The fashion-show format is in a state of flux and this past week two European players unveiled their new game-plans. Balenciaga intends to follow the cost-conscious lead of many other brands by combining its men’s and women’s shows. More interestingly, Acne Studios has decided to swap Paris Fashion Week for Couture Week, which also takes place in the French capital. Although the Swedish label will not be on the official schedule (the platform is usually reserved for fashion houses that create ornate bespoke designs) it joins a growing number of ready-to-wear brands that are showing at the same time as the high-luxury couture. The strategy could be a good fit. The January event occurs two months earlier than the ready-to-wear shows in March so brands can get their latest designs on the shelves when shoppers are stuffed with Christmas cash and in need of some retail therapy.
Depending upon whether you’re a serious collector or a curious weekending Floridian, Art Basel Miami Beach will either be winding down or just getting accessible. For the sake of argument let’s say you’re the former. So the bulk of the big sales were made on VIP Wednesday and it was up to the gallerists and their staff to find the best parties at which to celebrate another very good year for the fair. And many people found that party: Carsten Höller’s Double Club was a Miami reimagining of an exotic and thrilling nightclub that is half Belgian, half Congolese and fully rocking. Prada paid to make it happen – the best nightclub that will only ever do business for three nights. A little like a footprint in the South Beach sand.
Fancy a chair grown like a bone? If so, Design in the Digital Age, the first major US exhibition by Joris Laarman, is for you. For his show at the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, the Dutch designer has built a series of chairs generated by algorithms that imitate the growth and structure of bones. In this way, he manages to redesign this quotidian object in an innovative way. In another series, titled the Maker Chairs, Laarman recreates new versions of the iconic Panton chair with the help of the latest technology. The CNC-generated creations are then hand-finished and arrive flat-packed at your door. Laarman works to show that there’s no reason to fear the encroachment of digitisation. Technology doesn’t take the craftsmanship out of design, it simply reinvents it and allows for a fresh wave of creativity to lead the way in this new era of design. The exhibition is on at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, until 15 January.
Often the release of a new ruby-red restaurant guide by Michelin venerates the same clutch of starry western chefs. For proof see the French joint run by Joël Robuchon that scooped top honours in Singapore. The hot-off-the-press Thailand edition, however, contains an altogether more interesting take: 28 street-food stalls warranted inclusion while one, an unassuming wok-fried noodle joint named Jay Fai, scooped a star. The other worthy winners (including carbon-neutral Bo.Lan and Indian joint Gaggan) are just plain better choices than those tapped for stardom in the past. It’s a worthy portrayal of the breadth of culinary creativity and dearth of cynical and hastily transplanted chains. With any luck the recognition will help stem the still-raging (and foolish-in-the-extreme) debate about shutting down Thailand’s street-food stalls. Let them be. The restaurant scene is simmering along nicely.
Alastair Rae and James Shaw founded independent menswear label Albam in 2006. The brand, which focuses on utilitarian and versatile design combined with a high-quality craftsmanship, quickly found its niche between the high street and high fashion. In this episode, Alastair Rae reflects on the brand 11 years on.
Following the success of our summer weekly newspaper, we are bringing you a winter expedition into crisp white paper. For four weeks this December our festive newspaper will be hitting newsstands in cities and resorts around the world. Kick back with 48 pages of global affairs, comment and reportage, alongside new fiction and tasty recipes.
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