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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 28 September 2017

Diplomacy

Image: Shutterstock

Saudi smokescreen

Women in Saudi Arabia have been granted the right to drive but is this nothing but a ploy to distract the world from the kingdom’s unsavoury behaviour?

The world has rightly celebrated Saudi’s sudden decision to overturn its entrenched ban on women driving. Yet we must also take a step back here: it was announced with much fanfare at the United Nations at a moment when Saudi’s activities during its ongoing war in Yemen are being scrutinised. Also in recent months we’ve seen reports of Saudi PR hubs being set up in London, Moscow and Berlin in a bid to mend the country’s troubled image. Canning the ban, of course, is common sense and a good move by the kingdom but it’s also an attempt at a PR ruse. Saudi mores may be slowly shifting but the country is still mired in an underreported proxy war.

Fashion

Image: Shutterstock

A new chapter

Givenchy and Chloé will debut collections by their newly appointed creative directors.

At Paris Fashion Week, the mood of the spring/summer 2018 season is about fresh starts. Yesterday Lacoste celebrated its 85th anniversary by returning to its hometown for the first time in a decade: its mixed-gender show had models in trainers, tomato-red tracksuits (for men) and V-neck cricket jumpers (for women). It was to be expected, given the industry’s current obsession with sportswear but of course this is also a part of Lacoste’s heritage. The rest of the event, which ends on Tuesday, will see much-anticipated design debuts from Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy and Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé. In the past year Gucci and Balenciaga have shown how a new creative head can reinvigorate a house so Givenchy and Chloé will be hoping that their new directors can offer a little extra kick.

Transport

Blue is the new black

Tokyo’s new taxis, designed by Toyota, are due to hit roads next month.

London has its iconic black cabs and Tokyo will soon have its own take. The blue cab is designed by Toyota and has a hint of the classic London hackney cab in its broad silhouette. It’s designed to have more legroom than the current Tokyo taxi, the Crown Comfort and the fuel-efficient hybrid engine has attracted a ¥6bn (€45m) subsidy from the city government. The new indigo-coloured taxis, first shown as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show back in 2013, will be introduced as early as next month and will eventually account for a fifth of the 50,000 taxis on the streets of Tokyo.

Transit

Image: Alamy

Managing expectations

Will New York’s metrics for subway performance create a strong incentive to improve travel times?

New Yorkers have long grumbled about the state of their subway system and it’s become a political hot potato as the governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo and city mayor Bill de Blasio blame each other for the system’s ills. Now the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the network, has unveiled a new set of performance metrics that is causing fresh controversy. Gone are some of the parameters, such as trains’ on-time performances, in favour of others that paint the subway in a more favourable light. While trying to spin stats isn’t to be condoned – and the subway clearly has some profound problems – any system that remains relatively affordable and is truly 24 hours isn’t to be sniffed at.  

From Monocle 24

Five years of ‘Quartz’

The Entrepreneurs

Kevin Delaney is editor in chief of ‘Quartz’, a popular digital news outlet founded five years ago. Since then it has launched ‘Quartz India’ and ‘Quartz Africa’, made a pioneering mobile app and has just published its first book. So what’s the secret to its success? Delaney joins us in the studio to share what he’s learnt.

From Monocle Films

Speciality retail: Prague

Prague butcher Nase Maso has married traditional know-how with contemporary design to create a culinary destination in the Czech capital. This month’s specialist retailer tells us about his special cuts and meaty passions.

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