Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri has perhaps had it easy. His move to steady the Latin American nation after the volatile Cristina Fernández de Kirchner years has been well received by the international community, who have breathed a collective sigh of relief. Macri still hasn’t managed to bring the economy under control – growth is slow, the cost of living is high and inflation is still a major issue – but that’s not enough to stop financial services firm Morgan Stanley banking on Argentina’s business-friendly future. It predicts €57bn in investment for the country over the next five years as long as the “process of normalisation” continues. Something unthinkable just a few years ago.
This season Belgium-born Tim Coppens is the guest designer at Pitti Uomo. Last night he staged a striking Mad Max-esque catwalk show in the capacious hallways of Florence’s Ippodromo del Visano racetrack featuring models in shearling-lined biker jackets and hefty sunglasses. He skipped the runways of his regular stomping ground, New York Fashion Week, to be here – and why wouldn’t he? “Pitti is a unique place where people are focused on a couple of events,” he says. “Everybody takes their time: they’re not rushing to another thing, which gives the show a lot more exposure.” New York-based Coppens is the latest designer (following the likes of Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane) to recognise the benefits of hosting a one-off spectacle rather than taking a slot at fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. It bodes well for Pitti but begs the question: have conventional fashion weeks lost their edge?
A deal between the Changi Airport Group and Singapore’s Economic Development Board signed earlier this week seals a S$50m (€33m) five-year innovation programme that will use Singapore’s Changi Airport as a testbed for new technological solutions. The aim is to increase the efficiency of the transport hub; think robotic floor-cleaners, improved security checks and data-tracking to help estimate waiting times for a smoother travel experience. With more than 55 million annual passengers passing through its terminals, Changi Airport is a valuable “living laboratory” to test inventions created by partnering start-ups. Yet the programme should keep in mind that automatons, however futuristic they may be, cannot replace the warmth of hospitable service staff.
The plot remains a well-guarded secret but the title of Japanese literary superstar Haruki Murakami’s latest novel was revealed this week: Kishidancho Goroshi (Killing Commendatore). The book, which will be published by Shinchosha and reach bookshops in Japan on 24 February, is Murakami’s first novel since 2013’s bestselling Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It is also his first multi-part novel since 2009’s 1Q84 and will be published in two volumes: Emerging Ideas and Moving Metaphor. The title gives little away but Murakami has described the story as strange – and fans would expect nothing less. He is renowned for keeping out of the public eye but his books generate sales in the millions and there will doubtless be queues in bookshops on the eve of publication. Overseas fans, however, will have to wait for news of the translation.
Jonas Almgren is a Swedish entrepreneur and the CEO of London-based start-up ArtFinder, one of the world’s largest online art marketplaces. The company’s goal is lofty: create a world where everyone owns art and where independent artists can make a living doing what they love. To pull it off they’re investing in algorithm-heavy technology such as advanced image recognition, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Jonas shares his journey from Stockholm to Silicon Valley and New York to London.
Want more stories like these in your inbox?
Sign up to Monocle’s email newsletters to stay on top of news and opinion, plus the latest from the magazine, radio, film and shop.