The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 15 March 2018

Urbanism

Image: Shutterstock

United front

The latest from Mipim: city leaders – with Paris at the helm – are teaming up to increase resilience in the face of climate change.

At Mipim in Cannes, cities are coming together in more ways than one. A unifying issue is climate change. At the end of last year Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and chair of C40, a climate leadership group, launched Reinventing Cities, a global competition in partnership with 19 mayors to boost sustainability in urban centres. This week she sat on a panel with her Oslo counterpart and the deputy mayor of Milan to showcase the potential of this initiative. “We need innovation: ecological, social, technological and architectural,” Hidalgo told journalists after the panel. “Our cities are coming together in one project committed to solving issues, addressing climate change and building resilient and inclusive cities.” At this stage projects for 49 underused spaces from Paris to Portland have been put forward, with winners to be selected by early 2019. Among them is a carpark in Oslo and the Porte de Montreuil, a gateway to central Paris. The idea is for these projects to serve as global models and the French capital is keen to lead by example. “We are at the forefront of globalisation,” said Hidalgo. “We have to invest in solutions.”

Geopolitics

Image: Alamy

Tit for tat

As relations with Russia take a downward turn, the UK expels 23 Russian diplomats.

Tensions between Russia and the UK have reached boiling point. Following the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter with a nerve gas in Salisbury, England, UK prime minister Theresa May – acting on intelligence pointing the finger at the Kremlin – yesterday expelled 23 Russian diplomats, or “undeclared intelligence officers”, from the country. Malcolm Rifkind, who previously served as the UK defence secretary and foreign secretary, told Monocle that expelling the Russian officials “is absolutely right and proper”, calling the use of nerve gas on UK soil an “attack”. Rifkind added that the reaction from the Russian Embassy in London over the matter has been disgraceful. “Instead of expressing real shock at what has happened, they’ve sent out tweets mocking and joking about it,” he said. For more from Malcolm Rifkind, listen to the latest episode of The Monocle Daily on Monocle 24.

Aviation

Image: Getty Images

Cloudy outlook?

If Norwegian Air is to make a success of its foray into Canada it will do well to ignore the precedents.

Norwegian Air has announced it will launch routes between Canada and continental Europe this summer, making it the latest airline to compete for the Canadian dollar as the country’s commercial aviation sector continues to open up. There is a dearth of ultra low-cost carriers in Canada, largely due to convoluted foreign-ownership laws, which were partly relaxed last year, and some of the highest airport taxes anywhere in the world. This has long meant that the sector is dominated by large national carriers or by smaller airlines catering to specific markets or regions. Attempting to diversify the country’s aviation offering makes economic sense but low-cost air travel here has regularly failed to take off. Norwegian Air will have to target its offerings carefully if it is to ascend in a traditionally turbulent sector of Canadian air travel.

Fashion

Image: Shutterstock

First resort

Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo creates a range of resort wear with the help of some heavyweight German design.

The fashion press descended on Uniqlo’s Tokyo headquarters yesterday for a first glimpse of the brand’s upcoming collaboration with Tomas Maier. Uniqlo asked the German designer – who spends much of his time at his studio in Palm Beach, Florida – to produce a resort-wear collection, a first for the Japanese fashion giant. Maier presented an upbeat show that blended his understated design and Uniqlo’s clever mix of natural and technical fabrics: delicate cotton blouses, heavier-cotton safari jackets, towelling tops and shorts (a fresh take on Uniqlo’s summer Airism fabric), light cashmere sweaters and quick-dry swimwear for men and women. Maier, who is creative director for Bottega Veneta in addition to designing his own label, said afterwards that he shops at Uniqlo for staples and admires its approach of making clothes that are “well designed and built to last despite being inexpensive”. The new resort collection will be in shops and online from 18 May.  

From Monocle 24

How to rebrand

The Entrepreneurs

Breathing new life into a brand can be a difficult undertaking. From changing a logo, to overhauling the business focus, rebranding can make or break established names and struggling enterprises. We ask Pentagram’s Paula Scher to give us her top tips for revamping a brand and have Maurus Fraser of Winkreative walk us through his favourite rebranding projects. We also talk to the duo who have reimagined British eyewear manufacturer Kirk Originals, and a Viennese entrepreneur who has rescued an obsolete watch brand.

From Monocle Films

Bermuda: A Monocle travel guide

Monocle Films partners with Bermuda Tourism to uncover the secrets of this tropical island territory. With exciting start-ups, new developments and increasing visitor numbers, this exotic destination is on the up.

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