Mitsubishi Corporation’s green transition – Behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Huge Overhaul – Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta: Best Looks of Fashion Week Fall 2022 – US apparel store sales in January up 37.6 %

We wish to bring to you in this edition of the TextileFuture Newsletter the latest novelties in four items.

The first feature gives you an insight on “Mitsubishis Corporation’s green transition” badsed upon an interview by PWC’s Strategies & Business.

The second item is more on culture, but allows a look “Behind the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Huge Overhaul”, written by guest author Ted Loos and  Photography By Nan Goldin for Wall Street  Magazine. It answers also the question on how much money is invested into the project.

The third feature will present to you the “Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta: Best Looks of the Paris Fashion Week Fall 2022” and it will please foremost your eyes, because all the captions show a cross section of the luxury fashion lately presented in Paris.

We let follow in short the latest available figures on “US apparel store sales in January up 37.6 %”

Again we recommend that you do take the time to read and see all the items, because it is educative, expensive, pleasant to view and informative and it does not consume too much time to do so.

Have a splendid week and don’t forget to return to TextileFutures Newsletter next Tuesday!

Here begins the educative feature:

Mitsubishi Corporation’s green transition

CEO Takehiko Kakiuchi explains how the conglomerate is navigating the global recovery and planning for a sustainable future.

Mitsubishi CEO Takehiko Kakiuchi. Caption courtesy by Mitsubishi

By guest authors Matthew Wyborn and Jakob von Baeyer. Matthew Wyborn is an advisor to executives undertaking transactions and market entry activities across a range of industries. Based in Tokyo, he is a partner with PwC Japan. Jakob von Baeyer is a senior editor of strategy+business.

Also contributing to this article was PwC Japan partner Makoto Hattori.

How do OECD countries rate on five indicators of women’s participation in the labour market and equality in the workplace?

Takehiko Kakiuchi is a company man, having joined Mitsubishi Corporation in 1979 as a recent Kyoto University graduate. The turning point in his professional life came later, at 32, while on assignment for the company in Australia. Sent to revive the fortunes of a livestock feed business, the young director found himself traveling regularly between Sydney and Brisbane alongside a relatively untested 28-year-old president. As a management consultant, Kakiuchi’s job was to look for efficiencies. But rather than taking the short flight between the two cities, the pair instead opted to make the 1000-kilometer, ten-hour journey by car in order to, as Kakiuchi describes it, take the time to build the trust necessary to succeed. It’s a lesson he’s carried with him throughout his career.

Today, the 66-year-old Kakiuchi is CEO of the Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Corporation. Upon taking the top job in 2016, after the company recorded its first annual loss in its 71-year history, he enhanced collaboration across his senior management team, moved to cap the proportion of commodity assets in the company’s portfolio that are subject to price fluctuations, and built up the firm’s investments in digital technology and consumer markets. The trading house is one of the largest in Japan, with annual profits this financial year of USD 6.4 billion across ten business lines, ranging from energy and mineral resources to automotive and food industries.

But perhaps the greatest test lies ahead: the sustainable transition of an energy powerhouse. Having played a pivotal role in the post-war success of the Japanese economy as a producer and distributor of energy, Mitsubishi Corporation has set out an ambitious decarbonization road map to transform its carbon-intensive businesses by 2030. In an interview with strategy+business, Kakiuchi shared insights on the broader economic recovery, the green transition, and his company’s role in the balancing of Japan’s energy mix. As he prepares for a handoff to his successor, Katsuya Nakanishi, in 2022—at which time Kakiuchi will assume the role of chairman—the CEO also reflected on the future growth of the company’s diverse portfolio.

S+B: Given the continued impact of the pandemic and the global nature of your business, what is your current outlook for economic recovery?
The pandemic has caused enormous disruption in some regions, with only a relatively minor impact on others. At any rate, on a global scale, things have not completely recovered, and the pandemic has laid bare various problems. For example, since supply chains now stretch through many countries and have become very complicated in recent years, when they’re disrupted—as they have been by the pandemic—the entire value chain is heavily impacted.

However, from our perspective at Mitsubishi Corporation, these disruptions have not caused any major problems thus far. Fortunately, our company remains very stable. In November 2021, we revised our forecasts for the fiscal year ending March 2022 to an after-tax net income of ¥740 billion [USD 6.5 billion]. [Previous forecasts had projected a net income of ¥380 billion/USD 3.3 billion.] For example, our automobile business in ASEAN member countries has rebounded extremely well, especially in Indonesia and Thailand.

It may sound overly optimistic—particularly at the moment, when demand exceeds supply for many components, including semiconductors. But we’re entering a phase when demand for our products is growing, too, and we’re therefore able to execute sales at regular prices, despite some difficulties in production. My view is that production, logistics, and demand trends are all moving in a positive direction.

Of course, the geopolitical situation is still fluid, and we are watching regional developments closely. This includes agreements such as the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership; the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the United States, India, Japan, and Australia; as well as AUKUS, the trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, for the Indo-Pacific region.

We are also closely monitoring trade tensions, some of which are fundamentally related to ideologies and political systems. Although decoupling [between the US and China] is completely unthinkable in the short term, it remains difficult to design a long-term supply chain strategy given persistent trade tensions. However, while there are clear geopolitical risks that need to be factored into strategy and planning, there are also many opportunities to integrate on both the digital transformation and the energy transition fronts. My aim is to approach business optimistically and proactively, having prepared for worst-case scenarios.

S+B: What effects are you seeing in Japan?
For one, as part of the recovery, Japan must look to the numerous opportunities to transfer know-how acquired through pandemic-driven innovation and adaptive business models. At the same time, compared to other countries in the world, the Japanese economy continues to struggle. Although it might be surprising for some in North America and Europe to hear, Japan has gradually fallen behind the world in terms of digital innovation. This trend started almost 30 years ago, when Japan’s bubble economy collapsed. The government has also fallen behind in the adoption of the digital technology critical to a quick recovery from the pandemic.

This is evident when one considers that little effort has been made to incorporate digital technology into business or government systems in recent years. Despite this, or possibly because of it, I can see a significant opportunity for businesses to play a role in the catch-up and potential leapfrogging of digital solutions, including in AI and other technologies, throughout the country. Therefore, I strongly believe that Japan is still an appealing country in which to do business, despite having fallen behind the times.

S+B: What are some of the key challenges in running a business with such a diverse portfolio?
That is an extremely difficult question, but I will respond honestly. In the past, each industry had a natural development trajectory. Therefore, the company was able to learn from the past. The issue is whether we have the imagination to see the future, by building on where we are now. Saying our goal is to simply maintain each business is the same as admitting failure.

Before I became CEO in 2016, Mitsubishi Corporation recorded its first loss since its founding. As a result, I believed we needed to transform our portfolio into one that will never again result in a loss, by investing in more secure industries, as we have done with our food industry businesses, alongside our core businesses, such as energy, that are more subject to disruption. Naturally, commodities markets also entail a lot of risk, and thus, I aimed to rebalance the entire portfolio.

Today, the gross value of our business portfolio is about ¥20 trillion [USD 175 billion]. Since I joined the company, it has gradually created new businesses across all points of the value chain. Currently, there are about 1700 companies in our portfolio. In terms of profit, some of the main businesses are in the mineral resources sector, including mines and energy. Among many other sectors, we also have a group that develops chemical and petroleum products, and another group that is involved in the consumer sector, including convenience stores and supermarkets, and we are also in the automotive sector.

S+B: How do you enable collaboration and interaction across senior management? How do you approach decision-making?
Ensuring collaboration within the executive team means continually asking ourselves: are all the businesses and activities we are involved in truly vital to the success of the company? Businesses within our portfolio that we are unable to grow further should be handed over as quickly as possible to parties who can. One example of a business in which we saw limited potential for growth under our portfolio was our thermal coal assets, from which we have now exited completely. To that end, we have been heavily focused on replacing businesses to achieve value-added cyclical growth on an ongoing basis, evident in our renewable energy investments. Our acquisition of the Netherlands-based distributed energy resources company Eneco, for example, enabled us to leverage their knowledge in our drive toward a renewable energy base here in Japan.

Progress is also being made to develop and integrate digital capabilities across business lines; AI and digital technologies will enable us to maximize production and sales and find optimal solutions for logistics-related operations. One of our newest businesses, MC Digital, collects and analyzes a seemingly endless amount of data from across Mitsubishi Corporation. As our business spans many industries and sectors—literally from energy to noodles—we aim to integrate as much data as possible. And though these portfolio changes are part of the leadership team’s decision-making process, it’s also important to note that the entire company must be united in tackling these challenges.

S+B: Mitsubishi Corporation has set a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050. Considering that the company operates in carbon-intensive sectors such as energy, mining, and transportation, how are you approaching the energy transition of your business?
At present, our core energy business is primarily involved with natural gas and liquefied natural gas [LNG]; we recently announced that we would continue to fulfill our responsibility to provide a stable supply of LNG while meeting our target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. We will also actively invest in renewable energy. For example, wind and solar power will represent roughly half of the ¥2 trillion [USD 17 billion] we have committed to EX [energy transformation] efforts. The unfortunate reality is that renewable energy is intermittent.

We acknowledge that LNG, while necessary for the transition, is a finite resource. Our LNG portfolio includes countries such as Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the US, and Canada—and production has been ongoing since the 1960s. Eventually, these resources will expire. But as the largest supplier to Japanese electric and gas companies, we have a social responsibility to provide a stable energy supply. And while we have received some criticism from various stakeholders, we cannot simply stop the supply of, or our investment in, LNG. We will continue working across the electricity and gas value chain—producers, sellers, and customers—toward the goal of carbon neutrality. The reality is that we must balance supply through this period of transition.

S+B: What does the decarbonization of the wider Japanese economy look like from your perspective? How will the country continue to meet its energy demand while building up renewable alternatives?
The country is aiming to become carbon-neutral in 30 years. To achieve this transition, it will need to draw on a mix of energy sources. Based on our analysis, Japan is expected to cover about 40 % of its energy demand with renewables. [We believe that] natural gas is vital to meet the remaining 60 %, and while getting to a consensus around offsetting mechanisms is challenging, carbon-neutral LNG offers a potential solution.

Part of the challenge involves how to manage carbon emissions from the production and use of LNG. For example, it is still impossible to answer the question of whether solutions used in the production of LNG, such as CCS [carbon capture and storage] and CCU [carbon capture and utilisation], are cost competitive without further innovation.

Of all the new technologies, the greatest focus is on hydrogen as we move toward 2050. For the time being, the cost of transporting hydrogen from overseas makes it impractical. The key question we are trying to answer is whether it is possible to transport hydrogen in a form that is cost effective, and whether it can be produced locally, here in Japan. These are the key challenges to address through innovation.

Another technological shortcut to carbon neutrality may be the introduction of compact nuclear power plants known as small module reactors [SMRs]. This may be the most economical solution and could produce the hydrogen needed to meet fuel and power needs. In Japan, nuclear energy provides a veritable source of clean power, but innovative approaches to safety concerns are essential to overcome public opposition.

S+B: As you prepare to step down from your role as CEO, how would you like to see the company evolve its future role in Japanese society?
In Japan, economic activity tends to be concentrated in Tokyo. And while Tokyo continues to grow for now, the population of regional cities is falling. Mitsubishi Corporation has an urban development group that offers planning services to strengthen the appeal of regional cities, including the revitalization of historical sites and the digitization of urban infrastructure.

Part of this transformation should involve the introduction of AI into distributed energy infrastructure [to help manage decentralized grids]. We believe this will increase energy efficiency and optimise storage potential. As part of a broader shift to renewable energy and digital transformation in cities and regions, connecting car batteries to the grid will help balance electricity supply and enable the shift toward decarbonization.

It is also crucial that we nurture inclusive communities, where people feel comfortable sharing their personal data—which might include data related to medical care, education, transportation, and food delivery—to help build a modern, smart society. One of our fundamental goals is to continue to create value in ways that benefit society. There is still a long way to go, but I am very confident that momentum is moving us in the right direction.

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Here is the start of the “expensive” item:

Behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Huge Overhaul

Max Hollein returned to New York three years ago. Now he is helping steer The Met into the future by encouraging “a multicultural perspective that fosters multiple voices.”

By guest author Ted Loos | Photography By Nan Goldin for WSJ. Magazine

All captions courtesy by the Wall Street Journal.

As Max Hollein, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, looks west out of his office toward Central Park, he can see skylights above the European paintings galleries. Some have recently been replaced, as part of an ongoing project that will total around USD 150 million.

That amount—for a change many people will never even notice, and that could build an entire museum in some parts of the world—gives a sense of the scale of the transformation currently happening at the Met, where the high-energy Hollein has been director since August 2018. “We are reconfiguring about a quarter of the museum,” he says.

This level of ambition requires major fundraising, and the museum’s single biggest coup, announced in November 2021, is a USD 125 million naming gift for the much-delayed renovation of the Met’s modern and contemporary wing, from longtime patrons Oscar Tang and Agnes Hsu-Tang, representing the largest capital gift in the museum’s history.

Although an architect hasn’t been chosen yet, the museum has decided on a couple of parameters for the project, which the museum says will cost USD 500 million. The works will no longer be organized chronologically, the way it’s typically been done since contemporary art became an official focus of the museum in 1967. The new spaces will also be much more open to views of adjacent Central Park than previously.

“The idea of building a modern and contemporary wing has been going on for 10 years,” says Tang, a retired financier who has been a museum trustee for almost three decades and has previously focused on donations to the institution for its Asian collections. The project was temporarily scrapped in 2017, in the wake of financial woes over the past decade that included multiple deficits, layoffs and the abrupt departure of the previous director, who was also the chief executive, Thomas Campbell. The challenges aren’t all in the past: The museum had to create a USD 100 million emergency fund in 2020, and it ended the 2021 fiscal year with a USD 7.6 million operating deficit.

“I don’t want to criticize other museums, but more often than not, the arts of Africa and Oceania are displayed in an environment that is dark, theatrical, dramatised.” — Max Hollein

The Louvre may be bigger and the Getty richer, but in many ways the Met sets the standard for all museums. The 152-year-old institution can get seven million visitors in a non-pandemic year, and it owns more than 1.5 million objects and has a $4.3 billion endowment (which has shot up by around $1 billion in two years). When the museum closed for almost six months in 2020, it was the only time it had been shuttered for more than three days in over a century.

The many makeovers include a USD 70 million renovation of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, by Kulapat Yantrasast and his architecture firm WHY, with Beyer Blinder Belle. The 40,000-square-foot space holds the collections of sub-Saharan African art, ancient American art and Oceanic art and will debut in 2024.

Hollein and his curators are keen to rethink the ways non-Western works are shown. “I don’t want to criticize other museums, but more often than not, the arts of Africa and Oceania are displayed in an environment that is dark, theatrical, dramatized.” Of Yantrasast’s plan, Hollein says, “It’s light-filled, it’s pristine, it has a completely modern aesthetic.” There will be a clear glass wall facing the park, and Yantrasast is planning to use wood, stone and metal with natural finishes to create what he called “a contemporary environment that’s respectful of the materials.”

Also on deck is a USD 40 million renovation of the galleries for ancient Near Eastern and Cypriot art, designed by the cutting-edge Boston firm NADAAA, that will provide an airier, open floor plan.

The willingness to make major changes has attracted donors who favor bold ideas, like Tang and Hsu-Tang, an archaeologist and art historian. In 2020, they got serious in talks about their gift with Hollein and Daniel H. Weiss, the museum’s president and chief executive and the man who leads fundraising. As Hsu-Tang puts it, “We’re determined to be part of the [museum’s] renaissance after Covid.”

The Austria-born Hollein, 52, has a skill set—honed in an early stint at the Guggenheim and in his previous directorships, at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt—that dovetailed well with the patrons’ vision for the new spaces. Tang says, “His contemporary background is a tremendous strength for the project, combined with his viewpoint that we must broaden the definition of modern and contemporary.”

Weiss says that Hollein has the necessary oomph. “His energy is infectious, and other people want to be part of what he’s doing.”

Hollein came into the Met as an outsider, the first director in more than 60 years who hadn’t previously worked at the museum. “Stepping into the Met is politically fraught on lots of levels,” says Hollein’s mentor, Thomas Krens, the former director of the Guggenheim. “The job of museum director is to give confidence to a wide cohort of essential people, from curators to the museum’s guards to the major donors, and Max does that extremely well.”

“The Met is built on the philanthropy of so many,” acknowledges Hollein. But it can also be tricky, as evidenced in early December when the Met announced with the Sackler family that their name would be taken off of seven exhibition spaces, in response to the controversy over the family’s role as makers of the opioid OxyContin through their company, Purdue Pharma. This included the wing housing the well-known Temple of Dendur.

The museum’s division of leadership duties made that an issue negotiated by Weiss, who came to the museum in 2015. Hollein’s mission is programming, and it’s no accident that as he talks in his office, he is surrounded by four highly diverse works. Helen Frankenthaler’s Inner Edge (1966) and Jackson Pollock’s Number 7 (1952) both represent midcentury American achievements, but they are mixed with an ancient Egyptian stone head and an 11th-century Hindu figure in copper from India.

Hollein wants to foreground artists of color and non-Western traditions. “It’s really a multicultural perspective that fosters multiple voices,” Hollein says. Working with chief modern and contemporary curator Sheena Wagstaff and her team, he was behind the selection of Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu to fill the museum’s long-empty outdoor niches with caryatid sculptures that blend African motifs with striking contemporary forms.

“Stepping into the Met is politically fraught on lots of levels. The job of museum director is to give confidence to a wide cohort…and Max does that extremely well.” — Thomas Krens

He also advocated for the selection of Kent Monkman, a Cree artist from Canada, to fill the museum’s famed entry area, the Great Hall, with two large narrative paintings. In the marquee space, Monkman depicted his supernatural, gender-fluid alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, wearing black Christian Louboutin pumps, and little else, in crowded faux-histories. One of them is meant to evoke, among other things, Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 famed painting Washington Crossing the Delaware, a painting that is in the Met’s permanent collection, but here the mostly nude Miss Chief replaces Washington astride the boat. “They’re gigantic history paintings suggesting a different history,” says Hollein of the commissions, now also part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Currently on show is a reinvention of the period room “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room,” which Hollein strongly supported. It asks: What if Seneca Village, the Black community that thrived in the early 19th century where Central Park is now, were still around? (The village was destroyed by New York City in the 1850s to create the park.) In the room, contemporary pieces such as a pair of fauteuils refashioned with purple grasses and brass beads and a ceramic plate featuring Stacey Abrams by potter Roberto Lugo share space with an 1850s saltbox and a 19th/20th-century Cameroonian stool decorated with cowrie shells.

Hollein also wants the 17 famously independent curatorial departments to work together. Abraham Thomas, brought on by Hollein in 2020 as a curator of modern architecture, decorative arts and design, says this strategy was a vital part of his job interview. “Max said he wants to make sure every curator recruited on his watch has the ability and interest to work across departments,” Thomas says.

In 2020, Hollein initiated a series of small but significant exhibitions called Crossroads, which are staged where the paths through the museum transition from one specialty area to another. One of these shows on view now, Empires and Emporia, includes loans from five departments: Arms & Armor, Asian Art, the American Wing, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts.

“One of the clear goals from the trustees was to foster more cross-departmental collaboration,” says Hollein, noting that it’s easier said than done. “I remember that my first year people constantly said, ‘Max needs to talk to us more.’ And all that I did was talking.” He says: “If you learn too much and you listen too much, you go deeper and deeper and deeper into the history of this institution. At some point you almost suffocate; you’re not able to move forward. And so, finding that proper balance is a challenge.”

The museum’s 150th anniversary exhibition, Making the Met, 1870–2020, made the point that its founders saw the museum’s establishment as a way of using art to heal the post–Civil War nation.

“Max and I both embrace the idea of the Met being a universalist institution, which is not the same thing as encyclopedic.” — Daniel H. Weiss “I think that the museum in our current time is one of the very few places where you can have a debate, a broader cultural discussion, in a sophisticated and nonconfrontational way,” Hollein says. It’s a sentiment seconded and even amplified by Weiss; the two meet weekly and email every day.

“Max and I both embrace the idea of the Met being a universalist institution, which is not the same thing as encyclopedic,” says Weiss. “A universalist institution seeks to find community in difference.” In other words, it’s not just a comprehensive catalog of stuff but a place to discover the shared humanity in objects that may seem unrelated at first glance.

Hollein’s father, Hans Hollein, was a Pritzker Prize–winning architect based in Vienna. His buildings include the Vulcania museum in Saint-Ours, France, which sports a striking, cone-shaped structure meant to recall a volcano, and he was prominent enough that four works he designed ended up in the Met’s collection. “Most museum directors like to build, but the difference is that Max understands what building means,” says Weiss

Helene Hollein, Max’s mother, once worked as a fashion illustrator, and artists were fixtures in his childhood. He remembers at age 12 getting Andy Warhol to sign every page of a catalog. “Everything revolved around art,” Hollein says now. “That’s how I grew up.”

Hollein studied art history at the University of Vienna, and then got an M.B.A. at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. For his artistically minded parents, Hollein says jokingly, their reaction to this practical streak was, “What is happening with our son?” He likes to emphasize this part of his résumé, with its suggestion that he has the big picture in his sights. His sister, Lilli Hollein, is the director of Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts.

His five years at the Guggenheim working for Krens—whose 20-year directorship saw unprecedented expansion, in the form of museum-branded branches across the globe, and controversial shows like The Art of the Motorcycle—proved a formative crucible. At the time, the museum was working on extensions in places like Berlin, Bilbao, Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi. As for why he hired Hollein, Krens recalls, “His mother asked me to.” That request, for an internship when Hollein was 18, didn’t pan out until he was 21; the future mentor then told Hollein he could have a real job when he finished his master’s degrees, and Krens was true to his word.

Hollein’s titles changed as he moved up, going from curatorial assistant to chief of staff and manager of European relations. Hollein says now, “I especially learned that you need to juggle your options as long as possible until you see this window of opportunity where everything falls into place. You have to be a gambler and a player.”

In the 1990s, Krens was practically running a school for future museum directors, with lieutenants like Michael Govan going on to run the Dia Art Foundation and then the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Julián Zugazagoitia now helming the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The stint also turned Hollein into a New Yorker with roots in the city’s contemporary art world. He and his wife, Nina Hollein, a former architect who is now a fashion designer, lived in a one-room apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. “A lot of the artists we knew back then are now top artists, and we’re still friends,” Hollein says, mentioning George Condo and Doug Aitken. “People always talk about the ’70s art scene being close-knit, but I feel the ’90s was like that.”

Now that they have three children of high school and college age, they live in a rented townhouse on the Upper East Side not far from the Met, an easy walk to work that he made a point of taking every day even when the museum was closed. Hollein is proud of being a local. He noted that he loved biking all over Manhattan. “It brought us closer to the city and to each other.”

Many of Nina’s designs for women, which she has made by herself during the pandemic, are commissions, and she focuses on sustainability and recycled materials. The couple maintain a small apartment in their hometown of Vienna (they recently went over the winter holidays) and have also preserved some of the city’s flavor in New York. “We’ve kept much of Austria,” Nina says, including food like tafelspitz and artworks by Austrians such as the sculptor Walter Pichler and the installation-maker Lois Weinberger.

By far Hollein’s longest job tenure was in Frankfurt, a 15-year stay that transformed the city’s museums. By the time he was done, he led not only the institution where he was initially hired, the contemporary-focused Schirn Kunsthalle, but also the Städel, which has a serious collection of older European art, and the Liebieghaus sculpture museum. Though they are still separate institutions, Hollein consolidated their leadership.

As Krens himself says admiringly, “He was able to convince the city fathers of the plan.” Hollein also expanded the Städel itself. “We added 50 percent more space to the museum with a major architectural project,” he says. “And I love that.”

His two-year tenure in San Francisco was too short to make such an impact, though Hollein says his time at the Fine Arts Museums was instructive especially when it came to managing community relations. He hadn’t planned to be a short-termer. “I would not have left if I would not have gotten the offer from the Met,” he says.

The many European job offers he had when he was at the Städel were not appealing because he had the sense that, he says, “Within the next 15 years nothing much can happen in those places. I’m more interested in this evolutionary transformation process.”

Here is the beginning of the pleasure for your eyes:

Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta: Best Looks of Fashion Week Fall 2022

This season, some designers responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as others chose to focus on joy. Here’s the best of those fall collections, including looks from Chanel, Fendi and Prada.

By Jenny Hartman , Lizzy Wholley and Alexander Fisher from the Wall Street Magazine

All captions are also courtesy by the Wall Street Magazine.

The fall 2022 fashion shows came to an end on Tuesday after weeks of events held across Europe. While many European designers were eager to return to pre-pandemic programming, the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 shifted the mood of the events in another direction. While the shows carried on, some designers made gestures of solidarity with Ukraine. Giorgio Armani presented his collection in Milan to the sounds of absolute silence, while Demna, the Georgian-born artistic director of Balenciaga, closed his show with two looks in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Despite the news, some fashion houses chose joy. At the Valentino presentation in Paris, the entire venue and more than half of the clothes on the runway were colored in a scorching hot pink. At Louis Vuitton, artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière paid homage to adolescence with a collection that included school uniform separates and oversize rugby shirts. Humble wardrobe items like basic white tanks became standout pieces in a season when simplicity seemed to be paramount. Model Kaia Gerber opened the Prada show in a white tank, and another was seen at Bottega Veneta, whose newly appointed creative director, Matthieu Blazy, showed it with a pair of buzzed-about leather blue jeans. But there was new proof that strong tailoring isn’t going anywhere: There were oversize power suits from Alessandro Michele at Gucci and sleek tapered evening looks from Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent. Here are all the highlights from the fall/winter 2022 shows.


A corset adds a feminine shape to a tailored look.

Giorgio Armani

Although the Armani show was soundtracked by silence, there was still high glamour on display.



Opposites attract in a bold look of leather and lace.

Bottega Veneta

A pair of leather jeans draws attention to creative director Matthieu Blazy’s debut collection.


Amber Valletta wears a crafty patchwork gilet over a polished white coat.$


A black dress with cutouts puts skin on display.


A classic trench is cinched in with a corseted waist.

Dolce & Gabbana

A side slit lends a sensual twist to suiting.


A long brocade princess coat draws inspiration from female artists of the 1930s.


Crushed velvet in ruby red stays comfortable and festive.


Bella Hadid wears a sheer pink slip dress and teal gloves.


Power suits and pumps are a defining duo.

Isabel Marant

Red thigh-high boots pair with an oversize jacket.

Max Mara

Neutral colors combine for an elevated ensemble.


A sleek, striped sweater dress makes for a cozy-yet-chic look.

Molly Goddard

A tulle skirt pairs with green platforms.


Kendall Jenner wears a little black dress in tribute to the late designer Virgil Abloh.


Kaia Gerber opens the show with a simple white tank.

Richard Quinn

Floating feathers add whimsy to a white minidress.

Simone Rocha

A crisp cotton shirt puts a masculine touch on a flouncy floral gown.

The Row

Sleek layers are draped with ease in a look from the 2023 resort collection.


Gigi Hadid in an all-black suit.


Precious Lee wears a corseted black dress.

Saint Laurent

A bold pair of shades completes an evening look.


A dress in beige and yellow with cushion-like sleeve cuffs.


A minidress and matching coat in cashmere and lambskin.


Adut Akech wears a forest-green skirt suit.


Mariacarla Boscono wears a radiant pink cape and trouser look.


A blue gown swirls down a runway set inside a simulated snow globe.

Louis Vuitton

A printed tie adds character to a cream button-up blouse.


A red tweed skirt suit is a simple solution to fall dressing.

Miu Miu

The ultra-short miniskirt returns for another season


Here is the shortest but informative item:

US apparel store sales in January up 37.6 %

US apparel store sales were up 37.6 % year-on-year in January and 34.3 % from 2019. Department store sales rose 26.3 % year-on-year and 3.4 % from 2019, according to Mastercard Spending Pulse.

  • The Visa U.S. Spending Momentum Index (SMI) was 109.3 in February (seasonally adjusted), up from 102.4 in January. (when the Visa SMI rises above 100, the consumer spending momentum is strengthening)
  • A key driver was consumers returning to offices (even if part time) and shopping for smart casual apparel.
  • The fastest growth was in consumers aged 65+.



Newsletter of last Week

Julia Fox Will Come for You – Victoria’s Secret is launching a new underwear brand selling first bras to pre-teen shoppers – Can fashion shows ever be sustainable? – Textile Market Higher Growth During 2022-2032 CAGR: 3.77 % – Autonomous supply chain planning for consumer goods companies – Open letter calls on fashion to unite against war and reactions

The highlights of last week’s NEWS, for your convenience, just click on the feature to read.


German Otto Group acquires majority stake in digital health player Medgate


WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala welcomes project in support of African Continental Free Trade Area


Lead and Influence Through AATCC Committees


Clariant suspends all operations in Russia

UBS publishes Annual Report 2021

Swiss Rieter Financial Year 2021

Successfull branding refresh of Hugo Boss paves way for record sales in 2022

BASF closes EPS recycling loop and launches Neopor® McycledTM containing recycled material


More women as environmental protection professionals

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EU Government expenditure on economic affairs up in 2020

Check your facts with Eurostat’s new tool

25 years of HICP

Survey on testing and certification barriers in EU export markets

How much did governments spend on health in 2020?

The McKinsey Week in Charts

Digital Printing

Snuggle Implements Kornit Atlas MAX Systems to Support Sustained Growth in Sustainable, Efficient Production on Demand

Eco Friendly 

Reducing the carbon footprint of footwear production


The War in the Ukraine

EU Commission supports 225 reform projects in Member States to improve their resilience, create jobs and growth

Ukraine: EU agrees to extend the scope of sanctions on Russia and Belarus

Ukraine: EU Commission launches webpage for people fleeing the war in Ukraine

EU Commission held first meeting of the European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism

Statement by EU President of the Commission von der Leyen on the fourth package of restrictive measures against Russia


Groz-Beckert presents product highlights for the nonwovens industry at IDEA Miami

Intellectual Property

WIPO – Hague System – Amendments to the Administrative Instructions

New Lab

BASF opens new laboratory building


Report: Piracy thrives in pandemic


Horizon Europe: Swiss Federal Council adopts transitional measures for SMEs and start-ups

Helping medium-sized enterprises get fit for the Circular Economy


The retailers pulling out of Russia – from John Lewis to JD Sports


The War in the Ukraine: Suspension of Swiss motorway charge and exemption from heavy vehicle charge

Swiss Federal Council wants to introduce new tool to strengthen financial sector stability


WTO Webinar -Exploring SPS technical assistance in Francophone Africa (March 21, 2022)

Two years of implementation of the EU-Singapore FTA: Key achievements & forward-looking cooperation

Webinar on The future of Sustainable Sourcing (March 24, 2022)

Worth Reading

The Effects of AI on the Working Lives of Women by OECD


WTO to host Global Supply Chains Forum to explore ways of easing disruptions to tradeWTO

WTO, WHO, WIPO workshop looks at access, use of information resources for COVID-19 response

Japan provides CHF 160000 to strengthen developing country’s trade skills

WTO DDG González: WTO rulebook instrumental in tackling fraud, weeding out illicit trade