Saturday 9 July 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Saturday. 9/7/2016

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Saturday

Image: Alamy

Cloak-and-dagger glamour

A formerly popular haunt for Soviet spies has reopened in Moscow: Stalin’s security chief, his son Vasily, secret agents and even film stars dined at Aragvi but the power-lunch spot closed after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Today the ritzy restaurant, set across from the mayor’s office, is up and running again with some new additions to the menu, as well as some old favourites such as chicken tabaka (a classic Georgian dish) and khinkali (stuffed dumplings). The new iteration seems to be missing only one historic element: it was rumoured that every table in the early days was bugged with a microphone.

Image: Lorne Chapman/Alamy

Urban potential

Once a thriving civic space in the heart of Toronto’s urban core, College Park housed an ice-skating rink and a tree-lined park for its residents. Since the rink closed in 2013, the area has been reduced to little more than a concrete no man’s land. Thankfully this is not to be the final chapter of a tragic tale of urban neglect. The local business association has announced plans to revitalise the area and CA$250,000 (€175,000) will be channelled into the construction of a new skating trail and a park replete with a pond and pavilion. Given that this was the cradle of Canadian retail, it’s only right that more attention be paid to the use of public space here.

Image: Kamil Zihnioglu/PA Images

At the helm

On Friday Dior confirmed that Italian fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri will replace Raf Simons as the third artistic director of the French fashion house in five years. Formerly at the creative helm of Valentino beside Pierpaolo Piccioli, Chiuri will now run Dior’s womenswear collection as the company’s first female director in its 70-year history, simultaneously making her one of the rare women in leading positions at the 15 fashion brands within luxury group LVMH. This move is not only a big deal in the fashion world but also reflects the current sociopolitical landscape, as Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom compete to step into David Cameron’s role as UK prime minister and Hillary Clinton continues her fight for the US presidency.

Image: Dave O’Donnell

Monocle’s music tip

In 1950s Brazil the original version of the freshly reworked album Tam Tam Tam Reimagined from the Sonzeira project was seen less as a long player and more as a short fuse. The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Afro-Brazilian cultural movement was beaten down by the incoming military dictatorship and José Prates’s Tam Tam Tam record went underground. However, subterranean status can only last so long when you have the impeccably connected, eagle-eared DJ and record collector Gilles Peterson (pictured, middle) on the trail. After lapping up the sounds of the original, Peterson’s Sonzeira project hits us with this reimagined version of the seminal disc, taking riffs, rhythms and licks and turning them into fresh-rolled gold. Arresting and irresistible, Tam Tam Tam – out next week – is an old postcard brought thrillingly to life.

The Neon Demon

Nicolas Winding Refn, director of The Neon Demon, explains how his electro-infused thriller made it to the screen. We also cross to Los Angeles to hear from the film’s cinematographer.

Cosy Homes: Die Es

South African architects Gawie and Gwen Fagan designed and built their family home on a dramatic spot between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. Die Es is an ode to vernacular architecture with a difference. Inspired by The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes, Monocle Films explores the sculpted forms, palpable materiality and harmony with nature that make this eclectic residence stand out.


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