I am loving Paris. I was up early this morning and I packed my wallet with euros knowing that I was going to stop for a fromboise pistache here, an espresso there, a bottle of water, a baguette au poulet and just non-stop cycling. Paris for me, especially on a bicycle, a full wallet and without having to watch the clock; is the most liberating city in the world. I just meander with the traffic, take a right onto B. St Germain, cross over the bridge, cut across the Tulieres, cycle up to the Vendome and lock my bike up against a garbage bin.
You can of course do the same thing in Sydney. It's just that you don't arrive at the Place Vendome and its hills all the way. So don't wear your Sunday Best.
Enough of that. The bows. In looking for a quality comparison to my own bows I did a walk down Fauborg St Honore. Seriously, if my spelling is off, realise I had the best of intentions. Anyway, what did I find?
Lanvin bows paid homage to the clown and of course were oversized. Those that weren't were non-events. They did however have a lovely vest on one of the mannequins.
Hermes' Maison had the flimsiest terrible bow ties of all time. The prints were so ordinary and the silk was the light stuff, the really light stuff. Silk twill. Possibly not even any interlining. I was SURPRISED and DISAPPOINTED.
Yves St Laurent didn't have any, certainly none on display.
Dolce & Gabbana - nothing that I noticed. However, their dinner jackets were amazing and whilst the smoking jacket was not there (apparently it was last season....), they were very directional and smart about their choices in dinner jackets. To note was their white silk and the silk plaid (although I am not sure that the silk was plaid - just looked like it).
Givenchy - nope. Nothing interesting.
Charvet. What did you say? Charvet, yes, they truly deserve their mantel. The silks, which I happened to ask the lady, were definitely from Italy. The fabrication in France. The range was superb. They have two tiers of bows. The first you wouldn't touch. It's the light silk twill stuff and really not much chop. Maybe better for summer but not really my cup of tea. 105 euros a pop. The better ones were 115 euros each. They featured the heavier brocades and jacquards.
They also had a lovely range of pochettes, in fact, some were similar to the ones I have done for LNP last season (and I hadn't set foot in Charvet for 2 years) On the third floor I tried on their smoking jacket. It was black velvet with a beautiful tassled waist cord. At 1295 euros I decided to leave it. However, it was by and large the best genuine smoking jacket I have ever seen.
QUALITY ASSESSMENT: Le Noeud Papillon bows are as good as Charvet bows. The silks are exactly the same. The small differences in manufacture quality are only the clips and that Le Noeud Papillon offers a range of shapes as opposed to Charvet which specialises in the Batwing. Charvet also have a level of attention to detail such as matching the thread of the label to the colour of the bow. God only knows how much this must cost them each year.