Colette closes its doors on 20 December and, for its last hurrah, Paris’s favourite concept store is collaborating with one of the city’s best fashion houses: Saint Laurent. The luxury label has taken over the first floor of Colette’s Rue St Honoré shop, filling the space with an eclectic mix of products designed especially for the occasion, ranging from slogan hoodies and wallets to cameras and a motorbike. Today the brand will also unveil an exhibition: the walls have been mounted with images by Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. They show model Anja Rubik in various states of undress and combine photography with painting. It’s only fitting that customers get used to buying Saint Laurent products from 213 Rue St Honoré: it will take over the space permanently and turn it into a flagship store once Colette moves out.
Swiss watchmaker Mondaine rolled into train stations across Switzerland in 1986 when its honest, easy-to-read wall clock – an update on compatriot Hans Hilfiker’s 1944 design – became the “Official Swiss Railways Clock”. But it has not rested on its laurels: seven decades on from Hilfiker’s original, Mondaine’s creative mechanism is still ticking away and the company has launched a contemporary variant for the home. The crisp, reliable design remains untouched but the clock does connect to smartphones and tablets via the custom-made Mondaine app, adjusting time automatically (no more fidgety finger-winding come summertime) and even measuring room temperature. “We work with the original 1944 drawings,” Mondaine CEO Andre Bernheim tells Monocle. “Even today they’re simple, young and timeless. That’s what makes good design.” It’s not reinventing the wheel but it is giving a time-honoured creation a nudge into the modern living space.
Recipe books make apt Christmas gifts but Karen Mordechai’s duo of tasteful new titles arrive in stocking-bursting proportions. Simple Fare: Spring and Summer and Simple Fare: Fall and Winter are a delicious pair of books from the talented soul behind Sunday Suppers, a New York-based dinner club and forum that turned out a smart cookbook of the same name back in 2014. Each book contains 68 simple and seasonal dishes: think crispy chicken with garlic toast or roasted carrots over smoked-ricotta toast. The books’ vast size makes use of artful and indulgently oversized close-ups: variously of glistening pasta, flame-licked apricots or cream-dolloped banana bread. The result? A feast for the eyes and a tactile delight, these books are as handsome as they are handy.
Don’t worry if the cold nights have had you tucked up and zooming through your current Netflix favourites like nobody’s business; the streaming service has hit us with another scoop of seasonal Gothic creepiness. Dark is set against the backdrop of the mysterious disappearance of two children in a German forest (and that’s about as much cute Hansel and Gretel-ishness as you’re getting) and then, of course, the plot thickens like blood. There are secrets, small-town histories slowly revealed and – it’s back – time travel. Where Stranger Things was cosy like the 1980s and creepy like Stephen King, Dark is gritty like Nordic noir and strange like folk horror. The first entirely German production on Netflix is your next fix.
Staircases can trigger conversations, provide a sense of arrival and dazzle with ingenuity, so why are they often overlooked?