Tuesday noon I visited the South Korean Embassy in Kensington for a wine reception (who doesn’t like a wine reception on a Tuesday afternoon? OK, I had to find out what that involved). The reception was to mark the fact that the country’s new ambassador, Gunn Kim, had just presented his credentials to the Queen – albeit via video link. I have met the Ambassador a few times and he is a talented diplomat: incredibly engaging, full of fascinating perspectives and generous about his new host city. After our last lunch, he even sent me and my colleagues a gift to everyone: the collagen masks he swears by (he’s a staunch defender of the cosmetics industry in his country) .
The invitation had said “salon costumes” but the ambassador was in a raised version of the national dress (no one was going to overshadow him that day). This included a very large hat with a very wide brim, held in place by a thick chin strap; there were also pearls falling from the hat. Layers of tunics and traditional white-toed shoes completed the outfit. But what was great was the way he worked the piece effortlessly and subconsciously as if to say it was actually his version of a salon costume.
As a child I looked at pictures of national outfits from all over the world and as an Englishman I felt a bit left out. The Canadians were clearly going about their daily lives draped in sealskins and with snowshoes strapped to their brogues, whatever the season, while no Frenchman ever seemed to leave their home before sneaking into a Breton top, d ‘affix a beret at a casual angle and accessorize the whole thing with a garland of onions. And I was definitely annoyed by my parents’ lack of Spanish heritage if it gave you a free pass to go to school every day dressed as a matador and slam your castanets with your mates at lunch break.
Back then, if the English took a peek, we were pictured in drab gray suits for guys and ruffled skirts for women. And now, after nearly two years of lockdown, the rise of global brands, and the triumph of athleisure, I guess most of those national costumes have been replaced with something from Nike. Please bring back the gray suit and the trilby.
Well done to the Ambassador for standing up and representing his nation with such impeccable and memorable momentum. On the way back to the office, I wondered how often he would use his ensemble. Would he be willing to lend it from time to time? Well, no harm in asking, I guess.
Illustration: Mathieu De Muizon
Also this week I met two people who are pushing their way around a business idea that makes them intermediaries between architects and first-time clients (I’m going to write a story about them, so I won’t won’t be too descriptive here) and they were great. I could see where they were adding value for busy architects: how they would give someone on the commissioning side of the equation both an easier life and a clearer understanding of what would be required of it. his role.
The middleman (or woman), agent, middleman, even the retailer who sits between the customer and the manufacturer, has recently been presented as an unnecessary expense. But I like these people. They save time, for starters. Take the headhunter (although I imagine that term is banned these days). Lots of people, including me, have used Linkedin to reach a large pool of potential candidates with just a few clicks. But it has always proven to be a total waste of time when it comes to hiring journalists. (If you’re a regular reader of this column and wonder what happened to the zookeeper who wanted to be our overseas publisher, I’ve heard he’s now thriving on Facebook.) Meanwhile, our manager creative Richard wisely hires a specialist recruiter to sift through resumes, read the market and generally help him find the staff he needs. On our side of the office, just this week, we received an application to become our fashion journalist from someone who couldn’t spell the word “journalist” and another who joined by. error a strange template she had used to help them complete the application. .
And I know we should be kinder to people but if you think you’re applying for a job at Monacle or The Monacle, let alone Manacle, I won’t be seeing you again anytime soon. However, this could be a potential extension of the business: “Manacle, the ambitious magazine for incarcerated white-collar criminals. Although I imagine the travel pages would be of little use to our new readers.