The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 12 January 2019

Fashion

Image: Alamy

Must try harder

Milan needs to put in some serious legwork if it’s to attract brands – not to mention buyers – to its men’s fashion week.

Milan Fashion Week Men’s – which kicked off its autumn/winter edition last night with the Ermenegildo Zegna show and runs until Monday – has had a rough ride lately. It has suffered from marquee brands, including Gucci, showing men’s and women’s collections together during women’s fashion week, or jumping ship to the increasingly dominant Paris schedule. There are still some important brands showing here, including Prada, but many buyers who Monocle spoke to at Pitti Uomo (the Florence tradeshow that ran last week) are skipping Milan altogether this season, heading straight to Paris instead. “I’m not going to Milan for the shows,” Devin Winter – who’s a buyer for Portuguese luxury retailer Fashion Clinic – told us. “I’m going to Paris, where I’m interested to see Kris Van Assche’s debut show for Berluti and will have a packed schedule in the showrooms.” Italy’s fashion capital has work to do if it wants to keep attracting the numbers to its menswear gala.

Urbanism

Image: Alamy

People power

The transformation of Zürich’s Kreis 5 from undesirable to unmissable continues as the city asks residents what they want to see next.

In the early 2000s, Zürich-West in Kreis 5 was an industrial wasteland, a sprawl of disused factories and seedy nightclubs. The transformation of the former Löwenbräu Brewery into a cultural centre that brought in, among others, Hauser & Wirth and the Migros Museum set the ball rolling and helped turn the once undesirable neighbourhood into one of the most sought-after in the city. This week, authorities announced plans to turn the soon-to-be-vacant central laundry facility and an adjacent factory (both of which are relocating) into a temporary community hub until a new owner is found. Some CHF20m (€17.7m) will be invested in the 20,000 sq m space to turn it into a cultural destination; art and music shows, exhibitions and fitness facilities (such as climbing walls) could find a home here. But before final decisions are made, Zürich has made the smart decision to ask the public what the hub should contain. The city is, after all, for the people.

Technology

Image: Getty Images

Home comforts

Large screens, beer-making machines and smart toilets led the way at CES – all you need for a big night in.

As CES draws to a close in Las Vegas, several trends have become apparent. Firstly, big TVs are here to stay. Sony’s 98-inch 8K screen (with a resolution 16 times that of hi-definition sets) was welcomed and Samsung’s prototype 219-inch video wall wowed the crowds. But, when turned off, screens this big leave a black oblong dominating the room. To counter this, LG unveiled a rollable screen that slides down to be hidden in its aluminium base. Secondly, voice-activated gadgets are staying put. This year’s crop included an internet-enabled deadlock, the Kohler Verdera mirror, the Whirlpool smart countertop oven and the Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet, which features motion sensors, speakers and colour-changing lights to offer what the company is calling “a fully immersive experience”. Beyond that, Panasonic scored a hit with its latest Oled screen – complete with enveloping sound – Technics drew crowds with an update to its popular turntable for DJs and LG’s HomeBrew pods, which are to home-brewed beer what Nespresso is to coffee, got a lot of attention, though many reactions were somewhat sceptical.

Culture

Image: Alamy

City of dreams

Plovdiv in Bulgaria is hoping its designation as one of this year’s cultural capitals will help residents remember what they’ve got.

This weekend the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv – the country’s second-largest city that’s known for its ancient ruins and Roman amphitheatre – is hosting a series of events as the 2019 European Capital of Culture, a title it’s sharing with Matera in Italy. Today’s opening ceremony is expected to draw crowds of more than 30,000 to its cobblestone streets with music, dance and art events. “The title puts a location on the media’s agenda and helps locals recover the idea of their city’s progress,” says cultural commentator Peter York. While some are doubtful of the cultural-capital designation’s ability to tangibly turn things around for a city – particularly when it comes to second-tier ones – York thinks it encourages residents to value their assets. “We saw that with Glasgow in 1990: it was a real morale-booster and completely flipped the city’s narrative of lost 19th-century industry.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Mads Mogensen

Dining in the mountains

The Menu

A visit to an Alpine restaurant that has come up with a successful formula to attract skiers, Bettina Campolucci Bordo’s vegan tips and a Portuguese citrus farm trying to rescue rare fruit varieties.

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