The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 12 January 2016

Image: AKA Studio Collective

Making a stand

As the fashion crowd migrate south today for the second menswear appointment of the season, they may not find Florence much warmer than London – yet the feeling in the air at Pitti Uomo will be different. Although London Collections Men has gained traction in recent years as a breeding ground for UK and overseas experimental talent, the ever-growing Italian fair hasn’t followed suit; Pitti’s 89th edition sees an expansion of the fair’s “Make” section, an area dedicated to contemporary updates of more traditional craft. From hat workshop Cappellificio Biellese 1935 to US shoemaker Noah Waxman, the 43 brands showing in the section are testament to Pitti’s dedication to championing artisanship, bridging tradition and innovation; the 35,000 expected visitors are an indication of the formula’s success. For the fair’s most forward-looking picks head to “L’Altro Uomo” and “Futuro Maschile”, where formalwear is being reimagined for the future.

Image: Getty Images

Electrifying discoveries

With petrol prices dropping to below $2 (€1.80) a gallon in the US, weaning Americans off “gas” is no easy task – but that hasn’t discouraged car manufacturers at the North American International Auto Show. The Detroit event features many luxury brands showcasing both plug-in hybrid technology and zero-emission options. Chevrolet’s Bolt EV – with a battery life of up to 322km instead per charge – is one to watch, as is Audi’s for-now concept car, the H-tron Quattro, which is fuelled by hydrogen. Is it safe having the gas tanks onboard? “They’re bulletproof; we’ve tested them,” says Siegfried Pint, Audi’s head of electric powertrain. But for now the manufacturer is concentrating on pushing its electric cars that, according to Pint, will represent 25 per cent of sales in the US in a decade’s time.

Image: Terence Chin

Haute hotels

Sydney’s hotel scene is a mixed bag but a spate of smart new openings is stirring down under. In late 2015, Hong Kong-based Ovolo opened two properties (the pick of which is a beautifully renovated teal-coloured wharf in Woolloomooloo), while the Unlisted Collection added the charming Old Clare in Chippendale, south of the CBD. In The Rocks near Sydney Harbour the renovated nine-room Palisade Hotel presides majestically over Millers Point and to the east there’s the stunning new QT premises in Bondi, just moments from the beach. And in December the Primus opened in an art deco gem that once housed the Sydney Water Board; proof, if it were needed, that the floodgates are finally opening on the drought that’s long dogged the Sydney hospitality scene.

Image: Getty Images

Holiday money

Saudi Arabia’s economy is running a $100bn (€92bn) deficit and the country is thrashing out options for getting its House back in order, including the selling of shares in the state’s oil company. But an untouched atoll north of Jeddah is also getting attention. This cluster of islands in the Red Sea has been touted by the deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who says he’s previously holidayed there, as a way to kick-start the economy. Yet each time Saudi Arabia flirts with plans to grow its non-religious and domestic tourism, fundamental roadblocks – such as its rather uninviting social code – loom large. Getting more locals into the workforce and more incoming business on home soil demands deep reform, not just deeper pockets for grandiose projects.

From Monocle 24

Image: Ralph Arvesen

How do you hype music?

Who’s responsible for hyping the next big thing? Publicists? Managers? Artists? Fans? Robert Bound is joined by music magazine maestro David Hepworth, arts and entertainment writer for The Daily Telegraph Alice Vincent and publicist Emily Bryce-Perkins to discuss the way that that hype surrounding music has developed.

From Monocle Films

Budapest: Design for life

Things are looking sharp on the fashion scene in Hungary’s capital, with a new collection of boutiques, budding young designers and groundbreaking brands.

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