There follows about 45 minutes of gentle climbing on an ancient rock-built road that curls and twists among the crags and pinnacles of the river gorge. Steep stone steps lift you easily up the more dramatic bits, while on the gentler gradients the path passes between banks of flowers. It’s difficult to believe you’re not walking through a cultivated garden. Savour this, because there are not many paths quite like it anywhere.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Punkt MP01: peculiar and appealing. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose/The Observerpunkt.ch, £229
The phone that ignited this debate is something of an absurdity. Its unique selling point is that it does nothing but ring people, text people and wake you up, yet it costs a small fortune. One of the foremost attributes of a dumbphone is that it doesn’t matter much if you drop it in a puddle or render it up to a thug at knifepoint, whereas the Punkt is a design accessory. I was expecting to dislike it on these grounds, but strangely I didn’t, because despite its paucity of features it is both peculiar and appealing. The trigger-happy predictive text, for example, is efficient, while the ringtones are cheerful and accurate simulacra of birdsong. More than that, it feels wonderful in the hand, only to be imperceptible in the pocket. Just how a phone should be.
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Facebook Twitter Pinterest Homewear: dressing up in lockdown. Photograph: Susie Lau @susiebubbleWhat I lost this year in epic trips, far-flung location-flexing and fashion experiences, I gained in personal growth, not least because I could spend more time with my daughter. I’ve also been able to appraise the industry with fresh eyes. I’ve enjoyed seeing people who bring cause and purpose to their ventures and are mindful of environmental impact, without relying on the traditional shows. Through social media, a DIY mentality has triumphed. The handmade, ultra-feminine tops and dresses of British-based Olivia Rose the Label sell-out by Instagram word of mouth, harking back to the days of the humble dressmaker. Stylist Emma Gold of @TieDyeTogether has, with her affordable tie-dyed vintage tees, raised funds to support the NHS, combining upcycling with social mindfulness. With the ongoing backdrop of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I’ve loved seeing the amplification of Black-owned businesses – labels like Kai Collective, created by designer Fisayo Longe, who has fostered a powerful community online around her designs.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Front row regular: at London fashion week in February. Photograph: David M Benett/Getty ImagesWhen I had my first physical fashion shopping experience, after months of retail lockdown, in central London’s Dover Street Market, the designers who stood out were the ones with an aesthetic that they could call their own. There was Chopova Lowena, with upcycled textiles and artisanal collaging of culturally diverse fabrics into sweeping dresses and kilt skirts. I also noticed Mowalola Ogunlesi, who has recently been appointed as creative lead on Kanye West’s much-anticipated Gap collaboration. And there was my personal favourite, Molly Goddard, whose voluminous dresses balance comfort with high-octane drama. Despite the drop in physical footfall, Dover Street Market was seeing that designers with “a real point of view” were the ones that were selling. This bodes well for young designers facing an ever-more difficult retail climate.
Trump has since tried to walk back his criticism of the Fed, telling reporters at the White House on Tuesday that while the Fed was “raising interest rates too fast” he still had confidence in the central bank. “I mean, the fact is that the economy is doing so well that they raised interest rates and that is a form of safety in a way,” he said.
On Monday the Dow was off 18.8% from its October high, while the S&P had fallen 19.8% from its record. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index is already in a bear market, down 23.6% from its August record. The soaring share prices of technology companies – especially the so-called Faang companies, Facebook, loba negra mobi Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google – helped push stock markets to new highs. There recent losses have been a major factor in dragging the markets down.Facebook Twitter Pinterest Italian style: in Milan last year. Photograph: Jacopo M Raule/Getty Images for GucciThe Covid case numbers are on the rise again and this month, which normally looms with a hefty weight of shows, is already a September like no other. New York and London fashion weeks are now mainly “phygital”, a combination of shows with physical and digital elements. Even in physical form, we will see collections through smaller shows and private appointments. And with cases on the rise again in Italy and France, there are question marks over how the big houses will stage their shows. It’s an uneasy pull between the desire of the financial powers that be in brands to return to the “old normal” and a pushback from the creatives and designers, who now want to do things differently. Fewer collections. Less product. Better ideas that meet the needs of a changed world.