There’s no post-Christmas rest for the menswear industry: the autumn/winter 2019 season kicks off in the UK this weekend before hopping over to Italy and France. London is looking diminished this season (no Burberry, JW Anderson or Wales Bonner) but Florence’s Pitti Uomo and Milan seem fairly solid, while Paris remains strong. Brands are experimenting with how to present collections and there was a notable development at the end of 2018: Dior staged an elaborate pre-fall show in Tokyo, the first time a men’s interseasonal collection has been displayed with such fanfare. The move hinted at a potential splintering of menswear into four shows per year: autumn/winter, spring/summer; and two interseasonal collections by luxury brands. This would put more focus on big brands but, given the staid line-up for the forthcoming season, perhaps a shake-up is needed.
Eking out the final days of your Christmas holidays on the slopes of Switzerland’s Engadin region? For some alternative off-piste action, divert your attention to the valley’s most enticing new arts venue: Muzeum Susch. Its inaugural exhibition, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, opened this week and comprises Polish art collector Grazyna Kulczyk’s private works. As the title suggests, there is a degree of gender commentary to the art on display; meanwhile a key objective of the show is to give exposure to artists who miss out on the limelight. If it sounds like divine inspiration, the fact that it’s housed in a converted 12th-century monastery certainly won’t do any harm.
Israel and the US have officially relinquished their Unesco membership. Both countries cite what they perceive as the organisation’s anti-Israel bias as their reason for quitting the educational, scientific and cultural agency of the UN. The two countries have had a rocky relationship with the institution since it named Palestine as a member in 2011 and, in the process, recognised it as a state in and of itself. Shortly after, Israel and the US suspended funding: they are reported to owe $10m and $600m in unpaid dues respectively. In 2017 the US State Department said that, on leaving, it would remain a “non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise”. It is a lamentable step: political posturing is eclipsing efforts to preserve areas of cultural significance around the world.
Breathe, New Yorkers: the L-train apocalypse has been averted. The threatened (and dreaded) 15-month closure of a vital railway tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn, used by some 250,000 daily commuters, is no more. The shutdown was set to begin in April and the idea behind it was to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. However, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that innovative technology will instead be used to repair the tunnel on nights and weekends, without requiring its closure. While most are celebrating, many Brooklynites have already upended their lives in anticipation of the shutdown and details of the new plan’s cost and effectiveness are scant. Cuomo’s office doesn’t even control the MTA and there is speculation that he’s trying to avoid an infrastructure crisis before a 2020 presidential bid.
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