. It was explained to me recently that when a snake sheds it's skin the first thing it does is smack it's head against a rock in order to split the skin. It is an incredibly violent image, and it seems to me that Kering has accepted that in order for Brioni to survive, it must shed a skin, and O'Shea has certainly begun that journey by cracking it's head against a rock. Whilst my main concern remains that O'Shea knows nothing about quality of production, the fine details, patterns, cuts, materials and the amount of knowledge and labour it takes to make a great garment, I do believe he might be the right guy to make Brioni appealing to the next generation. The question is, at the end is it still Brioni, or just another hyped up fashion brand ?

New look for Brioni under the new creative director, Australian Justin O'Shea

Who Is The Snob Report?

With his distinctive salt and peppered beard and penchant for the finest clothes around, one would expect that the identity of The Snob Report's owner (handle: @thesnobreport ) would have been discovered by now. For certain all his tailor's must know him via his measurements and the fact that he would have to have a relationship with them all. I myself ought to know who he is because we have most likely sold him directly the black majestic bow tie by Le Noeud Papillon that he wears in this photo, but after searching my own customer records I could not definitively tell you who he is.

In an age where every man and child is holding a mobile phone, intrigue and mystery is a very rarefied commodity. Most of us can find out what Hollywood starlets had for lunch just by looking at photos of them stepping out of Bentley coupes. Which is all the more reason that I respect and enjoy the fact that The Snob Report remains one of the more elusive characters that remain unspoilt on the internet, the other being the enigmatic style writer Sartor, who previously wrote free content for the forums StyleForum and Cutter & Tailor. To this day I still have not confirmed his identity either. Perhaps they are both the same character? Wouldn't that be a hoot.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Many Thanks For The Feedback And Please Keep It Coming

As was said in our previous blog post, each published feedback will each receive a silk lapel flower from Le Noeud Papillon and the winner will receive our solid rose gold 9k with inlaid diamonds "King's Bow Tie" valued at $895.00 . The feedback, some of it constructive criticism, has all been noted. With regards to the positive feedback, it has given us a mandate to pursue more liberating designs with regards to our limited editions. Thank you again, and keep them coming. Read more...



Dear LNP,

I don't regularly use bow ties in my daily outfit, nor when I'm at the bar. My usual ensemble is suit with a tie or without a tie.

As I live in Norway, even this will be too "dressed up" for most people, but I really enjoy a well tailored suit, a hand sewn shirt and hand welted shoes.

I don't pick my clothes to please others, I do it to please myself, just as when I open a bottle of wine, I don't drink it for others, I drink it for myself (usually not by myself).

I only own one bow tie, and that is The Donald from Le Noeud Papillon, for my dinner suit. There is no other way I will use any other bow tie than from Le Noeud Papillon for my tuxedo, you are really the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in the world of bow ties.

I wish you a best of luck for the coming years, though I suspect my Donald will last longer than me. Quality, made with love for the craft.

Thank you,

R. Tjosvoll,


Dear LNP,

Your bow ties are the ROLLS ROYCE of bow ties.

Bow ties are exceptional in every way, they stimulate human special senses.

For myself when I wear them (daily), they give me the feeling that each bow tie is made exclusively for me.

Best wishes,

H. Paul,
Western Australia.


My fascination with bow ties began last Christmas Eve. Not long after I found a website claiming Le Noeud Papillon the best bow ties in the world. As a Melburnian I was typically suspicious of this claim. All suspicion was abandoned, however, when the first order arrived. Opening the stylish packaging a now familiar fragrance burst forth, setting the scene for the reveal. These ties are seriously classy, one might say decadent. I've ties from around the world, but these silks are set apart by the cut, quality and design, and they keep their shape all day. I wear them almost daily and receive compliments about them almost every day from men young and old, and women too. In formal, work and casual contexts I never run out of an excuse to wear one. They really set you apart. Once you've found the right length and mastered the rather straightforward knot, there's no turning back.

P. Carmody

Melbourne, Australia


No single adjective can fully comprehend the Le Noeud Papillon bow. Elegant, exquisite, ostentatious, while true, all fail to correctly represent what is notably the greatest bow tie in the world.

Nicholas has consistently re-raised the standard to which bow ties are compared to today. Quality that comes second to none and unique silk designs (sometimes years in the making) are what puts Nicholas's work above the rest.

Until recently, I was always on the fence about wearing bows, but since my first purchase (December 2015), my collection has increased tenfold to which I find myself consistently turning to when looking to elevate even my most extravagant outfits.

Since investing in LNP whether it be in the bow, classic tie, pochette, lapel flower, or scarve, the benchmark for quality in my wardrobe has been raised respectively. I have confidence my collection will see through part of my life and prospectively be passed onto the next generation.

Thank you for continuing to surpass even my greatest expectations.

N. Allen,

Canberra, Australia


I have a love of the finer things in life and I know quality when I see it, Le Noeud Papillon bow ties are of exceptional quality, they are handmade by craftsmen from the finest silks in the world, many are designed in house and represent values of old that are lacking in today's world, they are made with passion, skill and attention to detail that would embarass some of the larger luxury brands.

I love wearing my classic black bow tie with my tuxedo, it is timeless, stylish and majestic, and whilst it is a private pleasure it has not gone unnoticed by others.

I can highly recommend Le Noeud Papillon Bow ties, not only are they the finest in the world but the elegant and thoughtful packaging and friendly customer service adds to the finer details to provide a true luxurious experience.

G. Hilton


The Majestic Black is truly the gold standard when it comes to bow ties. It is stunning in its depth and has a magical ability to pique one's interest even though the less interested would say it's just a black bow tie.

It goes perfectly with any black tie ensemble and is best self tied with just a little unevenness to show its character.

I love the rare occasions I get to wear it. It is truly the cherry on top of both my outfit and my night.

H. Choi
Sydney, Australia


Whenever I wear bow ties, its exclusively Le Noeud Papillon. I have a at least five bows personally, and have given them as gifts at special occasions, and they have always been met with an initial look of bewilderment but always a postponed deep gratitude. From the unboxing to the feel of the silk when tying, your bows, like all proper luxury goods, are an experience. But, just like d'aphinois cheese, your bows are a treat - they can be savoured, but it is easy to over indulge. Whilst not all recent patterns have quite been to my taste, the creativity and commitment to quality in design makes them objectively beautiful items. Unfortunately, though, I cannot buy them for every day, but they have, and will continue, to mark many special days in my life.

M. James
Victoria, Australia


They are like having a work of art around your neck for the world to see.

J. Kalinowski
Sydney, Australia



The best bow ties in the world (in my experience at least). And for a great price. Skip a mass "luxe" fashion label that makes thousands of pieces a year, unless you're only interested in the brand name.

If you're more interested in the look, style, and fit of the piece, this the place.

Really enjoy the regular updates in instagram too. Great to see what new silks and things are coming through.

All the best, look forward to my next purchase!

S. Campbell,NT, Australia


Wearing a Le Noeud Papillon (LNP) bow tie means you have an impeccable sense of style. It’s not just an accessory; it’s a statement piece that tells a story to the world about my individual character. Wearing an item of this calibre naturally captures attention, and even though they are red carpet quality, they deserve to be shown off all the time. My distinctive style means I’m wearing my bow ties daily, they are a part of my unique way of looking at the world, and how I represent myself to the world. A LNP bow tie isn’t just another bow tie it’s speaks to a way of life, LNP know this, they are artisans and the level craftsmanship, care and attention to detail is second to none.

C. McBride
Blackheath, Australia


Dear Le Noeud Papillon,

I am writing to express my delight and complete satisfaction with your bow ties, your blog, and your customer service. Most of all, I am delighted by three things: the sumptuous quality of your fabrics, which are unmatched even at the highest-end retailers; the eclectic mix of classic and fashion-forward designs; and the meticulous, obsessive detail with which each of my more than 15 LNP bows has been crafted. Your recent pocket squares, La Belle Dame and Marguerite, have been a special treat for my after-hours wardrobe, and a great conversation starter among close friends.

Thank you for letting us all benefit from your creativity and artistry.

Kind regards,

Ahmad D.

Philadelphia, USA


I have now purchased 14 Le Noeud Papillon bows over the last 6 years, and they have never failed to impress in terms of quality, uniqueness and providing a statement. LNP bows always illicit a chorus of positive compliments and enquiries as to where they were purchased. LNP continues to walk that fine line of providing beautiful bows, without over saturating the market - meaning the wearer continues to feel that their piece is theirs alone. Over time I have broadened my purchases to include pochettes, flowers and even a couple of the decadent eye masks. The quality and vibrancy of LNP's productions is always a level above.

C. Cullinane
Sydney, Australia


Dear LNP,

I wanted to write and tell you how thrilled I am with my two bows - they are magnificent! Your service from start to finish was first class.

Please be assured of my return custom!



PS Thank you also for the ‘bow tie t-shirt' - I love it :)

M. Grant

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The King's Bow Tie Giveaway - Requiring A Little Praise (OR NOT) On Your Part

We have cut and sewn a 9k sold rose gold set of clips inlaid with diamonds, so that we can give it away to one of our patrons. It is a black satin bow tie. The value of the bow tie is $895 AUD and though you will never be able to see the diamonds or the gold clips if hidden underneath your collar, the very fact that you own what must be one of the most expensive bow ties in the world, ought to put a little more zing into your dance step.

To enter, all that we ask is that you drop us a line on our website with feedback about your experience of wearing our bow ties and how you like to wear them. Chosen feedback will then be published with your first initial and last name on our testimonials page. All chosen feedback will receive a Le Noeud Papillon silk flower, but ONLY ONE winner will be declared from the feedback chosen.

 As very few of our patrons ever bother to respond to our giveaways and promotions, my guess is that if you craft a well written piece of say 100 words or more you are more than likely to be a shoe in.

Good luck and to submit your feedback, click here

Entries close 15th September 2016

It's The Simple Pleasures In Life

There are things which give us great pleasure in life that take somebody else a great deal of effort in which to create. A good film for example, a well written novel. But on the flip side there are very simple pleasures which require almost no effort at all. A walk in the morning, a cup of tea, a snooze with some silk eye shades to block out the light.

Today, consider those things which you have in your life which offer you a simple pleasure. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Casting Agent Looking For Eccentric Overweight People - Why Not Apply - It Sounds Like Fun!

I once had one of those great afternoon conversations you get when a random phone call comes in and though you are not interested in what the person at the other end of the phone line wants from you, you just so happened to strike up a rapport and you end up talking for over an hour. Her name was Angela Brown and to be fair, I cannot remember the television show they were asking me to apply for but it was something I found outside of what I wanted to do - like a show where you get to marry a woman you have never met. Though I was technically single at the time, I had a girlfriend and I suppose it was a mixture of fear and shame that I didn't go for it.

Fast forward a couple of years and I got a call from Angela and she had a wonderful new offer. "Are you a dynamic business owner trapped in a world where it is difficult for you to shed kilos and try new ways to lose weight?" YES. "Are you looking to get professional advice and have a concentrated period where you not only lose weight but learn how to make better choices with what you eat and how you you live?" YES YES. Where do I sign? 

Although I would love to go on this programme I could hear my partner's voice in the back of my head "how would you like your daughter to see you running along like a fat dumpling on television? Huh? Would that be good for her to see her father doing that? What would you have thought if your Dad had done that?" . I recoiled.

But I still want to do it. But I won't. Well, maybe. I don't know. I will run it past the B&C first.

Regardless, I promised Angela I would find her the perfect candidate. So I am posting up her flyer and I am calling out to all Australian men and women who might want to be contestants. This sounds like fun and in the end you get to be a "New You".

Hi Nicholas

Thank you for taking my call today!

As mentioned, I'm a currently working for Endemol Shine Australia, a television production company based in Sydney.

We're producing a new television show called New You for Network Ten and searching for men and  women, who are keen and seeking out the best ways to get fitter, loose some unwanted weight and transform their lifestyle into a much healthier one!

Would absolutely love for your readers to apply!

To apply, all you'll need to do is complete a New You application form at the following website address:

Where the application asks "How did you hear about the applications?", just insert my name "Angela" .

I've also attached a New You flyer, please feel free to post on it onto all of your Social Media platforms and pass it onto to your friends, family or anyone, who you feel would also love to give New You a go!



As Fate Would Have It, I Have Managed To Get Our Majestic Black An Olympic Ambassador

As fate would have it a few weeks back I was invited to sit on a table raising money for the Australian Olympic team heading off to Rio. It just so happened that my table backed onto a table which included a number of dignitaries, one of which was Mr. John Coates AC. I in turn sent him one of our Majestic Black bow ties with the rose gold plated clips and suggested that it was another way for him to represent Australia, by wearing Australian made... and I hoped the rose gold plated clips would be a favourable omen....

When I returned from my recent 'trip' I had a lovely email from Mr. Coates suggesting that not only was the bow tie well received, but it now had an international itinerary in the lead up to Rio. 

I think it is fair to say that Mr Coates, on the left, outshines his companions as far as black tie goes. It is an honour to see our papillons supporting Australia at an Olympic level.... and fingers crossed we will bring back a great deal of gold.

Good luck to our Olympians and thank you Mr. Coates for supporting our little Australian made bow tie company.

Mr. John Coates AC, left, wears our Majestic Black bow tie.

Is The Suit Dying? Well, What Do You Think?

My favourite pastime must be reading blogs about tailors that I will probably never have the chance to indulge in myself. I can read about their studios, their histories, their shared values, their client lists and their particular style ethos's for hours and hours and thank goodness me that the internet has given us some beautiful content to consume. One of the better blogs on menswear in the world and probably the least recognised out of the 'bespoke' tailoring blogs is Timeless Man written by Andrew Doyle.

It is a younger man's foray into the world of tailored clothing and other men's stimuli that nobody really appreciates the amount of money and time that a blog writer puts into such a blog. Firstly, nobody in the tailoring community will give you a free suit. The cloth costs money, most of the workers are on an hourly wage, so there's not a chance on God's green earth that they'll do it for free. Then there is the time to take the photos, which ordinarily requires a tailored clothing lover of equal standing but with a camera and flexible enough work hours to take shots, and then finally there is time taken to collate all the information, masticate all the adjectives, the nouns of the things you saw, the tricky descriptions for how something appears subjectively; then begins the writing and the editing.

When I started out writing this blog I had plenty of time up my sleeve, a great deal of passion and some money. Those things have all been slowly diminished over the years as life takes it's grip - raising a family, the flood of content on the internet, endless bills - you know the rub, I don't need to waste more time complaining.

All this was done to benefit the 'artisans' that many of us believed would perish without out our voices and without our passion. It was therefore extraordinarily confronting the other day when I was in a popular menswear retailer in the city which I will mention, Harrolds, and the sales staff that was speaking to me said 'we hardly sell suits anymore'.

What? No suits? I could feel myself guffawing, "but you are a suit shop!" I felt like exclaiming. But they weren't. In fact, Harrold's had been evolving for many years into a contemporary menswear designer label house. I looked around the room and it was predominantly Asian customers buying the uber cool hip labels such as Thommy Brownne and Comme Des Fuck Down. Where had all the big hitting suit customers gone? Why were there so few suits on the rack other than the Caruso section?

Whilst I was sleeping in my Vaucluse Studio the whole world had shifted away from the world of suits in favour of contemporary wear and athletica. In an article deriding Donald Trump for being one of the leading reasons why the suit being considered an archaic symbol of 20th Century hierarchical work places and institutions, the author Luke Leitch goes on to state:

The suit reigned supreme as the default vernacular of menswear for most of the 20th century, but has been in decline for much of the 21st. Yes, financial professionals, civil servants, lawyers, politicians and undertakers are still institutionally uniformed in tailoring. But sportswear and workwear (jeans, etc) now rule on the street. And this trend has trickled up. The male digital entrepreneurs who represent the apex of influence and aspiration in 2016 wear T-shirts and hoodies. The ultimate expression of masculine, millennial power dressing is now informal wear: wearing track pants to a board meeting and sneakers instead of brogues shows that you don’t work for the company – you started it.

This June, the largest financial institution in America, JPMorgan Chase, updated its dress code by downgrading the suit: in a company-wide memo issued to 237,000 employees it specified that “casual pants” and “casual shirts that are business appropriate” are now acceptable working attire. Only for meetings with clients – such as Trump, perhaps – who expect to see Chase bankers in top-to-toe tailoring is a suit now required.

Only yesterday I met a mournful luxury-tailored menswear executive in a $4,000-ish cashmere blazer (soon to be available for far less on clearance): anonymously he conceded that his firm’s suit sales are slumping. Brioni, one of Italy’s most wonderful tailoring houses, was recently forced to lay off several hundreds of its tailors. And Canali and Zegna have both recently parted company with their chief designers.

It might seem a little sad to say but I think Mr. Leitch is onto something. These days I wear bow ties mostly with jeans and a sports jacket. Even then there are days where I choose a long sleeve polo over a shirt and, on a day when I am off to the gym, I will spend half the day in variations upon the modern 'athletica' theme from velour tracksuit pants and Nike Jordans to summer shorts and trainers.

It does concern me a great deal that the world's wealthiest and hippest are shunning the suit. It is understandable that if someone elevates themselves out of the slave like wardrobe of the navy suited clerk or employee, that they might indulge in something more expressive, but to do away with the suit entirely, that seemed until yesterday a big stretch.

However, the writing is on the wall. The suit in it's more conservative form, is dying. As more and more people head to technology jobs and away from traditional employing institutions, whilst banks re-design their workplaces to have hot desks and bean bags, whilst nobody will be allowed to have a corner office anymore, whilst the trend is for communal jamming breakouts with accoustic guitars such as I saw in the Facebook HQ in Sydney, whilst employees are told to lie down and think as much as they are instructed to work, well then, don't expect the suit to be hanging around. If you are dismantling the framework by which people traditionally earned a crust, then everything is up for consideration.

It reminds me of my my fellow bloggers who have given so much of their time and money, myself included, to keep the flame alive on what is a dying art that itself perhaps needs evolving. If I were setting up a bespoke atelier in today's market, I'd be offering custom made bomber jackets and patinated leather sneakers with matching iPad covers.... This surely is where all the money seems to be heading these days.

Australian blogger Andrew Doyle, author of one of the better tailored clothing blogs in the world, Timeless Man . 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

From Me To You - Don't Miss Out

I don't think I started out hoarding things in life but it has become something of a problem for me over time. My Studio in Vaucluse is full of things I have picked up and played with over time. Shoes, fabrics, art, t-shirts, samples, prototypes, shirts, paints and dyes. 

The good news for you is that I am offloading some of it at a song. I need to free up some space so I have started the slow process of putting it onto Ebay, some of it with a starting price of $2.00 aud. I think that's a pretty fair way to start the bidding. If you see anything you like, from Carlo Riva fabrics to old shoes restored etc, and if you want to ask me about other stuff I have hoarded, please just drop me a line.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Our Second Graffiti-Esque Silk Design In Collaboration With Sloane Angell In Los Angeles

I was so happy to receive the new design from Sloane Angell after a long period of back and forth over what sort of graffiti might repeat well inside a silk. Sloane has an excellent hand, much better than my own, but it's also his affinity to young contemporary artists and his experience in designing for his own and other brands that really made me want to continue more work with him. Most of it gets done over whatsapp. In years gone past I am sure it wasn't done like this and one thing I love about technology is the freedom of ideas being exchanged between Milan, Los Angeles, New York, Como, London and Sydney with a fluidity that beats emails, faxes, phone calls and everything that came before it.

None of our silks are ever perfect, save our polka dots and satins I guess. There is always a certain organic component to them which accepts imperfection as a trade off for the speed of which we express ideas and move on to the next silk. Below if I were a perfectionist I would find that the hidden colour, the black warp, meant that the silk did not have the richness of some of the designs we have worked on. But then finding the right kind of warp to do this work on, no matter if we chose Italy or the UK, would likely have rendered one imperfection or another. No, that is the price you pay sometimes but for me, in seeing something so different as to what is presented below as a soon to be silk bow tie, it is a small price to pay.

Look out for this silk bow tie in late September.