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Friday, April 24, 2015

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Do You Want To Write A Menswear Blog Post?

Are you a young writer who wants to show off his talents to a new audience? Do you have a story to tell about menswear that previously hasn't been told? Found a new tailor that everybody should know about? Are you designing something which will interest our readers? Got a film you want to discuss the wardrobe of? Met an artisan on your recent vacation?

What we are looking for:
  1. Authenticity
  2. Depth Of Knowledge
  3. Eccentricity
If any of these questions light something up in you and you meet the above criteria, feel free to contact us on www.lenoeudpapillon.com . We are interested in hearing tales of menswear - from film to fancy, from texture to tailor - if you have something you want others to know about in the loose sphere of menswear, we are happy to post your content.

Foster Brooks Roasts Don Rickles And Reduces Him To Tears

One of the benefits of our writing our blog is that it keeps us in the loop with our customers, most of whom share some common interests, notwithstanding menswear and bow ties primarily. They also share a similar taste in art, literature, cinema and comedy. It is therefore a privilege to get an email from one customer in Idaho the other day who had enjoyed my Don Rickles post and suggested that I ought to watch Foster Brooks reduce Don Rickles to tears. I then on-sent that to a comedian in Miami, another customer, who said that he and his wife were in fits of laughter watching said video - as I was too.

I don't imagine that in my formative years when I kept pen pals that we ever had such a quick and effortless way of communally appreciating anything in the same manner. My old letters would start with 'Dear so and so, it has been some time since I last wrote you and my life has taken some funny turns since then. In April I ....' blah blah blah.

Anyway, I hope you are amused by this superlative roast from Foster Brooks who manages to get the master of roasting to lose it himself.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What If They Hadn't Gone To War?

It's somewhat pointless asking the question 'but what if' because until such time as we manage to slip through the tapestry of time I fear we are only able to have an influence on the present and only a slight influence on the future at best.

However, as I drove around Sydney today to run my errands in the blustering wind and rain which thrashes and thrusts it's influence across Sydney today I was caught in one of those moments when sunlight is hazed by the droplets of rain falling from heavy grey clouds, the red traffic light diffused in the windshield and for reasons I don't question, in popped the thought of the Anzac soldiers that laid down their lives for Australia - then.

When I think of Anzacs I think immediately of the Ode Of Remembrance, red poppies, old timers, trenches, the movie Gallipoli and the The Last Post . However, today, almost 100 years on since Gallpoli, I was roused by a different kind of gratitude. I realised that in those men dying they freed up people like myself to pursue career paths that previously might have been completely inaccessible.

How we speak, what we wear, the jobs we have, the freedoms we take for granted have all got some lineage to do with WW1.

Until WW1 society was stuck in a reasonably strict hierarchy where there was not much fluidity in the labour market, people were never given much opportunity to rise in society, what you wore was dictated by your social position in society and most importantly, you rarely married up or down in society. You effectively stayed put all your life and were told what you should think and what God you ought to fear.

The end of WW1 brought about a massive wave of change which doesn't ripple in today's society, it swells it. We read whatever content we want to on the internet. We dress in whichever manner we wish to and form social tribes by what we cloak our bodies in. In fact, fashion for men changed forever as before WW1 there was a lot more use of vests, cuffs, pleats and double-breasted suits. In order to conserve fabrics used in production many of these standards were relaxed. Before WW1 it was de rigeur to wear white tie in the evening for a man in society and often he would dine in an all male club. It wasn't until the end of WW1 with all those men lost that the rigid glue which bonded society would be relaxed so that today there are very few places that someone can't go to - in fact, most clubs (which aren't really clubs anymore) , restaurants and hotels would be happy to take your money if you are willing to pay the price for the experience.

Until WW1 most men wore fob watches if they could afford one and checked their time by dipping their hands into their waist coats. Soldiers on the front line of WW1 preferred to have their watches on their wrists in order to synchronise the time before going over the top. That trend over time means that the vast majority of us today wear a wrist watch. Almost every company in the world from Rolex to Swatch owes a debt of gratitude to these men. So too this year will Apple.

And it doesn't end there either. You are able to wear black tie of an evening because standards regarding menswear relaxed after WW1 so that between WW1 and WW2 the dinner suit went through a Golden Era when production processes and a rising middle class meant set new standards in menswear. You are able to buy shirts with collars on them because the industrialisation processes that sprung from WW1 meant that with time the average man could afford a shirt (until then collars were very expensive things which were stored in their own boxes). You drive a car because of those same changes in industrialisation. The foods you eat, the planes you travel in, the way in which we communicate - so much of this has origins in WW1.

So, on the 25th April this year, or this Saturday, spare a thought for everything around you and ask whether or not, if they hadn't gone to war, would it still be there or in the same form as it appears today?



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don Rickles - May Someone Grow Big Enough Balls To Make The Same Jokes And Wear The Same Gigantic Bow Ties

The Don Rickles Tribute last year was both entertaining and sad at the same time. Rickles who is now in his 90's has outlived pretty much every person he has worked with apart from Scorsese and De Niro (Casino).

There is now a great distance between the years when Rickles spent his time reducing Governor Reagan to tears of laughter through humour which was never politically correct but always funny - and the manner in which comedians in today's world walk a very fine line in terms of what they will make fun of.


 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Magnus Omme Photgraphs Janus Regel - A Danish Musician

Janus Regel photographed by Magnus Omme, Copenhagen, Denmark

Janus Regel

Singer/songwriter - got his first guitar at the age of 9.

Started classic guitar lessons at the local music school in Helsingør, about an hour’s drive north of Copenhagen.

“My interests now lie much more in the synthesizer than the guitar. I feel it gives me much more room in which to be creative. There is a certain nerdy aspect to synthesisers, especially the older analogue ones from the 70’s and 80’s – the ones where you manually have to turn all these big knobs to make the sounds. But then you can do so much to this music once you then get it onto a computer.

When I was younger I wanted to be like Slash from the Guns & Roses – everybody wants to be that sexy. But with time I have mellowed and I’m much more in my own skin being the nerdy type on the synthesiser or Rhodes. The good thing is I am now part of three bands which means I have three different ways in which I express my work.

In My French Friend I am the singer and guitarist. Fabrice Jacobsen is my other half in this band. It’s dark pop slash indie pop. Our first EP is called ‘1366’ and will be available on idiot disc records and also on Spotify and Wimp by May 2015.

The Late Bloomers is my second band, straight indie, I’m on the synthesiser. Then finally I have a new faster 70’s beat band called The Tennis Club which is a new project I started with songwriter Krisoffer Blom.

Come take a listen."

Late Bloomers:
https://m.soundcloud.com/latebloomers

My French Friend:
https://m.soundcloud.com/myfrenchfriend

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eiVrbTjcM7o


50Oz Silk Twill Diamond Point Bow Tie By Le Noeud Papillon







Top Things To Look For When Buying A Shirt Off The Rack

A number of my friends refuse to have their shirts made for them because they feel that with so many companies offering shirts at below $40 AUD there is no reason they should spend the money on a bespoke or custom made shirt when considering that, even with alterations costs included, the $40.00 shirt will never exceed more than $90.00 including alterations. A bespoke shirt, usually starting at around the $250.00 AUD mark, therefore equates to anywhere between 3 and 6 cheap off the rack shirts.

I can completely understand this logic. I have seen the volume based business shirts offered by some of these companies and in fairness the quality isn't bad. It's not great quality, not in fabric nor in stitch work, but it's a case of horses for courses. For a man who wears 5 business shirts a week and doesn't want to outlay a great deal for his wardrobe each year, it makes good financial sense. The prices of Sydney housing, food and education of one's children mean that there isn't a great deal of the pie left over for his wardrobe. I find it hard to argue against these men any more because they are calling it straight down the line and there is little pleading to a man with these kinds of financial concerns. In the seminal stand up comedy film 'Raw' by Eddie Murphy he asks his woman 'Wassup?' to which she responds 'the rent mother-fucker'. Brazen, yes, but perhaps these same men have wives with equal concerns about home finances.

So, if you were to buy an off the rack shirt for $40.00 what should you be looking for?

Collar

The most important aspect in my opinion to get right first is the collar size. It's very hard to find anyone that can make you a new collar and if they can it will only be in a contrast fabric since the shirt body will invariably be impossible to match. Collars can be altered up to about 0.5cm by repositioning the button without it affecting the way the collar sits and that's about all you will get before you need to have a new collar made.

Shoulders
How are the shoulders fitting on the shirt. This is the first sign of an off the rack shirt. If you can see the shoulder seam is a long way off the nub of the shoulder this shirt will always strike others as a sack of potatoes. The cost of altering this is probably not worth it so it's important to get the shoulders right to start with. Tight with no flexibility is no good. Too loose and the shirt will have no personality. The seam which runs across your shoulders from the collar to the armhole, which is what we call the front yoke seam, should sit comfortably on the ridge of the shoulders. The back yoke seam, which will either be split down the centre, or a single piece, should not billow and follow approximately the curve of the back and should only be taught when you curl your shoulders.

Sleeve length

The most common reason customers come to us for bespoke shirts is when their arms are too long for the standard sizes offered by off the rack customers. Either that or they are too rotund in the belly. For sleeve length it's a lot better if the sleeve is a little too long than if it's too short. The only answer to too short is to cut a brand new cuff in a contrast colour which is not really an answer. So that's an easy one to remember, if it's short in the arms, put it back.

Chest & Stomach

There is very little room to let out a shirt from any fabric left in the seams of a price-point driven shirt. For this reason it's always better to buy a shirt that's too big because it's easy to bring it in from the side seems from the bottom of the armhole down to the hem than to try and squeeze anything out from the opposite direction.

Back & Darts

To be fair I don't have much experience with putting darts in shirts because we mostly never do them owing to the way in which we measure and fit shirts prior to cutting them. However, I am told that the fastest and most inexpensive way to get the balloon out of the back is to use darts. Darts can be on the front or in the back. The problem with darts is that they are a cheap way to get a fitted look and amongst shirt aficionados they are sometimes frowned upon.

Shirt Length

The length of a shirt is imperative for the use of a shirt. Never buy a business shirt if it's sitting on the line of which you wear trousers. There is nothing more displeasing nor downright uncomfortable as a shirt which continually lifts out above the trouser line. You do not want to be tucking your shirt in all day long. You do not want to have a scruff look around your waist. Be generous with your length because in business and in suits it pays to look tidy. Always separate your shirts for weekend casual from the shirts you use during the working week and don't try merge the two unless you plan to tuck your shirt in. Another point to note is that most trousers which are cut for suits will sit higher than your low cut jeans so there is even more scope to make your shirts extra long if you intend to tuck them in on the weekend. 


A Le Noeud Papillon Bespoke Shirt With High Collar Stand And Dual Function Cuff Using SIC Tess Fabric & Australian Mother Of Pearl Buttons - www.lenoeudpapillon.com

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Versatility And Ease Of Diamond Point Bow Ties

Magnus Omme is currently putting the final touches on some wonderful images he took of musican Janus Regel. You will be hearing more about what Janus is up to on a blog post in the not too distant future. Janus is the Dane who splits his time between owning a barber shop in Copenhagen and making music. The last I heard he still wore bow ties every day to work.

Which brings me to my point - he prefers diamond points and lately I am tending toward that direction too. The reason diamond points are trending in my own wardrobe and in Janus' is the ease with which you can tie them and how comfortably they fit into your pocket. For this reason they work wonderfully for more casual wear. Yes they work for black tie just as well, but for one reason or another the diamond point is the go-to bow tie for jeans and a shirt and it can easily be untied and stowed if you change environments.

Consider a diamond point bow tie. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rest In Peace Richie Benaud - The Sound Of Summer

You always knew it was summer in Australia in the 1980's if you could hear in the background the trumpets of Channel 9's 'Wide World Of Sports' then followed by the inimitable voice of Richie Benaud. Summer in Australia will never quite be the same again.

Image from Getty Images via the Daily Mail

Some of you may recall the recent ad for Australian lamb that Ritchie partook in. Watch that video here.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Scarf Knots For Evening Wear

Many men choose to wear an evening scarf merely by draping it around their neck. The finer evening scarves made of satin silks are ideal for this kind of draping but they tend to be slippery suckers that fall off your neck and often, as it has happened to me, you can find your most treasured evening scarf sitting in a puddle of water at your feet because you made two sudden moves to get out of the rain but the scarf could not keep up.

Evening scarves are a dying art form and it's on a very rare occasion that you will see a man invest in one. The ones that do exist, if they are made well, should cost a pretty penny. Ours, which we don't put on the website mainly because nobody seems to purchase them, are hand-made in Italy. Having just dressed the window I did some research on knots because I felt that the evening scarf, if merely draped around the neck, tended to take away the aesthetic value of the cut of your tuxedo or smoking jacket.

The search for a good knot for my evening scarf lead me to a place I have mixed feelings about. The Gentleman's Gazette is a blog written by a man called Sven Raphael Schneider. The German name schneider, by the way, means tailor (from the verb schneiden "to cut"), so it's not a bad name to have if you're setting out to write a menswear and style blog . The Gentleman's Gazette is an interesting blog - I must take my hat off to him. Schneider writes on unique topics and does a great deal for the advancement of menswear in terms of enlightening men on how to dress well, though slightly skewed towards Old World style. Sadly, however, something seems to make me recoil about this chap despite his knowledge and willingness to share it. I have never quite put my finger on it but regardless of whatever that feeling that he evokes in me is, I must admit that, grammatical and translation issues aside, he keeps a great menswear blog. And, I am grateful for the scarf knot below which I think is excellent for allowing you to look chic in the evening but which will ensure your scarf doesn't slip off your neck and into that said puddle, or dance floor, or the back of the taxi, or, as also once happened to me, in the middle of a country road where a lovely neighbour hung it on a tree for me to find the next day.

The two knots I recommend from the video below are:

1: The knot - as pictured below
2: The count - see video.

Considering we are coming into Autumn and that it's still rather cold up in the North, it might be advantageous to brush up on your scarf knots regardless.

Le Noeud Papillon smoking jacket with black satin silk shawl and turned back cuff, black evening scarf and Donald shape bow tie - all available from www.lenoeudpapillon.com or by appointment with our Studio.

And, if you are looking for a nice scarf - here are three selections:

1. Henry Carter Neckwear 
2. Gentleman's Gazette
3. Le Noeud Papillon


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer Was A Pioneer Of The Power Suit In Australia

I don't think any man or woman ever flattered Kerry Packer by telling him how handsome he was. He was by all accounts a very unattractive man but what Packer did not have in looks he made up for in power, style, gusto, bravado, wit and charm.

There are a lot of journalists and businessmen in Australia that would know far more about the topic of Kerry Packer than myself. You can find a very small offering from Wikipedia on the big man and there are numerous books written by Australian journalists such as Paul Barry's 'Rise And Rise Of Kerry Packer' or Neil Chenoweth's 'Packer's Lunch' which will offer you a great deal more insight. There are the usual tales that he offered to flip a coin with a Texan for his entire wealth after the Texan told Packer 'You can't push me around, I'm worth a hundred million'. To this day you can sit in a cafe and if you hear Packer's name mentioned you can guarantee the punch line 'Well I'll flip you for it' will get mentioned at some point. 

The one thing the late Kerry Packer has never been accused of, which I am happy to finger him for, is being a style icon of the Australian business community. Although somewhat British and conservative in his dress sense, Kerry Packer is in my mind an icon of Australian style. From the board room to the polo field his sense of dress always matched his character. 

Today I leave you with a wonderful video from 1991 in which the House of Reps Select Committee on Print Media tries it's best to make Packer accountable to the Australian Government to which he rejects all their assertions that they constitutionally have a right to harass him about his business interests. It is now part of Australian folklore.

NB: Note a younger and somewhat deferential Peter Costello as part of the Reps Committee




Francesco Smalto Dies Aged 87 - Parisian Tailor To Heads Of State And Celebrities

You may have read once an article we did with the then cutter from Francesco Smalto in Paris. His name was Victor Hugo da Costa and you can read that article here . Sadly, on Saturday, the famed Parisian tailor Smalto passed away, aged 87.

Although there are many stories that float around about some of the more dubious things that were requested of Smalto over the years as a tailor, one thing is for sure, his clothes never lacked quality fabric, make and construction and were never short on details. And, even if you could not afford the price tags, entering the Rue Francois 1st store, across the road from Zilli, was always an enjoyable experience just to see what the rich, famous and powerful were wearing that season. In his time he dressed actor Roger Moore, French President François Mitterrand, King Hassan II of Morocco and to my understanding, a number of African dictators.

Read the Le Monde article here


Monday, April 6, 2015

What Happened To The Greatest Ever Ferrari ?

In the film Toby Dammit by Federico Fellini , part of the tryptych of short films in Spirits Of The Dead, itself based on the stories of Edgar Allan Poe , Dammit, played by Terence Stamp, is battling alcoholism, depression and fame. In an attempt to rejuvenate his career he agrees to a film to be shot in Rome for which he names his price - a Ferrari.

Although I am not particularly into cars I will say that the car that is given to Dammit to race through the streets of Rome in, is in my opinion the most beautiful Ferrari I have ever laid eyes on. Of course, the maestro Fellini helps sell the Ferrari by placing it in a dream like state outside a theatre with fog and low lighting. Dammit uses it to race through the streets of Rome to escape his existential crisis. I won't ruin the film for you but I will say that the end of the film focuses heavily on the Ferrari.

What I love about the romance of this existential crisis is that Fellini uses all the bells and whistles of cinema to create recurring imagery of fine fashion, fine cars, fine women and fine living to convey a world of false people living with false Gods in which Dammit sees the need to escape. The Ferrari, which is gold, has no top and and as Dammit speeds through the city he starts to feel a tortured freedom with the wind in his hair.

I often think of that Ferrari as the most beautiful I've ever seen and until recently I had never found any information on it. As with all things that look exceptionally unique, it was custom made for the purpose of the film.

I managed to find the history of the car on Coach Build amongst numerous other sites. It seems the car was originally a racing Ferrari model called a 330 TR-LM #0808TR. In 1963 after the racing model had finished it's career an Italian design team called Fantuzzi, who were known to customise Ferraris, pulled the original model apart and began to build the new golden Ferrari on the chassis of the old race car. The Ferrari was then offered for sale either as a Coupe or as a Spider.

After these first models were made in 1964 the Spider body was constructed onto a  #4381SA 1963 330 LM Berlinetta which was owned by a film company named Crossograph SpA. The Spider was finished with a golden paint job and was used 4 years later in the film by Fellini. Once the movie was shot, the Ferrari was then unused and sitting in a parking lot in Rome for several years. Later the original Berlinetta body was put back on the car. The Fantuzzi body was then sold on to a chap who put the golden body onto a 330 GT 2+2 #8733 of 1966-vintage and repainted it red.

So, sadly, you cannot own today the original Toby Dammit Ferrari , which was nicknamed by some as the golden shark owing to the mouth of the grill at the front. However, in 2008 an American businessman by the name of Edward Walson set about re-creating the Toby Dammit Ferrari by customising a 599 GTB Fiorano Ferrari using carbon fibre to remove the roof but keep the structural integrity of the car and then it was painted gold. The car, which is not quite as elegant as the original, is still a wonderfully sexy modern version of the Fantuzzi-Ferrari it was inspired by. It has, however, developed its own following and you can read about the P540 Superfast Aperta -  The Golden 599 - here.

So the Ferrari in the film was only that Ferrari for a short period - it was previously a race car and after it became part of two Ferraris but the shell was never made golden again. It did, however, inspire an American to  give rise to a new interpretation in 2008 with all the advancements of technology in between. In some ways it's a little like our love for cinema fashion - you can dwell on all your old great characters but unless you indulge in setting out to make a brand new piece using great cinema as inspiration, it remains about as much of a dream as Toby Dammit's little girl wandering the streets of Rome with her ball.

Consider your next project.

The unique front grill by Fantuzzi reminded some of a shark's mouth


Actor Terence Stamp plays Toby Dammit trapped in a world of alcohol, false realities, perceptions and Gods



Inspired by the film Toby Dammit, American Edward Walson creates this unique customised  599 GTB Fiorano which is then referred to as the P540 Superfast Aperta or the Golden 599.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Black Majestic Bow Tie By Le Noeud Papillon Of Sydney


One bow tie which keeps turning heads each year is our Black Majestic. It is a winning combination of the right colour silk (there are many types of black), the right weave, the right handle, the right shape and the right details which seems to bring people back to it time and time again.

Shop one now. 

Did He Do It? A Sartorial WhoDunnit - Claus von Bülow

If like me you love a murder mystery, Old World elegance and a bit of courtroom drama then this rainy weekend in Sydney I recommend watching Reversal Of Fortune.

Whether Claus von Bülow was guilty or not of murdering his wife Sunny I assume we will never know the truth of it. It does however make for good drama especially as you get an insightful look into the life of luxury lead by the von Bülow family living in Newport, Rhode Island. Claus also has a very enviable wardrobe.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spare A Thought For The Fabric Linen This Easter Weekend

Regardless of your religious beliefs there exists a linen shroud in Turin, Italy which many Christians believe cloaked the dead body of Jesus Of Nazareth. Although many scientists would concur that the cloth dates back to the middle ages based on radiocarbon dating - believing in the shroud therefore comes down to a matter of faith.

Linen as a cloth also seems to attract the same kind of faith based appreciation. Ciccio, my Italian informant, once told me that there was no better form of fabric for the summer than linen. In my own experience I have always favoured cotton and shunned linen since my first bad experience of a very flouncy and unstructured linen shirt gifted to me by my mother. 

Linen should not be over looked though. If it was the final choice of cloth for Jesus of Nazareth perhaps there must be something worth investigating. 

Left, the impression on the shroud of Turin, said to be that of Jesus of Nazareth, and right, the negative image of that impression.


The full shroud of Turin.
Linen is a fabric made from the fibres of a flax plant - Linum usitatissimum . The word linen comes from the latin word for the flax plant, linum, and is originally derived from the early Greek λινόν (linón). According to Wikipedia the name has also given rise in English to words such as line (from the use of the flax thread to determine a straight line, and is also the reason we use the generic term linen when referring to laundry or closets. This is because linen was used a great deal in the making of items from napkins, shirts, detachable shirt collars, towels, handkerchiefs and, you might have guessed it, lingerie and the lining of your jacket are all derived from the word linen as they were once made of the same stuff. And it doesn't end there either - we also use flax in the making of linseed oil and linoleum flooring, wallpapers, upholstery, suits, shoes, luggage and more.

It's not really surprising that humans have been able to use this plant in so many manners as it was one of the first ever cultivated plants for textiles weaving dating back to Egypt over 4000 years ago. It's also not the first to shroud a religious or cultural icon. When they uncovered the Pharaoh Ramses II in 1881, who died in 1213 BC, they found that the linen wrappings were perfectly preserved after 3000 years. The same was found of Tutankhamen. But not all faiths were as happy with linen. In Jewish law it is said that you can wear linen, but it is strictly forbidden to weave it with wool. It was in Leviticus 19:19 that is was said "Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together". It goes to show that the Jews were probably ahead of the rest when it comes to the rag trade as no doubt they were trying to say, in my humble opinion - why weave something that keeps you warm with something that's supposed to keep you cool.

So, as Jesus prepares to make his ascension this weekend, spare a thought for the 3 to 1 herringbone twill weave linen that's about 4 and a half metres long and 1.1 metres wide with it's impression which has captivated Christians since the middle ages as to whether it is or isn't the final piece of cloth to touch Jesus' skin.

As to whether you choose to believe in linen as something you will wear, that also is a matter of faith. 


A contemporary blend of linen and cotton used in this blue and white striped custom made shirt. 
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