We all know that sex sells. But selling sex in the current climate is a delicate balancing act. Such is the predicament faced by Tom Ford, who has built a $1.5bn (€1.3bn) brand by offering an image that is as sensual as it is polished. “I mean, sure, I have to be very conscious when I do things now,” the designer and film-maker tells Monocle. “Before… I put a guy and a girl in handcuffs and had her pull down his pants and [him] spank her with a crocodile whip and I didn’t even think about it. Now I think about it. I may still do it – but at least I’ve thought about it.” For more of Ford’s thoughts on the challenges facing luxury brands, why he’d never work for someone else and why life is painful, read the interview in the October issue of Monocle, out now.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership has been built on the promise of infrastructure mega-projects. None is as ambitious as the much-touted Istanbul Airport, costing some $36bn and due to open on 29 October, a symbolic date chosen by Erdogan due to it coinciding with Republic Day. But it’s running severely behind. It’s been suggested that the financial model for its construction – using funding from private companies – has come up short. Indeed, for Hannah Lucinda-Smith,The Times’s Turkey correspondent who spoke to Monocle 24, there are “questions as to whether there is a hole in the books”. With the airport expected to accept an enormous 200 million passengers a year, Erdogan will be hoping it gets wrapped up quickly; tourism figures are booming largely due to the weak lira.
Tokyo is undergoing a department-store renaissance. This week, Takashimaya Co opened a lavish annexe at its flagship store in the city’s Nihonbashi district with 110 new shops and restaurants as well as a yoga studio and roof terrace. With retailers including Tomorrowland, sportswear shop Neutralworks and The North Face, the new building is designed to attract younger people to an area that’s known for its older demographic. Crowds were already piling in yesterday – good news for neighbouring shop Mitsukoshi, which is undergoing its own multi-million-dollar makeover. With sales at Takashimaya’s Nihonbashi store reaching ¥134bn (€1bn) last year and ¥155bn (€1.2bn) at Mitsukoshi, the stakes are high.
“It is more important than ever to listen to the voices of our global society,” says Carla Fernández – one half of the pair enlisted to create the graphic identity of Design Miami’s December 2018 fair. The Mexico City-based duo of Fernández and Pedro Reyes aren’t holding back: they plan to take inspiration from the protest signs, posters and ephemera of the famous student-and-worker uprising in Paris that occurred 50 years ago. Today awarded Design Miami’s 2018 Visionary award, the designers will also display politically inspired works that Fernández says reflect the pair’s “ongoing commitment to action and social change”.
We visit a monthly market in the unassuming Somerset town that’s proving easy sell to locals, buoying local businesses and luring in punters from miles around.
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