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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 13 June 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Fundamental differences

Thai-Chinese relations will be further shaken this weekend as Southeast Asian leaders discuss economic co-operation.

With the historic meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un having drawn to a close in Singapore, another summit in Southeast Asia is getting ready to make waves. This weekend, leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand will gather in Bangkok for the eighth Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summit, a get-together designed to foster economic cohesion and development in the region. This year, the host nation has a plan that could put China’s nose out of joint. Thailand is expected to announce the forming of a new fund that would make the members less reliant on Chinese investment and freer of Beijing’s influence. China has invested heavily in the infrastructure development of Southeast Asian countries in recent years but the degree to which Asean nations rely on Chinese funds has clearly begun to irk some leaders in the area.

Fashion

Image: AKAstudio

Made to measure

Scandi brands are big at Italy’s Pitti Uomo this year and their marketing is perfectly tailored to the show’s discerning visitors.

Pitti Uomo the key menswear trade show taking place this week in Florence, has a decidedly Scandi flavour. One corner of the Futuro Maschile pavilion features a new exhibit called “Scandinavian Manifesto” an ode to Nordic menswear organised by Danish trade show Revolver Copenhagen. The area features 17 brands from the region, both big (Norse Projects, Filippa K) and small (Schnayderman’s from Stockholm, Organic Basics and Mfpen from Copenhagen). The dedicated area is a testament to the continued importance of Scandinavian design in the menswear market, while a special-edition paper produced by Stockholm-based magazine Scandinavian Man gives an insight into the values behind the apparel. “Scandinavian values such as sustainability and questioning the boundaries of masculinity form an inherent part of many of the brands,” says Konrad Olsson, the magazine’s editor in chief “The world is particularly susceptible to these things in this age of global uncertainty.”

F&B

Capital gains

London winery Blackbook may be pushed for space but it’s got a ready-made market right on its doorstep.

Making wine takes space but husband-and-wife duo Sergio and Lynsey Verrillo went against the flow when they set up Blackbook Winery in London’s built-up Battersea in 2017. Blackbook’s first 5,500-bottle batch is made with grapes from vineyards around southeast England, all within a two-hour drive of the winery. Despite the space constraints and the relative expense of making the stuff in London, the Verrillos see a thirsty market in the city’s many cafés, bars and restaurants. “London is [one of the] biggest wine market[s] in the world,” says Verrillo, a long-term staffer at the London vintner Philglas and Swiggot. “Over the past decade there’s been a shift from big oaky Californian chardonnays towards lower-alcohol wines. I like the challenge and see the potential in cool-climate, still wines. I want to be part of it,” and in the thick of it, it seems.

Art and design

Setting the tone

To get people in the mood for Art Basel, Switzerland has held two awards to promote its country’s creative talents.

As a precursor to Art Basel this week, the Federal Office of Culture staged the Swiss Art awards and Swiss Design awards to promote talent born or based in the country. A jury awarded prizes in categories ranging from contemporary art, architecture and design as well as prizes for mediation – such as critiquing, publishing and exhibiting. Eleven and 17 winners emerged in the art and design awards, respectively. Among the winners were founders of Ticino-based YET Magazine, architecture research collective Ten, and photographers Michael Meier and Rico Scagliola. But the awards weren’t just reserved for the up-and-coming: scooping the Swiss Grand Award for Design was Felco, a family-owned manufacturer of gardening tools that has been producing its signature pruning shears for more than 70 years. An exhibition of all nominees’ work will be on show in Hall 3 at Art Basel until 17 June.

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