The fastest way / Tyler Brule
bom dia! bom dia! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today (most of it in Portugal, some in the Alps with a parallel order of flat ground in Paris), so put on your squishiest socks, put on your Vejas (they do a nice style now running by the way) and don’t dare indulge in any weird recreational sports, because we have to look presentable and well-dressed every time we venture beyond the front door. Let’s go.
Lisbon, a rooftop restaurant, Sunday night. We are having dinner with some French friends and the room is full. Nearby we have Luanda men meeting a lanky, sneaky British guy. There’s some kind of deal going on, but what kind? Was it sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to source fresh energy from the former Portuguese colony? Or is he negotiating a deal to sell another football club? Behind us, a stocky, somewhat frightening man, who might come from Irkutsk, is led to his table. He is accompanied by six young women who are all under 20 years old. They’re definitely not his daughters or nieces and he’s not casting for a sunny version of Siberia has talent, so who is he and why was he shown in a private nook behind curtains? Should I present it to the UK broker across the way? Maybe he has a football club he wants to offload.
Porto, the studio of a fashion distributor. We are gathered around a table cluttered with samples of sweatshirts and underwear. Yes, Monocle is expanding its range and we are looking into fits, colors and fabric quality with some of our team, representatives from a factory, a production pro and my friend André, who leads the process. When we discuss delivery times, the factory pair begins to radiate. “We’re so busy,” said one. “We have never been so busy!” said the other. “It’s amazing how much production is coming back to Europe and a lot of it is happening in Portugal.” It also makes me happy: China has behaved appallingly throughout the pandemic (let’s never forget how uncooperative Beijing has been in discovering the origin of the coronavirus), plays an equally irresponsible role in the Ukrainian conflict and deserves to lose its status as the factory of the world. Portugal!
I’ve said it before, but in case you missed it, this city could become the Honolulu of Europe – in a good way.
The Foz district of Porto, at lunchtime, a cozy restaurant. André is in charge of orders. It’s a super local establishment and regular diners probably sat down for hearty lunches as long as the waiters served delicious fish and beef dishes. The waiters all wear striped shirts and matching jeans; some gentlemen from the local university wear matching blazers and ties. It is a mature and well run operation and if you ask politely I will tell you the name of said establishment. You will find me at [email protected].
Madeira, a sleepy side street in the center of Funchal. There are a lot of empty storefronts. I’ve said it before, but in case you missed it, this city could become the Honolulu of Europe – in a good way. Or maybe the new Palma? The architecture is exceptional, the orange glass light fixtures along the streets provide a warm glow (the city needs to kill off the white lights they allow to creep into the cityscape) and visitors might even get a little younger. Time to check it out if you haven’t been. Also, the Atlantic was a perfect 19C at the time of writing this column.
London, Chiltern Street, Saturday 19 March. Have your first flat white of the day by visiting our new store on Chiltern Street, meeting your favorite editors and discovering Trunk’s fresh duds. The day starts at 10:00 a.m.
St Moritz, April 1, morning watch. You enjoy a little aperitif with the Monocle team for our first Weekender of 2022. Later, you will enjoy a reading by author Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer of his new book, Grand Hotel Europa, a preview of our spring collection, refined glasses and an evening on the dance floor at Dracula. For tickets, register here and any questions can be directed to Hannah Grundy at [email protected].
Paris, June 3. Monocle’s 2022 Quality of Life Conference is underway at Le19M, home to some of Chanel’s workshops and their dedicated expertise in pleating, millinery, and jewelry design and production. Reserve your place now for the full event, which runs from the evening of Thursday June 2 to the morning of Saturday June 4.