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Friday, May 22, 2015

Shop The Latest Eight Silks With More To Come

As many of you regular customers would know I have been pushing the diamond point this year mostly because of it's ease of tying and it's ability to be worn more casually. I wore one just two nights ago to dinner and it was the electric blue herringbone one below just right of the centre of the photo. I paired it with a baby blue shirt twill shirt and a cream 'cricket' flannel from Fox Brothers of Somerset. I love wearing creams and off whites in the colder months in Sydney. Especially when the wools are rather dense. I also love it when women wear whites and creams in winter, I find it especially elegant and it reminds me of those Old World images of Grace Kelly and the like in that feminine slacks and blouse or women's suiting kind of way which I recall seeing in branded images from Bergdorf Goodman. Winter whites are wonderful on both sexes. But I digress...

The diamond point bow ties have just been released. You can shop them for the next 24 hours with 50% OFF by using the code OW77JCLFDGP7 when checking out of . The offer was given first to our newsletter subscribers who invariably mop up the more prized bow ties very quickly. Can you guess which one below they went for? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Moth Of Sydney: The Winter Range Is Coming Soon

Since we have started our journey into structured collar t-shirts we have seen so many other labels pop up with similar but not quite the same garments. It seems that we weren't the only ones looking for a solution to give a structured collar to jersey pop-overs and now almost every day my underground informant Carlos Oppenheimer sends me links to products which look more and more like our Moths. He loves to have a little poke.

Nevertheless we have continued to refine the product and we have continued to make the product in Australia using the finest jerseys but we have opened up our offering to include some Japanese piques as well as our traditional high quality Italian jersey. 

Lately we have just finished grading and producing our first winter range of long sleeves. Pictured below is a very lovely Italian jersey pique which is a much more suitable weight for winter compared to our summer weight cotton. The customer was very happy with the fit, which is slightly skewed towards heavier men, because, since I am the designer, I need to fit into my own range - otherwise how can I sell you our Moths with confidence?

If you are interested in our long-sleeves please email me on moth at moth of sydney dot com and we will send you through some images of the new styles which feature a mixture of pique and sheer jersey, all yarn dyed, as well as cuffs and ribbing as contrasts on the sleeve ends.

The internal placket on this model has been contrasted with Italian cotton shirting denim. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wedding Bow Ties - A Testimonial From An Australian Customer Of Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

There is a movement away from morning suits and traditional wedding attire towards the navy/shade of navy/ mid blue day suit for weddings. Sometimes it is the one time a man will treat himself to a made to measure or bespoke suit. For us it is a great time because a man will seek out a custom made bow tie to suit the occasion, the setting and the time of day. I believe this particular wedding below took place in Hawaii. It was a Sydney based customer who was seeking out a sky blue silk and fell in love with our grenadine we had on the roll. Unfortunately a custom service like that is best done in the Sydney Studio but there are times when we do this for overseas customers via the web.

Below, Daniel wears a sky blue custom made grenadine diamond point bow tie with a crisp white placket front shirt and a slim notched lapel navy suit. And he wrote to say:

"Just wanted to say thanks again for creating my bow tie for my wedding. Was a huge success and I have recommended you to a few friends as a result."

D. O'Brien,
Sydney, Australia

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Testimonial From An Elegant Bow Tie Lover Residing In London, England

To Lovers Of Bow Ties, 

I just received the latest bow ties ordered from Le Noeud Papillon. I have now almost twenty bow ties from them. All are very special from the packaging, variety of colours, design, material and overall quality. I have also bow ties from other luxury bow tie makers but the variety of design and quality found at Le Noeud Papillon is exceptional. The velvet bow ties in particular are of the highest quality and similar quality and design simply cannot be found elsewhere. I recently wore the "Purple Prince" to a wedding and received many compliments. 

I am a very satisfied customer and would recommend it to anyone who has a passion for bow ties. Keep up the good work at Le Noeud Papillon

London, UK. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Own The Night With A Swarovski Crystal Hand-Tied Bow Tie From Le Noeud Papillon

A few weeks back we were asked to do a Swarovski crystal bow tie for a customer in Miami. We haven't done one for a very long time so it was really lovely to sit down and go through the process again. The customer requested something which looked like our Majestic Black but which was encrusted with crystals in a manner which only could be done on a pre-tied bow tie. Instead, I found a way to create a bow tie which was in fact hand-tied but still finished with crystals. You will soon be able to custom order these bow ties from us but not before our customer gets his chance to wear it first! 

Interested? Contact us here.

RM Williams Chelsea Boots Glaçage & Light Patina

Sometimes I regret opening my big fat mouth. Sometimes, as part of my braggadocio that I cannot seem to shake, I find myself telling all and sundry that I know how to perform a glaçage or that I have the dyes to do patina. Especially when I am trying to ingratiate myself with someone they will then remark 'so if I give you my boots will you do one for me" and then, because you feel the need to prove that you are not all hot air, you end up plonking said boots into the back of your car and sweating it out all Saturday morning.

Every time I open up my shoe care plastic tub I get a terrible feeling of 'I wonder how long I will get lost in this process this time'. It's not always quantifiable. Each pair of shoes is different and requires special attention. Each patina is different. Each result is different. 

The boots below were an awful boring brown. They actually look okay in the top photo but in fact thy were a pooey awful brown with no character at all. The first process was to strip them with thinners and acetone. Then they were washed with Hermes saddle soap. Then dried. Then Saphir Renovateur. After the shoes were given time to soak in the mink oil I then applied using a horse hair brush the cognac pommade by Saphir. I then let this dry for some time. This was really good. To let it dry. It then allowed streaks of cognac to penetrate the leather and at this point, I wish I had stopped because the shoes looked very Mad Max rustic. However, the owner of the shoes had specifically asked for a glaçage across the toe and heel of the boot as well as a high shine on the remaining boot. 

At this point I had forgotten how hard it is and how many layers it is to get to a mirror finish. Although I didn't really get to the mirror finish that some others can achieve and which I was hoping for, it was most certainly reflecting a great deal and it was to the satisfaction of the owner of the boots.

It's all well and good if you have other work to do in between drying and resting times, but if you had to sit and wait out each process it would be half a day of your life you will never get back and you will need to change your clothes from all the sweat you make. It's a sartorial equivalent of Zumba.

The boots were a very boring brown -which you can't really see because in actual fact they photographed nicely. 

After stripping and washing the leather with Hermes saddle soap and then resting after the application of Saphir Renovateur, the boots were given a layer of cognac pommade by Saphir. 

The final shoe, which looks fairly 'wet' from studio lights, was a very beautiful marbled brown of deeper chestnuts with streaks of cognac. It was a very enjoyable result. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Testimonial In Favour Of Two Tired Le Noeud Papillon Bow Ties That Finally Landed In Milan

Hello Le Noeud Papillon,

A lovely end of the week surprise indeed, as two very tired Papillon's flew through the door after a fast but rather long flight from Sydney…

As soon as I felt the sturdiness of the "box" (which turned out to be two boxes ! ") I knew there was something extra special inside, and I was more than rewarded from my first impression!

Beautiful regal blue box, gift wrapped elegantly with  blue & elegant gold writing on ribbon, when opened a gentle essence of stately masculine perfume …

Thank you for the additional tie, so very different in contrast to each other, and I shall wear them proudly only knowing  partially the great endeavour in realizing their existence.

Enclosed below is a picture of them  I shot  on my daughter's grand piano after I received them.

I shall certainly mention when asked who created these splendid bow ties…


L. Roblin
Milan, Italy

Friday, May 15, 2015

With Pride, With Passion - Robert Charnock From Dugdale Bros Shares Knowledge On The Weaving Of Wool Cloth

Given that I have been at this game for less than a decade I am extraordinarily grateful that companies like Dugdale Bros., that has been going for over a century, will take time out to share knowledge with our readers. Dugdale Bros. was introduced to me by a Sydney tailor who once had a shop on William Street in Paddington, Sydney. Most of us knew of brands like Dormeuil, Holland & Sherry and Scabal, who all kept agents in Australia, but Dugdale Bros. was one of the more enigmatic cloth companies from Huddersfield that very few knew about back then. It would be wonderful if the original Dugdale brothers; Henry, Percy and Frederick, were given a chance to walk the earth again and to see what advances had come in cloth and what had happened to their company which had been founded in 1896. Today Dugdale Bros still provides wool cloth (merino, cashmere and mohair blends) both to luxury brands such as LVMH and Ralph Lauren as one aspect of their business and a bunch service to tailors in another. Robert Charnock from Dugdale Bros. took time out to answer a few questions on wool cloth and its production.

Robert Charnock Of Dugdale Bros.

The desire to own a made to measure or bespoke suit seems to have had an marked jump in interest the last 6 years – has this had a noticeable effect on the sale of wool in bunches by companies such as yourselves?

We have noticed over the last 10 years or so a marked increase in interest in all things made to measure and bespoke and a whole new generation of consumer being drawn to the endless options in cloth and style afforded by opting to have garments made to their requirements.
A lot of this I feel has been driven, ironically, by the dress down era. I think confusion reigned when men were given dress down at work as an option as they went far too casual. In many cities there was a retrenchment back into the safety of suits. I now see the dawn of a new tailored dress down era where sports jackets and blazers have again become an important part of a gentleman`s wardrobe and men are opting for lighter Navy and Grey rather than the starchy old charcoal Grey and dark Navy.
Blogs and forums mean a new audience of young consumer is well educated before he makes his first purchase.
We have seen our sales to made to measure and bespoke customers grow in all developed and developing markets, gathering pace in the last few years. Tailoring is becoming significant even in more casual wear with men teaming tailored tweed jackets with jeans and in the most formal of arenas such as weddings the bespoke suit has become king over traditional tails, vest and morning trousers.

We at Dugdale have been very fortunate in the resurgence of interest in English cloth as it is perfect for bespoke garments. It has been recognised in the various chat rooms that English cloth because of the way it is constructed allows the tailor to be more expressive and the end result is sharper more robust tailoring with the added bonus of longevity.

Cloth being assessed for quality and handle at Dugdale Bros.

Dugdale Bros. offers a cut length service for tailors.

The cutter preparing lengths to be shipped to tailors. 

Wool seems to be having a kind of renaissance with customers demanding brighter colours, weaves and in some instances I have seen companies screen printing onto wool – how does the consumer shape your bunches each year and how do you attempt to meet what the market demands each year? Or, more importantly, how much time to you spend in developing seasonal bunches as opposed to staples?

In terms of our traditional tailors bunches Dugdale have always been purveyors of style above fashion and our collections have remained essentially classically British being perennial rather than seasonal.
However as we renew ranges every 3-4 years we do look at current trends and colours and adapt new patterns into a Dugdale hand writing. For example we have introduced bright blues and greys into all ranges reflecting current colour trends but we have only done this in plain and self design rather than fancy designs.
Our clientele is extremely diverse, including major design houses such as LVMH, as are our markets so we are very often commissioned to make special pieces.
We adapted a traditional riding cloth into a ladies coating for an Italian brand and we are currently working with a Dutch company to produce traditional print designs on unfinished cloth for a Chinese tailoring company and we have recently made some very vibrant tartans for a British ladies wear designer.
In conclusion our tailoring collections remain largely classic but as we have our own designers and we are in the centre of the cloth industry we find it relatively easy to engage in special projects.

I have heard from an Italian contact that there is a way you can loom wool on a jacquard loom so that you can achieve a very similar effect to a woven silk. Can you elaborate whether this is possible with English looms and can you tell us what is the most important difference between a traditional wool loom and a silk jacquard loom?

All looms are pretty much from the same sources, Sulzer are Swiss made looms, Dornier are German and Picanol are Belgian. Italian and English weavers use a mix of these looms to fulfil weaving capacity, so it is probably more that an Italian weaver has been asked to produce a special weave effect which could be achieved on the same looms in England.
Silks are woven on the same kinds of loom but warps will be set in different gears and wefts woven at a slower number of pics per minute. In the past I have seen weaves such as satin, which is warp faced and sateen which is weft faced being woven at our weaver Pennine. When given an extremely high press at very high temperatures the cloth appears very lustrous, silky and shiny.

Yarn on spools

Yarns which has been dyed are held on spools awaiting use in the looms

Being wool merchants, are you actively involved in any of the processes between when the wool is sheared from the sheep to when it is processed into yarn?

We are actually cloth merchants so our main function is selling cloth. However, all our cloths are made to our specifications and designs. We use benchmark spinning companies who in turn employ vastly experienced brokers to buy the best Australian and New Zealand merino wools. Our spinner buys a lot of wool from Hillcreston sheep farm in NSW as he recognises that the farm consistently produces good quantities of the finest wool, the result of over a century of husbandry and consistency brought by the fact that the farm has remained in the hands of the same family for all those years.
I am actively engaged with Rob Langtry and the team at Woolmark in Sydney so I get regular updates on developments in farming and wool.

Can you tell us about the dyeing process of yarns – how does a company like Dugdale ensure that the yarns that are going to be woven are of an approved colour? Is there a language that is used between the merchant and the loom to explain what a colour should look like for a finished wool?

Dyeing threads or yarns is a very exacting science if we are to achieve high standards of continuity. This all begins with the initial process of top dyeing which is recognised as the best form of dyeing to give the necessary continuity. Bulmer & Lumb group are responsible for a large amount of our top dyeing and consistent use of our finest Australian merino wool is a huge help in this intricate process. 
Once the wool top has been dyed it is matched by a highly skilled colour matcher with over 40 years’ experience. Each shade has its own recipe and this is followed very closely in each production run. After dyeing each shade is broken down into components and blended together I combing machines and the blending process is closely monitored against previous batches which are held in a continuity programme to ensure shades adhere to the strictest tolerances.

Dyed yarns of wool

Can you explain to our readers what kinds of chemicals are used to finish a wool to bring it up to its finished look inside a bunch?

WT Johnson are our main cloth finisher and we can break finishing down into 2 distinct sections each having several different functions.
Scouring or washing the wool cloths is the first process and to achieve this Johnsons draw natural, soft water from their own bore hole. Natural soap made from palm oil is then introduced to the water and the softness and purity allows the soap to form a beautiful lather, essential for scouring luxury wool worsted cloth.
Once tentered and dried the cloth then goes through the second and final process of FINISH consisting mainly of cropping and pressing the cloth to achieve the final desired look and handle.
In short our finished cloths are not subject to any chemical processing, but in general terms chemicals can be used in SCOURING and FINISHING. In scouring Alkali and acid agents can be used to control PH on certain cloths and certain fabrics, mainly for interiors respond better to a non-ionic detergent in scouring.
In final FINISHING specialist treatments can be added to cloth such as Antimicrobial which kills bacteria and odours, Fluorocarbons which repel water and oil.
We occasionally have to piece dye cloths and whilst not all the dyes are natural they met REACH conformity and EU flower marks.

The cloth is being dried after being washed.

The washing process of wool finishing

Wool is washed in soft soapy water. 
What kind of weights of wool would you suggest for Sydneysiders and perhaps Californians if you were suggest a wool where the temperature always ranged between 20 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius for most of the year?

Having been in Sydney recently and at the start of your Autumn with temperatures at 28 degrees it is a challenge for someone from the Northern Hemisphere to dress correctly. Most comfortable to wear was our 280 gms plain weave New Fine Worsted with its open weave it is very comfortable to wear in warm climates as it is somewhat hydroscopic. We give a slight uptwist to the yarn so the jacket and trousers will shed creases more readily and they retain their shape over longer periods.
The cape breeze collection in our new Luxury English mohair collection at 250 grams and again on an open weave is extremely comfortable and is pretty much crease resistant.
If a gentleman prefers a smoother softer handling cloth then a twill at about 250 to 280 grams is perfect. Our super 160`s and cashmere and super 130`s fit that bill.

In your own bunches what are your top 10 picks (with fabric codes) for Dugdale bunches in 2014? (sample images would also be great).

My top picks for 2015  Summer- 8952,8933,8941,8401,8408  and for winter- 2080/1,2080/5,9478,9468,9731

To find out more about Dugdale Bros, see their website here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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Do you want to have the chance to shop the next range of silks with a discount? Subscribing to our mailing list gives you the chance for special offers, previews to new silks and discounted offers with limited time codes. It's also an interesting read as we give you the best of the blog and other tid bits on artisans, makers, weavers and more.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

We Have Freshened Up A Bit

Sale times, at least the closing out of a sale, is a little like taking an aeroplane trip from Sydney to London. You start out by looking fresh when you turn up to the airport but somewhere in the middle of the flight you feel your skin is dry or oily, your hair feels like it needs a comb, you've dribbled onto your pillow when you finally got a kip and everything seems strewn everywhere. At least that's how I travel. So, somewhere mid flight I lock myself in the toilet and try to freshen up. It's not too different from closing out our sale. Things get very messy so we paused this morning and put all the carnage to the back to concentrate on keeping some dignity in what remains of the day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How To Use Our Discount Codes On The Website

Late last night I had an email from a friend who said she wanted to buy one of our bow ties on sale but did not know how to use the website so I thought I would show you step by step. The first is to select your bow tie and add to cart just like the image below. Once the item is in the cart, press on the view cart button.

STAGE 1: Select your product

At checkout there is an option to use PayPal Express EXCEPT that whilst this gives you a very quick option to pay for your goods it does not let you choose to enter a discount code (in order to save time). So, choose regular checkout. 

STAGE 2: Checkout

Once the checkout screen crops up there is a panel in the Order Summary, circled below, that allows you to enter your discount code. Enter it here and it will automatically deduct the sale discount amount. Press continue and you will be taken through to our payment gateway where you can pay by PayPal, Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

Happy shopping! Click here to go through to the website. 

STAGE 3: Enter Discount Code

The Met Gala Is A Breeding Ground For Emerging Trends But Are They Rooted In Sartorial Elegance ?

The main feature that drove people to admire the Balmain jacket on Justin Bieber at the Met Gala was the black and gold fabric with dragons which really ignited people's senses. The ball was paying tribute to a Chinese theme, the name escapes me, and by far Bieber's jacket stole the show beyond the traditional tuxedos, white tie and creative black tie ensembles worn by other men. It even trumped Hamish Bowles' wonderful traditional smoking jacket which did look a little oversized on his slender frame.

But something didn't sit right on Bieber and it was only when I found this image on the countless ones loaded onto Google overnight that I noticed what it was. The jacket was cut too short - in that way that those young Italian boys that turn up to Pitti cut their jackets to the top of their jeans. It kind of works if you are taking a street wear approach, which is I imagine what Olivier Rousteing from Balmain was most likely edging towards but to my mind by doing this it suffers from a direct contradiction in terms of the cloth used. The embroidered dragons, which I assume are done over a black velvet base, lends itself more to a sweeping and flowing jacket than to something which frankly looks cut off from it's natural finish. To my mind the jacket should have at least been cut to the mid thigh to allow the flair of the fabric and to allow for the repeat to flow. 

This has also been coupled with another faux pas of younger men, which is that the shirt sleeves are cut too short and to not show past the sleeve end of the jacket. A certain amount of sleeve cuff showing through would have also looked a little more elegant rather than seeing that lovely ornate fabric meet immediately the contrast of skin. 

So, my advice for Bieber - cut your shirt sleeves and your jackets a little longer unless you want to look like a sartorial kid all your life. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Tesla Embodies Everything We Can Expect In The Future

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend an evening with a group of UBS bankers who put on an evening at Tesla in Sydney to show off the new cars that have started appearing in Sydney. It doesn't take much to conceive a Tesla. In the AWD it's two electric engines front and back of the chassis and the middle is filled with batteries. But that simplicity is then offset by the vast technology that goes into the car which allows you to control the entire car from the centre console, auto pilot yourself to where you want to go to and effectively you have a gigantic iPad running your entire car so that you use the screen to manipulate what used to be done by knobs. Makes perfect sense.

At the event the ex head of Microsoft Australia spoke very eloquently about the future. Often these talks are a bit too full of fantasy for me but this particular gentleman spoke of the numbers behind data modelling which show that soon we won't drive our own cars because computers do a much better job statistically and insurers will push for driver-less cars to drive down the cost of premiums. In another anecdote relayed the same chap told a story that data modelling on New York taxis showed that driver-less taxis would increase efficiencies to the extent that roads would be less clogged, a customer would never wait more than 37 seconds for a taxi and there would be far fewer road accidents. This same system it must therefore be assumed would one day be taking over the delivery of parcels. 

It's going to be a brave new world out there and funnily enough I was left with one thought "but what happens to the bow tie in this new world?" - I guess only our customers know the answer to that. 

Some Combinations Just Work - Take Black And Gold For Example

I could not tell you why some colours work better together than others but I have been told that our brains are wired to interpret some colours and colour combinations well and there are some inverse relationships between colours on colour charts which apparently mean that they complement each other well. When I think of colours I think will together I think of pink and navy, navy and white, yellow and purple, red and green, apple green and pink blossom, black and white, red and white and of course - black and gold.

Today we just finished and loaded onto the website the latest 18k rose gold plated limited edition clips we did for our bow ties - pictured here with a great pair of vintage Dunhill black and gold 1980's frames I found on Ebay and a pack of 18k gold plated playing cards. Five wide butterflies and 5 modified butterflies are on the website. Shop them before they are gone. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Michael Stahl's Book On Kerry Packer Is A Page Turner And A Nice Light Easy Read For The Train

In my post the other week on the late Australian businessman Kerry Packer I mentioned that the folklore he left behind was legendary and most probably will outlive his money. Eventually. It came to my attention from one of our blog readers that a new book had just been released on Packer. Michael Stahl, who worked for ACP Magazines for many years has recently written a book titled Kerry Packer: Tall Tales & True Stories. For anyone interested in the business folklore left behind by Packer this is an excellent page turner which you can easily digest on a train or in a cafe. You can purchase the book from Booktopia here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Interviews: The Long Term Pursuit Of Quality Shirting - An Interview With Mauro Canclini - Head Textile Designer @ Canclini

On my first trip to Como I was fortunate enough to make a detour one day in between visiting silk mills to arrive at Canclini HQ. Over the small number of years since I have been working with them I have noticed a marked increase in the number of new weaves, blends, printing and finishing techniques that have been employed by the company. Although it is not nearly as big as some of the other mills producing shirting, and although a great deal of production in shirting is done in all sorts of lower cost countries, Canclini remains one of the beacons of light for European shirting weavers. By using technological and design advances they have remained ahead of the game when it comes to shirting. It is with great pleasure that I offer our readers a chance to meet Mauro Canclni, the brains behind Canclini's design team.

Mauro Canclini, head textile designer of Canclini,  at a desk in the archives studying designs and swatches
Mauro, can you tell our readers a little about shirting production? For example, how many metres of shirting does each loom produce per hour and how many different types of yarns do you turn into warps?

Producing shirting fabric is a very long and complex process. For example, you have to consider that regarding the weaving component only, a loom can only produce about 5 metres of shirting fabric per hour, which equates to roughly 2 or 3 shirts, depending on the size of the shirt of course.
We are usually trying to use only one kind of yarn in the warp; but for very special fabrics and effects, we can use up to 3 different kinds of yarns in order to obtain a richer look and/or touch/handle.

Shirting fabrics being weaved at the Canclini mill

Does Canclini make the yarns that goes into it’s cloth or are they produced by outside makers? Can you explain to our readers the difference between single ply, 2 ply and 3 ply yarns and what quality fabrics are usually constructed of?

By tradition, Canclini is involving the full textile chain industry of our area in the North of Italy. When my grandfather started Canclini he was sourcing the yarns directly and then he gave them to subcontractors for weaving -  managing therefore all the individual steps of the process - from the yarn spinning to the finished fabric. Nowadays, we are mostly working with the same spirit: we buy the yarns from 3 suppliers - which thanks to our long term business relationship, grants us the upmost continuous quality of the yarns that go into our fabrics. We are then dyeing the yarns in 2 specialist yarn dyeing mills close to us and that we’ve been working with for many decades. For over 50 years we’ve been then taking these dyed yarns and weaving them into shirting fabric. The finished woven shirting fabric is then sent to the finishing mill which is also less than 1 hours drive from our company HQ. We employ the exact same methodology for our printed fabrics. By taking this position as a weaver and not taking on the additional infrastructure of the other processes allows Canclini to forge strong partnerships and thereby allows us to be quick and reactive in a manner that no other weaving mill can match.

Once yarns are spin they are ready for dyeing

Yarns are spun very close to the weaving mills of Canclini so that there is a synergy between all aspects of shirting cloth production which allows Canclini to take advantages in new technologies offered by yarn weavers through to dyers and cloth finishers.
To answer your question about yarn plys the difference is really quite simple. A single yarn, as per its name itself, is a single thread yarn. A 2-ply is made of 2 single yarns spun together to create a single thread with 2 yarns. A 3-ply is made of 3 single yarns spun together to obtain a single thread with 3 yarns. The dimension of the thread can vary a lot, from a 40/1 for example which is quite thick, up to a 170/1 which is very thin, but you have a lot of different thread sizes. Each single size gives the thread different visual aspects (less or more hairy, less or more shiny) and different strengths. So it’s not just the ply of yarns you look at but the dimensions of those yarns too.

In Sydney there is never a time of the year where it is absolutely essential to wear one weight of cloth or another –but I gather in Europe there would be many men who prefer to have heavier weight shirting cloths and blends for winter and lighter ones for summer. For example, I know that Canclini produces blends of cotton and cashmere for winter and cotton and linen for summer. Can you explain to us what types of blends, constructions there are for the seasons and the basic types that Australian men might consider given the climate conditions Down Under?

Yes, it's true that in Western countries, but also in Japan and China for example, where temperatures goes down several degrees under freezing point during winter time, our customers are using much different weights of fabrics respecting to the ones used in the Australian market. Therefore, we can talk about different blends (cotton/cashmere for example) but also flannels in 100% cotton, that thanks to special finishing techniques pretty much give the end product a cashmere feel which is really appreciated by our customers in winter. On the other hand in summer, beside playing with different light weights from a yarn and structure point of view (like our cotton mousseline ULLALLA), or our light and compact popeline SKIN and micro weaving structures DANDY range); we make 100% cotton fabrics but also blend fibres such as cotton / linen fabrics to keep the freshness and breathability needed. However, in modern office environments that are centrally heated in winter our customers still choose our light weight ranges to keep their consumers comfortable and push a more layered style of clothing to allow for changes in temperatures between inside and outside.

Canclini range of striped cottons from their skin range.

I wrote a few weeks ago that a baby blue cotton shirting fabric is for cotton weavers what the fruit bowl is for painters – every company offers some form of this cloth. In Canclini I particularly like your Rothschild baby blue twill 200 2 ply. Can you tell our readers what are some of the staple cloths that you produce which are timeless and what kinds of staples we might find in an Italian man’s wardrobe? (Eg: white twill, blue herringbone, pink, white popeline etc)

We are making each season (each 6 months) a full collection that is respectful of tradition but which also pushed the incoming fashion trends, textures and colours. However, the truth is that most men prefer a white or blue shirt in all kinds of weaving structures and weights. For this reason we have a Stock Service book which is available year-round with over a 1000 swatches of fabrics with a great deal of variety in both micro structures, blends, printed fabrics, linen, flannels, denim – every conceivable staples that a man might have in his wardrobe.

Finished fabrics on the roll at a Canclini mill ready to be sold to luxury shirt makers around the world.
My understanding is that a lot of cotton shirting weaving production has moved from Italy to India, Turkey, Eastern Europe and many other places where wage costs are lower. I imagine that cloth weaving is not a labour intensive business as it mostly relies on machines does it not? What are the benefits of moving cloth production for these companies and does Canclini produce any of it’s range outside of Italy?

As I said earlier, our production has been focussed on Italy for over 50 years, where we have also our partners like the yarn dyeing mills and the finishing mill not far from us. However, to contain the increasing costs of running a mill like ours a small part of our production is weaved less than 600 km away from us, in Eastern Europe. This has been a logistical and economic decision. Consider that Rome is even further than 600 km from us here at Canclini. In our Eastern European mill, with our Italian looms, Italian managers and Italian technicians, we take advantage of a cheaper labour cost which compensates the huge increase of the costs of the materials that go into the fabrics.

This is where warps are made - warps are the base roll of yarns from which the shuttle will weave the weft threads. Many of the subtle differences created in shirt weaving begin with the warp.

Yarn spinning - this is the imperative process which gives Canclini the base threads from which it makes the warps above.

Moving through an operating mill is very loud. Don't be fooled by the picture, you would need ear muffs to walk down this aisle.

In the last few years laser printed fabrics and jacquards have been more prevalent in shirting cotton. Can you tell us about the rise of technology in fabrics and what as a designer are your constraints when producing shirting on classic looms and what are your constraints on producing shirting using new technologies?

The market is requesting more and more ‘fantasy’ in patterns and designs. Thanks to the use of Jacquard looms and inkjet printing machines, I have the possibility to push even further my creativity and we have made innovation in fabrics we would never have been able to produce in the past. The only problem is that the machinery used is not as widely available as our traditional looms and therefore we are not able to achieve the same kind of capacity that we could from traditional looming which means production at this stage is limited.

The technological improvements in machinery also allows us to use thin yarns and make very light and compact fabrics, something that was impossible 30 years ago when fabrics were much thicker and the weaving was not nearly as dense. Modern machines have allowed us to innovate to create modern fabrics, and the improvements are only just being seen with many more technological advances coming.

Innovation in shirting fabric can come in the form of yarns, blends of yarns, weaving techniques or, in finishing techniques. Above, shirting fabric being finished.

Can you tell us what some of your favourite Canclini cloths are which you think are signatures of the company? 

Unlike most of the other shirting mills, Canclini has heavily moved into the use of 80/1 compact yarn, and this a strength in versatility for our fabrics range. For example we have our DANDY range with micro weaving structures, our MC KENZIE which is a light brushed flannel, but also once weaved with a 140/1, we obtain our SKIN quality, which is both light and compact but also breathable and still very elegant.

Over the years technology has meant that shirting fabrics can be woven more densely with greater colour, more innovative print techniques and lighter handles.
Please tell us a little about your own fashion taste and what brands you follow? Lastly, can you please tell our readers if you were to cut a suit which Italian tailor would you use?

I am rather simply in my dress – always a shirt of course – a pair of jeans or light trousers (I prefer Jacob Cohen or PT Torino). Then I add a simple cashmere sweater in the winter time and a pair of sneakers or Churches shoes depending on my mood.

If I need to dress up I prefer to wear a Paolini suit, which is modern with a young cut and fit and, on more formal occasions, I will naturally tend towards Zegana Sartoriale.

Mauro Canclini overlooking work in progress

Dressed simply for work - Mauro Canclini prefers Jacob Cohen jeans, a Canclini cloth shirt, a cashmere sweater and sneakers for day workwear.
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