Sunday 30 April 2023

Coronation robes revealed along with changes to languages and faiths involved in ceremony / Baroness Benjamin says inclusion for King's coronation shows he's embracing diversity

Baroness Benjamin says inclusion for King's coronation shows he's embracing diversity


Former television presenter Baroness Benjamin has praised King Charles for his coronation selection, saying her inclusion for the historic event shows he is embracing diversity


Baroness Floella Benjamin says her inclusion in King Charles coronation shows he is embracing diversity


BySean McPolin

13:04, 29 Apr 2023


King Charles is "embracing" diversity and inclusion with his coronation, Baroness Benjamin has said.


Floella Benjamin will carry the sceptre with the dove through Westminster Abbey next weekend when the King is crowned.


She is part of group which will carry historic items, including crowns, sceptres, rings, rod and the orb in the procession, while others will present them to the King and Queen.


Baroness Benjamin, who made her name presenting children's television programmes, said the decision to include her is a "clear message" the King is embracing diversity and inclusion.


She said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be part of the historic coronation ceremony, the Telegraph reports.


“To be selected to carry the Sovereign’s sceptre with dove, which represents spirituality, equity and mercy, is for me very symbolic as it’s everything I stand for and sends out a clear message that diversity and inclusion is being embraced."


Other taking part in the ceremony on May 6 ceremony are Lord Hastings; Delaval Astley, a former actor who for two years played Cameron Fraser in The Archers; and Baroness Manningham-Buller, the former director-general of MI5, who will carry St Edward’s Staff.


It is a big difference to Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, which had all white men performing these roles, with the majority of them being aristocrats who had inherited their titles.


On Thursday, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced he will attend after doubts were raised about his presence.


He will be among 2,000 in Westminster Abbey watching the two-hour service, which will begin with the ceremonial processions.


Petty Officer Amy Taylor will become the first woman to carry the Sword of Offering into the Abbey. She was chosen to represent servicemen and women as a Royal Navy Petty Officer, in tribute to His Majesty’s military career.


James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, defended the decision to allow Han Zheng, the architect of China’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, to attend.


He insisted the UK had no influence over which representative a country chooses to send.


The honour of carrying St Edward’s Crown has gone to General Sir Gordon Messenger, former vice-chief of defence staff, who is now the governor of the Tower of London, while Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, a former nurse recently appointed to the Order of Merit alongside Lady Benjamin, will carry the orb, a symbol of the sovereign’s power.


Baroness Amos will join the Archbishop of Canterbury in participating in the Act of Recognition at the beginning of the service, when the King is presented to the congregation.

Princess Anne Gets Most Unique Job at King Charles Coronation @TheRoyalI...

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Friday 28 April 2023

Stone of Scone leaves Scotland for King Charles's Coronation

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Prince Andrew documentary to air during Coronation coverage, Channel 4 announces / ‘Set up for failure’: the wild story behind the car crash interview which destroyed Prince Andrew

‘Set up for failure’: the wild story behind the car crash interview which destroyed Prince Andrew


From Beatrice attending his meetings to proposing cinema get-togethers at Buckingham Palace, a new documentary digs into how the Newsnight debacle happened


Rachel Aroesti

Rachel Aroesti

Thu 27 Apr 2023 06.00 BST


A Pizza Express in Woking. The inability to sweat. A tendency to be “too honourable”. Prince Andrew’s 2019 Newsnight interview was a bonanza of bizarre excuses – in which he disastrously tried to defend himself from allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl trafficked by his friend Jeffrey Epstein. Greeted with a riot of disbelief, anger and meme-making by the public, it was the most explosive royal interview of the decade. But how on Earth did it happen in the first place?


A new documentary, airing as part of Channel 4’s alternative coronation coverage, is lifting the lid on this remarkably misguided interview. But Andrew: The Problem Prince kicks off with an entirely different TV appearance. It’s 1985 and the prince is primarily known as a pin-up, playboy and the Falklands hero who risked his life for his country. He is also known as Randy Andy, a nickname referenced by his interviewer on this occasion, a giggling Selina Scott. Andrew shrugs it off with remarkably easy charm and humour. The audience howls in approval. “It was a badge of honour then – the idea of this young prince cutting a swathe through the aristocratic women of London was something to be admired,” says James Goldston, former president of ABC News and one of the documentary’s producers. “There was zero conversation at the time about: are there ethical or moral issues involved in this?”


Fast-forward three decades and Sam McAlister, a guest booker on Newsnight, receives an email from a PR company offering an interview with Prince Andrew about his charity work. She declines on the grounds that it sounds like a puff piece, but the exchange prompts months of negotiations about a more wide-ranging interview, which is again rejected by McAlister because the palace has a single stipulation: all questions about convicted paedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein are off the table.


But then Epstein is found dead in his New York prison cell. Until that point, the man Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis describes as “America’s Jimmy Savile” had been a peripheral figure in the public consciousness: now he is centre stage, and the prince’s friendship with him is under the media’s microscope. Eventually, Andrew’s team change their minds. McAlister – whose book Scoops: The BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews from Steven Seagal to Prince Andrew, was the inspiration for this documentary – can barely believe her luck.


It only gets weirder from there. Andrew brings his daughter Beatrice to a meeting with McAlister and Maitlis. He seems delighted after the interview, inviting the Newsnight team to stick around for a cinema night at Buckingham Palace. It’s only when the Queen receives the transcript, and Andrew receives a “tap on the shoulder” from the palace (according to Maitlis), that the catastrophe becomes clear to him. The interview then prompts Virginia Giuffre – who claims the prince had sex with her on several occasions when she was 17 – to pursue Andrew legally. The lawyers interviewed for the documentary “are very specific”, says Goldston. “What he said opened the door to bringing that legal action which ultimately destroyed him.” In 2022, Andrew settled out of court.


Andrew: The Problem Prince is expressly not a “hatchet job”, says Sheldon Lazarus, another of the programme’s producers. Instead, it’s an attempt to anchor Andrew’s behaviour and decisions within the broader context of his life: despite his status and knack for making headlines, Lazarus believes there has never been an in-depth documentary about him before. We hear how the Queen indulged him as a child, and how Andrew’s finances meant he could never afford the lavish life he had become accustomed to. While Charles had an annual income of £20m, Andrew had to make do with a yearly allowance of £249,000 from the Queen. “By most standards that’s a lot of money, but to live a royal lifestyle, it’s obviously not enough. You feel that he’s being set up for failure,” says Goldston.


One of the most notorious moments in the Newsnight interview sees Maitlis ask Andrew whether he regrets consorting with Epstein. No, he replies, because the opportunities he got from it “were actually very useful”. According to Lazarus, the producers found themselves asking a question: “If he had been wealthier, would he have made better decisions, and not got into this crowd in order to keep up with the Joneses – or the Windsors?”


Tonally, the documentary team had to tread carefully. While the Newsnight interview was inescapably comic in content, its subject was a set of extremely serious and disturbing crimes. “I think you can use humour in the most serious of circumstances, as long as it’s done appropriately,” says Goldston, whose other job at the time was overseeing the coverage of the January 6 committee hearings in Washington DC.


After all, much of what goes on with the royals veers between farce and something far more troubling. One of the standout moments from the documentary is an interview with the former – yet still palpably annoyed – deputy British ambassador in Bahrain, who recounts Andrew’s freewheeling and ultimately very damaging input as a trade envoy in the early 2000s. “I love the line that ultimately his boss is the Queen – there was just no accountability,” says Lazarus. The diplomat also tells of how the prince refused to stay in ambassadorial residences, instead hiring out luxury hotels to house his thank-you letter-writer and valet.


The Problem Prince isn’t just about the titular royal, however. It’s “a celebration of the power of journalism,” says Goldston, who admits to feeling “kind of jealous” about the Newsnight scoop at the time. It’s also an insight into a rather mysterious job: that of the celebrity booker. “I’ve worked in journalism for 30 years and been involved in a lot of big gets: presidents, prime ministers, celebrities,” he says. “The art of the booking has always fascinated me – how does that happen?” Goldston ran Good Morning America “at the height of the morning wars and watched these bookers go after these things every day. It’s a phenomenal feat of endurance.”


It’s a world Lazarus is also familiar with, having started his career booking guests for Paula Yates’s On the Bed segment on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast – a job he admits wasn’t beholden to the same journalistic ethics as Newsnight. “I definitely wouldn’t have said no to Andrew,” he says. “He could have come and juggled – he could have done whatever he wanted!”


The documentary provides an intimate insight into the big-name interview, but its headline question – why Andrew decided to appear on Newsnight in the first place – is ultimately left unanswered. Maitlis suggests it may have been an attempt to clear his name for his daughters’ sake, while Goldston thinks the media pressure meant “he was going to have to confront it head on and that’s how they end up saying yes”. That, however, doesn’t explain why he went against the guidance of trusted advisers, including media lawyer Paul Tweed, who claims in the documentary that he warned Andrew not to do it.


Instead, you come away with the sense that it was driven by a heady cocktail of yes-men-powered delusion and extreme naivety (he was “not intellectual”, according to royal biographer Andrew Lownie, while Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers claims that Epstein called the prince “an idiot”). Yet this cluelessness wasn’t limited to Andrew himself. Goldston recalls McAlister telling him that as the interview concluded, a member of the prince’s staff leaned over to her and muttered, “‘Isn’t he marvellous?’ That lack of understanding of what had just happened was pretty profound.”


The documentary ends with a portrait of an underemployed Andrew living in the shadows. And yet Tweed, who appears in the documentary with the blessing of the prince and his family, suggests something that seems currently unthinkable: the idea that the prince might make a return to public life. Is there any world in which this could happen?


“I think they live in hope that they can still turn this round, which is actually a very interesting idea,” says Goldston. “[Tweed] has seen a lot of these cases. Who knows?” Never say never, but if the royal family wants to survive until the next coronation, it seems that Andrew – utterly tone-deaf, entitled beyond belief and morally dubious, at best – is everything it must leave behind.


 Andrew: The Problem Prince airs on Channel 4 on 1 May at 9pm.

How popular is the Royal Family in the UK? - BBC News

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Arthur Elgort, the fashion snapshot photographer • FRANCE 24 English / Me and My Dad: Sophie and Arthur Elgort on Making Fashion Photography a Family Business

Me and My Dad: Sophie and Arthur Elgort on Making Fashion Photography a Family Business


Also, the problems with modern magazines and what it’s like growing up with a camera in your face.


Vanessa Friedman

By Vanessa Friedman

June 18, 2021


When the coronavirus pandemic began, the Elgorts — the photographer Arthur; his wife, Grethe Barrett Holby; their daughter, Sophie, with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter; and their sons, Warren and Ansel — hunkered down together in their family home of 40 years on Long Island.


To pass the time, Sophie, who is 35 and also a photographer, began asking her father, who is 81 and made his name by taking fashion photography from the studio to the street, about the stories behind some of his most famous images.


He told her about Kate Moss dancing on a table at Brasserie Lipp, Stella Tennant diving fully clothed into a pool and the Rolling Stones blowing smoke at each other while making “Tattoo You.” All of it became part of what soon turned into an Instagram TV series, “Behind the Lens With Arthur Elgort.”


Part family lore, part relationship study and part photographic history, the conversation is still going strong, even though the Elgorts are no longer quarantining under one roof. In honor of Father’s Day, Sophie and Arthur agreed to reveal what happens when a pair of photographers turn the lens on themselves.



Sophie It started early fall. Things were really, really shut down and we weren’t seeing anyone, so to have this project was something to look forward to. For a month or two we did it every Sunday, but now it’s more like every two weeks. We just got a little tripod so we could hook up the iPhone.


Arthur We hadn’t worked together before, but now we’re stuck with each other. Turned out she’s a very good interviewer. I told her she should have her own show on television.


Sophie I can get these stories out of him. My dad had a stroke about 10 years ago and had to completely relearn to talk.


Arthur It took two years. Some people enjoyed the quiet. They thought I talked too much. But I never forgot photography.


When she was in school, I thought Sophie would be a doctor, and I said, “That’s a hard job to do, they can call you in the night, you should think about photography.” I did hope one of you might.


Sophie He named my brother Ansel after Ansel Adams because he was like, “I’ve got one more, maybe he’ll become a photographer.”


Arthur Instead he’s crazy: He’s an actor. You and Warren both became something to do with a camera — he’s a director. But I gave you your first camera. I’ve given you more than one.


Sophie I learned by watching.


Arthur I always bought three of everything: for me, Sophie and Warren. You got a Rolleiflex. And then a Leica.


Sophie When we went to camp in the summers, Dad would give us little point-and-shoots with film. He always said to put the strap on. We knew how to load film. Then we’d give him the film, and he’d have it developed and make a set of doubles and say, “Give one to the person and keep one for yourself. Anything you don’t like, rip it up.” That is his favorite thing: If he takes a group shot, and there’s someone on the edge and he doesn’t think they look good, rip them off!


Arthur People get upset: “You just tore me out of the picture!” But really, I’m doing them a favor.


Sophie Once I was walking on the street with my school — we used to have to go to school chapel — and Dad was in the neighborhood and was photographing us, me and my friends, and the teachers were like: “EXCUSE ME! You cannot photograph these young girls.” I was like, “That’s my Dad.” I was never self-conscious about it. I grew up with a camera in my face all the time. At breakfast in my pajamas. He actually has a book about photographing your kids.


Arthur I have 11 books, but that one is called “How to Shoot Your Kids,” which is kind of a funny name.


Sophie One of your favorite pastimes in general is taking pictures. He always has a camera. My pastime was always dressing people up, including my brothers. I used to dress Warren in my clothes.


Arthur Warren was very pretty.


Sophie I used to go to his studio a lot. I liked being part of the shoots when I was a kid. I would get dropped off after school. He still has the same studio in SoHo, and there was a lot of music. He always encouraged us to play music. I grew up playing classical piano. A few years ago he encouraged me to play guitar. Now I take a lesson every week.


Arthur I learned the sax when I was about 20. I used to be an usher at Carnegie Hall. I saw Leonard Bernstein. He had just come back from Russia, and he played a Shostakovich symphony. I was in school at Hunter College because it was free. About three years ago they gave me an honorary doctorate and gave me my transcript, and I had all C’s and D’s except for art. That’s when I knew what I was going to be. I started as a painter, but I was a bad copy of Franz Kline. I couldn’t draw. But I thought, “If I had a camera, I could capture something.” So I became a photographer.


Sophie I became a photographer because shortly after I graduated from Brown, friends of mine were doing an e-commerce custom vintage company, and they needed pictures. Since I was always doing pictures for fun, they said, “We’ll give you some clothes for free if you do our pictures for our first look book.”


Arthur Then she called me up and said, “I have this job, but I know nothing about photography.” And I said, “I’ll teach you in three easy lessons.”


Sophie Then people asked me to do other jobs, and then I was just doing it. I wanted to make sure I found my own style and wasn’t copying what Dad was doing.


Arthur My first job was with Mademoiselle, which was very cool at the time. Then Alex Liberman said: “You’re too good. You’re better than my magazine Vogue.” So I said, “I’ll do Vogue instead,” and he said, “That’s a good idea.” It worked out. Now magazines are terrible. If you look at Vogue now, it’s terrible.


Sophie Maybe it’s just different.


Arthur No, it’s bad. Everything is wrong. You used to get a lot of money. Now you get $100 instead of $500,000. There used to be contracts. I could buy this house. The studio. You don’t make money anymore in editorial. Maybe in ads. Sophie does more clients than me. I don’t get clients like you get.


Sophie I work with De Beers, and Dad’s jealous of that. He’s really hung up on it. They sent me to Botswana, and he was like, “How come I didn’t get to go?”


A ton of younger female photographers were coming up when I started. I don’t know if it directly correlated with the #MeToo movement. But I do think that made more people think this could be an industry we could get into and be supported. As far as the male gaze vs. the female gaze, I think it differs from person to person. But there is a friendship that develops with the person you are shooting. Dad always asks a million questions when he’s behind the lens.


Arthur It makes the models relax. Paulina likes her piano, so I play classical music for her. Jay-Z brings one guy with him. He’s a bodyguard, a chauffeur, everything. Beyoncé brings 50 people. Jay-Z also tells you what time you have: You have an hour, get it, then I have to go. Very nice person. Beyoncé lets you have what time you need.


Sophie Dad always made time for us. He always made us breakfast. If he wasn’t traveling, he was home by 6 p.m. for dinner. He made us bag lunches. On the weekends he would heat up baked beans and be like, “Lunch is served!”


Arthur Ansel loved baked beans. You, Warren, Ansel were not bad subjects. Every year for Mother’s Day I gave my wife pictures. I’d make a collage — there must be 35. I believe in Mother’s Day, but I don’t believe in Father’s Day. I think it’s a phony day.


Sophie But he likes fancy socks.


Arthur What I would like now is a Corvette. Nobody is going to give it to me. But I’m glad you didn’t become a doctor.


Vanessa Friedman

Vanessa Friedman is The Times's fashion director and chief fashion critic. She was previously the fashion editor of the Financial Times. More about Vanessa Friedman

Monday 24 April 2023

The world’s most perfect places are being turned into backdrops for our tourist selfies


The world’s most perfect places are being turned into backdrops for our tourist selfies

Tobias Jones

Italy depends on tourism but despairs at the hordes who descend on its beauty spots. Its solutions are being watched around the globe


Sat 22 Apr 2023 13.31 EDT


Last week Italy was, again, struggling with the conundrum of mass tourism. One of the country’s most charming seaside towns, Portofino, has just introduced legislation to dissuade tourists lingering for selfies: there will be fines of up to €275 (£243) if they block traffic or pedestrians in two “red zones” of the beautiful bay.


It’s the latest in a series of draconian measures adopted by Italian councils to deal with herds of holidaymakers: there are fines of up to €2,500 for walking the paths above the Cinque Terre (five villages in Liguria) in flip-flops or sandals; you are no longer allowed to eat snacks outside in the centre of Venice or in four central streets in Florence; you can be fined €250 just for sitting down on Rome’s Spanish Steps; and one beach, in Eraclea, has even banned the building of sandcastles (maximum fine €250) because they’re considered unnecessary obstructions.


Italy, of course, more or less invented the concept of tourism: as a cradle of ancient civilisation and Renaissance splendour, the peninsula became de rigueur for aesthetes and aristocrats. The famous “Grand Tour” was born in the 17th century and ever since then tourism has been vital to the Italian economy: pre-Covid, the country received 65 million visitors a year and, according to the Bank of Italy, tourism (considered in the widest sense) represented 13% of the country’s GDP.


But Italy, so dependent on tourism, is also beginning to despair of it. Last week, a new display was introduced in a bookshop in Venice that reveals, painfully and in real time, the number of beds available in the city to tourists: at 48,596 (and counting), it is perilously close to overtaking the number of residents in the city: 49,365 (and falling). As recently as 2008, the respective figures were 12,000 and 60,000.


So a city that is famously concerned about drowning in water is now more fretful about drowning in humans. In January, Venice even introduced an entrance fee (varying between €3 and €10) to access the city and its islands. The move wasn’t controversial because it monetised tourism – that has always happened – but because it made the city appear precisely what it is trying to avoid becoming: a theme park, a time capsule for gawking, snap-happy visitors, more a relic than actually alive.


The problem is that mass tourism is turning destinations into the opposite of what they once were. The attraction of the Cinque Terre is their stunning simplicity: they have no great monuments as such, neither grand cathedrals nor castles, just a sense of serenity, of human ingenuity and topographical grandeur (the steep mountains, terraced and criss-crossed by paths where possible, host pastel houses perched above an azure sea).


But the serenity and simplicity can’t survive millions of wham-bam visitors a year. Two weeks ago, Fabrizia Pecunia, the mayor of one of the five villages, Riomaggiore, complained: “It’s no longer possible to postpone the debate about how to handle tourist flows. If we don’t [find a solution], our days as a tourist destination are numbered.” What tourist hot spots most yearned for a decade or two ago – high numbers, influx and flows – is precisely what is now causing them problems. During the peak season, the Balearic island of Mallorca now has more than 1,000 flights landing every day.


The World Tourism Organization predicts that by the end of this decade the flow of international tourists will surpass 2 billion. What’s called “overtourism” is already so acute that popular destinations are now doing the unthinkable, and actively trying to dissuade or block arrivals. Last month, Amsterdam launched “stay away” ads aimed at badly behaved Brits. The Greek island of Santorini, a mere 29 square miles, had to cap cruise ship passengers to 8,000 a day in 2017. Venice has blocked cruise ships and, in 2012, the anti-tourism message proved a winning formula for a mayoral candidate in Barcelona.


Now the road is so designated that you feel forced through a well-oiled funnel as someone picks your pockets


But if the tourism boom is often bad for locals, it’s equally depressing for visitors. The fiction of tourism in the social media age is that we, as rugged adventurers, are there by ourselves. But we’re only alone for that Instagram money shot. The rest is full of crowds and discomfort. When a friend of mine foolishly went to the Cinque Terre at Easter, there were long queues just to get on the footpaths or to drink a coffee. She then had to queue for three hours just to board one of the rickety trains home.


Anyone who has been to Niagara Falls, say, or Stonehenge knows that natural or human wonders have been mercilessly monetised. It now costs, for example, €34 to visit the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. Visitors to famous sites often come away feeling not uplifted, but fleeced by car-park charges, entry prices, food stalls and so on. We’re bemused by the inauthenticity of the experience. Travel used to be about adventure and hardship, sometimes solitude, but invariably surprise and spontaneity. Now the road is so well-trodden and designated that you feel forced through a well-oiled funnel as someone picks your pockets.


But the sense of unease goes deeper. In the past we travelled to broaden and educate the mind. Travellers suffered discomfort – a mule over the Alps, a clipper across the Bay of Biscay – to absorb the wideness of the world, to feel small or vulnerable perhaps, and to allow the learning of other cultures to infiltrate their beings. Now, it seems, all that is reversed: there’s minimal danger or risk to travel, and our big egos are imposed on a small world. Sites are nothing more than the backdrop for our selfies because we go places not to learn from them, but just to post and boast to others that we’ve been there.


 Tobias Jones lives in Parma. His latest book is The Po: An Elegy for Italy’s Longest Ri

Sunday 23 April 2023

The True Cost | The Truth Behind The Clothes We Wear | Fashion Industry Secrets | Fashion’s real victims: 10 years after Rana Plaza, EU scrambles to prevent future tragedy

Fashion’s real victims: 10 years after Rana Plaza, EU scrambles to prevent future tragedy


European Union is finally drafting rules forcing companies to police their supply chains.

The EU is finally drafting rules to ensure that the workers making their clothes are doing so safely |



APRIL 21, 2023 6:21 PM CET


BRUSSELS — When Rana Plaza, a shoddily built eight-story complex on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital, tumbled to the ground on April 24, 2013, more than 1,100 garment workers were killed. Most had stitched clothes bound for Europe for brands like Benetton, Mango and Primark.


A decade on, the European Union is finally drafting rules to force companies to police their supply chains and ensure that the workers making their clothes are doing so safely.


But will they work?

The Rana Plaza disaster sent shockwaves around the world after revelations that workers had warned of cracks in the building the day before the collapse, but were told to go back in or face the sack. Three years later, the plaza’s owner Sohel Rana was one of dozens of people, including factory executives, charged with murder. The trial, which resumed last year, has still not been concluded.


Wild grass has since overgrown the rubble on the site, in an industrial suburb of Dhaka, which is now a dumping ground for household waste. Yet, even as the trial drags on, the event has profoundly shifted the conversation in Bangladesh and further afield about workers' rights and responsible business.


Bangladesh’s garment industry has seen major improvements, largely thanks to the legally binding International Accord for Health and Safety, said Amirul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation. Nearly 200 international brands have signed up, covering 1,500 factories in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Labor safety has improved and the number of lethal workplace accidents has fallen.


Crucially, however, not all Bangladeshi factories are covered. Smaller factories, which often subcontract work, still need to be “cleaned up,” he said — leaving millions of workers still trapped in unsafe conditions.


Mandatory due diligence

To address human rights breaches and labor rights on a more global scale, Brussels is working on rules that would compel EU-based businesses to police their global value chains for risks of environmental or human rights violations. The future law bears potentially huge consequences for European businesses, as they could be held liable in cases where they didn’t act responsibly and would have to remedy victims of corporate wrongdoing.


Of the European retailers whose products were found in the rubble, Benetton and Mango did not respond to requests for comment. A Primark spokesperson pointed to financial support the company had given to victims and said that the firm supported the proposed EU-wide due diligence rules.


The European Parliament's legal affairs committee is set to vote on its due diligence stance this Tuesday, paving the way for the lawmakers to finalize their negotiating position by May. Talks between EU countries and parliamentarians can then start around the summer, leaving just about enough time to pass legislation before the 2024 Parliamentary election and the next European Commission term.


But while the planned law has been broadly welcomed, it is far from flawless.


Amin, for one, said lawmakers have so far failed to heed the voice of workers from countries like Bangladesh.


Of the European retailers whose products were found in the rubble, Benetton and Mango did not respond to requests for comment |


“They should have included [workers’ voice] in the first step of formulating the law,” he said. “'How will this law be implemented in the Global South and what will be the monitoring system and what will be the role of trade unions in the Global South? How can we be involved in the whole process? How can our workers be involved in the process?' These are questions that need answering."


An EU diplomat agreed that Europe needed to "have serious discussions with the Global South."


"We haven't been very open to them," they said. "We have just had online consultations and just assume that everyone knows we have them."


Preventing tragedy

Still, businesses, lawmakers and non-governmental organizations are hopeful that, despite their shortcomings, the due diligence rules could prevent the repetition of a tragedy on the scale of Rana Plaza.


The obligation to proactively look for risks and to address them could — had they been in force — “have gone a long way [in] preventing this,” said Lara Wolters, the lead European lawmaker on the file.


Aruna Kashyap, associate director in the Economic Justice and Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, said the proposed due diligence law "will help close the gap between companies that take appropriate measures to respect human rights and the environment, and those that either don’t care or don’t want to invest money in appropriate measures recommended by rights holders."


But not everyone is convinced.


The current rules as the European Commission and EU countries envisage them wouldn't go nearly far enough to hold companies accountable, said Clean Clothes Campaign advocacy officer Muriel Treibich.


"Ten years ago workers and activists had to dig through rubble to identify brands' labels and hold them accountable; and yet under the [due diligence rules] opacity will remain as companies will still not be required to disclose who their suppliers are," she said.


The rules also rely too much on auditing and certification bodies, which are for-profit entities that might not conduct safety checks as diligently as they should, she said.


And for the EU diplomat, the core of the issue isn't whether or not the EU introduces due diligence laws — a much broader shift in thinking is needed after decades of international businesses relocating production to wherever is cheapest.


"We are asking [for] a really, really big cultural change in their mindset, and it's not going to happen overnight," they said. "And I think it would be idealistic to say that 'here is legislation — now the world is going to change'."


Camille Gijs contributed reporting.

Saturday 22 April 2023

JEEVES at The Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam

Museum Van Loon is a museum located in a canalside house alongside the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The museum is named after the family Van Loon that lived in the house from the 19th century.



Van Loon Gardens

The canal house where the museum resides was built in 1672, and served as the home of artist Ferdinand Bol. From 1884 to 1945 the Van Loons lived in the house. Thora van Loon-Egidius, who lived in the house, was a lady-in-waiting for Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.


Architecture and collection

Van Loon Gardens

The house was designed in 1672 by Adriaan Dortsman, the famous Dutch architect known for having created the Ronde Lutherse Kerk. There are four sculptures on top of the house, representing Ceres, Mars, Minerva and Vulcan.[2] The interior of the house has been renovated, and appears reminiscent of its look in the 18th-century, with wood paneling and stucco work. The upstairs features several paintings of Roman sports figures and a bedroom that is decorated with a Romanticism period painting of Italy. The house also has fake bedroom doors: the 18th-century owners desired to have symmetry in the interior design so they painted the real bedroom doors to match the walls and fake doors to appear real in a location where one would assume a door would be.

Thursday 20 April 2023

SAVILE ROW NEWS: Savile Row is back in style — so why is the street so empty?


Savile Row is back in style — so why is the street so empty?


Tailoring’s most famous destination has spent 50 years grappling with the existential threat of ready-to-wear


Charlie Porter APRIL 18 2023


Savile Row is back in fashion. Or, at least, an idea of it is. At Alexander McQueen’s recent co-ed autumn/winter 2023 show, creative director Sarah Burton described the tailored collection as “almost back to the beginnings of McQueen on Savile Row”. She was referring to founder Lee McQueen’s teenage apprenticeships in the 1980s at Anderson & Sheppard and Gieves & Hawkes, where he learnt the exactitude of cut.


It was a mood echoed at Stella McCartney, a designer who also cut her teeth on Savile Row, with her opening look of a brown plaid three-piece suit, worn with no shirt beneath. For the Balenciaga show, the invite was a complete pattern for a regular fit jacket. It was an attempt to reset the image of the brand — moving away from logo hoodies and trainers (and a controversial holiday gifting campaign) to the precise constructions the house was reputed for under its founder Cristóbal Balenciaga.


But Savile Row itself can feel unloved. The old bank building that anchors the street sits empty; its previous tenants, Abercrombie & Fitch, moved out in 2021. 2 Savile Row is now occupied by art gallery Pilar Corrias; 5 Savile Row sits empty. If Savile Row is back in fashion, why is no one fighting for these addresses?


It’s now 39 years since LVMH co-founder Bernard Arnault bought Christian Dior for a symbolic one franc, kick-starting the luxury conglomerate era. No one has since taken an equivalent storied Savile Row tailor and turned it into a billion-dollar monolith of ready-to-wear, accessories and fragrance.


Our idea of Savile Row tailoring was founded over 220 years ago, when society figure Beau Brummell asked his tailor to cut his coat and trousers with clean lines. His look ran counter to the fripperies of King George III’s court, setting a new fashion for sleek tailoring. From this evolved the bespoke suit, which was popular until the 1970s.


“Turn the clock back 50 years, and if you wanted a suit, you pretty much had to have it made for you,” says William Skinner, managing director of Dege & Skinner, a tailor established in 1865 that now occupies 10 Savile Row. Skinner is the fifth generation of master tailors in his family. “That changed with the advent of ready-to-wear.” It’s the existential threat that Savile Row has grappled with since.


Over the years, some have tried to align bespoke and ready-to-wear. In 2012, Savile Row’s tailors were heralded as anchors for London’s own men’s fashion week, organised by the British Fashion Council. That schedule no longer exists, and some of the tailors who took part, such as Hardy Amies, have since closed their doors. Gieves & Hawkes was seen as a key brand of the schedule, attempting to channel a bespoke lifestyle into ready-to-wear products. Last year, its then-owners Trinity Group went into administration. In November 2022, Gieves & Hawkes was bought by Frasers Group, owners of Sports Direct.


You can’t force-feed people bespoke, you have to draw them in


This is set against the global shift from formal dressing to casual, compounded by the pandemic and work-from-home culture. It can seem like Savile Row’s decline is inevitable, a square peg in the round hole of the fashion industry.


This assumption is compounded by the megabrand status of Parisian couture houses, the equivalent of Savile Row tailors: Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga. Most of the storied houses still standing branched into ready-to-wear in the 1950s and 60s. Most now also design menswear. They also expanded into higher-margin categories early on. Coco Chanel launched her first perfume back in 1921. Christian Dior debuted his first fragrance, Miss Dior, the same year he unveiled his “New Look”, and sold stockings and gloves from his first years in business.


Many Savile Row tailors have also diversified into ready-to-wear and accessories, if less lucratively. But most remain firmly committed to delivering what their houses were founded to do: made-to-measure suits.


“You can’t force-feed people bespoke,” says Campbell Carey, the head cutter and creative director of Huntsman, which sits at 11 Savile Row. “You have to draw them in.”


When I visited Carey in February, we talked in the first floor meeting room. Downstairs, a new client was being charmed in the ways of the house: told stories of past customers, such as Gregory Peck, while being shown different cuts of possible suits. Meanwhile, in the warren of workrooms over three floors, a team of 11 cutters and 30 tailors worked at full pelt. The company is comfortably in the black, with an operating profit of £3.4mn on sales of £18.5mn in 2021, according to Companies House filings. Revenues from its small ready-to-wear line, which Carey calls an “accessible extension” of its bespoke ethos, have grown fivefold since 2019.


Huntsman acts like a tailor first, rather than pretending to be a fashion brand. “You’re pleasing no one by falling down that trap,” says Carey. “Clients who’ve shopped with you for 20 years go, ‘What are you doing? It’s not what this house is about’. And the young guys that you’re supposed to be appealing to go,” Carey shakes his head. “It easily gets sussed out.”


Carey states that much of his work is correcting the mistakes of tailoring’s recent past, which did not put focus on education. “When I started in 1988,” he says, “it was me and a bunch of old guys in the cutting room near retirement. In the ’80s and ’90s the Savile Row tailors got greedy with their resources, they didn’t think to future-proof their businesses.” That meant scant attention to training the next generation.


“I don’t want to be the old guy who hangs on to the fiefdom of his knowledge,” he says, talking with pride about the tailors he has trained as apprentices. “I want them to take the reins.”


For new tailors, the winds are against them. Cloth prices are rising through inflation, and also from import duties following the UK’s exit from the European Union. Rents on Savile Row are astronomical: into six-figure annual sums. Tailors setting out on their own are having to make their mark elsewhere.


“We live in what used to be the village store,” says Ritchie Charlton, a fourth generation tailor, trained on Savile Row but now based in a village in Kent. Charlton most recently worked as head tailor at Alexander McQueen, which had a menswear shop on Savile Row for much of the 2010s. There, he made custom suits for the likes of Eddie Redmayne and Bobby Gillespie.


Now set up as a bespoke tailor in his own right, his client list remains private. For fittings, he travels to them. “It suits me to work from here,” he said.


“Being a tailor in London as a one-man band is super difficult. Having our house as my studio-cum-tailor’s shop, it keeps my overheads down, which keeps the cost of the suit down, too.”


Charlton believes in doing every step properly, including hand-sewing in the sleeves. “I know it makes very little difference if you were to see one side-by-side with machine shoulders,” he said, “but there’s a feel thing there. It has real body and a kind of tension that you don’t get when it’s put together by a machine.”


Of course, fashion and tailoring can be in dialogue, if done with respect. In January, British designer Grace Wales Bonner asked Charlton to cut the opening coat and closing jacket for her autumn/winter 2023 show in Paris. “I think what Wales Bonner does is very interesting, because the clothes have volume and elegance,” says Charlton. “None of it is uptight, it’s a very fluid thing.”


Charlton has no desire to become a ready-to-wear designer himself. His focus is on bespoke suits, and his clients. “I do it how it’s always been done,” he says, “but obviously with modern cutting, and hopefully with a bit of style.”

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Dealers accused of tricks that turn ordinary desks into £1m antiques


Dealers accused of tricks that turn ordinary desks into £1m antiques


Buyers are being warned about the over-restoring or upgrading of furniture to make it appear more valuable


Dalya Alberge

Sun 16 Apr 2023 10.00 BST


Dealers are over-restoring and upgrading furniture with modern additions disguised to make them look older and more valuable, a leading expert has warned.


Yannick Chastang, former furniture conservator of the Wallace Collection, which boasts one of the world’s finest furniture holdings, can no longer turn a blind eye to what some dealers and restorers are doing.


He told the Observer: “I’m being quite generous in saying ‘over-restored’. I would say ‘manufactured’, if I was a bit more blunt.”


He recalled a 19th-century desk that was auctioned for around £2,500, only to surface six months later as an 18th-century desk with a price tag exceeding a million pounds.


He was shocked to discover that a leading antiques dealer had turned it into an object supposedly created by one of France’s most-prized cabinetmakers, André-Charles Boulle, revered by Louis XIV of France as “the most skilled craftsman in his profession”: “I’ve got the photos before and after.


“Very cleverly, they had added bronze and marquetry to make it look more convincing and more desirable. The original did not have those details. That is, unfortunately, a common practice.


“The catalogue entry was how the bronze compared well with objects in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, and the Wallace Collection. Of course it compared well, because the restorer copied them.”


He has also seen a pair of 18th-century bronze wall-lights divided into four, so that each includes an original element. “That’s a common practice for dealers. Buy 18th-century, but then make copies, mixing original and copies. Or buy 19th-century objects and remodify them to make them older.”



Chastang was furniture conservator at the Wallace Collection between 1997 and 2003, before opening a studio specialising in the conservation of fine furniture and decorative arts. He has been called as an external adviser to the Louvre in Paris, and conserved furniture for important collections, including Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, among others.


Chastang’s criticisms relate to museum-quality furniture, most of which is sold through private dealers, “who are not very public about their income”, and auction houses, where the record price is still held by the spectacular 18th-century Badminton Cabinet, which sold in 2004 for £19m to the Liechtenstein museum in Vienna.


Aware that he is making himself unpopular by speaking out, he said: “I’m raising alarm bells for what is on the market. The sad thing is that a lot of objects in the trade may end up in a museum, but they’re going to be over-restored.”


It is all the more depressing that some of the more unfortunate restorations cannot be reversed, he said, recalling a “stunning” 19th-century desk in a country house that was subsequently sold to a dealer.


“That object has been totally ruined by restoration. It’s not reversible and, in 10 to 20 years’ time, it will fall to bits because the chemicals they used makes it impossible to restore again. They over-cleaned it, making it totally new. The varnish and the marquetry were removed and part replaced. I was so appalled by it.


“Quite frankly, if you want something bright and shiny, buy something new.”


Martin Levy, a leading furniture expert in London, echoed Chastang’s criticisms: “Knowingly representing a work of art as something you know to be false is dishonest and brings the market into disrepute.


“The approach to treating genuine old works of art should be that of conservation, nothing more,” he said.