Hot List 2016

WISH TUNED ITS AN­TENNA TO PICK UP THE BUZZ ON RETAIL, PLACES TO STAY, AUS­TRALIA’S NEW FOOD CAP­I­TAL (SORRY, MEL­BOURNE ...) AND WHAT NOT TO MISS IN THE ARTS. WE’VE EVEN PUT IN SOME SPORT.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - NEWS -

All that glit­ters

We are declar­ing 2016 the year of the rock; many, many rocks, ac­tu­ally. It seems Aus­tralia is in the midst of a jew­ellery boom, with lux­ury re­tail­ers ex­pand­ing their pres­ence in most cap­i­tal cities around the coun­try. Tiffany & Co. has con­firmed it will open three new stores: one on the Gold Coast, one at Syd­ney Air­port and one in New Zealand (as with Rus­sell Crowe, we are claim­ing that one as our own). Tiffany & Co. vice-pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Glen Sch­le­hu­ber says the Auck­land store will take out the en­tire ground floor of Aus­tralis House on Cus­toms Street. It is the first NZ store for the iconic Amer­i­can jew­ellery brand. French jew­eller Cartier has also just opened a new flag­ship bou­tique on Castlereagh Street in Syd­ney, com­mis­sion­ing Parisian ar­chi­tect Bruno Moinard to de­sign the 700sq m premises. It also al­lows the 168-year-old com­pany to dis­play its high jew­ellery cre­ations in Aus­tralia for the first time as well as hous­ing a “fine watch­mak­ing sa­lon”. Mel­bourne is get­ting the coun­try’s first Graff Di­a­monds store, with the Lon­don jew­eller open­ing a bou­tique at Crown Casino early in the year. Founded by Lau­rence Graff in 1960, the com­pany al­ready has stores in New York, Monte Carlo, Bei­jing, Abu Dhabi and Seoul. Graff Di­a­mond clients have re­port­edly in­cluded El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor, Oprah Win­frey and the Sul­tan of Brunei. Van Cleef & Ar­pels is also con­firmed to be com­ing to our shores in 2016 but a date or a lo­ca­tion has yet to be an­nounced. The French jew­ellery, watch and fra­grance house has de­signed crowns for roy­alty around the world.

Syd­ney serves it up

Syd­ney will fi­nally take Mel­bourne’s crown as the foodie cap­i­tal of Aus­tralia. And it is hap­pen­ing where you would have least ex­pected it: in the heart of the once-ne­glected CBD. For a long time no one ven­tured into Syd­ney past Cir­cu­lar Quay as there was nowhere de­cent to go for a drink or a feed — hid­den laneway venues were strictly Mel­bourne’s do­main. That has changed. Food crit­ics (in­clud­ing The Aus­tralian’s Necia Wilden and de­li­cious mag­a­zine writer and Masterchef judge Matt Pre­ston) say most of the ac­tion is cen­tred on the raft of mid-price restau­rants that are open­ing in Martin Place and on nearby Pitt and Bligh streets. Chefs such as Frank Camorra (MoVida), Guillaume Brahimi (Bistro Guillaume), Mau­rice Terzini (Ice­bergs), Mike McEn­ear­ney (Kitchen by Mike) and Justin Hemmes (Merivale) are just a few in­vest­ing in the city. Add the new food precincts in Chip­pen­dale (with restau­rants in­clud­ing Kens­ing­ton Street So­cial, Sil­ver­eye and Au­tomata in the Old Clare Ho­tel) and Baranga­roo (in­clud­ing the world-fa­mous Noma pop-up with chef René Redzepi now in town) and you have a bona fide restau­rant re­nais­sance.

Vir­tual retail

This year the “cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence” will be taken to the next level: vir­tual re­al­ity. Ac­cord­ing to the Fu­ture Lab­o­ra­tory in Lon­don, which spe­cialises in trend fore­cast­ing, the lat­est, user-friend­lier ver­sions of the tech­nol­ogy have broad­ened its ap­peal far be­yond the tra­di­tional game­play­ing teenagers. Fash­ion house Dior re­cently launched Dior Eyes, which of­fers a 360-de­gree “im­mer­sion” into the back­stage of its fash­ion shows. Qan­tas is now pro­vid­ing vir­tual re­al­ity head­sets in its first-class cab­ins on se­lect flights and other re­tail­ers have been ex­per­i­ment­ing with on­line shop­ping in this en­hanced world.

Bed­room boom

The food scene is not the only trans­for­ma­tion hap­pen­ing in Aus­tralia’s big­gest city; there is a rush of bou­tique and lux­ury ho­tels open­ings in Syd­ney — and it couldn’t come soon enough. The boom was kicked off by the Old Clare in the for­mer Carl­ton & United brew­ery site in Chip­pen­dale by Loh Lik Peng’s Un­listed Col­lec­tion (it is the group’s first ho­tel in Aus­tralia af­ter es­tab­lish­ments in Lon­don, Shang­hai and Sin­ga­pore). Now the derelict Syd­ney Wa­ter Board build­ing has been turned into a lux­ury 172-room ho­tel be­fit­ting its 1930s Art Deco in­te­ri­ors by the China-based Green­land In­ter­na­tional Ho­tels Group (its first ven­ture in this coun­try). Then there is the Ho­tel Pal­isade in Millers Point with just nine suites, all fit­ted out by in­te­rior de­sign dar­ling Si­bella Court.

De­gas in ret­ro­spect

The most un­miss­able event on the 2016 Aus­tralian arts cal­en­dar will be the Edgar De­gas ret­ro­spec­tive ex­hi­bi­tion at Mel­bourne’s Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria. Part of its Win­ter Mas­ter­pieces se­ries, open­ing its doors on June 24, it is the big­gest col­lec­tion of the French painter’s work in more than 25 years. The ex­hi­bi­tion will fea­ture 200 works sourced from 14 cities around the world. De­gas, an Im­pres­sion­ist who pre­ferred to be iden­ti­fied as a real­ist, was most fa­mous for his works de­pict­ing life in Paris in the 19th cen­tury: dance halls, cafes, the opera, bal­let stages and even race­tracks. The show is a joint ven­ture with the Fine Art Mu­seum in Hous­ton (it will head there in Oc­to­ber). “It’s the most com­plex ex­hi­bi­tion that the NGV and Art Ex­hi­bi­tions Aus­tralia have ever em­barked upon,” said NGV di­rec­tor Tony Ell­wood at its launch.

Wear­able credit

For­get your credit card or even your smart­phone: the only thing you will need for your next out­fit pur­chase is … the out­fit you al­ready have on. MasterCard has com­mis­sioned US fash­ion de­signer Adam Sel­man (who de­signed the very sheer dress Ri­hanna wore to the 2014 Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica awards) to cre­ate cloth­ing that con­tains a mi­crochip al­low­ing it to dou­ble as a credit card. Sel­man has ap­par­ently pro­duced pro­to­types of two dresses, gloves, sun­glasses and a handbag, all em­bed­ded with the mi­crochips. “Tech­nol­ogy is vi­tal to the fash­ion in­dus­try; from tex­tiles, print­ing tech­niques, and in­no­va­tions in gar­ments, it keeps fash­ion chang­ing and evolv­ing,” the de­signer says. “What sets the pro­gram apart is that it fea­tures the tech­nol­ogy, while still re­main­ing in­vis­i­ble, yet in­ter­ac­tive and to­tally func­tional with the wearer.” The only ques­tion is: are they ma­chine-wash­able?

Step back in time

Our love af­fair with the 1960s and 70s will con­tinue into 2016, with the pre-fall col­lec­tions of the ma­jor la­bels still un­able to for­get those decades. Karl Lager­feld sent out mod­els with short boxy dresses, bee­hive hair and se­ri­ous eye­liner at his show in Rome late last year and Burberry fea­tured shoe-cov­er­ing flares. There also re­mains an ob­ses­sion with the 1990s-style slip dress, lace and the colour white (Le­vis is plan­ning on re­leas­ing its en­tire 501 cat­a­logue in clean white denim in 2016). For men, it is all about the sou­venir bomber jacket. The printed satin one that Louis Vuit­ton sent down the run­way in its spring 2016 col­lec­tion is al­ready a cult item.

Rise of the She-ro

It is the fe­male su­per­hero’s time to shine. Ac­cord­ing to The New York Times this cul­tural phe­nom­e­non is a re­sult of the rise of pow­er­ful women across pol­i­tics (Hi­lary Clin­ton) and en­ter­tain­ment ( Jes­sica Jones, Su­per­girl, Scan­dal) as well as women from across all those fields call­ing out the gen­der pay gap (Jen­nifer Lawrence). Even the 2016 Pirelli Cal­en­dar ditched its 50-year his­tory of pho­tograph­ing near­ly­naked mod­els to in­stead fea­ture suc­cess­ful women (co­me­dian Amy Schumer, ten­nis star Serena Wil­liams, 77-year-old phi­lan­thropist Agnes Gund, Yoko Ono) shot by none other than An­nie Lei­bowitz. “We are in a midst of a per­fect storm of cul­tural icons and pol­i­tics and Hol­ly­wood,” says Jen­nifer Zimmerman, the global chief strat­egy of­fi­cer for the Mc­Gar­ry­Bowen ad­ver­tis­ing agency. She told the NYT that they were call­ing it the “rise of the she-ro” and it was been driven by strong fe­male role fig­ures across the world. “It is im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore the em­pow­er­ment of women. Be­sides, who uses a cal­en­dar any more? It has to stand for some­thing else.” The Econ­o­mist has also cot­toned on to the rise of the fe­male, with the mag­a­zine declar­ing 2016 the year where “women will be at the heart of many of the big de­ci­sions”.

Shop­pers on the move

For­get just go­ing to your lo­cal store: lux­ury retail is now all about the “global hy­per-mo­bile cus­tomer” who trav­els around the world and shops while they are at it. This is a game-changer for the in­dus­try and for Aus­tralia. First, it means they have had a whole swath of cus­tomers that have “fallen through the cracks” on loy­alty and VIP lists be­cause they never reg­u­larly shop at one lo­ca­tion. Se­cond, it means com­pa­nies should no longer think in coun­tries but clus­ters of cities that have be­come hubs of lux­ury shop­ping (Bos­ton Con­sult­ing has even re­leased a “Metroluxe” in­dex to rank cities). “The lux­ury con­sumer is on the move, spend­ing as they go,” the Fu­ture Lab­o­ra­tory’s Chris San­der­son tells WISH. “They are likely to move from Syd­ney to Jakarta to Hong Kong to Tokyo rather than just stay­ing in Syd­ney and maybe trav­el­ling to Mel­bourne or Bris­bane. Un­til now, th­ese cus­tomers have fallen un­der the radar.” This also means that Syd­ney and, to a lesser ex­tent, Mel­bourne, Bris­bane and Perth have be­come the fo­cus of brands in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, es­pe­cially with the de­cline in lux­ury sales in China. One look at any city in Aus­tralia and the in­flux of new lux­ury store open­ings would sug­gest this in­deed is the case.

Down with hip­sterisms

We are of­fi­cially over hip­sters and the ar­ti­san/her­itage/ hand­crafted/be­spoke prod­ucts they push. That is the ver­dict from San­der­son and his team, who say there is a grow­ing “anti-au­then­tic” sen­ti­ment among con­sumers. He says words that have been tra­di­tion­ally used by lux­ury houses to (ac­cu­rately) de­scribe what they do have been hi­jacked first by hip­sters and then by ev­ery other re­tailer on the planet. As a re­sult, they have lost their value. Su­per­mar­ket shelves are now stocked with “ar­ti­san” prod­ucts (Haa­gen Dazs just re­leased their “Ar­ti­san Col­lec­tion” ice-cream) and even McDon­ald’s is get­ting on board with its menu de­scrip­tions. “Tales of au­then­tic­ity and her­itage are leav­ing a bad taste in con­sumers’ mouths as brands mer­ci­lessly mis­ap­pro­pri­ate th­ese val­ues and di­vest them of mean­ing,” he says. So what’s next? It is all about truth­ful­ness, trans­parency and look­ing to the fu­ture in­stead of rem­i­nisc­ing about the past. “It will be in­ter­est­ing to see what the big lux­ury houses do next to counter this,” San­der­son says.

Back to bricks and mor­tar

A retail trend buck­ing all oth­ers is the move by some busi­nesses to go from on­line to brick-and-mor­tar lo­ca­tions con­tain­ing real peo­ple and real prod­ucts. This is hap­pen­ing in the spe­cialised groom­ing space with MEN’S BIZ open­ing its first Syd­ney store in the Strand Ar­cade, hav­ing suc­cess­fully jumped from cy­berspace to Mel­bourne’s Royal Ar­cade last year. Started by Nathan Jan­causkas as a small on­line re­tailer for shav­ing prod­ucts in 2006, it quickly ex­panded to skin­care and hair­care and then into retail stores, which also of­fer tra­di­tional bar­ber ser­vices. “There is a lot to be said for good old-fash­ioned face-to-face ser­vice and a lot of our cus­tomers still pre­fer to shop this way,” Jan­causkas tells WISH. “Men are be­com­ing much more dis­cern­ing in their groom­ing choices and tak­ing care of your­self is now def­i­nitely part of the Aus­tralian male’s way of life.” An­other on­line groom­ing re­tailer, The Rit­u­al­ist, has also opened up a store, in in­ner-Syd­ney Padding­ton, 18 months af­ter launch­ing on­line, say­ing it was im­por­tant to of­fer a “play­ground” for its con­sumers to ex­pe­ri­ence its spe­cialised uni­sex hair and beauty prod­ucts. Cre­ative di­rec­tor Michael John­son (a long­time hair­dresser) started the busi­ness when he re­alised there was a “se­ri­ous gap” be­tween what cus­tomers wanted at hair sa­lons and what they got. “[It is] a space where you don’t feel like an in­truder if you aren’t booked in for a sa­lon ap­point­ment; an open space where all prod­ucts are avail­able to sam­ple and road-test,” John­son says.

We go to Rio

All eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro this year as it hosts the Olympic Games from Au­gust 5-21. It is the first time the South Amer­i­can con­ti­nent has hosted the sum­mer Olympics and only the se­cond time it has been held in Latin Amer­ica (the last one was in Mex­ico City in 1968). More than 10,500 ath­letes will take part at 33 venues in 26 sports. And if the pen­tathlon or the rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics are not your thing, you can be sure that the Brazil­ian cap­i­tal will put on one hell of an open­ing night party.

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