Monday 4 July 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 4/7/2022

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Natalie Theodosi

Side hustles

After three weeks on the road attending menswear fashion shows, I’ve been asked countless times about new seasonal trends and what to wear this summer (the answer: designers are turning their focus to well-made, timeless clothing). But a different kind of trend is also emerging in the industry: brands are demonstrating an increasing appetite to expand beyond fashion.

It might sound counterintuitive but it makes business sense. With lockdowns now largely behind us, companies need to diversify revenues and rebuild connections with customers in the physical world. It’s why Gucci tapped Giorgio Bargiani, The Connaught Hotel’s mixologist, to create a pre-mixed cocktail to sell in stores and at its new Florentine bar, Gucci Giardino 25. “Personalisation is now the ultimate luxury,” Bargiani tells me. “Whether we’re talking about a five-star hotel, fashion or art, everything becomes more appealing when it gives you access to something unique, an experience that can’t be bought. Hospitality – bartending in my case – can help to create that.”

In the same spirit, watch-maker Jaeger-LeCoultre is offering tasting experiences with star mixologist Matthias Giroud, who created several non-alcoholic cocktails inspired by the nature surrounding the brand’s manufacturing headquarters. Missoni and Etro, meanwhile, are doubling down on their home collections; they are now as keen to dress their customers’ tables as the customers themselves. And accessory designer Rosh Mahtani’s recent summer pop-up sold as many hearty pasta dishes and Selekt spritz cocktails as her label Alighieri’s signature gold-plated jewellery and espadrilles.

Those who get diversification right will end up with healthier bottom lines and loyal customers. A case in point is Danish brand Ganni, which has been shaking up its fashion offer with photography, art and interiors projects for years. According to Reuters, the company is now up for sale and could fetch up to $700m. From interiors to hospitality, there are plenty of options for fashion brands seeking to broaden their scope.

Natalie Theodosi is Monocle’s fashion editor.

Image: Getty Images

Diplomacy / Ukraine

Recovery and reform

The challenges facing Ukraine before Russia invaded on 24 February were immense but different: they largely involved reforming a still-young democracy that was plagued by corruption. The country’s modernisation effort has been supported by a series of annual international conferences since 2017 and this year’s iteration in Lugano, Switzerland, had long been in the calendar for today. In recent months the Ukraine Reform Conference has inevitably been rebranded as the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC) but Switzerland’s president, Ignazio Cassis, says that the goals haven’t changed as much as you might think. Rather than an international donor conference – the G7 bloc of nations announced plans for a separate event of this kind last week – this year’s URC will remain focused on reform. The goal is to help make Ukraine’s government and institutions fit for the major reconstruction effort to come after the war and build on the knowledge and best practices of other cities and nations that have faced rebuilding efforts.

Tune in to Monocle 24 for coverage of the Ukraine Recovery Conference, listen to our series throughout this week on lessons from other cities and pick up a copy of Monocle’s June issue for a report on how Ukraine can rebuild itself.

Image: James Mollison

Business / Global

Broadly speaking

Many will have been dismayed by the recent news that Sheffield Hallam University has become the latest institution to cut its English literature degree over a lack of government funding for so-called “soft” subjects. But this approach to education, assigning “low” and ‘‘high” economic values to courses, is far from universal. Students of the Il Sasso Italian language school in Tuscany’s Montepulciano are leaning into lifelong learning. The school, one of three novel language institutions profiled in the July/August issue of Monocle magazine, caters mostly to Anglophones across a range of ages. It includes retirees looking for ways to enrich their remaining years over aperitivo-ordering classes and trips to farmers markets, and people such as Rebecca Mason, who says that she quit her technology marketing job and moved to Italy to improve her language skills. “I had everything going for me in Sydney and this amazing job,” she says. “But is that all there is?”

Read more about the immersive language schools taking learning outside the classroom by picking up a copy of the July/August issue of Monocle from newsstands or subscribe today.

Image: Elizabeth Carababas/Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Art / USA

It’s showtime

This year a healthy cohort of high-profile art galleries have launched or announced plans for new outposts in Los Angeles. First, Pace opened a showroom on La Brea in April, then David Zwirner said that he will inaugurate a three-building complex in early 2023. Lisson shared similar news and Hauser & Wirth has unveiled plans for a second LA gallery coming this autumn. The latest to take the plunge is Carpenters Workshop Gallery (CWG), originally from London, which opened a new international offshoot in the WeHo neighbourhood last week. “We had a pop-up in San Francisco for two years that gave us a foothold on the West Coast but LA is more suited to what we do,” co-founder Julien Lombrail tells The Monocle Minute. CWG kicked off its programming with organism-shaped furniture fashioned in concrete by Nacho Carbonell. Lombrail says that the gallery’s “functional art” has found a hungry audience: “There’s a great appetite for what we do on that border between art and design.”

Image: Sean Marc Lee

Urbanism / Global

Smart suggestions

The UN’s biennial World Urban Forum has wrapped up in Katowice, Poland, with civic leaders and diplomats given a host of recommendations to action in their metropolises. Summarised in the UN’s World Cities Report 2022, politicians were reminded that urbanisation was only temporarily delayed by the pandemic, with the global urban population expected to grow by 2.2 billion people by 2050. Keeping cities attractive as they continue to grow involves planning for informal economies, bringing in nature and pushing for higher-density living. With many cities already implementing these ideas, Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak of Poland’s Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, pushed for better knowledge-sharing between cities. “I urge everyone to follow the report’s recommendations,” she said. “It talks about coherent policy and co-ordinated urban planning, which is extremely important.” Her call is a reminder that no city is an island; sharing civic know-how is key to building a better world.

Image: MAO Slovenia

Monocle 24 / Monocle On Design

Ljubljana Biennial

Our Balkans correspondent, Guy De Launey, visits the Slovenian capital for the world’s longest-running design biennial.

Monocle Films / Lisbon

Meet the Photographers: John Balsom

The Jogos da Lusofonia are an Olympics-style sporting event for people from the world’s Portuguese-speaking nations. We dispatched John Balsom – a photographer known for his powerful portraits – to the 2009 games in Lisbon. In our latest film, Balsom shares his memories of the assignment and how he captured such a fast-paced sports story on vintage film cameras. Discover more with The Monocle Book of Photography, which is available to buy now.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00