The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 8 January 2016

Image: Dan Sims, British Fashion Council

Tailored content

The new year has just begun but for the world’s sartorial elite it is already in full swing: London Collections Men A/W16 kicks off today. Dreamt up in 2012 to showcase Britain’s best homegrown talent, LCM is the first key menswear meet on the calendar. Much of this year’s spotlight will be on E Tautz: the label, which brings a casual aesthetic to Savile Row-like tailoring, is the current holder of the BFC/GQ Menswear Fund, an LCM initiative aimed at honing designers’ business skills. The application process forces designers to think strategically: each must submit a detailed business plan to a panel of industry experts with the winner receiving a hefty £150,000 (€202,000) prize and business mentoring. For Patrick Grant, owner and creative director of E Tautz, the experience has proven invaluable: “We now have a very good understanding of who we are and who we sell to.” Look out for further coverage of LCM on the Monocle Minute.

Image: Getty Images

Future finds

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a hard beast to pin down: the biggest hits this year have ranged from the Panasonic DX900, a TV with a breathtakingly good picture, to the revival of film in a Kodak Super 8 movie camera designed by Yves Behar. The Kodak is clunky, almost toy-like, and fits Super 8 cassettes with under three minutes’ footage – but has caught the imagination of Spielberg, Tarantino and others. But the main themes have been homes where every gadget talks to its neighbour, devices that are wearable on almost every body part and the explosion (let’s hope not literally) of drones. These included one that looks like a tiny stealth bomber, which is launched by casually chucking it skywards and has a top speed of 80km/h. Finally, virtual reality really will bite this year with release dates (soon) and prices (way more than expected) announced this week.

Image: Alamy

Cairo’s gag order

Cairo’s cultural calendar wrapped in 2015 on a disconcerting note: Townhouse Gallery, a fixture of the art scene since 1998, was closed by authorities for “administrative irregularities”, according to gallery staff. This followed the demise of a theatre and a publishing house. The closures come amid growing tension ahead of the five-year anniversary on 25 January of the uprising in Tahrir Square. “The Sisi government seems nervous about the prospect of protest and escalation due to dissatisfaction with the current status quo,” says Mohamed Elshahed, editor of Cairobserver, a journal dedicated to the city’s cultural life and urbanism. It doesn’t bode well for 2016 and threats to independent voices on the eve of an auspicious anniversary seem counterintuitive at best.

Image: Courtesy of TIFF

Cinematic Canada

While the city’s name may be part of the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) it’s been a long time since the September event was known for its native offerings. Instead, Tiff is widely regarded as an avenue to preview possible Oscar contenders. In a bid to correct that, the festival’s programmers have picked out 10 of the best domestic features to screen over the next 10 days during Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, held at the Tiff Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto. Audiences will be able to see and appreciate Canadian films that might otherwise be overshadowed. One to watch: Patricia Rozema’s Into the Forest, starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood. It’s a dystopian thriller-drama about two sisters grappling with a continent-wide blackout.

From Monocle 24

Is 2016 the year New York finally makes its airports better?

New York City’s airports are poorly designed, hard to access and outdated and are in need of a revamp. But does this look like a resolution the Big Apple will be able to keep? Tune in to The Urbanist to find out.

From Monocle Films

Taiwan’s turning tide

Under the leadership of a progressive mayor, Kaohsiung in the south of Taiwan is no longer the neglected sibling of capital Taipei. Witnessing its harbour being redeveloped and its infrastructure refreshed, Monocle Films learns how the city balances culture, industry and liveability.

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