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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Take Every Indulgence You Can Get

In an ongoing and never to be resolved argument between myself and my other half I am accused of being 'indulgent'. Precisely the things that people have come to enjoy about my pursuits are precisely the things that singe the nostrils of my partner and give her cause and ammunition to mount many a campaign against the designer and blog writer behind Le Noeud Papillon...

However, the one thing that perhaps sets us apart in terms of what we do is precisely those things which someone else might consider indulgent. Further, there is not a day that goes past where I have not had someone benefit from these so called indulgences.

Being indulgent and curious reminds me of Steve Job's Stanford speech remark to 'stay hungry and stay foolish', it is about the enjoyment of exploring curiosities in this world and taking the time to sift over things. We don't know how long we are here for, we don't know what will be coming after we depart, so indulging in a free moment to stop, think and explore, that's a good thing. In my opinion, if an indulgence presents itself to you, take it whilst you can. When you close your eyes on this world it won't be the things you did in life that will fill your heart with regret, it's the things you didn't do.

There's A Square In There - The New Woven Silk Jacquard Pocket Squares From Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney

It's just the beginning of our foray into woven jacquard silk pocket squares. We must have done a good fifteen attempts to do them before but each time when you hand-roll stitched the edges it came up awfully because the underside of most woven jacquard silk reveals the mechanics of the design - so, often you might get a stripe of orange threads that run across the underside of the silk which form the basis of motif on the design, such as the star on the bottom right. The solution, I discovered, is not to hand-roll stitch them but to back them with fine cotton. Quality fine cotton is light enough to provide a wonderful contrast to the back of the silk and effectively means you get an ornate woven silk jacquard on the one side and all the benefits conferred from a cotton handkerchief on the reverse side.... such as cleaning your sunglass lenses... what else were you thinking?

We don't envisage to sell a great deal of these straight away as were refining them as we go along but gosh they are a wonderfully bright addition to a pocket square and the vibrancy of the silk can really liven up an ensemble. The downside, and there always must be one I guess, is that unlike a printed silk twill pocket square, there is not as much room to make flowery bud like contortions with the silk in your pocket. Mah -you can't have everything!

The Gods Must Have Willed It That Way

The Sale ended about an hour ago but when we went to shut down the website it seemed the website itself had shut down due to a technical error with our hosting company in the United States. We apologise for those that cannot currently access the website but we will be back up and running as soon as possible. See you soon. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Power Nap And Thomas Edison's Access To Ritam Or Theta Brainwaves

There is a state of conciousness that they say exists between being awake and being asleep which allows the human mind to tap into knowledge and spaces previously unseen and which, so they say, is a very rich soil from which creative ideas sprout.

Those that teach Vedic meditation often refer to this state as 'ritam' whilst others more scientific refer to it as 'theta' brainwave patterns, of which I am yet to do more reading.

This state, as it was once explained to me by a meditation instructor, is where the brain is neither in a 'no thought, no consciousness' state but nor is is in your 'awake and alert' surface dwelling functioning of the brain. It exists in a mid range between the two states, hovering as it were, where the brain can access things from a more deep level but can still cognize these thoughts. We often pass through this state as we head off to sleep, which is sometimes why you make some ridiculous smirk as you are just about lights out and you think 'my God, I ought to write that down, that would be a hilarious anecdote at my next dinner party'. But then, sadly, most of us go to sleep and can't recall it in the morning. If my recollection is correct, that's precisely how Jerry Seinfeld records his gags, with a pen and paper next to this bedside.

Thomas Edison, on the other hand, learnt to harness most of this power on a regular basis. He took to calling it power napping, but in actual fact he was training his brain to enter a state of 'ritam' or 'theta' by using certain methods to keep himself hovering in a state between conciousness and unconsciousness . Two anecdotes relayed to me of how he did this are quite easily accessible ways to try it at home. The first, it is said, was that he sat at his desk and raised a tea cup in his hand above the desk with a saucer beneath it. Then he closed his eyes and began to fall into a meditative state. At the point at which the cup touched the saucer he knew he was losing conciousness and the sound would cause him to awaken, write down any key insightful thoughts and then return to the process again. The second anecdote was that he kept a rocking chair a rock in his hand and a tin bucket which sat beneath his hand. When the rock fell, same thing. Whilst this sound knocking you out of the state is very handy, meditation experts generally instruct their pupils to take a few minutes to exit this state.

There is not a lot of great deal of scientific research on power napping that I have been able to find on google but it is a fascinating area for me. For it is only by being creative and renewing your energy and focus that we can find new pathways forward. After many years of making thousands of bow ties, I feel it is high time to search for something new to apply myself to. But what? Perhaps it might be time to explore the benefits of power napping, as the most lucrative margin of them all is found in the product of good ideas.

Illustration of Thomas Edison by Tim O'Brien : source: The University Of The Arts

Monday, February 8, 2016

Joseph Raskin x Le Noeud Papillon Initial Offering

If there is a type of person that I don't enjoy in this world it's the 'I'm gonnas' . They're the people that are always harping on about what they will do next or what they might do one day if they get the time off work, what they'd do if they were the Prime Minister etc. I am one of those that prefers instead the company of those that either are 'doers' or, in the case of  my underground informant Oppenheimer, I have always been partial to the company of 'knockers' and 'naysayers' as they are usually a great breeding ground for creativity - that is, work out what they say will never ever work, not in a million years - and then go ahead and do that very thing.

Joseph Raskin was, I thought, potentially an 'I'm gonna'. He came past my apartment one day looking for advice on how to make a silk neck tie with Swarovski elements. It wasn't particularly my style but in the end I loved what he was trying to create. It was coming from a different angle; Raskin was aiming to provide exciting silk neck ties for the New York Jewish scene (originally a New Yorker, now living in Australia). He wanted something more razzle dazzle for Bar Mitzvahs and weddings. I have attended a few Jewish weddings over the years and they are a riot and most definitely fun and funky like these tie designs that he had created.

After our initial dialogue I didn't see Joseph for a while until recently we got chatting again, randomly passing each other in traffic. We met up and he promised to come see me again with some samples. Well, today we managed to photograph them and put them on the website and in the coming days we will offer them out to our newsletter readers with an introductory offer. So many people peter out before the finish line, Joseph put his money where his mouth is and I am happy to report, the ties are fantastic. 

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.