Monday 17 June 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 17/6/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Image: Pitti Uomo

Fashion / Natalie Theodosi

The fabric of the fashion industry is changing as brands reposition themselves in a shifting market

June’s European menswear showcases offer plenty of opportunities to take in brands’ new collections. More importantly, they allow me to check the pulse of the market. There’s always a theme to explore: a city showing off its manufacturing prowess, for example, or a market with renewed buying power claiming its front-row seats. This season, it’s clear that big changes are afoot.

For one thing, London is not the fashion capital that it used to be. Its menswear showcase, which took place at the beginning of this month, only featured a handful of niche labels – a sign of the continued effects of Brexit and the closure of UK retailers such as Matches Fashion. This was reflected by the British Fashion Council’s choice to host a scaled-down programme of events, opting for panel talks, a traditional Sunday-roast lunch and smaller presentations. UK brands will need more support than that to survive, including financial mentoring, but the intimacy of the event reminded me that conversation and creative exchange should play a bigger role at such industry gatherings.

There was more room for conversation last week in the halls of Pitti Uomo, Florence’s menswear fair. Attendance was significantly lower than usual this year. As one regular told me, the queue for focaccia had gone down from 20 minutes to two. But those present remained optimistic. The fair is shifting its focus. It’s no longer about getting as many orders as possible; instead, labels want to secure the right ones. They also see it as a chance to connect with other brands via collaborations and source high-end suppliers. “Everyone’s looking at the numbers but you can either be the victim or the captain,” said Sjaak Hullekes of Arnhem-based label Hul le Kes. “I don’t want to hang in 60 stores. We’re here to find the right retailers and create limited-edition pieces together. That’s the new luxury.”

The industry is due a reorientation in its focus. It’s time to concentrate on specialist retailers and brands such as Hul le Kes. And for those seeking spectacle and larger-scale offerings, the Paris showcase, which starts this week, will surely deliver.

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

The Briefings

Affairs / Greece & Turkey

Disputes in the Aegean muddy the waters between Greece and Turkey

Ankara’s decision to resume petroleum exploration within its territorial waters in the northeastern Aegean Sea has caused concern in Athens. Turkish authorities have published co-ordinates of where the research will be conducted and Greece will be keeping a close eye on the ships’ positions. When Turkey posted a similar research vessel in the Aegean four years ago, it led to a standoff at sea between the two countries. The nations then sought to improve relations, signing a non-binding declaration of friendship.

But tensions over this issue have flared once again. Greece’s decision in April to set up two marine parks to protect biodiversity in the Aegean were seen as a threat by Turkey, which disputed the sovereignty of the island areas in question. Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will meet in New York in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Let’s hope that it will all be plain sailing by then.

Image: Getty Images

Aviation / India

India’s aviation industry on course to reach new heights as investment intensifies

Global airlines are betting on India’s aviation sector taking off. The growing middle class of the world’s most populous country is now responsible for a significant share of global traffic. Meanwhile, no other nation has bought more planes than India in 2023. This investment coincided with record-breaking domestic flights; 152 million passengers flew within the country last year and that figure is expected to double in the next 25 years. The ongoing terminal expansion at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport also means that the transport hub is preparing to become the second-busiest in the world.

Following India's election, stock volatility has eased and the prime minister, Narendra Modi, will continue to invest in the nation’s airports and fleets. However, global airlines are also looking to capitalise on this boom. International flights are expected to grow from 64 million passengers last year to 160 million by 2030. Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Wizz Air have all announced plans to increase their stakes in India, though frustrations over restricted access to the market threaten to jeopardise even greater growth.

Architecture / France

Pionering arts institution throws open the doors of an iconic French building to the public

Non-profit organisation Genius Loci’s thoughtfully curated exhibitions revitalise public architectural gems across France. This month, until this Sunday, it’s taking over Maison Bernard, near Théoule-sur-Mer, with a selection of works from more than 20 contemporary and modern artists. The show invites the public to enjoy an in-person experience of the building, which was designed by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag.

Image: Yves Gellie (top) and Adrien Dirand (bottom)/Fonds De Dotation Maison Bernard
Image: Yves Gellie (top) and Adrien Dirand (bottom)/Fonds De Dotation Maison Bernard

Constructed in the 1970s for the industrialist Pierre Bernard, La Maison Bernard is considered an iconic structure of the French Riviera. Its organic design features a series of colourful interconnected bubbles that seamlessly blend with the surrounding nature and offer views of the Mediterranean. Highlights of the exhibition include works by design studio Marcin Rusak and ceramics by Safia Hijos. There is also an in-situ performance from French choreographer Némo Flouret, backed by Van Cleef & Arpels, where dancers act as guides and interpreters to visitors within the space.

Beyond the Headlines

Fashion / Chanel

Stitch in time

Ever since Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel designed one of her first garments in 1916, her fashion house has shaped our understanding of modern luxury. Chanel, which elegantly straddles the worlds of luxury and popular culture, is going from strength to strength. Monocle meets its president of fashion, Bruno Pavlovsky, to talk about the brand’s renewed focus on heritage, craft and timeless style.

Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion

Image: Nathalie Mohadjer, Chanel, Nathalie Mohadjer

Apartment inside Le Corbusier’s modernist haven and La Cité Radieuse

Image: Nathalie Mohadjer, Chanel, Nathalie Mohadjer

On air at La Cité Radieuse

Image: Nathalie Mohadjer, Chanel, Nathalie Mohadjer

Chanel’s Marseille show on the roof of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse building

Image: Nathalie Mohadjer, Chanel, Nathalie Mohadjer

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Monocle Radio / The Stack

Fine print

We speak with David Lane about his new book with Taschen, The Gourmand’s Lemon. Then: Troublemakers, a new title from Tokyo that tells the stories of misfits, and beautiful essays in music on You Spin Me Round. Plus: Do You Read Me the Berlin magazine shop we love.


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