The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 25 January 2017

Image: Luke MacGregor/Getty Images

Brexit logistics

The British Supreme Court’s ruling that parliament must vote on the terms of the nation’s exit from the EU will create a lot of heat in today’s British newspapers but in the long term it means very little. The vast majority of MPs have already committed to voting in favour of triggering Article 50, the mechanism that begins divorce proceedings. When a bill is introduced it will pass comfortably. But the over-the-top reaction of the most hard-line Brexiteers is worth noting. Their apocalyptic talk about “elites” refusing to listen to “the will of the people” is intended to silence all critics. While Britain may have voted to leave the EU, there is no agreement on how it should leave or what new arrangements with Europe should look like. This needs to be discussed – and discussed in an open and democratic manner.

Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Must do better

Donald Trump isn’t the only one who needs to be held accountable for his actions when it comes to race, women’s rights and LGBT issues. One of his primary adversaries, Hollywood, isn’t quite as liberal as it likes to think. While yesterday’s Oscar nominations revealed the Academy to be more diverse in its nods than it has been in previous years – all of the acting categories, as well as the best director category, saw at least one person of colour nominated – the list was still largely dominated by white people. What’s more, the gender wage gap is as pronounced in Hollywood as it is elsewhere and there are very few leading actors who are openly gay. While throwing stones at the White House is easy Hollywood should also be concerned with getting its own house in order.

Image: Sam Yeah/Getty Images

Choppy waters

British naval officials feeling faint over the idea of misfiring nuclear submarines should spare a thought for their counterparts in Taiwan. Repairs are expected to begin on a 71-year-old submarine called Sea Lion so that the Second World War-era US vessel can continue to be used to train Taiwanese submariners. Taiwan has been attempting to acquire new US submarines for years, only to be scuppered by China. The increasingly isolated island is now resorting to developing its own indigenous underwater deterrent, with president Tsai Ing-wen allocating more than €18m to upgrade the nation’s naval fleet. It could be an anxious wait as tensions with its large neighbour ratchet up a notch: Taiwan conducted its first military drills of the year last week after China sailed its aircraft carrier and several warships through the Taiwan Strait.

Image: Jonathan Philippe Levy

Warm welcome

It’s perhaps unsurprising that, more than 100 years after the first runway shows were staged in Parisian salons, the catwalk format is criticised for being outdated. Designers are forever exploring variations – snaking runways where everyone is in the front row, say, or productions involving dancers instead of models – but Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz might just have the answer. At the start of Paris’s haute couture shows, which run this week, Kayrouz put on an intimate showcase that pulled the audience into his world. For starters, guests could sit wherever they pleased. Then, rather than waiting behind the scenes and emerging only to take a bow at the end, as per the industry norm, Kayrouz joined his models in weaving between the audience members. “This time I was here to receive my guests and not to hide backstage,” he told Monocle. A warm, intimate display where everyone is equal and the designer interacts with those admiring his work – surely this is the blueprint for the future.

From Monocle 24

Image: Hugo Glendinning

Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings

It’s strange to think that between setting up her office in 1977 and building the now-fêted Vitra fire station in Weil-am-Rhein in 1993, Zaha Hadid didn’t complete a single structure. Instead she drew, painted and pondered. This productive period is the subject of a show at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London’s Hyde Park. We take a tour.

From Monocle Films

Cosy Homes: Hellerup Estate

In the first of two films to celebrate the publication of The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes we visit the residence of Knud Erik Hansen, managing director of Carl Hansen & Søn and grandson of the company's iconic founder. Hansen has transformed an impressive Danish estate into a comfortable family home, filling it with beautiful furniture and preserving the property’s charm.

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