Friday. 20/9/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Tyler Brûlé

Forgive and forget

It’s a well-known fact that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau likes to play dress-up. Remember the family trip to India where every photo opp had someone posing in traditional Indian dress? So it’s not terribly surprising that a younger Justin donned robes and dark make-up nigh on 20 years ago when he was trying to find his way in the world. And in this hyper-sensitive era we’re living through, it’s also not all that surprising that this is being blown completely out of proportion. It’s certainly not worthy of being a lead item on the front pages of news outlets that should know better. Does this story have merit because Canadians are heading to the polls? For sure. Should this be turned into an issue that makes Trudeau unfit to govern? Absolutely not. To be clear, there are plenty of other reasons where he’s proven he’s no longer the PM the nation needs.

Was Justin in the wrong back then? Should he have known better? If we’re talking about what passes for acceptable in these brittle times, is it appropriate to place a 2019 lens over an action that was generally seen as normal party conduct two decades ago? Maybe it’s time for a statute of limitations for such incidents, as the cultural-appropriation bar is constantly on the move and it has become very difficult to know when you might lose your post because a Maori-inspired tattoo, padding around in fringed moccasins or wearing Lederhosen is suddenly deemed offensive.

Monocle has long advocated shifting to an era of toning down on the intolerance, learning there’s a time to laugh things off and moving on. And, most importantly, understanding that forgiveness is an essential tool in diplomacy and the advancement of humankind.

Environment / The US

Road rage

President Trump’s fundraising visit to the US West Coast this week was something of a car crash, leaving questions that are likely to rumble on for months. To round off a series of events for donors, the US president announced that he would revoke the state of California’s authority to set its own vehicle-emission standards, cueing up a clash of state and federal powers. “The administration is trying to block any state from pursuing a standard on emissions stricter than that set by the federal government,” says Scott Lucas, professor of international relations at the University of Birmingham. On Wednesday both California governor Gavin Newsom and the state’s attorney-general Xavier Becerra vowed to take legal action to block the move. Trump says that less-strict emissions standards will stimulate car manufacturing in the US – but it’s a murky outlook for climate activists.

Architecture / Paris

Lukewarm welcome

Tomorrow marks the beginning of France’s Journées du Patrimoine, an annual event that has long allowed visitors a peek inside historic city-centre sites – or at least, it used to. This year security measures have been tightened and certain venues, including a police headquarters and the Ministry of Education and Agriculture, won’t open as usual.

Other sites have insisted that visitors sign up in advance. The reason? A planned gilets jaunes protest also taking place in Paris this weekend. “These measures seem like a slight overreaction,” says Philippe Marlière, professor of French and European Politics at UCL. “When violence has taken place in the past, it happened on the street [and] between heavy-handed police and demonstrators. The gilets jaunes claim to be the voice of the people and have everything to lose if they’re seen misbehaving in public buildings.”

Design / London

Tailored content

Taking cues from Milan’s Salone del Mobile, London Design Festival (LDF) is making an impressive attempt to temporarily turn the UK capital into a mecca for appreciators of international design. When we had a look around LDF’s popular London Design Fair (which opened yesterday in a repurposed brewery and runs until Sunday), the global scope of the annual event impressed. A particular highlight is a showcase of Uruguay’s growing industrial design scene, curated by London-based Uruguayan designer Matteo Fogale. Here emerging Montevideo brand Estudio Tosca is drawing on materials more commonly seen in the city’s tourist souvenirs and applying them to sophisticated candle holders and clocks. While LDF and its scope widens each year, the intimate scale of its various events (many free to the public) continue to provide great platforms for young foreign talent – something we’re always happy to see in London.

Fashion / Milan

New look

Milan Fashion Week, which runs until Monday, remains anchored around the big names of Italian fashion: Prada, Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci. While these houses continue to set the benchmark for Italian luxury, there is fresh blood to be found in Milan too. Bottega Veneta, which showed last night, is now headed by young UK designer and Central Saint Martins graduate Daniel Lee; it is one of the industry’s most talked-about brands. This weekend, between attending shows by Gucci and Ferragamo, Monocle’s fashion team will visit the showrooms of a few fresher independent brands too. There’s Zanini, the understated womenswear label by industry veteran Marco Zanini; Blazé Milano, a striking tailoring brand run by three friends; and Alanui, with its signature chunky knits. And even though it’s women’s fashion week we’re squeezing in a visit to Doppiaa, one of our favourite up-and-coming names in menswear; you’ll be glad we tipped you off.

M24 / Monocle on Design: Extra

Exploring the city

Ahead of our full report from the event, we speak to Ben Evans, co-founder and director of London Design Festival, about how temporary spaces can inspire lasting change in a city’s design outlook.

Monocle Films / Amsterdam

Speciality retail: Amsterdam

The colourful collection of jars with pickles and fermented food pulls customers through the front door of shop-cum-bistro Thull’s.

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