The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 19 January 2017

Image: Getty Images

Explicit content

Last December 94 French journalists resigned from the Vivendi-owned 24-hour news station iTélé after a month-long strike in response to ill management – primarily concerning the hiring of controversial presenter Jean-Marc Morandini, who had been accused of sexual harassment. About 50 of the journalists teamed up to create a superior news channel called Explicite, designed to be distributed via social-media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. “Explicite has a strong message: to leave its zone of comfort, look for new solutions and imagine a future in the media,” says Olivier Ravanello, who led the initiative. The channel, which currently has no sustainable business model and is being financed solely by its associates, is looking to raise funds through crowdfunding and investors. Surely its decision to launch on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration will help its cause. With Explicite’s first coverage being broadcast from Washington tomorrow, the new channel is already standing up for the integrity and freedom of the press, something Trump doesn’t seem to believe in.

Turning the clock back

Tomorrow sees the first public day of the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), the 27th iteration of the Geneva event. From the brands’ booths to the timepieces themselves, this year’s edition of SIHH has felt like getting back to basics. With the watch market in a slump, many of the major exhibitors here are taking the chance to reconnect with their brand DNA. Piaget has taken inspiration from the 60th anniversary of its Altiplano collection; Cartier’s new men’s pieces are surrounded by some of the maison’s most elegant 1930s leather goods; and Audemars Piguet has launched a yellow-gold version of its Royal Oak Extra-Thin watch with a champagne dial that harks back to a brighter, brasher era. While there were a few gimmicks ahead of the show – not least a H Moser & Cie’s watch case made of hardened Swiss cheese (pictured) – the dominant sense in Geneva is that brands are going back to their roots.

Image: Getty Images

A certain ‘je ne sais quoi’

Following jamborees in London and Milan, the fashion squad has landed in Paris for the most anticipated gathering of the autumn/winter menswear season. Paris Fashion Week Men’s, which started yesterday and runs until Sunday, has become the industry’s top event – and there are several reasons behind this. For one, the capital’s schedule brings together exciting designers and heavyweight houses in a heady mix that demands the world’s attention; Christophe Lemaire of Uniqlo, Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga, Sacai’s Chitose Abe and Haider Ackermann (pictured) – who makes his debut for Berluti tomorrow – are some of the standout names. Yet there’s another important draw for buyers: the late timing means this is the place where orders are written and deals signed, whether in tucked-away showrooms or the halls of tradeshow Man. Even with the absence of Saint Laurent, Paris is king of the catwalk.

Image: JIJI PRESS/Getty Images

Public convenience

Visitors to Japan are frequently baffled by the array of controls on offer in the average toilet; most are equipped with a warm-water shower and blow-dry option, as well as buttons for opening and closing the lid, playing the sound of flowing water (for discretion) and flushing. These futuristic items, often referred to as washlets (the trade name of industry leader Toto’s model), have been sold in Japan since 1980. At the last count more than 80 per cent of Japanese homes had one and international brands and buyers have caught on. However, particularly for foreign users, the confusion over the array of ablution options is only exacerbated by different brands using their own symbols to indicate what they are. Thankfully the nine members of the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association have finally come together to agree that, from April, they will all use the same eight icons. Isn’t that a relief?

From Monocle 24

Reinvention

Imagine founding and running a company for 30 years before losing it to forces largely out of your control. After licking your wounds, what do you do next? We ask Roger Saul, founder of iconic UK luxury brand Mulberry. His career move involved a luxury hotel, an electric-car project, an organic-food brand and a designer outlet village that’s attempting to reinvent the retail business model.

From Monocle Films

Womenswear heroes

In a saturated market it can be hard to find original fashion that doesn't scream or shout. In 2014 Monocle Films visited a trio of womenswear designers in London, Brussels and Copenhagen that were daring women to dress differently. All three share a strong sense of identity and an uncompromising eye for detail.

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