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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 6 April 2017

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Teed off

Trump and Xi should get into the swing of things – as long as golf isn’t on the agenda.

Donald Trump welcomes his Chinese counterpart to his Florida golf resort today but what must Xi Jinping be thinking? He hates golf, he arrives at Mar-a-Lago after his regional rival Shinzo Abe and the last time there was a new US president the “G2” leaders met in neutral London on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. Xi’s decision to attend could be a return gesture for the US’s climbdown on Taiwan – Trump caused consternation in Beijing when he accepted a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s president Tsai but he has since backed away from initial threats to change his country’s stance on the “One China” policy. That behaviour fits a pattern: Trump has been critical on social media about Chinese trade and its stance on North Korea but, when push comes to shove, he has been more conciliatory towards China. Expect more agreements than disagreements at Mar-a-Lago – unless, that is, Trump suggests hitting the fairways.

Politics

Image: PA Images

Unusual suspects

The outliers vying for the French presidency have pushed conventional parties out of the running.

France’s presidential election has been dominated by outsiders. Far-right contender Marine Le Pen has consistently polled highly enough to reach the second round, while in recent weeks the centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron has become the overwhelming favourite to win. Now a third outsider is making waves. Hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon was deemed the winner of Tuesday night’s debate and a recent poll even suggested he could come third when the vote takes place on 23 April. All of this leaves France’s traditional parties of left and right fighting it out for fourth place, an astonishing decline for the established powers that have dominated the country’s politics since the end of the Second World War.

Design

Image: Andrea Mariani

Developing plans

Salone del Mobile hails young designers as the future of the industry – as people tire of the old names.

Judging by their size and height, the gigantic stands of furniture-makers may well convey that it’s the Italian heavyweights who rule the roost at Salone del Mobile. But many of the visitors to the Fiera in Milan are here to scope out new talent and the fair has taken note. Turning 20 this year, the Salone Satellite is an area dedicated to emerging designers and never has it been in the spotlight as much as this year. “We have to grow Salone Satellite because young designers are the future,” says Claudio Luti, president of Salone del Mobile. Competition to grab booth space at Salone is famously fierce but an appearance at Salone Satellite is almost always worth the gamble. For instance, Sebastian Herkner, who exhibited at Satellite up until 2010, is now working for the likes of Dedon alongside acclaimed designers such as Barber & Osgerby. With a special exhibition dedicated to those designers who have made it big after Satellite, the fair seems to have understood the importance of maintaining a breeding ground of talent here in its heart.

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

New goals

Ralph Lauren needs to attract younger customers – can it widen the polo field?

Like other historic US fashion houses, Ralph Lauren is at a crossroads. Amid slumping sales, the king of prep has announced the closure of around 50 shops across the globe, including its high-profile Polo flagship in Manhattan. The house has suffered from an inability to connect with younger buyers. “They need to think about where they’re going with the brand: how to make it so that 20 to 30-year-olds want to walk around wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt,” says Fflur Roberts, global luxury manager at Euromonitor. Perhaps the label could look to Calvin Klein, which has upped its fashionability by appointing a big-name creative director in Raf Simons and overhauling its branding. Or, as looks likely given that it has announced it will continue to roll out branded cafés and bars, it could pursue other forms of retail entirely. “Lots of brands are opening cafés and restaurants; it’s the way the retail industry is going,” says Roberts.

From Monocle 24

How to ace an interview

The Entrepreneurs

In a former life, Robin Roberts studied zoology, was an officer in the British army and spent two decades at an executive search firm. It was then that he saw qualified executives consistently mess up job interviews. Robin decided to launch a company called ‘Rehearse it!’, staffed with theatre professionals, to help people prepare for critical moments in their careers. Robin and his casting director Michele Leach explain the story of 'Rehearse it!' and share their top interview tips.

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