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


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Notes On A Dutch Auction And The Real Reason I Am Shutting Down The Site In June

At the end of each Dutch Auction Sale my brain is a little nuked and the first day after I have lodged the last of the post I treat myself to something. Whether it be a half day off to spend time with my daughter or whether it is a massage or a long yum cha lunch, I don't normally have any exact ritual but it usually will include an early morning walk.

The sales we conduct are always times for pause and reflection. Especially a Dutch Auction, because it is somewhat a catharsis, all that silk and all those bows and things you have cut and made suddenly leave you and you are left contemplating the void and what's next. They are also a time for a very real and raw assessment of what people make of you and your products.

A lawyer ordinarily charges by the hour and has his rates on a card in his office. A doctor is usually the same. Accountants too. But people selling products, especially fashion, fresh food and technology, know that something has a window of which it's ripe for sale, and then the moment is gone and you can't extract the same price. We suffer from this to some extent. I could say we make 'timeless fabrics' and spend our time making 'products that will last for generations to come' but regardless of whether that is my ethos, the general public will make up their own mind. And a Dutch Auction, as my occasional walking companion Satyajit Das reminded me the other day, is the most honest way to establish the true value for something.

On that reasoning alone I am left with a somewhat unpleasant taste in my mouth. It doesn't matter that you designed the silk from the ground up, or how many hours you spent going back and forth with your silk mill contacts in Italy over phone, chat or email. Or how much time you spent with your designer to finalise what was your initial conception. The 5am rises to start cutting work so you could add additional stock to the website for the sale. The opportunity cost that you've spent your best years pursuing an art form that might very well die with the next wave of global capitalism and the next fervour for fast and cheap street fashion. Arrggghhhh! Pictures of Edward Munch's scream circle.... You watch, you wait, you listen and you wait some more.... to see how your customers will behave in the Dutch Auction. 30% goes by, it's uneventful. 40%, you start to sweat. 50% you finally get the tuna circling the bait ball. 60% the attack begins. 70% and what was once a frenzy is now much more calculated, more like a Great White Shark taking it's prey than reef sharks in a food frenzy. And then it's gone. Poof. Was it all a dream?

My late grandmother once said to me 'it doesn't matter how high you go, you must come down for water'. My Dutch Auctions are me coming down for water. A brutal reminder that you don't have the white heat of Tom Ford, you don't have the kudos and heritage of Charvet - you still have a great deal of miles to travel and no rest in sight.

In the end I opted to visit my Russian masseuse for my treat. I'll call him Boris. Boris is just about the craziest Russian residing in Sydney. I was tense from staring at computer screens for 3 days straight. I was tight in my abdomen and tight in my back. You spend half your day sitting in front of computers, designing and communicating, the rest of the day bent over a desk packing and sending.

Boris started pressing his fingers into my back in a way which felt like he was fingering dough on a chopping board, altogether not relaxing in the slightest. I was switching off only I had to start listening to Boris' world view, because that's the price you pay for a discount massage - you have to soak up the masseuse's ideology. Add Russian accent now:

' You see Nickolai, your body is like a city and right now your Harbour Bridge has four lanes, but sometimes in the evening they switch out one lane going this way to get more lanes coming opposite direction. This is the story! Now you get accident in Waverton but this affect traffic trying to come to North Sydney so Bridge might get clogged but maybe not. And maybe all that's needed is to clear car crash in Waverton so that traffic can all start to flow again. This is the story! This, you don't need to know what suburb I am pressing, but this is area causing blockage. Apifstato! Look you see, you hear the stomach. Right, turn over to your side".

Boris doesn't end there. In the forty minutes I end up spending there he tells me about the Rothschilds and their grip on global finance, the fact that the Windsors are illegitimate royalty which is known by many European aristocrats but they do nothing about it. He says the fact that they don't have passports is proof. He also says if you go to town hall in the city you see the traces of where the real city of Sydney once was and that someone altered history to protect us from a great tragedy that occurred some time ago during the Industrial Revolution. Honestly, by the time I leave I feel like I have completely forgotten what the fuck I was ever worried about with my own existence. It was well worth the money.

But amongst all the black coal I was forced to sift through in Boris' discourse about the world we live in, he left me with a superb diamond. It was as we were finishing the ritual of having my back and neck cracked that he said:

"You have to believe in what you are selling. Only the best bullshitters win in the advertising game. It is all false. Its bullshit. These days the make content to sell products. One woman was making You Tube videos, she is fitness guru, this is the story, but when she go on tv show they ask her how she makes the money but in the end 15 thousand a month comes from supplements. But if you can believe in what you are selling, then when you are advertising, even though you are bullshitting, you will be offering some truth to what you do."

I think I understand what he meant. We are subjected to a lot of bullshit and advertising and a lot of content these days, this blog included. But amongst the bullshitters there are those that are just bullshitting and those that genuinely believe in their bullshit. I would like to think that I fall into the latter category. And so, another Dutch Auction ends, and so I continue on, unsure as to whether we have a genuine mandate to continue. And rather than get a holiday I am booking into a self-help course to see if I can unleash more creative and dynamic thinking on this company.... in the vain hope that we will eventually be able to do away with Dutch Auctions completely. :)

The journey continues....

My morning walks in Sydney, a wonderful way to make a break from the day before and a start to the day ahead.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Limited Edition Ziggurat Silk Bow Ties From Le Noeud Papillon - A Delightful Way To Charm Your Way Through Winter

The Australian winter is extraordinarily charming for myself. It is a time where you can be so much more playful with your wardrobe. Our summers are too hot to be layered, too stifling to wear a bow tie. It's only when winter comes that we have the time to put more effort into our ensembles. Thankfully these new ziggurat designed silks, limited editions designed by Le Noeud Papillon, have arrived in time for a winter's afternoon or evening. We do hope you make the most of them as they are limited to roughly 24 units per silk design.




Monday, May 9, 2016

The Argument For A Stylus Gets Even Louder With The Apple Pencil.

I have been a huge fan of the stylus for a long time, having written at least half a dozen posts on them; and when Procreate was launched I was right behind it too. The simple fact is that touch screens and styluses are here to stay and their interconnectivity with your work flow means that a pen and paper, whilst still the most enjoyable way in which to create things, is somewhat limited. There are things you can do on Procreate that would take you half a day of cumbersome activities, including going to the art store and office supplies store twice, just to get a result you can achieve in minutes on these new applications. 

I am grateful that not many people have yet picked up on this and that not everyone enjoys drawing, as it has given me a competitive edge for the moment. Sometimes I stop people in the street to show them the benefits and when they switch off half way through I just saunter off and think 'too bad, well, I did try".

Whilst I am myself in no way an artist, I have a keen eye for design and colours and over time I have developed enough skills using my stylus to help my designs along. Take the hand-clippers below for example, my local barber asked me if I could knock him out a logo after he wore one of my limited edition print t-shirts. Sure, I said, give me a couple of days. So I spent the weekend researching line drawings and sure enough I discovered the wonderful works of Pablo Picasso  and Keith Haring along with Henri Matisse and so many other artists that I don't have time to mention. 

Two inspirational artists that I reference in the style of images I created below are Australian artist Jasper Knight for the hand-clippers and Pablo Picasso on the exotic bird below. Picasso's work was particularly magical as it almost defied reasoning to my mind that a man was able to use his hand to create a single unbroken line to convey something as complex as a galloping horse. Steady hands? Tracing paper? Repetition? I don't know how he did it.

All this of course has been even easier to do now with the new Apple Pencil. No, I am not switching over to Mac - but admittedly, just when I was ready to move across to Samsung for my tablet, they go and invent something as magnificent as the Apple Pencil and set the bar for all others. I feel about Apple how Michael Corleone feels about the mafia.... 'every time I try to get out, they pull me back in'. Hear Jony Ive seduce you with it. 

Like I said, I am not an artist, but love art I do, and my respect for people's craft is only bolstered by attempting to mimic their style.



Congratulations To Alex Dimitriades For Winning Most Outstanding Actor At This Year's Logies - And For Wearing Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney!


I have always watched this man and wondered why he never made it big in Hollywood. He is one of the strongest actors of his generation. He deserves every success. On Friday he came past the Studio to look for a purple bow tie and in the end he also picked up our Marguerite pocket square and white silk and wool smoking jacket with black piping. And boy did he steal the show in the menswear department!

Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears The Crown Wrote William Shakespeare

It will be interesting to see how this one comes out. I am exploring new ways to make designs and following on from my admission that graffiti was playing a role in my design thoughts at the moment I have been sifting through images across the net of symbols that denote crowns and then crown of thorns. The basic message, if it were to be conveyed, would fall back to that pearl of wisdom of Shakespeare that 'uneasy lies the head that wears the crown' or as I make rather obvious in the design, crowns in all forms are in fact a crown of thorns. 

The moment you rise to any level of notoriety in society seems to be the moment that your undoing begins and in which case you must be careful of anything which might be done to unravel you, or more importantly, you can no longer live life in a carefree manner. If you are a footballer, you can no longer get drunk and hit on women, if you are a politician, you must be cautious of your friendships with businessmen, if you are a musician you are compelled to find someone famous to romp with. 

Fame, wealth, power, privilege, they are all crowns in a different form, and all those crowns are thorny.

Last week one of the most interesting comments was made by self-exposed founder of Bit Coin, Australian computer scientist Craig Steven Wright, who said that he was outing himself so that he would stop being harassed by the authorities. He said 'some people will believe, some people won't, and to tell you the truth, I don't really care' , he continued by saying 'I don't want money, I don't want fame, I don't want adoration, I just want to be left alone'.

I don't blame his sentiment. It must be enormously taxing of your time to maintain fame, power, prestige and wealth - so much so that some people spend their entire time on this planet just trying to acquire and then keep it. 

I must thank my old underground informant Carlos Oppenheimer for introducing me to the Stoics and their principles, if it wasn't for Seneca this design below might never have appeared. 



Thursday, May 5, 2016

In Menswear There Is So Much Drama In The Details - Take Cufflinks For Example

In 2012 the Senate Banking Committee confronted the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, the largest of the American big four banks, on the loss of a couple of billion dollars or more in risky trades. Dimon, a Greek American with an MBA from Harvard managed to somehow navigate his way through the scandal even though it was later estimated that the trading losses sustained by the JP Morgan London branch was closer to six billion dollars.

Despite all the brouhaha that was going on at the time about regulation of the banking industry and money markets, Dimon and most of his banking cohorts faced very little disciplinary action either by the Republican or Democratic parties and the show just rolled on as though it was business as usual.

In actual fact, the only thing that seemed to leave a more lasting impression on the American people and the American media was Dimon's cufflinks. It had the American media up in arms, for they did not know how to interpret what might have been an imperceptible menswear accessory to anybody who happened to pass Dimon on the street. But that's exactly it, they weren't imperceptible to people in the know. They were cufflinks bearing the Seal Of The President Of The United States Of America.

This left the American media at a loss to explain their meaning. What was it that Dimon was trying to say? Was it that he had the backing of President Obama ? One website said that he had visited the White House 16 times and met with the President at least three times. Another said that it was a message to the Republican Senators that he didn't care what they thought, he sided with those in power. Another, that he was sending a message to President Obama not to grill him too hard. What Jamie Dimon was thinking perhaps only Jamie Dimon knows but it created an awful lot of subterfuge that distracted Americans away from the simple fact that the banking industry was still making poor decisions regarding credit default swaps and that the world of money would continue revolving regardless of what Washington thought. Dimon has an estimated wealth of 1.1 billion USD along with a 20 million dollar a year salary package. He is regarded as one of the best CEO's in the United States and also as one of the best dressed too. It's therefore likely that Dimon knew exactly what message he was conveying.

That is the nature of menswear that perhaps many men do not consider before they dress in the morning. Each of us is capable of sending out signals to other members of society and even the smallest of our accessories can have an impact on others regardless of whether we even care to notice it ourselves. The colours that you wear, the fit of your shirt, the silk on your tie, your lapel pin, the cufflinks you choose, the shoes on your feet, everything is open for interpretation. In the case of Dimon, much media chatter was centred around a pair of cufflinks that quite possibly had been given by anyone in the President's Office, perhaps they were even fake... Regardless, they were enough to have tongues wagging all across the USA about the relationship between big banks and the Oval Office.

Remember, there is drama in the details.

Source: Getty Images


JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon - considered one of the best dressed CEO's  in the United States.

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's A Certain Kind Of Graffiti - Elegant Menswear Is In It's Own Way A Clash With Culture

For a man, dressing well is counter-culture these days, it's as subversive as wearing an Adidas tracksuit in the mid 80's a la Run DMC. You can disagree we with me, fine, but take a look at almost every person you pass in the street these days. None of them appreciate the theatre of dressing well but for a sprinkling of men you pass in the street - and most of them in the city. The world has changed. Sadly, we that dress to the next level are the Run DMC's of our generation...

Keep up the fight. And if you really want to get subversive, start tagging walls with bow ties and top hats. That ought to show them that we mean business.





Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Parisian Gentleman Real Heroes Ad Campaign

Although there is no real narrative to the Real Heroes ad campaign by Parisian Gentleman it does signal one thing to me - that well dressed men are fast becoming as rare as Super Heroes. For that reason alone I enjoyed the video although my concern is that it won't sell better quality menswear to the masses or even the aspirational middle class. A short walk around David Jones today in Sydney's Bondi Junction reminded me that so much of what we consume in Australia is reliant on one country, China. Although Vietnam, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Thailand also featured on some of the garments, the overwhelming majority of clothes was from mainland China.

Whilst making in China does not worry me, our reliance on one country does. Especially when there are potential conflicts brewing between the Phillipines, Japan and the United States in the South China Sea.

My overwhelming thought was this: if a conflict ever arose over disputed territory, how quickly would the majority of these fashion companies survive in terms of trading before they would run out of product? If the Chinese government closed all the ports, how much of what was on the trading floor at David Jones would still be there? My detractors would tell me to stop being negative. They would say I was forecasting an event that would never occur or that businesses would re-route their manufacturing to other countries quickly. In fact, they would say it will be a cold day in hell before I'd be right... and... well... they might be right. And just as well, because I would not be wanting to rely on an army of Parisian Gentleman Super Heroes to fight a trade war against the wave of production that heads to China each and every year and does not seem likely to ever come back.

Thoughts On Designing A New Pop-ish Silk For Bow Ties

For a long time now we've stopped publishing new silk designs before they come back to us - not out of fear of being copied, it was more just the time constraint that it placed on us.

On the design below, however, I'd love to get some feedback. It's a repeat and it's quite loud and very different from anything we've done in the past. The basic themes I have been looking at recently are hand-drawing, square tiles, curvatures and graffiti. Graffiti is probably the most interesting area of design I have been using for inspiration. I have for some time been pulling down inspirational images from brick walls between New York and Rome (the Italians have a lot of graffiti) and also looking at pop/street art in that context - especially Jean-Michel Basquiat.

To say that there is a narrative to these designs would be a lie. I merely start with things that I find interesting or beautiful - as was the case with the ziggurats I spoke of earlier in the year. Once I have  found a well of inspiration, I draw as much water as I can before putting pen to paper or else pen tool to Illustrator artboard.

In the design below the focus was to make the centre piece fit right to the four corners to create a tesselation which joined at the four corners to create the print. The initial sketch was done using a stylus and an iPad, then it was exported into Adobe Illustrator where the shape was then vectorised. 

You will never be able to determine what the end result will look like but you have some idea. If the square is made too small, the nature of those sharp lines and cuts will not translate, if you make it too large, it will not repeat well inside the confines of a bow tie (all our silks are design with the bow tie in mind). 

Then finally the concern becomes the colours and what will work on warp and weft. You might be chasing something pop-ish but then you need to think about the end user and what he might be willing to tie around his neck and still be confident it will work with his suit and shirt. If you get it wrong, you may find you end up selling the last of the silk as eye-shades for wives and girlfriends. 

It's a tricky game, and one in which your confidence needs to be checked in case you've gone too far but then you can't be passive either, for playing to the crowd will make you like every other Tom, Dick and Harry. And, I never want any of our customers to feel like any old Tom, Dick or Harry.


According To One Source - His Best Work - Prince At The Capitol Theatre 1982

I had mixed feelings when Prince passed away. Part of me was sad, of course, because Prince was such an important part of my musical landscape growing up, and part of me was happy for him, because I felt he had a death which didn't require him looking tragic in old age.

Prince was most definitely a period piece. Even though some might say that his personal style was unique, it ultimately belonged to a period that has well passed. He is the eighties. He is the early nineties.

All of us perhaps want to have some long standing career where we are celebrated and recognised for all our contributions at each stage of our lives but when you look at most authors, writers, musicians, poets and artists, the truth is that most of us have very few tricks, and once we have developed them it is merely a matter of trying to reinvent ourselves with the same tricks over and over again. 

For Prince, he was sublime, magical, extraordinary in his time -  but then his time passed. At least now he gets to remain immortalised rather than some relic wheeled out at music festivals to remind us of what glory once looked like. Vale Prince Rogers Nelson, may you rest in eternal peace and thank you for the music. I shall remember you in the context of the meme below, young, cat like and sexually ambiguous.




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Where To Buy Luxury Phone Covers From - For Samsung And Apple Smartphones

It really bugs me when technology gets upgraded to a new device etc but the support systems for that service, software or device have not yet caught up. Such was the case the other week when I was offered a new phone and on receiving it I asked the sales clerk whether they had any cases to match the colour and design of the phone.

"This phone's really new so we haven't gotten in many options at the moment I'm afraid" and they give you that cutesy shrug that makes you want to punch them in the face but instead you just mimic them with the same sort of retarded face and say 'oh, that's a shame'"

In fact it's more than a shame. It means you are usually rendered with the most beautifully designed new device wrapped in a gigantic condom should you want the first iteration of covers. I had decided to run the gauntlet and let my phone sit in my pocket for a week commando. It was lovely and sleek but as is the problem with most of these phones today, the surfaces are so slippery that you can't leave them anywhere without watching them go flying the moment someone bumps the table, hits the brakes, slaps you on the back or asks you to hang on to their bag whilst they search for keys. It's plain old slapstick comedy. And with each time it hits the ground you play a game of probability, like Russian roulette, did I crack my screen or not? You retrieve your phone. Yessssss! I survived. But then, on that one day where you think that it hardly fell anywhere, it just so happened that it hit something on the way down and low and behold you have a cracked screen and you will do absolutely anything in the world to ensure it's fixed that very same day. 

So when you walk into the same store and the sales clerk, who by now forgot he even sold you the slippery sucker says in the same tone "this phone's really really new and we haven't yet got the screens in to replace them, and with that model, it might be like three weeks away and they're really really expensive screens to replace". Again, you feel like punching him in the head, this time twice, but instead you give him the same look as you scrunch up your face and say "really, such a shame, can you sell me a condom for my phone in the interim....".

Anyway, if all of this has not made your skin crawl then I don't know what will. The good news is I tried a new company the other week for phone covers and it's just plain old excellent. Caseology is designed in California but made in South Korea. The covers arrived and, well, whilst perhaps not as robust as my previous grey condom, I am finally at a point where there is a trade off between the functionality of a phone condom and an aesthetic that actually works with my razzle dazzle new phone.


Rose gold and blue cases for mobile phones amongst many other great designs. Excellent quality and I highly recommend them. From Caseology

The Caulaincourt Paris Trunk Show In Sydney

On the weekend I wore a pair of chelsea boots that I had done a custom  patina on and I must have had a dozen compliments. Mine were Gieves & Hawkes chelseas and the patina I had done took over 3 months to get right (I do it myself). Caulaincourt Paris, which is holding a trunk show this weekend at our Studio in Sydney can make you an even better pair. A stunning pair. A pair that will make mine look like child's play. There's no shill in this. I am not making a buck out of it. I would merely like my customers to have a chance to own a pair of these wonderful shoes of which they can custom select their patina colours. Caulaincourt also does patina in carry bags, belts, briefcases, wallets, passport covers and more, all of which can be ordered on the day. See some of their recent work here.

If you are conservative, they can still make you a pair of black Oxfords for the city - the kind that will turn investment banker heads that pass you, but to my mind it is the patina, which I think is so Australiana that I can't believe it's European, that I wish my customers to indulge in.

To sweeten the deal I will be putting out a whole bunch of brand new Moth of Sydney collared t-shirts that are just off the bench. Winter long sleeves, summer weights too. They will be on sale but as to the % discount I could not tell you right now. We'll also be offering 40% OFF all custom made bow tie and tie orders (normally 235AUD starting price) and 40% OFF any of our other stock you can find in the store including silk flowers, bow ties, ties, cravattes, fabric, shirting, shirt samples, smoking jacket samples, robes, braces, cummerbunds and more. Whatever you can find, just make me an offer. 

Caulaincourt Paris Australian Trunk Show
When : Saturday 30th of April from Midday till 3pm
Where : Le Noeud Papillon studio in Vaucluse (36 New South Head Road)
Price Range: 800AUD up to 2500AUD.




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Top Menswear Acquisitions In 2016 - The Pure Indulgences

Every year I consider all the things that I would buy if I had the money. Cars never feature heavily, nor do boats. I am skewed towards things I can put on my back, walk the street with or carry on me personally. Mostly I choose these things because they have low maintenance costs. Cars need tyres, oil, servicing, fuel and washing. Boats need anti-fouling, washing down with water, sanding, polishing and much much more. Indulgences shouldn't require so much work. So, here are a list of indulgences that require little active maintenance.


C'mon you know you don't need one but wouldn't you just feel the part in this robe. Think of a winter weekend away in the country, your slippers by the bed. The warm feeling of a real timber fire. Let's take it back to the Old World and switch off our phones and pull out out biros. It's reduced currently from 1795GBP to 995GBP - yes, I imagine nobody could afford them at their original RRP - but let me tell you that's a helluva lot of workmanship and English woven jacquard silk in one garment so don't be a tight arse if you have the dough. Indulge.




Around about now the autumn polo tournaments are being played across Sydney and if the sun is still shining you will find a fair few panama hats dotted amongst the lawns. So when they zig, why not zag with a navy panama hat from Borsalino. The price is $273.00 AUD




3. YSL Varsity Jacket 

It's not St Laurent without Yves but admittedly they are far more finger on the pulse with these sukajan style jackets than they were in the final years before Yves passed away. This is a hot look with jeans and either a sophisticated round neck t shirt in high grade jersey cotton or else paired with a white shirt. It's eye catching and the jacket is somewhat a mobile piece of art. Not for everyone, especially not for the conservatives, but very 2016. $2825 AUD

4. The Versace Bomber Jacket

You know what I like about Versace? It's unmistakeable. You may find it gaudy, you may think only Floyd Mayweather could pull it off, you may think it requires a Ferrari and 2 kilos of coke - but whatever you conjure up it's still wonderfully unique and very Versace and I have enough tizz in me that I could think of 20 ways I'd like to roll with this jacket on - but mostly if I did I would like Will Ferrell's character 'Gator' to walk side by side with me. 675 GBP from Harrods.

Based on the drawings and art of Alfonse Mucha, this limited edition Belle Epoch styled pocket square is hand-roll stitched and 1 of only 60 pocket squares. A fine white pocket square is enough for most men in life, but or those thinking outside the 'square' , consider this one. 


There are phones and then there are those models which gain some level of notoriety that even after the technology is dead and buried and the world moves on, people are still emotional about it. Nokia has had a few models, blackberry, iPhone - now Samsung has made their magnum opus, the Galaxy S7 Edge in gold. No, it's not a gimic. It is literally making design and technology work together in a symbiotic nature that changes the way you view a mobile phone. The software on the operating system works, the screen is magnificent, the camera is at another level. Of all the phones I have used in the last five years, this one stands out the most. Approximately $1200.00AUD



Made from woven Italian jacquard silk, these silk eye shades are completely encased in silk so that there is no irritation on your skin. The front eye patch is filled with a felted wool from South Australia that provides soft luxurious cushion for the silk. Wear them on an aeroplane, in bed, during meditation or when you simply want to shut the lights off. $100.00AUD



There are many reasons why Charvet shirts are so good, beyond the mystique of it's long-standing history coupled with it's famed patrons, and that is that a Charvet collar is built up by using shirting cotton. So, whereas the standard shirt collar you buy off the rack gets it's collar's stiffness from a fused interlining, a Charvet shirt is made by non-fused piece of cloth layered between the top and bottom piece of fabric. It's a trademark of the house. Getting a production shirt maker outside of Charvet to make a collar like this is a rare find, so hold onto the contact if you do find one. $652.00 AUD


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Here's Some Depressing News - Kate Bush Is 57

The other day a Sydney real estate agent with quite a sense of humour tagged me on an ad from News Corp's Facebook feed where they had unearthed a very funny ad from 1980 in Melbourne. The ad was for a shopping precinct that was called 'The Walk'. Words do not describe how funny it was, though obviously at the time it was no doubt serious marketing. The narrator's voice sounded more English than Australian and he described this mall in Melbourne as 'The Walk' where one could find 'a touch of Paris, the flavour of Italy, a flash of the Orient'. He continued to say that this precinct was 'a walk of fashion, a walk for elegant gifts, a fabulous walk through a world of exciting shops, The Walk, the international talk of the town' . It had me rolling on the floor for hours. My my, how provincial Australians were... you can see an excerpt of the ad here.

But, as usual, I digress. The sole reason I mention the ad was because it was made in 1980. 1980 was now 36 years ago. And it seemed from that ad like a whole other world. In fact, I remember the cars and the buildings and the way people were back then, and it saddens me that most of it has passed, never to come again. It got me thinking about things that I loved about the 1980's and one thing which stuck out was the song 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush. The song is still fresh today but Kate Bush seems to have been a period piece for me which, fortunately, we haven't had to watch her life unravel in tabloid magazines like some of her contemporaries of that time. That in itself has only ever added to the mystery I feel about this woman with her tussled dark brown hair and that essentially 80's look about her which seems distilled now - she was the thinking man's Kelly Lebrock a la Weird Science.  If Kate Bush is now 57, then this video below, shot in 1985, makes her 26 years old. Again, I don't mean harping on about it, I am no ageist, it just saddens me that that moment of time, distilled now, has passed.

How those years seem to have just whizzed by and how on earth did Kate Bush become 57 years old? For me, Kate Bush will always be the woman from her music videos. And I leave you this Sunday with one of my favourite songs of hers below. I do hope she comes to Australia again, I will most definitely go and see that show.

"C'mon, baby, c'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh..."

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems."

Silk Eye Shades - I Don't Understand Why Some Things Take So Long To Sell And The Argument For Bricks And Mortar

There is an argument for bricks and mortar stores that can be explained by witnessing a good salesperson on the floor engaging with a customer. Whereas us online retailers try our very best to emulate such an experience on our web stores; even going to the point, as I have seen recently, with 360 degree pictures of shoes on Saks' website, and, in the case of some of the others, a model walking in and out of your browser pane wearing the garment and doing a full turn so you can see it on all angles; none of this comes close to replacing a hands-on one-on-one approach between a well-versed salesperson and their customer. It simply cannot be replicated.

Which is why we end up having to discount so much of our silks online - mostly to entice customers to explore new patterns, shapes, geometrics or simply a new product. Below this week I was forced to spruik my silk eye shades. It felt ridiculous to have to do it, but seemingly no amount of enticement on the website, even by way of heavily discounting them, would get the ball rolling for our international customers.

In the store it's very easy to sell them. You simply ask the customer if they've ever owned a pair or used them on a long haul flight. Then you ask them to try them on. Already you've got them 75% sold. The silk is so soft, any ambient light is blocked out. They are so very comfortable, the customer feels a soft cushion wrapped in silk covering their eyes, what's not to like? Then I show fold them into a top pocket of a jacket and show them how they can be worn as a pochette with a sports jacket on a plane or with a smoking jacket to a wedding (see below). By that stage all you need to ask them is which colour do they prefer. Sold. 

Meanwhile on the web.... Customers look up and down an image. If you haven't deep etched it properly they think something is wrong with the product. If you didn't give them 55 angles of the product so they feel like they know it inside and out, they'll pass, because they don't want to take any chances, play it safe, this guy makes great bow ties.... what do I need silk eye shades for anyway?

The web is a wonderful place and it is filled with beautiful things being made all around the world, but it can never and will never be a bricks and mortar store. For that, thankfully, we have the Studio in Sydney, where we can serve our customers one on one.