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

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Australian Made One Off Bow Ties - Now Live At Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

It's Christmas, well, almost. Time to put something he or she will really value under the Christmas tree. Come and see the latest work at 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Best Groom Shot We Received In 2019

Patrick went for our new mini jumbo shape bow tie in our house black satin silk mogador. His wedding then took place in Denmark, from memory in Skagen to be specific. I love this photo. It is so charismatic and although I am getting over menswear photos where there are only dudes standing around in fancy clothes, this one has a lot more realness to it. Mid dance moves, a great looking dinner suit, the boys lighting up. You can feel the camaraderie. Thank you Patrick, this is by far the best groom shot of 2019 and although the other photos which include your beautiful wife are extraordinary, this one really caught my eye.

10 Celebs We Never Need To Hear From Again

By Shane Cubis

You know how it is: some pretty little ingenue rises through the Hollywood system to become a glittering star while we lumpen basics fawn at the pedestal of his or her blinding wattage, raw charisma and effortless poise. Maybe they even have some talent. But then, well… actors start to believe they should be taken seriously. Comedians try their hand at something serious. Musicians want to be the next Woody Guthrie, so they buy a sticker for their amp and write a list of words that rhyme with the names of political leaders. And suddenly we have to listen to their opinions instead of merely lusting after their bodies and/or lifestyles of excess.

Leonardo Di Caprio can get in the bin
A whole life spent being adored for darkly handsome features and the ability to play a character that works across a reasonable range of films. What’s next? Oh, you take time out from your busy schedule of jetsetting and sleeping with women of ever-decreasing age to lecture the world on environmental issues that are close to your heart. Go brood somewhere else, Gilbert Montague.

Israel Folau can return to the Kingdom of Heaven
Is there any man more greedy than a sporting hero who bounds between codes, racking up more and more money as he goes, then decides the Australian public needs to be put on blast as a “sincere expression of faith”? If you want to preach, enter the clergy. If you want to be paid ludicrous amounts of money for being blessed with hand-eye co-ordination, strap on the shorts. If you want to whinge that you can’t do both, be Israel Folau.

Anyone affiliated with the name Kardashian: that’s enough now, mate
Insert your own reason here. Even Kim is sick is Kim by now.

Nobody feels sorry for you, Meghan Markle
If you went into that relationship not knowing your husband-to-be’s granddad might be a bit racist, we can only advise the Duchess of Sussex to do a spot of research in the future. And look, if your weird dad wants to make a bit of coin spilling the beans to women’s weeklies, where’s the harm? It’s not like you had to invite him to your wedding, is it? Anyway, enjoy your castle or whatever, and be grateful you met Harry instead of Andrew.

Daniel Radcliffe is never not going to be Harry Potter
It doesn’t matter how often he whips out his wand in R-rated plays about horses or gives intense performances in indie productions that nobody’s going to see, DR = HP. You’re a wizard, Harry, and that’s that. Even worse, he’s just come out and said he feels terrible about the press scrutiny Meghan Markle’s been facing, which is a perspective nobody on the planet asked for (and made me into a liar). Hopefully he harrasses someone soon so we can officially cancel him.

Leonard Cohen is whistling past the grave
Every Friday, right, Spotify delivers a bespoke playlist called “Release Radar”, which features brand-new songs from artists you have enjoyed (or at least played) in the past. And every Friday, without fail, there’s a Leonard Cohen song in there stinking up the mix. Was he stockpiling monotonic gravel in the lead-up to his demise? He’s been six feet under for three years now. Either release the lot or leave us be, LC. (Same goes for you, David Bowie. I want my new music to be new, not some mono version of “Ching-a-Ling” I have to skip.)

Baby Yoda makes me not want to watch The Mandalorian
When the memes become a tsunami of content, when an adorably smooth-skinned version of everyone’s favourite Jedi is twisted, flipped, reversed and remixed in every possible scenario and gag, the latest standard-bearer for neo-Dada, it ruins one’s appetite for the sci-fi western TV series that spawned it. In fact, Baby Yoda is retroactively making me hate Original Yoda, and that’s not a situation I ever wanted to be in.

Bec Judd is the Baby Yoda of Australian Instagram
Even her bio is irritating: “Ch 9 TV Host. KIIS radio host 3PM Pick Up. JAGGAD, The Skincare Company, Melb City Landrover, Paul Bram, Adairs, Spray Aus, Next, Chadstone, Klorane”. Below that, it gets worse. Why is it that Australia can only have a certain number of celebrities, and they have to be scattered across the entirety of our media landscape? Come on, Bec, give someone else a go.

Chevy Chase is-
…actually, he’s been pretty quiet lately. Hope he’s okay.

Anyone who dresses up as a superhero
You’re all on notice. Especially if your lantern jaw or comicbook physique isn’t enhanced by CGI. Whether you’re Gal Gadot using Wonder Woman to weigh in on the Sykes-Picot Agreement or Chris Evans using Twitter to extend his Captain America charm into real-world politics with witty bon mots, it’s over. We might make an exception for that adorable Tom Holland, whose Spider-Man we stan.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

In Which I Don’t Go To France On A Food Study

By Shane Cubis

“Obviously I am not paying for you to go to France on a food study,” wrote Nicholas, in my second disappointment of the day.* The third disappointment quickly followed on its heels, when another email popped in from Nick that wasn’t a change of heart accompanied by a first-class ticket to Provence. “I want you to explore the services of Jean-Marie Liere from Our French Impressions.”
Still, all wasn’t lost. My local pub was doing a $15 sardine nicoise with a complimentary house white that might have had some sauvignon blanc in the mix, getting me in the Gallic spirit for a chat with Jean-Marie Liere, who takes people on tours of France to soak up the culinary scene, cultural and historical surrounds, and excellent company.
In Australia, we are blessed with a frankly ridiculous range of cuisines, especially if you live in a rapidly gentrifying, former working class suburb where pubs that used to house hulking men covered with the filth of their day’s labours can offer reasonably priced sardine nicoises with a straight face. From my place, on the seven-minute walk to the Northcote Social Club (formerly the Commercial Hotel, whose carpets would have had an entirely different aroma, I suspect), my path passes eateries offering the following international options: Israeli, Vietnamese, Thai, Ethiopian, Irish, Japanese, Macedonian, Italian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Turkish, Indian, Modern Australian and French. There was also Egyptian, but it closed down.**
But, of course, there’s nothing like actually eating a nation’s food within that nation’s borders. Especially when you’re being guided about by someone like Jean-Marie, whose life experience seems to have been custom-designed to lead hungry travellers on bespoke tours through the “real” Provence, showing off authentic cuisine, local wines and expert craftmanship that winds up in your belly.

“One day my wife said, ‘You’re not doing anything with your French-ness’,” he explains. “The next morning, I went and researched how I could build a website for no money and start blogging. So, basically, Our French Impressions was born that day as a website, and it grew up from there. That's why we are ex-wife and ex-husband – we have very different ways of going about things. My wife is a perfectionist, which means she doesn't do anything until it's perfect, where I stop and I fine-tune it all the way.
“So, these trips didn't really happen until we were separated because I said, ‘Even if I have only two clients, I’m going to run the tour, and then the next year will be better, and the next year we'll have more people.’ Now, I'm at this stage where I have done three trips. One professional with Pepe Saya – a research trip on butter in France that was entirely financed by him, and we did a book about it. Then I had two private tours with clients who I knew through somebody else. I mean, it's word of mouth, really. Now we have two trips planned for next year. I think we will fill them up because there's a lot of interest.
“But it’s also very personal, too. The best testimonial I've got was in September. It touched me very deeply, because the lady said, ‘Where we were expecting a tour guide, we ended up with a friend.’ It's not necessarily that I want to be friends with everybody, but I want people to feel that they have taken care of very privately.”
Pained, I turned the conversation back to Australia’s culinary scene, which has changed significantly in the time our man has been here. And he has a theory as to why that is.
I think a big change has occurred because of MasterChef,” he says. “MasterChef has brought into everybody’s home an interest for better cooking, and also has driven people to buy better ingredients, fresher things, paddock-to-plate kind of things. That has forced the chefs and the restaurateurs to actually up their games, as well. So, it's been a win-win situation, I suppose. And then they also involved children, so those children are now young adults and they want to cook properly and have a nice feeling.”
It’s no revelation to say that for a lot of us, food is a major component in our upbringing. Whether you were a fussy eater who would only tolerate peas, mashed potato and sausages, or a Dora the Explorer type who wanted everything in their mouth and make it snappy, there’s hardly a person you’ll meet who won’t be able to wax lyrical on the meals they necked in short pants. Or, you know, pinafores.
“My mum was at home,” explains Jean-Marie, “so her duty was to take care of us as children and keep the household running while Dad was away working. Her mum was the same and her grandmother was the same. So, basically, she had the same training as I had, which is just watching people you love doing the things that are going to feed you.
“Over in France at the time, kids didn’t go to school on Wednesday. And I vividly remember that was the day where we would go to the market and then maybe to the butcher or do all the food shopping with her. And the butcher would always give you a slice of saucisson, or whatever. He was doing a loss, basically, saying, ‘Well, that piece of saucisson that I’m giving away today will bring back business.’”

Any Aussie in a romantic relationship with someone of certain European heritages knows that almost everything is food (and what’s left over is sex). It has to be discussed, planned, anticipated, dissected and judged. You can’t just off-handedly tell your Italian father-in-law that the place on the corner does a great Lebanese pizza. And you can’t tell Nonna you had Macca’s before visiting, unless you want to cop the wooden spoon.
“My family lived a very nomadic life because my dad was posted regularly elsewhere,” Jean-Marie explains. “So I think I have moved 45 times in my life. I lived in France and Mexico and Scotland and Holland and in Australia. I visited, I don't know, over 40 countries for sure, or not far from 50. So, I have also an appreciation of different cultures and different foods, and now even the language and the food are related. A lot of the jokes in France or the expression are food related, and it’s really weird because this is a big, big part of French life. I mean, I know when I'm with my mum and my sister, who live on the west coast now, it’s going to be, ‘Oh, where are we going for lunch tomorrow?’
“It’s very funny – you can be at a two-Michelin-star restaurant for lunch and then the conversation will go on to, ‘What are we going to have for dinner?’ Even if it’s just a piece of saucisson and some red wine, you never miss a meal. That doesn’t happen.”
I tell him it’s actually a bit of a shock for me to spend time with some unreformed Aussie-Aussie mates, who enjoy endless cups of tea and sunny-side-up eggs on dry toast. Who’ll order the beef and black bean, and look suspiciously at any beer that doesn’t come in a marone and gold can. It’s actually a bit of a palate cleanser, or a nostalgia trip that takes me back to dunking Milk Arrowroots in sweet milky tea while Nana Jean played tennis with her gossipy friends on the Russell Vale court.
(Actually, I didn’t tell him a single word of this, but you can imagine me as a far better interviewer, forging spontaneous connections between cultures and praising rather than burying my own family’s relationship with food. No? Okay, let’s move on to when I asked him about how things are different for diners in 2019 as opposed to the late ’90s.)
“When I first came here,” he replies, “about 22 years ago now, there was not much table manners. Kids would run around freely in restaurants, screaming their heads off. A lot of people would go to a fancy restaurant, and not know how to use the cutlery. And then the waiters were backpackers that didn't know anything about waitressing.
“I remember my first boss, we've been very busy, we have done very well, and one night she said to me, ‘Oh, here is a couple of hundred dollars, go and take your wife to a good restaurant on us.’ So we decided to go to Café Sydney – and we didn't get our wine until the middle of the main course. That's the sort of thing that has changed tremendously.
“In Sydney, anyway. It was slightly different in Melbourne because of the influence of the Italians and the Greeks. There was a culture of waitressing being a job, where in Sydney, it's very recent that people are actually employed to that job or at least trained to be properly.”
I threw in some words like sommelier to let him know I knew my cuisine, that I’d be something of an asset on his overseas tours, but upon reading the transcript of our conversation, I realise I’m probably too gauche. But at least I crossed out the questions I had about Gabriel Gaté and Manu Feildel.
Last word belongs, as it should, to Jean-Marie: “It is a very, very personal trip. Most tours that are run in Provence, or elsewhere in France, are usually by expats – people that are English or Australian or American who settled in Provence years ago, they bought a property or whatever. And in many ways they know Provence today better than me. But they don't have the anchor in the terroir, if you will. My roots are there.
“And actually, this last trip there was really, really strong as a feeling. Aborigines here talk about country, and I really felt for the first time, in my bones, it was not intellectual at all. It was really a deep connection, a physical connection, really, with the land in Provence, which I have never had happen before. I suppose it was just too much noise in my head about it. All these things happen to you in curious ways.”

*My first disappointment of the day, of course, was spotting myself in the mirror and realising I hadn’t spontaneously dropped 15-odd kilos overnight.
**And now you know why.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Gold Labels - For The One Off Pieces - Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

Arriving this week were our new limited edition gold labels for one off pieces on the website. They're super cool, super sexy. I am hoping our customers will find them equally exciting. First cabs off the rank will be early next week.

Be Prepared For Your Next Black Tie Function

It's that time of year again and of course, once you pick up your tuxedo you'll have to make a decision on your bow tie and pochette. We are here, as always, to serve you, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week on Whatsapp +61413140994

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Bespoke Tailor In Sydney - Leng Ngo - And Also Does The Best Alterations In Town

Flash as a rat with a gold tooth. That's what my old business partner used to say to me if I wore anything too ritzy. But ritz is sometimes just my thing. This most recent suit was supposed to be an homage to the gangster films such as Goodfellas and Casino - where slubbed silk dupioni was de rigeur in the world of gambling, mafia connections, cocaine use, women of ill repute, wives who disdained women of ill repute and threw things at their husbands, murder and intrigue and what not. Not that anything like that happens in my life. But I do love the theatre of clothes.

So the first problem to solve was where to find the silk dupioni. We found it out of the New York office of Holland And Sherry through Zalman Lever, of Alexander Black NYC, a custom clothier. Zalman sourced the fabric and measured me, took notes on the styling I wanted and then I have him carte blanche to do the trousers as he saw fit. I wanted the suit to have presence as it will be in the window of the Studio for the spring carnival horse racing season.

Once the suit was finished in the Chinese workroom is was then sent to Sydney where I then took it to my tailor, Leng Ngo, below, and he finished the suit by bring it in here and there, finishing the trousers, bringing them slightly in to be more tapered and he also finished the button position and put grey Australian mother of pearl buttons on front and sleeves.

The result was to my mind, spectacular. The slubbed silk and the shimmy of the electric blue is so visually arresting that every time I walk past the Studio window I have to stop myself. Even after all these years of working with fabrics and making bow ties, I still get so excited when something really catched my eye and this is one of those stand out cloths I have worked with.

But it's not on the mannequin that it really comes alive. It needs a human. So I walked out of my office last Friday night and went to a bar. I wore no socks with a pair of Lobb Kiplings, put on a high collar pink shirt that was made for my by Studio Shirts in Macquarie Street and then I threw on a triple warp garza grossa bow tie made by us. You know, you have no idea how wonderful it is to take a portly somewhat long in the tooth man like myself and voila, a star is born. A movie star. A sheik. An oil baron. A shipping magnate. Such is the fun with good tailoring that nobody in the bar that I went to thought of me as a small artisan working out of a 30 square metre space. It was like, if you will, letting the genie out of the bottle.

If you, like me, enjoy a bit of theatre in life. Google Leng Ngo and he can knock you out a suit like that. Or google Alexander Black NYC if you are stateside and he will sort you out.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

What Are The Best Tailoring Scissors In The World - Potentially They Are Kai 7300 Series

In the Sydney Studio where I cut my silks I generally stock to rotary blades. The best rotary cutter in the world, in my opinion, is the well balanced and weighty Gingher rotary cutter - but I ordinarily switch out the Gingher blades for the titanium Fiskars blades which, depending on where you can source them, are a more economical and sharper blade (though the gingher looks more sexy). The other thing is I am left handed, and Gingher, which is made in Italy, is the only company that offers a left handed rotary cutter.
But when I am not using my rotary blade to cut silks, I am using my tailoring scissors to either cut fabrics or else to cut the patterns in the workroom that don't suit a rotary blade. For example, aspects of cutting ties, cutting rolls of fabrics and cutting the curved shapes of silk eye shades, require scissors. Over the years I have tried many varieties of scissors. There were the Schneider (German word for tailor) scissors from Zwilling, titanium ones from Fiskars (which are excellent), the classic red-handled ones from Mundial you find at fabric wholesalers and then, finally, the more upmarket Kai scissors with Japanese blades.
Of all of them, and it's now been eleven years that I have been applying myself to this craft, I recommend the Kai 7300 professonal tailoring scissors range. Made from Japanese steel they have not only a presence and feel in the hand that makes you feel more confident, but they blade is much much more smoother to the cut and it doesn't take much to splice the fabric without actually using the scissor mechanics. Despite their size (I use the 300mm version), it doesn't take long to get a grip on using them. The only problem I have encountered with scissors is that there is not enough information on how to sharpen them effectively and not enough information on how to maintain them over time. As is the case with many of my scissors, I am never quite sure if I am tightening the blades back correctly.
So if you are starting out for the first time cutting fabrics my suggestion is this. Start with a premium Fiskars rotary cutter and a self-restoring mat from Olfa or Fiskars. Concurrently start with the Fiskars titanium scissors. When you get a grip on it, buy yourself a Gingher rotary cutter for the balance and weight of it and concurrently move up your scissors to the Kai professional tailoring range. 
kai 7300 tailoring scissors le noeud papillon blog review

Working On Animal Line Drawing Silk Jacquards

The perfect place to start on a new silk design is by looking at nature, both flora and fauna. The Japanese, who inspire me most, seem to be able to capture the best lines to show fluidity and detail, just enough, never too much. Recently I have been looking at animal designs again and I went back to some photographs that Sydney wildlife photographer Margaret Weiss suggested I use as reference for a second design using her photographs. The photos are stunning. Eagles in flight. Whether I manage to turn it into something beautiful remains to be seen.

In Praise Of The Ruffled Dinner Shirt

Not everyone can pull of a ruffled dinner shirt. It has that 70's peacock appeal but the problem is that most people in today's climate would make it look Austin Powers cheesey. However, Andy has made it work for him. Read our instagram post below.
I prematurely posted this image of Andy the other night that was his ensemble for a trip to Las Vegas. He's channelling the 70's with a ruffled bib shirt he designed with the wonderful artisan shirt makers at @buddshirtmakers of which we once interviewed their cutter @cutteratbudd James for our own blog. The wide beige shawl lapel works so well with the shirt and his eye for good tailoring and proportions means his look, though referencing 70s black tie, is still so fresh even in 2019. And you can see said ensemble at the @bellagio by following through to @styleafter50 .
andy poupart black tie bow tie style influence le noeud papillon

Make A Booking At The Studio And We Can Cut It In Front Of You

There is a feeling of joy that those that visit the Studio in Sydney get that surpasses the web experience. You get to see and touch with the naked eye. And we will the Studio with art and knick knacks and prototypes. I try to replicate that experience on our Instagram stories but nothing really matched what I call hand-to-hand combat - the getting to know someone in person experience. For those of you in Sydney who have the time in your schedule to swing past, Whatsapp me on +61413140994 to arrange a time. 
le noeud papillon studio sydney vaucluse made to order bespoke bow ties cravattes pocket squares

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Private Label - Are You A Tailor Wanting To See Your Tuxedo Look Its Best?

It's sad when you see a tailor do and amazing piece of work and post it up to his Instagram wall with the customer wearing a very ordinary silk bow tie, the worst being the pre-tied ones. We have been making private label bow ties for very reputable tailors for many years, both in Australia and overseas. If you are interested in us making bow ties for your tailoring or retail business, Whatsapp us +61413140994 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Where To Find Bow Ties In Australia ?

If you are looking for a bow tie, especially a luxury self-tying bow tie, then stop past. We have over a thousand silks on hand and eleven years experience making bow ties for some of the most discerning men around the globe. So, what are you waiting for? Log onto or Whatsapp us directly on +61413140994

Monday, August 19, 2019

Mount Kosciuszko - The Highest Fashion For The Highest Mountain

There is a troubled romance I have had with the Snowy Mountains of Australia that comes from my childhood and has played out over a few decades and has given me an endless amount of material as fodder for story telling. For example, one time I broke my leg on Mount Selwyn as a young boy, broke it at the shin from memory, my leg was twisted in such a manner and I was in agony. They got me up the mountain on the banana and I was in their makeshift room for the injured waiting on an ambulance with my mother holding my hand. Outside I could hear skidding tyres for a couple of hours. Everyone from our skiing party came to commiserate the end of my skiing for the year. I was teary eyed. Later I would learn that the skidding tyres was the ambulance that was bogged outside and could not take me to Cooma until they freed it. By the time I got in the back my mother and I got wacked on the happy gas all the way to hospital though she sternly told me I was to tell nobody she had a hit.

In Cooma they performed surgery but poorly. In Sydney a few weeks later I had to go back into hospital where they broke and reset it again. By the time I came out of my fibre glass cast (which was new back then) I had put on so much weight I looked like a human pudding. When it came time to get it off I was presented with the oldest doctor in the world who used an electric metal rotary blade to get it off and apart from the excruciating pain managed to leave me with a keloid scar down my left leg that took fifteen years to become barely visible.

That's just one boyhood experience. The adult ones are perhaps less gruesome but what wasn't done to my body was perhaps done to my heart. But would I take any of it back? No, not ever, never. A priest once described to me the duality of pleasure and pain, they were the two faces of the same coin. The Snowy Mountains are a little like that coin - if you want the pleasure you must be willing to take the pain. A good example is that when high winds blow fresh powder over the ridge of Crackenback, the time to ski that powder is when the wind is still blowing, not the next blue sky day when everyone's all over the mountain like a cheap suit. So the wind will bite through you and the visibility will be poor and your goggles iced over, but, the skiing will be good. The mountains offer in those moments a very terse set of prose, written in the vein of Hemingway. Something like: "the wind blew hard against the helmet. His moustache was frozen, he could not feel his fingers. Then he pushed off and his skis skid first on the ice but then he hit powder and it was good." Pain. Pleasure. Pleasure, then pain.

The thing that skiers often describe to me, which I agree with, is that it's very difficult to think about anything else in the moment. You can't be running debits and credits in your mental ledger when you have a mound of snow coming up in front, when a snowboarder comes into your field of vision to the left and when you can see a patch of ice two turns away. It forces you to stay present and to stay in the zone. Otherwise, you'll be the next guy going down in a banana.

My skiing has improved. I kind of like the fact that I am not a great skier nor does it come naturally. Like everything I have ever put my hand to, I have had to work for it. I was not naturally gifted with anything except perhaps the ability to tell stories - which I believe was some offshoot of having had an unhappy childhood and having to live in my own head. In having to fight for it I think I am more appreciative of the gains I make. This season I set myself an additional goal, to climb up Mount Kosciuszko wearing one of our kerchiefs with the help of my friend Lewis Foster

I met Lewis in Switzerland. He was in a neck brace having fallen off a cliff. He was young, enthusiastic and one of those positive people who make good use out of any bad situation. He had rented a ski apartment and though he couldn't ski, he didn't give it up, instead he decided to make use of the European ski season by learning French and he did a very good job of it. So much so that often now we talk in French on the chairlift just so we can have a private conversation about the people who are also on the chairlift. :) 

Mount Kosciuszko is 2228 metres above sea level. You can get to the summit by a number of ways and in a number of methods. In the summer you can hike it on the raised metal grates that are bolted into the mountain. But in the winter when its laden with snow, your main options are skis with skins or else snow shoes. Lewis encouraged me to try the snow shoes.

We had been waiting since Thursday for the conditions to be right and on Sunday I got the call that Monday was set to be blue skies and low winds. I cut short a wine tasting that evening, foam rolled my back and legs, dumped two sleeping pills and put myself to bed.

We set out from Eagle's Nest (1937 metres above sea level) as a group of three, the third being a ski instructor by the name of Tim Robertson. He is one of the doyens of the ski instructing community in Thredbo, a true gentleman and a chairlift confidante. I say chairlift because everybody blabs on the mountain but what goes on the chairlift, really, should stay on the chairlift.

As we gathered before the lifts opened at the Avalanche Cafe I noticed that I wanted to puke. I am not the sort of person that ordinarily gets nerves but perhaps owing to the additional hydralite and magnesium and the fact that I hadn't done anything like this in a while I dry reeched into the public urinal trough and walked out ready to rumble.

You place your snow boot into the shoe and strap in. It's that simple. The snow shoe grips the ice and snow and provides additional displacement of your weight over a larger surface area than your foot. Rarely if ever do you find yourself sinking into the snow. It's extraordinarily simple. You use stocks of course, no different to hiking - and off you go. The first part of the walk was that corduroy patch that leads from from Eagles Nest to the top of the Basin. From that point onwards you are off piste and out of the resort. With packed lunches in the backpacks of Tim and Lewis, we did a quick inventory check and applied sunscreen, made a couple of videos for friends and family and onwards we went into the quiet of the open snow fields which were bright white under the blue skies with faint streaks of high stratosphere cloud.

But it's not just the vista of these expanses of snow above the tree line that are peppered with exposed rocks and boulders that make it so fresh and free for the traveller. It is the camaraderie that develops between the participants. A joke gets made, an observation about the day before, some banter gets passed around about old flames and former conquests. It is in that quiet and gentle wind that passes, broken only by the sound of the snow shoe crunching, that forms a bond between those that make the pilgrimage to the top of Australia's highest mountain. And it is coupled by the fact that you are off the grid and no longer a skier hustling to the front of a chairlift queue. Now you are relaxed, focused in a different way - towards the summit. Looking as you pass around each mountain on the undulating way there, the goal that you will reach in two and a half hours without any knowledge of how hard the journey may be ahead or what you might expect to see when you reach the summit.

At a few points we stopped to spray the snow golden a little way off the track. At times we would walk by the same grated metal track where, as a young boy aged 10, I had trekked that same path in Autumn to the sounds of my Sony Walkman playing Robert Palmer's album 'Heavy Nova' on cassette. How quickly that time had passed. It was like yesterday, but yesterday was so far away now. The teacher that had accompanied me on that excursion, I'd seen him, still smoking, resting at a bench by the fountains of Kings Cross not two years earlier, old now, no longer teaching.

As we approached the summit and the last ridge line that would take us to the top, a skier on skins and those unusual bindings which allowed for that style of skiing was making far better progress in a more languid manner and I stopped him to say hello and ask him how his journey had been. He was rather convivial and stopped to show me how his skins and bindings worked on the incline. As he set off he turned and said "you don't happen to own a bow tie Studio in Vaucluse do you?" - What were the chances? A customer, up here. It seemed serendipitous that he had been in not two weeks earlier to pick up his best mate's bow tie for his wedding. He was a trained mountaineer and so I was glad he had met up with Lewis, also an accomplished mountaineer and rock climber.

That last leg up the final ridge to the summit was tough. I rarely run these days, I am well over one hundred kilos. It was beginning to remind me of reaching Dead Woman's Pass on the second day of my trek to Machu Piccu. I was counting fifty steps and then pausing to breathe. At the top lay a simple plynth made of rocks with a plaque on top. The mission was successful. But like most hill tops and mountain tops you reach, the end result is a windy place that you don't really want to stay on top of too long. To journey is to arrive I thought, and then to leave quickly.

We made a couple of wind blown videos, one of which I'll post below. I soaked in the vista to Victoria one way, back to New South Wales on the other. 

Lewis found a quiet spot next to a rock at the bottom of the last ridge. He pulled out some soggy sandwiches and Tim, who had laid out a spread of crackers and dips, managed to use his new Leatherman multi tool to heap some duck liver pate into our half eaten sandwiches and they came alive and made them so much more edible. These men were very careful to clean up any mess they made in the snow and you didn't need to ask them whether they were environmentalists. They loved the mountains as much as I love Bondi Beach in the mornings.

As we descended I sang as many songs as I could remember and we told more stories to each other until we pulled into Eagle's Nest and I ordered a round of shots and Tim ordered some Kahlua coffees. We shared a schnitzel as well. When the bill came Tim refused my paying it. It was a lovely gesture from a man I have come to think of as friend as much as a ski instructor.

We are here but for a short time on this planet. There are experiences that can be had that are both beautiful and edifying that bring people together (although if they go wrong they can lead to cannibalism .... and I was considered the first meal since, in Lewis' words, I was already stuffed and ready to go), that require so little to be fulfilled. No waiters, no tap dancers, no fireworks, no champagne. The awe of a vista and the expanse of white snow under blue sky, which now, as we returned, was starting to form the snow storm that would come within two days; was just one of those things you stow in your mind - so that when I sing my last song and my death rattle steals me from this world, I will relax and let go knowing that despite all the pain, there was pleasure in this life that I took whilst I had the chance.

Lewis Foster - 0488592300 - on Instagram @lewfosadventures

Left to right: Lewis Foster, moi, Tim Robertson and my customer Alex right.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Recent Feedback - One I Feel The Need To Share

It can be a thankless job. There are times when on a Monday morning when I am packing and sending and adding in little small gifts as a token of my appreciation for our customers that I think to myself 'am I making a difference'. The stoics said that if a man were to live well he had to remain relevant to the society and times in which he lived. Viktor Frankl also believed this, that man's search for meaning and purpose was above all the most important aspect of one's life, beyond the pursuit of happiness, beyond the pursuit of wealth etc.

Anyway, without further ado, and without wanting to get ahead of my skis, I was very chuffed to get the testimonial below sent through from a new customer of ours.


Hello Le Noeud Papillon,

I wanted to share with you a story from today. A seven year old girl with mucopolysaccharidosis, who needs to come into hospital weekly for treatments, absolutely loves the colour purple. Last week when she came in she was very upset about some challenges she’d had sleeping. I promised her next week I’d wear a purple tie.

Today I wore your perfect bow tie, purple with white polka dots (and reverso of purple satin) and she was thrilled. I promised her at the start of her treatment (which takes 6 hours) if she weren’t too tired at the end I’d show her how it’s tied. After waiting patiently, she was totally enthralled with how it works.

Thank you for making wonderful bow ties!

C. Kundle,

Canberra, Australia. 


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Mercury In Retrograde And The Art Of Non-Violent Communication

It's been a tough July. A very tough one indeed. And when it was going very pear shaped I googled which dates Mercury was in retrograde in 2019 and lo and behold it pretty much started the moment that things started unravelling in my world.

The first time I heard about Mercury being in retrograde was when my psychotherapist, who has guided me through all sorts of mishaps and dysfunctional relationships, told me to be kind to myself during a particular period because of this astrological phenomenon. She said 'you cannot embark on a new project during this period. It is a time of revision, revisiting, checking over, reviewing and so on. Anything that has a re on it you can engage in. Anything new, don't do it, it will not work out.' At first I thought I needed to change therapists, but then I decided to follow her advice and it worked.

I went back over work. I checked on projects that were existing and revised and revisited them. I revisited dialogue between parties. I checked my own thinking too. And I came out the other side on top.

This time around it hit me sideways. I really thought the Gods were playing with me. I found myself bumping into people I hadn't seen in a while and revisiting old feelings and thoughts. I would leave my phone in my car and have to walk down four flights of stairs to go get it. My internet connection went down. My car needed a new battery.

Tuesday was, I hope, the worst of it. I had a huge family blowout and as usual I found it tough to see what part I was playing and instead wished to pass the buck on those that were reacting to me. The pressure gasket blew on Tuesday and so by Tuesday evening I did myself a favour and I revisited Marshall Rosenberg's art of non-violent communication. If any of you are out there and are experiencing the same phenomenon, of old wounds being prodded, of being challenged and being told you or your behaviour is unacceptable, then I would encourage you to watch the You Tube video below.

Non-violent communication is very hard to achieve. It requires you to step back and re-examine yourself, your moral judgements and the preconceptions we carry with us formed by what we learn from society, from friends, from family. And it requires you to carefully listen to others, a skill God did not bless me with. Instead I got ego and self-righteousness.

My life lessons these past two years have been bitter sweet. There is a level of self-entitlement in me which I do battle with daily. And I am indulgent in so many ways. My hope, by the time mercury in retrograde ends, is to have re-examined myself so that I can take enough time to listen to other people's needs and maybe, just maybe, August will bring some respite.

For The Love Of Money - Crocodile Wallets Last So Much Longer

NB: I am not paid to post nor do I receive a discount for posting this review. 

Money is the root of all evil - until you don't have any - then you don't see it in quite the same light. I love money. As someone once said to me 'money's not everything - but it ranks up there with oxygen'. I think the problem is not money, but having too much money.

There is an Israeli diamond trader that recently said to a friend of mine 'I feel naked without twoooo thouuusssand dollars in my pocket'. The friend keeps it in a roll, sometimes in a money clip. Always in 100 bills which are ordinarily so hard to come by. 

But money is changing. It used to be visceral. Show me the cash and then we'll negotiate. Now it's this strange milieu of web apps, desktops and NFC tapping that has taken some of the glamour away of having a fancy credit card or a lovely wallet in which to put it in.

This year, after nearly fourteen years, I finally had to get a new wallet. My last two were purchased from Heather Brown of Di Croco in Sydney's Double Bay. Since then she moved to Darwin and keeps a single store up there. Her skins, from memory, are tanned in Singapore and she uses only the best Australian saltwater crocodile skins. Plus, she's clever enough to design them for Australian notes, which is so much more alluring than the European wallets that often are much deeper. It's the smartest best quality wallet for Australian's that I have seen. Simple, elegant, lithe. And, it has crocodile both inside and outside. 

But then, I don't use cash that much anymore, and more frequently, I don't even use my credit cards. So in March, I found myself entertaining the other style of wallet. One which holds very few credit cards and keeps the basics that you still need (but probably soon will do away with) of driver's license and health care card. The one I found, from Al Bazaar of Milan, which was stocked in Melbourne's Double Monk, was on sale and was slightly large than I was used to but which has become my day to wallet. It's a sturdy crocodile in blue with an insert for cash in the centre and two extra sleeves in which I place things such as petrol receipts (which increasingly are being photographed and automatically filed in apps). 

Of both of them I am extremely happy. But like all things magical and wonderful in the world of artisans and craftsmanship, I fear for the future of products such as wallets, just as much as I fear for the future of the tie and bow tie. Because the world is so rapidly changing, the way we move money, the way we wear our clothes, the way technology so swiftly replaces things that were once ageless, it is incumbent on artisans and makers to get very creative very quickly to find relevance for their products and materials. 

Once upon a time a company could rest on it's laurels for a very long time. Get a pen right, get suitcase right, you had a forseeable income stream. I don't think anyone can do that anymore, not in any product category. I'm not sure governments are ready to chip us like dogs just yet, so a passport holder and a driver's license and identity cards I believe will remain in place - so the wallet will still have relevance, but you can feel it changing. Those days when you saw a city worker open his bulging wallet with every membership card he'd ever had an cash spilling out - they are dying out. As I observe in the morning now, most are tapping their cards on 3 dollar purchases and the more savvy ones are tapping their phones.

But for now, and for the years to come, I am still very much attached to a good wallet, passport or card holder. And for an Australian, I highly recommend Di Croco in Darwin. You are getting the best leather and you are supporting Australian craftsmanship.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Passagio Cravatte - Bepsoke Ties Of Excellent Quality And Hand-Made To Your Specifications

A truly bespoke service, Passagio Cravatte is one of those businesses that thrives from the advent of social media. You can see their work being done each day on their handle @passagiocravatte and then over the weeks that follow, how their customers wear their ties.

The owner, Gianni, from time to time follows us on Instagram and it piqued my curiosity a couple of months ago when I trawled his wall and was 'deep liking' some of his content. 'Deep liking' a cultural phenomenon in the years that followed Instagram, is trawling through very old content, sometimes going right back to the start. It's apparently a favourite pass time of stalkers and let's face it, most of us voyeurs following someone's account are to some extent stalkers.

So there I was looking back on his work when I found a burgundy and cream silk twill that I became instantaneously enamoured with. I reached out to Gianni Cerutti, owner of this small artisan label and he wrote back something which began with "Hello Dear" . It was off putting, but that's what you get with Italians from time to time. Something of a 'lost in translation' thing. Still, I was bent on having something made so I soldiered on.

I must add here, and this says something more about me than it does about them, that a few years back Gianni had upset some of his English customers and they trolled his wall so badly that it became something of a fappening. So, as I proceeded with my orders and winced at the emails, I already had some prejudice in the back of my mind.

To be fair, they never offered a set time to finish the work but I gave them a rough idea of when the work had to be finished by. As that date approached I became more and more agitated, mostly because they were unresponsive to email requests but the entire time they were not answering emails, you could see them working on Instagram each day on somebody else's tie. Alas, this is the conundrum of small artisan brands - everybody thinks - just like those that use lawyers - that they must certainly be their best client and entitled to round the clock service. It is my experience that bespoke often attracts all the special snowflakes. This was affirmed recently when I sat down with my shirt maker for lunch and he talked about some of the city workers that bust his balls over half a centimetre.

In my own brand, I often try to turn out custom work in 72 hours. It's one of the benefits of having a cutting table in my Studio and a dedicated seamstress who can receive and process orders sometimes in as little as three hours if needs be.

Donc, we arrive at the point where the customer is now frustrated and writing emails like some sweating madman and using social media to make a point. It wasn't right on my behalf and I offer Gianni an unreserved apology, because, when the product arrived this week, I was supremely happy.

We don't do silk twill. Not for bow ties anyway. Mostly because they don't provide enough body to tie a great knot. So for silk twill we only do pochettes and scarves, leaving that realm of printed silk ties to those that do them as their main source of income. Gianni has on file a great deal of them, all so very beautiful, classic, elegant, timeless in many respects. But what is more, he offers them hand-made and the very act of seeing your tie being cut, folded, pressed and slip stitched on his Instagram only adds to the charm of his small atelier which consists of himself and his wife.

I am honoured to now own two pieces of his work and if you are willing to put up with emails that start with 'Hello Dear' then you will find yourself pleasantly surprised by the end product and a small amount of wincing for a larger payoff.

Need a printed silk twill tie? Gentlemen, go directly to their Instagram and click on the link. I give them a thumbs up.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

How I Came To Love The Stack - If You Can't Beat Them Join Them

The husband of a billionaire heiress joins us for coffee in the morning sometimes after our swim off North Bondi circa 530am. Lately it's been very cold and there is a certain style of apprehension every morning when my phone starts to go ding-a-ling.

I only mention the billions because it's something that seems relevant to 'The Stack' that he sports on his wrist. It was once said to me that the only people to wear stacks were creatives, the heads of companies and the children of the heads of companies. I am not sure who told me all this but I believe it was a Northern Italian who was explaining that everyone else underneath would not dare to be so outlandish. Only those guilty of nepotism or of absolutely killing it in their own right would have such big kahunas. Everybody else was trying to conform so they could get ahead. I am crapping on too much. Let me get to the point.

I promised myself I would never get a stack. But my friend was naturally confident wearing his stack and I came to find them very charming. I owned but one Rubinacci bracelet from a habadasher since gone out of business. My friend told me about Maor Cohen, the Los Angeles based bracelet designed and his go to contact for his Stack.

What can I say, I thought to myself, well, technically I own my business, and I am a CEO I guess. I am creative, I am an artisan. I probably never recognise that. So, what the hell, let's give it a go. 

Three months later I have something to tell you, stacking is fun. Stacking is easier to wear than I thought, it just feels like a second wrist watch. And stacking is charming to look at when you have nothing to do but twiddle your thumbs. No, I will never be a billionaire, perhaps never even a millionaire. But I am at the helm of my tiny silk chop shop and I think I have earned my right to a stack.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

We Ship Worldwide, Our Customers Are Worldwide - Bow Ties From Le Noeud Papillon - Where We Continue To Hone Our Craft Year After Year

Do you want a bow tie that's different, one that sets you apart? Do you want something just for yourself? A self-tying bow tie that is made from the best silks sourced from around the globe, cut mostly as one off bow ties never to be repeated again? Would you like be a part of the process? We offer all this and more. Whatsapp us on +61413140994 or visit us at

Monday, June 3, 2019

Tones And I - Drop The Game Cover Of Chet Faker Song - Wonderful!

Ian Fleming Interview - So Cool!

I don't think I had ever seen an interview with Ian Fleming until this morning and it was a real treat. If you have a spare 5 minutes consider watching this - there is some charming dialogue between the interviewer and Fleming.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Tones And I - What A Talent - I Hope She Becomes A Global Success

I went to the Oxford Arts Factory last night to watch Tones And I, a busker from Byron Bay who has made waves and now seems to be on her way to national and potentially international success. I found her so gutsy and raw, like an unpolished diamond (sorry, but they invented cliches for a reason). I cannot wait to see her career evolve and wish her every success. She has talent in every fingernail.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

New Yuzen Silks Just Loaded - All Will Be Sold By Tuesday Morning

I received a lovely testimonial from an American customer the other evening that I will post below. At the same time I have been busy cutting silks all weekend and this Sunday morning I have come in to photograph and upload them. They will all be gone by Tuesday morning at 9am so make sure you take a look before then.

And from our customer:


Bow tie enthusiasts we are witnessing something special.  LNP undoubtedly is in a class of it's own. The quality is unsurpassed. The designs are pure artistry. They have revolutionized self-tie with their unique pre-tie technique. There’s always something on the platform that satisfies my taste and style. I thought I had a pretty good tie collection until I discovered LNP.

K.Dillard, Maryland

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Myle Vs Juul And How These Vapes Normalised A Traditionally Bad Habit

The writer Leo Tolstoy once, in his savage indictment on the institution of marriage by way of his novella The Kreutzer Sonata, said that both marriage and cigarettes were extremely similar in the sense that they were both terrible habits that one couldn't kick. 

Tolstoy himself found it hard to give up cigarettes all his life and if my memory serves me correctly, his biographer Rosamund Bartlett said that he never quite kicked it.

Tobacco smoking is something that I absolutely loathed and hated the first time I tried it but which twenty eight years later I have a complicated relationship with. I loathe it, I love it. I loathe it, no really I do, but ah, I love it. The sting of a cigarette, the small groups of outlaws that band together to smoke, the behind the curtain at that fancy hotel in West Hollywood smoking, the intimate conversation over a cigarette. Then there is the loaning out of cigarettes which starts a conversation, the borrowing of a lighter, the handing back of a lighter, the can I now borrow a cigarette and of course the 'we've run out of cigarettes, who wants to come in the car to go get more' followed by a private conversation. Those who smoke know or understand the same world created by cocaine users who make small and private spaces and close and open worlds to people depending on how the evening goes.

But vaping must be a God send to tobacco companies who have changed course and those who entered the space early, because it takes away a great deal of the smell and stigma attached to traditional tobacco smoking. And though that private little culture that had developed around the naughtiness of tobacco smoking was still somewhat of a draw card to those that still wanted to spark up, for those of us who had succumbed to vaping, within a few weeks it seemed so last century. 

Wallet, keys, phone, vape. Let's go. That's how it was appealing. These new vapes made it that other little accessory to add into your world. Coupled with the knowledge that you could now dispense marijuana in these things (I have not yet had the pleasure of trying this) and knowing that somewhere in Colombia a lab scientist was figuring out how you might vape cocaine in a year or two ... forgive my ignorance if it's already available on the dark web.

It is a game changer. It normalises smoking. It gives it a new way of being okay... I have read the John Hopkins breakdowns - basically a traditional cigarette has 7000 chemicals in it, vaping is for the most part nicotine and water (though it's unclear what other chemicals are also used). A heating coil and what appears to be a gel like liquid which is heated by a coil and turned into a vapour through the power source, a stick like battery, is all that seems to be happening. The drug nicotine still remains just as addictive as cocaine or heroin, but, on first glance, it's delivery mechanism seems to be far less toxic.

Let's assume that the vapes are indeed what they say there are, less toxic instruments to deliver nicotine, what then are the other benefits of using them?

In my opinion they are as follows. I feel obliged to smoke a whole cigarette once I light it. By contrast, I can draw on a vape whenever I choose. I don't need to open the windows or go outside to vape. I can carry the equivalent of four packets of cigarettes without a noticeable bulge in my suit or trouser jacket. I can give someone a refill and we can share the device without having each others slobber all over it. There are many flavours I can try. My lungs feel lighter. I don't have to cough and splatter. I don't get bronchial. I can kiss a woman without smelling like an ashtray. I don't have a terrible hangover the next morning. I can keep one at the office, in the car, in my bedroom if needs be because the amount I used to spend on cigarettes was becoming ridiculous. 

I estimate that on average when I was smoking regularly I would have spent (given that a packet of 20 cigarettes in Australia is currently $35AUD) an average of $3640AUD a year not including the blow out periods such as the silly season. By contrast Juul costs approximately $80.00AUD and the landed price of refills is roughly $10AUD a pop. So you could bring your average yearly spend down to $600AUD in my opinion or else $1000AUD if you were to stretch it out. 

Unfortunately, and because it is unclear as to the legality of some of the cartridges I used I am not willing to tell you which website I purchased these on or which shop in Sydney I bought the Myle from.... suffice to say that if you know me well you can Whatsapp me.

Finally I wish to tell you about the two models I tried and why.

On entering one shop in Sydney I was told the Juul (which I had seen in Switzerland in January) was out of stock and that they only ran a brand called Myle. I asked what was the difference and the store clerk said the Myle was better... I'm sure it was...

So here are my thoughts:

1. Myle - truthfully I like the slightly bigger size than the Juul. The flavours available are perhaps not as good as the Juul but the device seems to pack a bigger battery life plus a three light display for your batter power. The other great thing is that the Myle requires only a direct plug in with a micro USB power source which means you can use all your old cables to have  a charge port wherever you go. The device also comes in some seriously chic designs like rose gold. 

2. Juul - it has the sort of street cred where you feel compelled to buy it plus it is very slim and discreet. It also comes with creative flavours like Cafe Latte and Cucumber. But; it has one terribly annoying and impractical aspect and that is you need to dock it in their own usb charge dock in order to recharge and that means you are a moment away from letting that little sucker fall down and drain pipe or fall down some crevice between your car seat and centre console and you will be cursing the brand and it's designers all day long. 

Other than that, the devices pretty much operate in the exact same manner. So determing which one will be Android and which one will be Apple is not immediately apparent. One thing is for sure, the Myle packs that Android feel of like 'we will make this cross platform compliant' whereas already the Juul has that feeling of Apple - if you want to use our sleek design we will make it hard for you to leave us...

I hope one day to kick totally the habit of smoking and vaping. It's really not healthy to consume nicotine in my opinion, and I think Tolstoy had a point. But if I am going to stay dosing myself I know which delivery method I would prefer. So, for the time being I am vaping my life away.