Nicholas Atgemis doesn’t believe that luxurious goods — truly exceptional, well crafted menswear — need arrive from Milan or Paris or London or New York to be considered premium. With his Le Noeud Papillon label, Atgemis is looking to put Sydney on the luxury map by offering limited edition bow ties and pocket squares featuring exquisite silk with woven designs — as opposed to the cheaper printed silks more commonly found elsewhere. Eschewing cheaper and more ubiquitous Chinese silks for those processed in Italy, Atgemis assures a level of craftsmanship and quality in his bow ties that only the world’s top brands offer. From the thick threadcount to the impeccable boxes and presentation of his product, Le Noeud Papillon is a label worthy of recognition.
Le Noeud Papillon stands apart because you guys weave your own designs — what exactly does that entail?
It is rare for small brands to take on weaving their own designs. Generally speaking, which means there are exceptions to the rule, most fashion companies, even large ones, will simply choose from a catalogue of existing or developed designs from their silk merchant and then put these into production. This is usually in the form of a swatch book. Here at Le Noeud Papillon we wanted to create designs which are totally unique and run in limited numbers. For example, our ‘Australian’ design features emus and a southern cross, something an Italian label would probably not ever get around to doing.
You state that you use woven Jacquard silks from Italy instead of cheaper and more common Chinese silks — what is the difference in this silk? Where they from are in Italy and what makes Jacquard silks special?
A Jacquard woven silk differs from a printed silk in the sense that as the warp passes over the machine, the weft weaves a pattern into the silk. This means designs are limited in the number of colours and images you can make when creating Jacquard silks. You can print anything onto normal silks using digital, screen or corrosive printing – but the only texture to the silk you will achieve is whatever were the characteristics of the base silk cloth (crepe satin, chiffon, satin, twill). Whereas with woven Jacquards you can achieve depth of field through changes in both thread and contours based on how the thread is weaved as it passes through the loom.
The silks come from Como in Italy, which is about a 45 minute drive from Milan. This picturesque town, with verdant mountains flanking either side of the lake, has been making silks for over 300 years. In those days women would carry the faggots of straw under their dresses to warm the eggs which would later form into silk worms. This tradition, however, is now long gone. Most of the raw silk thread that is used in Italian silks is bought from China or Brazil. However, the processing of this thread is what sets the Italians apart from their Asian counterparts. The Italians weave the silk to make more western designs and the quality of the end cloth is superior in construction.