The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 12 December 2016

Image: Getty Images

Face of change

A country’s banknotes represent the nation and its zeitgeist, hence it’s high-time that Canada has chosen the late black-rights activist Viola Desmond as the first Canadian woman to grace the country’s CA$10 bill. Finance minister Bill Morneau announced the news last week at the Canadian Museum of History in Québec. Desmond, known as Canada’s Rosa Parks, was selected from more than 26,000 nominations for standing up to racial segregation in the 1940s: she was convicted for taking a seat in the “whites only” section of a New Glasgow movie theatre nine years before the African-American Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Alabama. In a push for more diversity, Desmond will replace Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A Macdonald, on the purple banknote from 2018.

Image: Victor Virgile/Getty Images

Fashion frontiers

London has long prided itself on being a city that nurtures fledgling fashion talent​. With the city’s autumn/winter 2017 menswear week on the horizon​, Fashion East​ and Man have unveiled their line-up for the next season. ​Both initiatives provide​ ​emerging designers with financial ​support, mentoring and a runway show ​and Man alone has launched the careers of JW Anderson, Craig Green and Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones​. The designers this season skew towards the avant garde and include the London-based Swede Per Götesson, who plays with the proportions of denim and workwear​; t​hink loose-fitting jeans and billowing denim jackets. Beyond the young guns the London shows will be making waves for other reasons: with YMC, Vivienne Westwood​ and a​ host of others showing their men’s and women’s collections together, it’s set to be the most mixed-gender fashion week ever staged.

Image: Getty Images

For goodness: saké

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe gave a bottle to US president Barack Obama; connoisseurs rave about its plum and melon flavours; and now Dassai, a saké made by Asahi Shuzo brewery in Yamaguchi, western Japan, is planning to enter Europe’s retail market in a venture with French chef Joel Robuchon. The three-storey shop, bar and restaurant – called Dassai par Joel Robuchon – will open next spring on Paris’s Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and will feature saké pairings with Robuchon dishes. Known for its signature Dassai 23 – a refined, mildly sweet saké – Asahi Shuzo has increased exports since the early 2000s, a sensible move considering how domestic consumption of Japan’s national drink has been declining in the past four decades. It will be the brand’s first retail presence outside Japan and follows the opening of a shop in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district in late November. The future for Japan’s premium saké brewers has rarely seemed brighter.

Image: Simone Donati

Gang busters

The mid-century influx of seasoned tailors to Hong Kong from Shanghai, known as the Red Gang, has defined the city as a mecca for bespoke suits. “Workplace dress codes seem to be casual now but the sartorial population and desire for dapper silhouettes is certainly growing,” says Brandon Chau, owner of Attire House, a newly opened menswear boutique that brought the 110-year-old Savile Row tailor Anderson and Sheppard to host its inaugural trunk show in Asia this weekend. The ubiquitous presence of small and medium-sized tailoring studios in Hong Kong is evidence for the increase in demand of bespoke services. “This business is hard to measure by quantitative models but focusing on the customer experience will pay back,” says Chau.

From Monocle 24

Ishkar

After three years in Afghanistan, Flore de Taisne and Edmund Le Brun created Ishkar, a social enterprise that curates products made by artisans affected by war. They explain how they did it.

From Monocle Films

Vienna: capital of charisma

We take a grand tour of an age-old favourite that combines regal grandeur with a new-found finesse in everything from culture to food, art and design.

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