Friday 17 June 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 17/6/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Alamy

Wheel deal

Washington’s metro system is no stranger to criticism – particularly lately, as the Metrorail announced a year-long overhaul and partial closures. Cuts to the service began last week but, surprisingly, have already inspired some positive results. Though ridership is down by about 25 per cent on decreased-service lines, car trips remained largely unchanged while a cycling boom is underway. Compared to last year the number of cyclists on the road is 95 per cent greater this week. Cycling advocates are joining the push by promoting rush-hour group rides and bike-sharing programmes. The city is also doing its share to keep bike commuting popular: its Capital Bikeshare programme announced a $2 (€1.79) single-trip fare just before the planned work began and user numbers have since spiked.

Image: Adrian Wyld/PA Images

Storm to come?

Rarely does a provincial court ruling in Canada affect the nation’s global diplomacy but that is precisely what is happening in Ontario after a judge enforced the Justice for Victims of Terror Act (JVTA) against Iran this month. The JVTA compels state sponsors of terrorism to make financial reparations to victims; the Ontario Superior Court’s ruling means that Iran’s non-diplomatic assets in Canada must be used to pay victims of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to the tune of CA$13m (€10m). Iran has protested the ruling, implying that relations between the two countries may take a frosty turn if Ottawa allows the decision to stand. Earlier this month foreign affairs minister Stéphane Dion (pictured) revealed that the two countries had started official talks to renew ties and Canadian firms have shown renewed interest in Iran since sanctions were lifted against the country at the start of the year. But now, barely six months later, the forecast is looking cloudy.

Watch this space

It is not by chance that Cartier chose Florence to showcase its Drive de Cartier men’s watch collection this week. The French company held a three-day event – with a focus on redefining the masculinity of the brand – that coincided with Pitti Immagine Uomo, a trade show known for its sharp sense of hospitality and organisation. For the occasion, Cartier’s so-called “drivers” (other brands would likely call them ambassadors) have been appointed, with UK fashion designer Patrick Grant and French musician Bertrand Burgalat among them. The Florentine affair was held at the stunning Palazzo Gondi, where a few Cartier friends dressed up proceedings: French designer Tristan Auer designed the library, while Greek illustrator Konstantin Kakanias crafted the printed invitations and the trompe-l’oeil dressing room.

Suiting up down under

Australian sartorial style varies but, in general, getting dressed down under is a laid-back affair. Even professional settings tend to see a lax approach to presentation: professional-services company PricewaterhouseCoopers recently dropped the dress code for its 6,000 staff members in Australia. Putting some class back onto the front line, however, is Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona). The gallery has worked with iconic Australian fashion brand Alpha 60 to whip up a sleek, minimalist black uniform for its staff. With Australian fashion manufacturing in its twilight years, it would be nice to see some larger hospitality brands following Mona’s lead to help reignite the industry – and sharpen up scruffy staff in the process.

Image: Blok 70

Jennifer Keesmaat, chief planner of Toronto

Toronto is a city that has seen a dramatic transformation over the past few years, from the revamping of old and forgotten areas to rebuilding with people and community in mind.

How to Make a Nation

From diplomacy to government, business to media, how do we create a vibrant nation? To coincide with the publication of How to Make a Nation: A Monocle Guide, executive editor Steve Bloomfield posed the question to panellists and delegates at our Quality of Life Conference in Vienna.


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