The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 20 January 2018

Design

Image: Getty Images

French fancies

Buyers are flocking to Paris to get their hands on the most exciting designs from up-and-coming brands.

Paris is always a chic city but this weekend it’s a bona fide design haven, overrun with designers (of fashion and interiors), buyers and journalists. Many are headed to the outskirts of the capital for Maison & Objet, one of Europe’s biggest design shows. The fashion pack, meanwhile, is running between shows across the city, starting with Sacai (pictured) this morning before continuing on to Études and Dior Homme. Yet many buyers will be sticking around Le Marais, visiting intimate showrooms dedicated to up-and-coming designers. One such space features the Australian brand Mantle, UK designer Nicholas Daley and Japanese label Class. “We see most of our international customers here and buyers from Japan; then we go to Tokyo to meet Tokyo-based shops,” says Larz Harry, co-founder of Mantle. Showing alongside other young designers benefits everyone: often buyers will come to visit one and then discover another.

Film

Image: Sundance

Star quality

Amazon and Netflix have brought out the big guns at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Will it pay off?

While most of us are desperately rushing to catch this year’s Oscar contenders as the awards season ramps up, critics and film-lovers over in Utah are settling in at Sundance and looking ahead to movies that might feature in 2019’s ceremony. Films launched at the festival in Park City are often tipped for commercial and critical success but the intriguing question is how well Amazon and Netflix projects will do, as the two technology companies establish themselves as stars in the cinematic firmament. Amazon Studios has brought together an impressive ensemble cast (Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill) for Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, while Netflix’s picture Private Life (directed by Tamara Jenkins, who was behind 2007’s The Savages) has also been the subject of pre-festival buzz. Certainly the pair are proving that they belong here.

F&B

Image: Getty Images

Spirited comeback

Distilled Chinese liquor Moutai may be in short supply but its maker sees a glass half full.

China’s leading spirit brand Kweichow Moutai Co is running out of liquor. Bottles of its signature spirit Moutai baijiu have seen a sudden spike in popularity, which has left the company struggling to keep pace with demand. Because the spirit is made exclusively with grain and water from the town of Maotai and then buried in urns for at least four years before it’s sold, the company’s stock is shrinking faster than it can be replenished. The shortage has only increased the liquor’s allure however, and demand has pushed Moutai’s market value up to more than €118bn, making it the world’s most valuable distiller. In order to increase profit even further, the company is now looking into diversifying by growing its e-commerce and agricultural arms, as well as its less-expensive baijiu line.

Art

Perennial palette

Bridget Riley’s new exhibition suggests that this abiding artist is still predictably brilliant.

A unique spirit of playfulness has defined the work of English artist Bridget Riley for more than 50 years – and it turns out that she catches the eye as strikingly as ever. Recent Paintings 2014-2017 is on until 10 March at London’s David Zwirner Gallery. Speaking at the opening this week, Riley explained how the engagement of the viewer informs her compositions. “What’s on the wall doesn’t define itself – it can’t. You have to know how to look. You are creating the work by looking; the viewers are my partners.” Whether it’s a triumphant reappearance of triangular forms in her “Quiver 3” mural or the mesmerising discs and spots of the “Measure for Measure” series, Riley displays a familiar mastery.

From Monocle 24

Matt Orlando’s food fight

The Menu

How the founder of Copenhagen’s Amass restaurants tackles food waste with innovation.

From Monocle Films

Portrait of a nation

Singapore is not used to letting people do whatever they want and thus it has been stuck with a moribund art scene. But the opening of the new National Gallery aims to change perceptions of the city-state both at home and abroad; Monocle takes a look at a fast-emerging art scene.

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