Following a year in which plans have been shelved and schedules dismantled, these past few weeks have felt like a first chance to start afresh. Perhaps the news of a vaccine has prompted us to sharpen our outlook on the future, or maybe after months of treading water we’re simply ready to strike out.
The Next Act, as we have written on the cover, is our attempt to shake off months of introspection and start to think about the months ahead. In fashion, Balenciaga is leading the charge to find a new way of doing business and has used its big rethink to revise the show schedule, redraw the seasons, and retool efforts in the digital space as well. We’ve had an exclusive look at the brand’s fall collection before it launches via an online show. Based on a concept set in 2031, and starring product that will arrive in stores in May, alongside pieces you can buy immediately, this new world order is really quite confusing. But, in essence, it should make fashion seem more seasonally aligned. Personally, I’m rather taken with the silver sabatons and leg plates that recall medieval armour. Who’d think that Game of Thrones meets Star Wars would prove such an enticing fashion fit?
Could the architect Giò Ponti have imagined his vision would still be so revered more than 40 years after his death? In “A Giò Ponti Pilgrimage”, Jackie Daly honours the creative polymath, who is considered the “father of modern Italian design”. Her journey begins at Ponti’s final home on Via Dezza, Milan, now run as an archive by his grandson, then takes in the iconic spaces that helped define his work – from the Pirelli Tower, to the Parco dei Principi hotel in Sorrento, to the skeletal Concattedrale Gran Madre di Dio, built when Ponti was approaching 80 and described by him as “a door to the sky”.
In the HTSI “office”, looking over Rich Stapleton’s accompanying pictures, the power of Ponti’s vision still held us all entranced. Jackie’s piece pays testament to an extraordinary legacy, and a series of buildings that remain as captivating now as when they were unveiled.
A captivation of another kind takes hold of Grace Cook, who heads to Cumbria (“True North”) on a visit to the wilds of north-west England and a chance to champion the landscape she calls home. Land of the Lakes, it’s a place to which some 19 million visitors travel annually, and the dream of ancient hillscapes, silent waters and empty vistas has become for many of us quarantined in cities a kind of rural Shangri-La. Thankfully, Cumbria has lots of that on offer. In addition, Grace explores the stylish residences, lakeside adventures, chic new restaurants and secret sanctuaries that continue to make it such a draw.
There are many inspirational stories in this issue. Christine Centenera transports us to the salt spray of Australia’s Bondi beach to reel off a style checklist that had me taking notes; creative and image director of Christian Dior Makeup Peter Philips reaches for his palette to create four new looks on fashion’s freshest faces; Aimee Farrell catches up with the emerging gang of Insta-artists who are revisiting the interior portrait as a creative focal point; and Ajesh Patalay tracks down the chocolatiers who are making “healthy” bars with oat milk. Sounds dubious? You just have to try it. That’s what the future’s all about.
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