Friday 3 May 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 3/5/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Image: Nathalie Mohadjer

Fashion / Natalie Theodosi

Port of call

Cruise shows are among the fashion industry’s best-loved traditions. But Chanel has recently been reimagining the concept, using its destination shows as opportunities to invest in second-tier cities such as Manchester and Dakar. Yesterday the Parisian luxury house hosted its 2024/25 cruise show in Marseille. Though its location was close to home, Chanel’s decision to host it there surprised many of the visiting guests. “Why Marseille?” was the question that I kept hearing.

Chanel’s ties to the city were forged in 1989 with the opening of Maison Mode Méditerranée, a fund that supports designers, researchers and other professionals working in fashion and culture. Today there are many reasons for Chanel to rekindle its relationship with Marseille, which has become a magnet for creatives in search of sunnier lifestyles.

This year the house took over part of the Cité Radieuse apartment building, designed by Le Corbusier, for a rooftop runway show. The new collection by Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director, embodied the carefree Mediterranean spirit, with double denim, straw hats and crocheted cardigans casually thrown over swimsuits. What struck me was the effort put into celebrating all things Marseillaise. Off the runway, I got to peek into some of the building’s apartments, attend photography exhibitions featuring the work of Agnès Varda and Jamie Hawkesworth, and eat traditional panisse fritters served on hand-painted tablecloths by Marseille-based Adrien Vescovi. Le19M, Chanel’s Métiers d’art headquarters, also hosted a show highlighting the works of the city’s artists.

The fashion calendar is becoming increasingly packed but Chanel’s efforts demonstrate that there are still meaningful ways to put on a show – and that there is more to fashion than artifice and fleeting trends. I’m leaving the south of France full of inspiration and a suitcase filled with memorabilia, from Chanel-branded pétanque balls to Marseille-made soap and a deck of tarot cards. The ever-superstitious Gabrielle Chanel would approve.

Natalie Theodosi is Monocle’s fashion director. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings


To be continued

While the US, Japan, Australia and the Philippines are considering ways to contain China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region (see yesterday’sMonocle Minute), the Solomon Islands are headed in the opposite direction. This week the country elected a new prime minister, Jeremiah Manele, to replace Manasseh Sogavare, whose time in office was marked by an increasingly pro-Beijing stance. A new leader, however, doesn’t mean a significant change of course: in 2019, the similarly China-friendly Manele travelled to China in his role as foreign minister to formalise the Solomon Islands’ switch in diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing. The country also signed a security pact with China in 2022. Manele’s rise all but assures that the nation will continue to deepen its ties with Beijing.

Image: Jean Schweitzer


Flying colours

France’s state-owned railway company, SNCF, unveiled the livery of its forthcoming TGV Inoui trains this week at manufacturer Alstom’s Belfort factory. Made in collaboration with French agency Arep and Japanese design firm Nendo, the new trains feature a predominantly white-and-grey colour palette and distinctive “Frenchberry” red accents. Instead of using conventional adhesive panels, the TGV M is fully painted, enhancing its durability and weather resistance. The new trains, which commenced testing last June, are on track to launch in 2025, when they will connect the capital with the country’s southeast.

“High-speed travel is part of the French landscape,” Florence Rousseau Deltheil, TGV M marketing director, tells The Monocle Minute. “With the new TGV Inoui train, we’re responding to the demands for quantity and quality of supply. Thanks to its modularity and bigger size, we will be able to upgrade our offer, without having to go through a long and costly industrial process.”


Catch of the day

Authorities in Tokyo announced plans this week to transform the former site of the city’s Tsukiji fish market into a new landmark. The 19-hectare area will be redeveloped as a sprawling international hub on the Sumida river waterfront near Hama-rikyu Gardens and the Tsukiji Outer Market. The project will comprise nine buildings, including a conference hall, a hotel, offices and a 50,000-capacity stadium.

Fishy business: A vendor slices fish for sale at a stall in the area

Image: Getty Images/Alamy

From the ground up: Redevelopment of Tsukiji fish market

Image: Getty Images/Alamy

Once the world’s largest wholesale fish market, Tsukiji was closed after 83 years in October 2018, partly to make way for parking space ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Its traders were moved to a new site less than two miles away on Toyosu, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. According to developer Mitsui Fudosan, the new project will help to raise the Japanese capital’s international profile and competitive appeal when it is completed in 2039.

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Laura Rysman

Photo of the week / Sardinia

Bloom town

This picture is from Cagliari, Italy, which is celebrating its annual four-day Festa di Sant’Efisio this week. The tradition, which involves a procession of people draped in colourful traditional outfits and flowers, dates back to 1657 and pays tribute to the Sardinian city’s patron saint.

Image: Natthawut Taeja

Monocle Radio / Monocle on Design


James Chambers profiles the Thai practice and looks at its varied works, which include architecture, furniture and fabrication.


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