The most charming woman I've ever met.
Why are the French so chic?
“It was my dream to visit Paris,” says designer Kenzo Takada, recalling the time he travelled there by sea as a twenty-something visionary. The founder of worldwide fashion brand Kenzo – which has its headquarters in the French capital – admits that while London in the mid-1960s was a “very dynamic and interesting” place to be, it wasn’t the swinging British capital that held sway in his imagination – it was Paris. “When I was growing up in Japan and wanted to enter the industry, fashion was really in Paris… I was driven to go to the capital of fashion.”
The controversial garment that never goes out of fashion
Breathe in… the corset – a garment that is never far from a revival in fashion circles – has been attracting a far wider audience recently. Online searches for the body-sculpting garment have soared, along with demand for four-poster beds and wisteria, an interest in all things Regency sparked by the period romance TV series Bridgerton.
What your sneakers say about you
Boxfresh or battle-scuffed; on the court, the catwalk, or at the club or corner store – sneakers (or trainers, or sports shoes, or whatever you might call them) seem to enlace every form, function and fantasy – across sport, fashion, art, movies and music. Over several decades, sneakers have sealed their status as a pop-culture currency. In 1986, New York hip hop legends Run DMC created a ground-breaking anthem (and $1.6million brand endorsement deal) with their hit track My Adidas – and globally, sneaker statements and serenades have continued hard and fast since then, whether it's Dr Dre displaying his pristine stash of Nike Air Force 1s, or Lil Nas X's recent controversial/collectible "Satan Shoes". London's Design Museum has also dedicated its latest exhibition, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, to the footwear phenomenon.
Britain's first black aristocrats
For centuries, the Royal Family, Britain's wealthiest, most exclusive institution, has been synonymous with whiteness. And yet, for a brief moment, there she was: Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, a biracial black woman, on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Her picture-perfect wedding to Prince Harry in 2018 was an extraordinary amalgamation of black culture and centuries-old royal traditions, as an African-American preacher and a gospel choir graced St George's Chapel in Windsor. Watching on that sunny May afternoon, who would've known things would unravel the way they have three years on?
Why can we see colors?
The world is so wonderful in large part because we can see a wide variety of colors. So have you ever thought about the question: is the same color the same in the eyes of different people? I believe many people have had this question because many times what we think looks good, others do not think it looks good, and what we feel is ugly, but some people can not turn their eyes to it. To get the answer to this question, we must first know why people can see color. We know that visible light has seven different colors, namely red, orange, red, green, blue, indigo and violet, and the first person to separate visible light was Isaac Newton.
The untranslatable word that connects Wales
A small harbour I know well appears on an Instagram story, catching me by surprise with its flash of familiar cobbled streets and blue skies. It's Wales: the land I grew up in and home to memories of afternoons spent fishing for crabs on that very harbourside in Porthmadog, long sand-dune walks along the north-west coastline and the inescapable smell of the sea.
England's delectable, fleeting vegetable
It was July in north Norfolk and the coast road was busy with holiday traffic. Visitors were thronging the narrow, flint-cottage streets of villages like Cley-next-the-Sea and Blakeney, streets that would become even busier once the summer school holiday got into full swing in August. Most visitors travel here to enjoy the relaxed seaside atmosphere of Norfolk's former fishing ports; some come for the beaches, like the enormously wide arc of sparkling sand at Holkham Bay near Wells-next-the-Sea. Others are drawn by the seafood, which here on the coast is usually so fresh that it is still redolent of the North Sea that bore it.
The desert chefs who cook with the sun
Piercing rays of light beamed down on the Chilean village of Villaseca as Luisa Ogalde placed a pot filled with cabrito (young goat's meat) in an angular, transparent-topped box and angled it in the direction of the mid-morning sun. The cabrito, she explained, would stew in that box for four hours, slowly transforming into meat so juicy and tender you could slice it with a fork.
'Ghillies': Scotland's little-known Highlanders
On Scotland’s formidably wild Isle of Skye, there were hoof trails everywhere at first light. Trails in the mud, trails curving across the moorland, trails on the far side of the burn where they vanished into the murk of the pine forest. To the east, the land swooped uphill onto the ruggedly beautiful shoulder of Sgùrr a' Mhadaidh Ruaidh, with a vantage point over the Trotternish peninsula. West, and downhill from where Mitchell Partridge was standing, the loose contours of Glenhinnisdal valley dropped to Loch Snizort and the Isle of Skye’s coastline. There was a feeling of waiting for the stag rut to begin.
Khasis: India's indigenous matrilineal society
During my travels across mainland India, especially in small towns and villages in the north, I hardly saw any women-run shops or marketplaces. In a sit-down eatery in Uttar Pradesh, I watched men make flatbreads and mash vegetables for curries while male customers gobbled them up. Between Kolkata and Gorakhpur, I sat sandwiched between men in passenger trains passing through the rural countryside. On most occasions, women were absent from public spaces.
Asia's isle of five separate genders
The Indonesian island of Sulawesi sprawls like a drunken starfish in the western Pacific Ocean, its four emerald limbs reaching into the Celebes, Molucca and Flores seas. On its south-western tip sits the smog-choked port city of Makassar, long an important trading post and Indonesia's eastern gateway to the world.
The Swedish law of wanderlust
Swedish ice-climbing instructor Markus Nyman warms up his students with an off-piste ski tour, snaking past pine trees so thick with powder that locals describe them as "snow ghosts". They're only a few minutes' slalom from the main chair lift that takes alpine adventurers to the top of the slopes of Duved, a 17th-Century village 640km north of Stockholm. But soon they're swapping skis for crampons and poles for pickaxes as they prepare to scale a frozen waterfall in the middle of the forest.