Thursday. 20/6/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Jamie Waters

A certain je ne sais quoi

Over the past few years, Paris has gradually swallowed Milan, London and New York when it comes to men’s fashion weeks. A major reason behind the dominance of the French capital, where shows run until this Sunday, is LVMH. In defiance of the general industry trend to stage co-ed catwalks during womenswear weeks, the luxury conglomerate has put its money behind men’s-only Paris shows by its brands, which include Louis Vuitton, Berluti, Loewe and Celine. That means lots of big advertisers showing, which means international press and buyers, which means up-and-coming brands from across the world flocking to the city.

It’s no bad thing, in that it gives this week a dynamism and clout to rival the more famed women’s fashion weeks. And, as the industry necessarily increases its focus on sustainability, perhaps for some it feels logical to gather in one place for one banner menswear showcase, as opposed to flying to four or more cities each season. At least for the moment, it seems that the future of fashion weeks for menswear resides in Paris.

Environment / Canada

Slippery slope?

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has approved the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Upon completion the pipeline will carry about a million barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta’s oil field to Burnaby, British Columbia. The news has prompted uproar from environmental groups that say such an investment in fossil fuels flies in the face of the government’s ambition to combat climate change. The pipeline is anticipated to earn CA$500m (€334m) a year of annual federal corporate tax revenue and Trudeau has pledged that the sum will go towards clean-energy projects (although details are scant so far). With his chances of re-election seemingly on shaky ground, this will do little to improve Trudeau’s standing.

Law / Global

Trial and error

An independent judiciary is vital to any democracy. When courts and judges act on the orders of those in charge of a country, presidents and prime ministers suddenly get ideas about abolishing term limits, curbing press freedoms and cracking down on dissent. The new edition of quarterly magazine Index on Censorship shows that such behaviour is becoming more widespread. “We are seeing this as a growing trend around the world,” Rachel Jolly, the magazine’s editor, told The Briefing. “We are interested in what the freedom of the media, therefore, is. If journalists don’t have lawyers that will turn out for them or stand up for them in court, then they are very weakened.” On the watchlist? Brazil, Turkey and Russia.

Design / UK

Easy cell

Furniture has to work hard in prisons: conditions are cramped and budgets are tight, while designs must be sturdy enough to withstand constant use (and occasional abuse). But Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service has decided that the interiors of their institutions in England and Wales should make life better for inmates. It has enlisted final-year students from London’s Central Saint Martins to take part in the Cell Furniture project. They have created a range of prototypes that reimagine furniture in prison, including makeshift gyms, flame-retardant cushions and seats that function as storage units. The hope is that the designs will be manufactured by prisoners themselves, providing them with vocational skills.

Urbanism / Copenhagen

Dream team

Banning cars to make congested urban areas more appealing to pedestrians and cyclists is an idea supported by many mayors. Copenhagen – already a global leader in this movement – is the latest city to consider such a measure as a means of reducing pollution and traffic-related accidents. This week Danish design firm Gehl revealed a plan, in collaboration with amusement park Tivoli Gardens: to create a recreational pedestrian and cycle-only space – about twice the size of an American football field – on Vesterbrogade, one of the city’s busiest roads. The plan includes an 18-storey hotel designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and it’s not the first time the two firms have worked together: they are also designing a housing project for some of Copenhagen’s low-income residents. It’s a power couple most city authorities would love to call upon. And a footnote: Jan Gehl, the founder of Gehl Architects is a speaker at the Monocle Quality of Life Conference next week.

M24 / The Entrepreneurs

Christian Meier, The Service Course and La Fábrica Girona

Former cyclist Christian Meier retired at his peak to focus on his passion for coffee. He now runs La Fábrica Girona with his wife Amber, and The Service Course, which is often cited as the world’s best bike shop.

Monocle Films / Italy

Speciality retail: Verona

This Italian city has a long tradition of typography – and the business still has a story to tell. Letterpress workshop-cum-store Lino’s & Co updates old machines with 3D-printed movable type.

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