The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 14 July 2016

Image: Getty Images

Setting sun

Emperor Akihito has shocked Japan by letting it be known that he plans to abdicate and hand the role over to his son Crown Prince Naruhito. In a move that is unprecedented in modern Japan – no emperor has abdicated in 200 years – 82-year-old Emperor Akihito, the head of the world’s oldest continuous hereditary monarchy, conveyed his intentions to the Imperial Household Agency this week. The highly respected emperor, who succeeded his father Hirohito in this ceremonial role in 1989, has been suffering from ill health in recent years and reportedly underwent a heart-bypass operation in 2012. Legally this news puts the royal family in uncharted waters since the current Imperial Household Law makes no provision for abdication.

Image: Bryce Vickmark/PA Images

Veep heat

While Hillary Clinton, whose campaign gained strength after Bernie Sanders’ endorsement, has a seemingly endless roster of candidates to choose from when it comes to her VP – from Elizabeth Warren to Julián Castro – Donald Trump’s list is much shorter. He’d probably love a woman or a Latino on his ticket (à la Nikki Haley or Susana Martinez) but, for obvious reasons, he’s stuck with old white men and will probably have to settle for Indiana governor Mike Pence or former House speaker Newt Gingrich. And what of Chris Christie? Well, there’s the small matter of criminal proceedings against his inner New Jersey circle over the so-called Bridgegate scandal. Look out for live reports from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monocle 24 from next week.

Image: MAIIAM

Thai art

Thailand’s moated city of Chiang Mai, known for its gold-plated temples and traditional artisans, has been struggling to keep up with the cultural wealth of Bangkok. While government support for the arts flowed into the capital’s glitzy galleries, Chiang Mai’s modern-arts community floundered. This month’s opening of the northern city’s first contemporary-art museum promises to turn the tide. The launch of the Maiiam Museum, founded by the Bunnag-Beurdeley family as a home for their extensive private collection, marked the city’s biggest event of the year and its inaugural exhibition The Serenity of Madness – a multimedia retrospective by artist and film-maker Apichatpong Weerasethakul – has already attracted hundreds of visitors. The new mirror-clad landmark, designed by architecture firm Allzone, is exactly what’s been needed to reaffirm Chiang Mai as a cultural powerhouse.

Image: Ali Smith/Getty Images

Guardian angels

Today marks the final day of New York Men’s Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017, the youngest of its kind and the final stop on the sartorial calendar, following Paris, Milan and London. Launched in 2015 to great fanfare, the event in the Big Apple hasn’t yet lived up to expectations, hampered by a lack of interesting show venues and marquee names. There may still be a shortage of big designers this season (Tommy Hilfiger and John Varvatos are the headline acts) but the event boasts something its counterparts across the pond can’t quite match: a host of exciting LA-based designers. The City of Angels has been on everyone’s lips lately and with good reason: it's home to young, refreshing and understated brands such as denim label Simon Miller and "athleisure"-focused John Elliott. With their shared emphasis on relaxed silhouettes and comfort dressing, they’re names to watch, making the event one to keep an eye on.

From Monocle 24

Image: Faye Sakura Rentoule

The Entrepreneurs: Live

Last night saw a special live episode of The Entrepreneurs recorded at our Marylebone HQ, where Monocle’s Andrew Tuck and Daniel Giacopelli (pictured, left to right) were joined by the visionaries and creative leaders behind inspiring, successful businesses. From industry giants and family outfits to one-man-bands and clever upstarts, listen to the discussion and hear how to build a strong brand for the long-term.

From Monocle Films

Image: /film/affairs/night-mayors/

Night mayors

We pull up a bar stool in Amsterdam at the inaugural Night Mayor Summit to hear from pioneering night watchmen and urban provocateurs in cities around the world.

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