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The first tiny chill of autumn, a new term starting, and the cultural world is stirring once again. This weekend will see the FT Weekend Festival in action and I hope readers joining, whether virtually or in person, will find time to visit the HTSI offering. This year we’re hosting a session with the composer and musician Max Richter (following his performance at Crystal Palace); a panel discussion with Matthew Williamson, Martin Brudnizki, Beata Heuman and Charu Gandhi about the future of interiors; an HTSI style clinic with Patrick Grant and Roksanda Ilincic (what will you be wearing to the office? What office?), and lots of other things as well. It sets us off on the right foot for the busy period until Christmas, during which time you will be seeing us each weekend. Don’t want to risk missing real-life copies at your newsagent? Then be sure to sign up for the print subscription offer and have it delivered to your door.
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I am thrilled that this issue sees our first collaboration with Andre D Wagner, who shot our cover story with the model Alek Wek. The New York-based photographer tends to focus on black-and-white documentary-style images, primarily of the residents of Brooklyn, but for HTSI he changed his film to give us a Technicolor point of view. Shot around Wek’s home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Andre’s images capture everything I love: glamour and beauty, naturally, but also tenderness and realness – he allows her personality to sing. Alek has no shortage of personality; a leading figure on the international catwalk for more than 20 years now, the South Sudan-born model has carved a pioneering path. Recent weeks have seen her launch a debut fashion collection with Weekend Max Mara: a kind of homecoming for the former student of design (at the London College of Fashion) who quit her studies when the catwalk bookings forced her to choose between careers. Her pieces are a short biography in clothing, tracing early inspirations, cultural life and locales. I especially love the cover image, which finds her radiant in striped knitwear in the colours of the South Sudanese flag.
To Scotland, where whisky maker Glenmorangie is about to cut the ribbon on a long-awaited new laboratory: a gleaming glass-walled “Lighthouse” in which Dr Bill Lumsden – named “the Willy Wonka of whisky-making”– is braving scotch’s new frontiers. On a visit to the 178-year-old distillery, Alice Lascelles was invited to take an exclusive look into its brand new “whisky lab”. She is one of the few people who will ever gain entry; Lumsden’s plans, part heretical, part genius, are so closely guarded that only a tiny number of visitors are permitted inside his world. Alice gets a taste of the work in progress, while photographer Benjamin McMahon captures the distillery and its workers, all slaked in the coppery sunlight of a gorgeous summer’s day. (And don’t miss Maria Shollenbarger’s whistlestop tour around the Highlands, a round-up of hotels, castles and beaches to stir the soul. There are few more beautiful parts of the world to spend time in, especially when the weather agrees to play.)
Lastly to Rose Uniacke, the designer, antiques dealer and retailer whose dreamy interiors have seduced everyone from the Beckhams to the Marquess of Bute. This month, Uniacke opened the Rose Uniacke Fabric Shop, a textile emporium that sits opposite her existing Pimlico Road store. In conjunction with the publication of a new book, Rose Uniacke at Home, Uniacke’s hold over the design world grows ever more distinguished. What I wouldn’t give to have her winter garden – or, better still, her indoor pool.
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