What Tyler Brûlé did next. Well, maybe not as he's done a fair bit since selling the influential title Wallpaper* that he founded in the '90s. Monocle is, however, his much-heralded return to the magazine market he helped shape, and is being greeted in the same way as Tom Ford's return to fashion. Like Ford, Brûlé is nothing if not confident and ambitious.
Squarely-aimed at the globe-trotting professional, I have a copy of Monocle in my hands and it is heavyweight, both intellectually and physically. It's as thick as a paperback and the sober cover hints at the clean, easily-navigable design inside, divided into sections A-E: Affairs, Business, Culture, Design and Edits.
No quick read this, with several, varied high-brow articles on things like the Scottish computer games industry, a brand-briefing on Swiss retailer Coop and a 17 page-long look at the Japanese Navy. The writing's tight and intelligent though, and coupled with some decent photography, it has the feel of a quality Sunday newspaper. No surprise, that's where the editor has come from.
Toward the back, things lighten-up and we're back in, dare I say it, traditional Wallpaper* territory. There's a sexy section called Inventory offering tips on what to buy this month, as well as a specially commissioned manga pull-out called Kita Koga, printed in the authentic, Japanese back-to-front format.
At first glance, I really like Monocle. I like the matte paper, lightly-peppered with blue-chip advertisers; the quirky choice of serious topics (which, admittedly, sometimes skirt close to pretentiousness); the simple, eye-pleasing layout; the companion website for subscribers that's set to expand on stories in the print-version, complimenting them with video and audio, rather than merely being an internet signpost. The whole thing feels like a quality package, and is worth casting more than one eye over.
Monocle launches in print and online 15 February 2007, and costs £5, $10 or €12. Subscriptions are £75 for ten issues and website access.