Thursday. 29/8/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Jamie Waters

In with the new

In the fashion world, autumn means a reset. It’s now that industry folk begin their whirlwind circuit of womenswear shows. It’s also the time when everyone packs away T-shirts and seersucker shorts and begins stocking up on long coats and layers in interesting materials. Many people mourn the fact that the mercury is beginning to dip and beach holidays are over. But for those of us who like clothes, autumn – and especially September – is prime time.

As we embrace the new season it’s worth reflecting on how the industry is faring. At Monocle we’re interested in great design talents, of course, but also in the business of fashion. In the fourth and final issue of our Autumn Fashion Special newspaper we profile markets that are ripe for opportunity, such as high-end childrenswear and well-made uniforms. We also take a clear, sharp look at the biggest topics. Everyone is talking about sustainability and customisation: we lift the lid on these movements by visiting Grailed, a dynamic player in the booming luxury-resale sector, and Glent, a technology-savvy bespoke shoemaker from Spain.

“Buying less but better” might now seem passé but we have always championed designers who create pieces that last; you can see some of our favourite styles in our outdoor-themed menswear shoot in the Swiss Alps, as well as our womenswear shoot. Plus: read about slow-fashion thinking in our interview with celebrated designer Marco Zanini, who has just launched his own brand. For this and more, our Autumn Fashion Special is on newsstands tomorrow.

Fashion / Paris

Born again

At the behest of LVMH, creative director Guillaume Henry – formerly of Carven and Nina Ricci – is reviving one of the grande dames of French fashion: Patou. Designer Jean Patou’s eponymous couture house, established in 1914, was once Coco Chanel’s biggest rival and dressed some of the best-known names of the day. But the label closed its doors with a final collection in 1987. LVMH bought the brand early last year and Henry is tasked with its reawakening. “Patou is like a ghost or a sleeping beauty,” he says. “It has been dormant for a generation. Nobody is waiting for it – nobody cares about it, let’s be honest. So the only thing to do was create a new scenario.” For more on Henry’s plans for Patou, pick up issue four of Monocle’s Summer Weekly.

Aviation / Russia

Three’s a crowd

For decades, France-owned Airbus and US-owned Boeing have enjoyed a duopoly in the aviation industry. Vladimir Putin wants to change that. At the Maks airshow on the outskirts of Moscow yesterday he unveiled the new 211-seat MC-21 passenger plane, produced by Russian manufacturer Irkut. The plane carries the hopes of Russia’s aviation industry; the 2011 launch of its predecessor, the Sukhoi Superjet (billed as the country’s first post-Soviet civilian plane), was dogged by technical faults. Can Russia now produce a viable commercial jet? The MC-21 has so far been beset by setbacks of its own, including the US sanctions that clipped the production of its carbon-composite wings. The intended 2021 rollout is far from a sure thing.

Fashion / New York

Equal opportunities

The main conference room of US menswear start-up Grailed overlooks a metaphor for the fortunes of physical retail: two empty shop fronts. As shops continue to suffer, Grailed is building a business around the fastest-growing sector in the industry: online clothing resale. This milieu has expanded 21 times faster than regular retail since 2016. Its website is a peer-to-peer platform (like eBay) that enables a youth audience to discuss, buy and sell high-end clothes – the company makes a tidy profit from charging 6 per cent on sellers’ income. But founder and CEO Arun Gupta is most impassioned by the business’s capacity to be an equaliser. “It’s meant to democratise access to these items,” he says in our sit-down interview.

Peace talks / Middle East

A line in the sand

The UN issued a statement on Tuesday warning that the political deadlock over the Middle East peace process could lead to a sudden upsurge in violence in the region. The unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine simmers on with no consensus on the UN’s two-state solution, which would see an independent state of Palestine formed to the west of the Jordan River. Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at the University of Bradford, agrees that the inertia could bubble over into increased violence. “What this statement says is that if you don’t get some sort of easing in tensions then there will be more violence, which the Israelis will put down with force,” he told M24’s The Briefing, “And this will not get us anywhere.”

M24 / Monocle on Design

Landscape architecture, a portrait

Architecture prizes are many but what about an award for the all-important spaces between buildings? We speak to the founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation to find out more. Plus: a look at the prints and textiles of William Morris, and a preview of the Design Biennale Zürich.

Monocle Films / Copenhagen and Mexico City

Future cities – mobilising change

Monocle Films travels to Copenhagen and Mexico City with Audi to see how cities and their citizens are facing the challenge of building sustainable mobility in urban settings.

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