Friday. 27/9/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Jamie Waters

Yours sincerely

There have already been some spectacular runway sets at Paris Fashion Week so far. Saint Laurent took us to a sultry night-time catwalk beside the Eiffel Tower while Dior planted a lush garden inside the Hippodrome Longchamp. By contrast, Patou, a maison that has just been relaunched by LVMH, demonstrated the power of a quieter approach. Its presentation was held in the brand’s neo-gothic headquarters in Paris’s Île de la Cité.

Guests started in the downstairs atelier – surrounded by pattern-cuttings, sketches and sewing machines – before ascending the rickety staircase to a series of light-filled rooms to see the new collection. Guillaume Henry, the artistic director, talked through his designs, which are feminine and casual (plenty of denim, party dresses and nifty high-top trainers), and more affordable than most LVMH brands. Models milled around chatting and glasses of soda water and mints were served.

It will take more than one season to establish a concrete vision for the new Patou but this was a moment of calm, intimacy and clever brand-building amid the freneticism of fashion week. Industry insiders often debate the best way for brands to connect with audiences. Arresting runway shows are effective – yet, for a fledgling brand, here was a sincere and thoughtful alternative.

Politics / Spain

New party, same old problems

Íñigo Errejón, co-founder of Spain’s far-left Podemos party, will be running as the head of new party Más País in the country’s elections later this year. Errejon’s new party looks set to rival Podemos by filling the political space between the radical policies of the far left and the more moderate stance of prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists. The move further fragments the divided left-wing parties just six weeks ahead of the 10 November vote, which will be the fourth general election in as many years. “The arrival of Más País is likely to just spread out the Podemos vote,” says Dr Pablo Calderon Martinez, lecturer in Spanish democracy at New College of the Humanities in London. “The real question will be who is willing to form a coalition and support a minority government.”

Aviation / Argentina

More haste, less speed?

Shiny new airports are adverts for nations and symbols of their modernity – look no further than Singapore’s verdant new complex at Changi Airport or the touchdown of the Beijing Daxing mega-project that cost €10bn. Things can go the other way, of course. Argentina has been making headlines for the wrong reasons recently, from the possible return of a political populist (albeit as vice-president) to rampant inflation and currency controls.

The last thing it needed was for the international-departures terminal project at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza Airport to go wrong in what some have attributed to the rush for completion before October’s election. Earlier this week – within 24 hours of president Mauricio Macri speaking at the UN in New York – part of the “Zeppelin” structure collapsed, killing one worker and injuring several others. The country’s woes continue.

Logistics / New York

Late mail

Delivery drivers in New York better get used to the night shift. On Wednesday the city council approved a bill that, following a feasibility study, will require all deliveries to buildings owned by the city to be made overnight. The intention is to ease New York’s maddening congestion – average car speed in Manhattan is a lethargic 7.5km/h – by removing delivery vans and trucks from the roads during peak hours. It would also make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and fewer cars stuck in traffic would reduce emissions too. While the bill won’t yet apply to private businesses, the city hopes that they will eventually follow suit. New York, after all, is the city that never sleeps.

Business / Singapore

New life

“I wanted to contribute to the city,” says Karen Tan, reclining in a seat at The Projector cinema in Singapore’s modernist Golden Mile Tower complex. “[This is mainly] by creating a space that’s about openness and diversity.” Founded in 2010, Pocket Projects is a consultancy that Tan – a one-time investment banker in London – set up to safeguard and breathe new life into old, unloved and imperilled buildings. Who says that the best businesses are the ones with the fattest bottom-lines? Commerce, remember, can be creative and is about more than quick profits and fast returns. Monocle’s box-fresh new magazine, The Entrepreneurs, is jammed with ideas and inspiration about running better businesses, finding gaps and founding something you too can perfect, pass on and be proud of.

M24 / Monocle on Design

Extra: ‘A higher power’

In an increasingly secular society, designs for worship are changing to reflect the needs of parishioners, many of whom crave calm in busy cities. Monocle’s Design editor Nolan Giles takes a closer look at modern religious architecture.

Monocle Films / Bodrum

Boat builders of Bodrum

Monocle takes a trip to Turkey's Bodrum shipyards to watch the century-old skills that are still right at the heart of the peninsula's revered boat-making businesses.

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