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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How To Work Out Like A Star ....

When I work out I sometimes consider that for those unlucky enough to watch me, that I must resemble to them the landlord in The Big Lebowski that has his dance hall recital. I think you will need a visual image of that, so I shall post it below.

On the other side of the coin is my trainer, a handsome and muscular ex-NRL player who has a broad chest, good sized biceps and a slim stomach. As you can imagine, one of us fits the new Le Noeud Papillon limited edition t-shirts better than the other. I would prefer that I could be the model here but then I dare say I wouldn't sell many. By contrast, check out my trainer below and the lovely contours he creates with the t-shirt and how the star looks like it's well positioned on his chest, like something out of Captain America and the striking gold embroidery of the bow tie on the sleeve. Yes, my modelling days are over. My trainer's are just beginning....

New Limited Edition Le Noeud Papillon T-Shirts Are Online

We did a limited edition t-shirt of 25 of each colour. Just because. We wanted to make something a bit fun and funky along with our cool little metallic gold embroidered bow ties on the sleeves. They are very easy to wear and will certainly catch the attention of those around you. Nice for a high vis walk in the morning, you won't get run over by a garbage truck!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Careful, Don't Drink The Kool-Aid

In November 1978 Jim Jones convinced 900 members of Peoples Temple to drink a mixture of a powdered flavoured soft drink, what is commonly now referred to as the "kool-aid" owing to a popular brand at that time, and laced it with cyanide. It was a terrible scene. A mass execution

Today the expression is commonly used to humorously denote people changing their preference for something by persuasion, herd mentality, peer pressure, popularity and just plain old effective advertising (think iPhone).

Some time ago a fellow member of a meditation group that I sometimes go to happened to have a coffee with me and we began to stew over the real versus persuasive arguments for and against meditation. We both agreed that the technique worked but that we didn't wish to buy into the vast majority of hog wash and additional 'lifestyle' wacko-jacko that came with the group mentality of those that become lifelong followers of the practice. Neither of us felt the need to go bath in the freezing Himalayan Ganges waters of Rishikesh in India nor did we wish to give up butter for ghee. We loved our meditation but, as my friend aptly put it - "I'm not drinking the kool-aid".

In menswear it is about creating an image that people can buy into. It's lovely to create a sense of romance with those images but more often than not the consumer has absolutely no inclination to wear the look that if being offered as "this season's soup du jour". The most wonderful example I can think of is the turtle neck knitted sweater or jersey top with a woollen suit. It's been having a huge day across social media and on the styled looks of those that dress to be snapped by street fashion photographers. But is it genuinely a look you could wear in Australia?

To my mind the answer is.... maybe in Melbourne. Certainly not for Sydney. There are probably two months of the year in July and August where one might consider this a possibility but as a general rule it never gets that cold nor do men get that feminine. If you are one of the few that genuinely wears a suit to work then you will most definitely not have an office that will embrace a turtle neck switch out for a collared shirt. If you were going out Friday night for cocktails, this might be an option, though the moment you enter a bar and it gets hot you will find yourself being strangled by that turtle neck and pray for someone to bring you some scissors. 

To my mind the only opportunity you might have to wear a turtle neck is in the countryside or in the Alpine region of Australia coupled with a tweed jacket. The rest of it, all the romance and imagery created around this look, is an impractical persuasion to try and make you drink the Kool-Aid. Don't drink the Kool-Aid. 

A romantic but impractical trend - the turtle neck and suit look. Source: Pinterest

Friday, January 29, 2016

His Majesty - How To Add Bling Bling To Your Bow Ties - The New 18k And 9k Rose Gold Clips Inlaid With Diamonds From Le Noeud Papillon

Some months ago a patron of Le Noeud Papillon offered to make for us a set of 18k and 9k solid rose gold clips after I showed him our rose gold plated versions. He then suggested if we wanted to go all out we could add diamonds. I am the sort that doesn't refuse such extravagant offers and so I dove into it head first and prayed and prayed it would turn out looking elegant and not gauche. Taste is of course subjective and to my taste these are perfection but to others, well, let's just say that our more conservative customers might snub their nose at them. Whilst they are not large in size and for the most part they will remain  hidden under a turned down collar so that nobody will 'roll' you for your bow tie, they are a tiny affectation that might just win you the favour of the person you wake up next to who see yours bow tie draped over the divan or valet. 

If you have just the smallest inkling towards a Versace kind of life, you will enjoy these. I know I do.

His Majesty, now available on

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Some Time Ago You May Recall Us Talking About 3D Fashion ? Monocure 3D - Advanced 3D Printed Resins

A while back I referred to a Dita Von Teese dress on the blog of Joe Kucharski, a costume designer in the United States. That article is here. I have been fascinated with 3D printing for some time though I have no experience of it first hand. Recently, however, I met an interesting fellow who was in the business of making coloured polymer resins for digital printing. The company is called Monocure 3D and specialises in making resins used in 3d printing. My hope is that we will find a way to make new and exciting designs for our clips and potentially some applications for our bow tie shapes which might sit on lapels. As it stands I have a lot to learn about the process. Take, for example, the explanation on how it works on their website:


Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process which employs a vat of liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer resin and an ultraviolet laser to build parts' layers one at a time. For each layer, the laser beam traces a cross-section of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the ultraviolet laser light cures and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and joins it to the layer below. After the pattern has been traced, the SLA's elevator platform descends by a distance equal to the thickness of a single layer, typically 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm. Then, the build platform & model moves up out of the resin, re-coating it with fresh material. On this new liquid surface, the subsequent layer pattern is traced, joining the previous layer. A complete 3D part is formed by this process.


Seems like either I better do some more background reading or else I better find an expert in 3D printing who can do the job for me.

Read more on Monocure 3D

The future of fashion and accessories most likely lies in 3D printing and companies like Monocure 3D offer premium coloured resin solutions in this space. 

Cufflinks? Bow Ties? Lapel flowers? This is the future of accessories in my opinion, even if for creating samples for moulding alone. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ziggurats - An Exploration In 2016 For Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

If Roman purple defined 2015 for me then my hope is that Ziggurats form the basis of my designs in 2016. Ziggurats originally derive from Mesopotamia and western Iran. They are essentially a pyramid built up on layers of inter connecting and receding structures of rectangles, oblongs and squares. According to the first historian, Herodotus, at the top of each one lay a shrine. It is believed that in low-lying areas prone to flood, these structures gave priests a chance to escape the flooding.

Ziggurats as we know them today are often related to art deco period architecture, interior architecture, furnishings and jewellery. Seen from the prism of that period they can sometimes be associated with industrialism, fascism and in some instances with the excesses of the roaring 20's and extreme wealth. 

An image that is often associated with that period is that of the artist Tamara De Lempicka whose painting of a woman driving a Bugatti often graces the cover of Ayn Rand's seminal book 'The Fountainhead'

So far we have produced three designs, two of which are below, and we shall work on them continuously throughout 2016, hopefully exploring multiple facets of ziggurats from their ancient to their contemporary forms.

Perhaps one of the reasons I have been enamoured with these structures is that it takes a mathematical, geometrical and spacial mind to understand them well, none of which I am particularly gifted at. So, accordingly, you will find that each of these designs I will work on will be in conjunction with people more gifted than myself.

An example of an ancient ziggurat structure
Tamara De Lempicka - art deco period man in a bow tie.
Radio City Hall, New York City

Le Noeud Papillon - ziggurat number 1 - copyright 2016 Le Noeud Papillon

Le Noeud Papillon - ziggurat number 2 - copyright 2016 Le Noeud Papillon

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hand-Made Neck Ties With Various Finishes Such As Hand-Roll Stitched Tips

A lot of the standard neckties we make are for groomsmen when the groom decides that he wishes to wear a bow tie and put the remaining groomsmen in a long tie. Especially as the day wedding market in Australia evolves, we seem to be doing more of this for navy suits than ever before. However, the wedding market is very rarely 'experimental' , opting mainly for conservative neats like a grenadine or garza. 

Because neck ties are ubiquitous we rarely attempt to add anything into this space although we have the ability to make neck ties to a near enough quality to our Italian friends. Below are some neck ties we are currently holding on the website. They are all 8.5cm neck ties as I have come to believe that the more classically and elegantly a man dresses, the fewer 8 and 7cm ties he will hold in his wardrobe (with exceptions to the rule). The two centre neck ties are produced by a workroom we have a relationship with in Italy, they are flanked by our own hand roll-stitched tipped ties in our most recent 'time' silk.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Farewell Glenn Frey

Beethoven 2nd Movement, 7th Symphony - Growing On Me Rapidly

Whilst I am no authority on classical music I have always been a fan of Beethoven's Ode To Joy, in part because of it's film references (Die Hard / A Clockwork Orange) but also because I love a good build up and the exhilaration that accompanies it.

Recently on a morning walk I was discussing Beethoven and I asked a more learned man what he thought was his most inspiring piece of Beethoven after I declared Ode To Joy my favourite, which, to the trained ear, must be like hearing someone say that 'Stairway To Heaven' was their favourite rock song... or some such thing ... anyway, he returned with this 'I think you will find Beethoven's 7th 2nd movement has more substance' he said with quiet confidence.

As I am prone to do, I quickly emailed myself and thought to come back to it later in the day. It is growing on me. I can't say that it will become my favourite, but it certainly has a real subdued power to it.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Our Valentine's Day Portrait Competition - Australian Customers Only

The people at Luka chocolates , an Australian hand-made chocolate company that offers preservative free chocolates of very fine quality, have extended an offer to our bow tie blog readers as part of our Valentine's Day portrait competition. 

It's very very simple to enter, simply add your LNP bow tie portrait onto your instagram wall between now at the 9th February 2016 and we will reward the top 5 portraits with a box of hand-made Luka chocolates as well as a hand-made silk bow tie from Le Noeud Papillon delivered to any address in Australia by Valentine's Day.

When adding your portraits onto instagram, facebook or google+ , and this may include wedding portraits, simply add the hashtag #lenoeudpapillon #lukachocolates onto the post. 

Below, watch the enjoyable video inside the Luka chocolates factory to see how these preservative free beauties come to life.

To shop Luka chocolates for Valentine's Day gifts for your lady, shop their website here.

Post Script: As part of our agreement in working together towards Valentine's Day the people at Luka chocolate sent me a box of chocolates and what I didn't eat myself I offered to the local business owners near our Studio. The feedback, including my own, was that they are superb - especially the Yarramalong Valley honey truffles which are exquisite. 

The Passage Of Time Means That None Of Us Should Take Today For Granted

When we set out to design this silk my graphic designer and I, sitting side by side, were working on trying to create an element of chaos to the orderly nature of time keeping. The genesis was that I had a wonderful vintage Rolex from 1973 that got salt water in it and had to be repaired, requiring the replacement of many different components of the watch, which, when handed back to me in a tiny little plastic tub, held me captivated for days. 

Growing up there were no skeletal chronometers with windows in them giving you conceptually an understanding of the mechanics of time keeping. That is, to my understanding, a relatively new concept from makers like Roger Dubuis etc where you get to really see the elements of the watch working together. So, for me, the first time I saw these components of a watch was when my watch came back from repair. 

I took to photographing them under a magnifying glass and hoped that if I tried to capture their essence on Illustrator that the mills would be able to show up the definition on these tiny little pieces. Once that was done I wished to lay them out in a manner which looked chaotic. That something which in the form of a clock is so ordered, when broken down and placed in a plastic tub looks chaotic and disorderly. I thought it was a very fair assessment of time. If we look at events singularly or if we isolate them and try to put them in one container by banding certain things together, we always see life as chaotic. It's only when we give ourselves enough space and time that all those individual elements and events seem to come together in their natural fit and show us the passage of time rather than chaos.

I am not entirely sure that my thought on this subject is quite yet distilled enough, but for the moment that is all I can offer you in terms of words and, with hope, the silk will provoke it's own dialogue. However, if there is one thing I do wish to say is this, don't take today for granted. Time is taking it's toll on everybody. Today included. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Is There Life On Mars? If There Is They Must Surely Adopt His Style

I am quite sure that across the world right now Vevo is getting hit with millions of requests for Bowie video clips and this one, Life On Mars , which was one of my favourite songs, features a suit very reminiscent of that Tommy Nutter / Edward Sexton period which we emulated last year through Leng Bespoke . 

Of course, a lean David Bowie makes for a better silhouette but the principal of that sweeping lapel and tapering from the shoulders to the waist in that elegant curved V-ness is something which is from a period that is part glamour rock 'n' roll, part Savile Row, part of a period now passed, like a blink of an eye and it is done and gone. Tommy Nutter departed in 1992 due to complications from AIDS, his cutter and partner Edward Sexton is still going but how many years of work does he have left in him? 

Life will renew and new creative energy will come to life, even Bowie was aware of that in his final lyrics in Blackstar:

"Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar"

Regardless of whether new creativity comes to light, it is the marking of something in time, of a movement or a period which no longer exists, like listening to the jazz music of Sidney Bechet and thinking fondly of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Stein wandering the streets of Paris during the Jazz Age.

David Bowie wasn't just a stand alone artist - he was emblematic of a period of time and space, of a geo-political landscape, of social change and upheaval but which, like most of what transpires in life, signifies in the end, nothing. It reminds me of Fellini's Toby Dammit and the reference to Macbeth:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Ultimately, I agree with this sentiment, that our lives are insignificant and meaningless in the scope of the Universe but I am happy to say that his life and his music has had a significant meaningfulness in my life, even if that is just to teach me that life has little to no meaning in such a beautiful and elegant manner. That has some meaning right?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

David Bowie's Modern Love - Tips From The Master Of Style On The Untied Bow Tie Look

I must admit, I am not coping very well with the passing of David Bowie. That a juggernaut should fall and in the manner of which he did it, was like the immediate amputation of an arm. For one reason or another he had the kind of personality on late night talk shows, on radio, in interviews, that made you feel like somehow you might just bump into him some time soon and that he would be perfectly fine with conversing with you. Whether that persona was manufactured or not, it is probably the reason that so many people around the world are extraordinarily sad right now. He was everyone's David Bowie even if his journey was a very personal one. Watching people pay tribute to him on social media made me realise that almost everyone had a personal relationship with his music and as such they all thought they had a personal relationship with him through his music. All the more kudos to him for creating that culture.

He leaves behind some of the most extraordinary music which to my ears resonates more than the Beatles, more than Bob Dylan, more than Marvin Gaye. A man who painted a visual canvas for us to accompany the music and perhaps in many respects gave us more of an existential and futuristic outer worldly view than those artists that got bogged down on planet earth.

And for those of you who missed his wonderful cameo in David Lynch's 'Fire Walk With Me' I have posted the video below. I still can't believe it. David Bowie is dead.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Farewell David Robert Jones

Life often teaches us not to take things for granted, but usually at the expense of losing something great. I am indebted to David Robert Jones, or David Bowie or The Thin White Duke or Ziggy Stardust, or whatever it was he was as you peeled back the hundreds of layers to his onion. He walked amongst us and now he is gone, and none shall ever be able to replicate him again but merely to listen or watch and to be inspired.