The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 23 March 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Lip service

The Canadian PM wants more than words from Russia’s action man.

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has attempted to allay concerns of foreign interference in the country’s electoral process ahead of a general election next year in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations. “Canada has always had very strong electoral systems [and] we need to make sure they are kept up to date in holding off foreign meddling,” Trudeau said in response to Monocle’s question at a press conference in Toronto on Wednesday. “But there’s always room to do more.” When asked to assess Russia’s alleged role in foreign elections, Trudeau took an even firmer tone – a stark contrast to his counterpart south of the border. “President Putin needs to show that he wants to play a positive role in the international community,” Trudeau said. “Whether it’s questions around Nato, Syria [or] the Arctic, he needs to be a lot clearer in his actions, and not just his words.”

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

One to watch

An industry ‘soothsayer’ has foretold a bright future for the Baselworld watch fair despite competition from SIHH.

When Jean-Claude Biver speaks, watch-industry insiders tend to listen. The head of LVMH’s watch brands – a stable that includes Hublot, Tag Heuer, Zenith and several others – has been credited with single-handedly reviving the fortunes of many brands over the course of his career and is now treated as a sort of soothsayer. Yesterday, on the first day of Baselworld 2018, he was asked for his thoughts on the watch fair’s competition with SIHH. The rival event in Geneva has challenged Baselworld’s primacy in recent years by luring smaller brands – and some bigger ones too. “Even if brands have left Baselworld,” he said, “they account for only three or four per cent of global revenue [for the Swiss watch industry]. As long as Rolex, Swatch Group, Patek [Philippe] and LVMH are here, this will be the most important fair for the industry.” The sigh of relief from the Baselworld organisers was almost audible.

F&B

Image: Alamy

Market forces

New York’s much-loved Chelsea Market has been bought by Google but don’t expect any unwelcome changes.

While Google’s recent purchase of the Chelsea Market building on Manhattan’s western flank has attracted a lot of attention because of the price tag – the $2.4bn (€1.95bn) deal was finally solidified earlier this week – what of the market itself? Thankfully, there are no signs that the lower half of the building, which currently houses a swathe of restaurants and shops, will face an unwelcome overhaul. And what’s more, seller Jamestown (which will continue to manage that part of the building) has also retained an important asset: the branding and intellectual rights associated with the Chelsea Market name. This means that we could see the concept being wheeled out beyond the dense confines of Manhattan now that the company has the funds to expand. According to Jamestown, we can expect one or two new Chelsea Markets cropping up by the end of this year. We’ll toast (and eat, for that matter) to that.

Design

Lighting the way

From sharp light designs to smart software solutions, Frankfurt’s Light and Building trade show has been an illuminating showcase for the industry.

While many of the world’s biggest furniture brands have their teams rapidly assembling prototypes and press releases for the upcoming Salone del Mobile, others have been quietly reaping rewards at Frankfurt’s Light and Building biennial trade show, which wraps up today. With a more technical focus, the event showcased the best in lighting, electrical engineering and building advancements at the Frankfurt Messe. Quality design was also on full display with lighting brands showing off new releases. Spanish firms Santa and Cole and Marset made particularly strong showings – the latter’s new collection is daringly colourful. While there was an awe-inspiring array of bulbs, dimmers, switches and technological titbits to sift through, savvy designers and architects agree that this is an unmissable industry event in their calendar.

From Monocle 24

How to start from scratch

The Urbanist

We ask a man who had been tasked with building parts of London to tell us how he would build his ideal city if given the chance. Here’s the former chief planning officer of the City of London, Peter Rees.

From Monocle Films

Monocle preview: April issue, 2018

Get out your shopping bags and make room in your wardrobe: it's our fashion and retail special. Pore over our Style Top 50, meet the master menswear buyers, see what you make of US-made clothes and much more. And look sharp – the issue is out now.

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