Kenya’s ‘Marathon King’ Inspires Runners After Beating World Record

Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge is spurring young athletes to follow in his footsteps after breaking his own world record Sunday in Berlin.

Cheers erupted from the crowd Sunday at Nairobi’s Karura Forest as they watched Kipchoge race on TV. The watch party followed an amateur marathon organized by the Friends of Karura Forest to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Karanja Njoroge, a past chairman of the conservation group who serves on its board, called Kipchoge’s win “absolutely magnificent.”

“Everybody went wild,” Njoroge said of the crowd at the watch party. “Seeing the guy was way ahead. Everybody felt so elated by the efforts of our king of athletics, Eliud Kipchoge.”

Kipchoge’s new record, 30 seconds faster than his previous world record set in Berlin in 2018, is now two hours, one minute and nine seconds. Njoroge called it an inspiration.

“I think it encourages people. Gives people hope. And even those who would never compete begin to believe, because this guy is 37 years old and he’s breaking world records,” Njoroge said.

Barnabas Korir, an executive member of Athletics Kenya, the governing body for track and field sports, agreed.

“He’s inspired the youth, but not only the youth but particularly all the athletes from Kenya,” Korir said. “You know Kipchoge is one of the few athletes who is completely determined. He’s also very focused.”

Korir, who is also chairman of youth development at Athletics Kenya, said camps have been set up nationwide to encourage sports.

“We got the support from the government to do that and in the last 3 years, Eliud Kipchoge talk to the athletes when they were in the camps,” Korir said. “So, this is an opportunity for us now to give our athletes a symbol that they can do well if they remain focused, if they work hard.”

Kipchoge has won 15 out of his 17 career marathons, including two Olympic gold medals.

Daniel Schearf contributed to this report.


Classical music doesn’t get old this autumn in France

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France is bustling with classical music events this autumn. Paris’s Opéra Bastille is performing Mozart’s timeless “The Magic Flute”, with Franco-Italian conductor Antonello Manacorda at its helm. He stopped by the FRANCE 24 studios to tell us more about how the themes of this Singspiel still apply in 2022. We also welcome Amelia Feuer, an opera singer who has launched “Le festival des femmes (pas) oubliées”. Its aim is to rehabilitate women composers that history forgot. 


Rihanna to Headline the Next Super Bowl Halftime Show

Rihanna will take center stage at February’s Super Bowl halftime show.

The singer, who declined to perform in the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show out of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, will headline the 2023 Super Bowl, the NFL announced Sunday along with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Apple Music. Rihanna posted an image on Instagram of an arm outstretched holding an NFL football.

“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, whose Roc Nation is an executive producer of the show, said in a statement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”

The Super Bowl will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 12. After years of Pepsi’s sponsorship, the upcoming halftime show will be sponsored by Apple Music.

Rihanna earlier said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback whose 2016 national anthem protests sparked debate throughout football.

“I couldn’t dare do that. For what?” Rihanna told Vogue in 2019. “Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way,” she said of the league.

With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her last album was 2016’s “Anti.”


Milan Fashion Week Hears Calls for More Designer Diversity

Haitian Italian designer Stella Jean returned to the Milan runway after a two-year hiatus with a tour de force that highlighted the talents of 10 new designers of color whose design history is tied to Italy.

Jean pledged in 2020 not to return to Milan Fashion Week, which opened Wednesday, until she was not the only Black designer. The We Are Made in Italy movement she founded with Black American designer Edward Buchanan and Afro Fashion Week Milano founder Michelle Ngomno ensured she would not be.

Maximilian Davis, a 27-year-old British fashion designer with Afro-Caribbean roots, is making his debut as the creative director for Salvatore Ferragamo. Filipino American designer Rhuigi Villasenor is bringing Bally back to the runway for the first time in 20 years. Tokyo James, founded by British Nigerian designer Iniye Tokyo James, is presenting a women’s-only collection.

Jean is headlining a runway show with Buchanan and five new We Are Made in Italy designers, including a Vietnamese apparel designer, an Italian Indian accessory designer and an African American bag designer. It is the third WAMI group to present their collections in Milan.

“We are making ourselves felt,” Jean told The Associated Press. “We invited all these young people. We created the space. There have been gains.”

Buchanan opened the show with jersey knitwear with a denim feel from his Sansonvino 6 line, followed by capsule collections by the latest group of Fabulous Five WAMI designers, and Jean’s creations combining Italian tailoring with artisanal references she sources around the globe.

Designer Stella Jean accepts applause at the end of her women's spring/summer 2018/19 fashion collection, presented in Milan, Italy, Sept. 24, 2017.

Designer Stella Jean accepts applause at the end of her women’s spring/summer 2018/19 fashion collection, presented in Milan, Italy, Sept. 24, 2017.

Each of the new WAMI designers share a connection with Italy, either through family or by relocating to study or work here.

Italian Indian designer Eileen Claudia Akbaraly showed her Made for a Woman brand that makes ethically sourced raffia garments and accessories from Madagascar. New York-based designer Akila Stewart founded the FATRA bag brand that works with reused plastic waste. India-born Neha Poorswani designs shoes under the name “Runway Reinvented.” Vietnamese designer Phang Dang Hoang’s apparel line mixes Asian and Western cultures, and Korean designer Kim Gaeun’s Villain brand combines elements of traditional Korean costumes mixed with modern hip-hop culture.

“There are so many Italians who are not Italians, who are immigrants who feel Italian. I think that is so beautiful,” Stewart said.

The show closed on a celebratory note, with the models, designers and activists gathered on the runway, clapping and swaying to Cynthia Erivo’s song Stand Up.

Both Trussardi and Vogue Italia have used WAMI’s database of fashion professionals of color who are based in Italy, although the listings have not been employed as industrywide as the founders hoped. One of the designers from the first WAMI class, Gisele Claudia Ntsama, has worked in the design office at Valentino.

Giorgio Armani, who helped launch Stella Jean in 2013, pitched in with textiles for the new WAMI capsule collections to be displayed here. Conde Nast and European fashion magazine nss are helping to fund their production. The three WAMI founders are covering the rest from their own pockets after the fashion council offered a venue for the show but limited funding compared with previous seasons.

Ngonmo said Italian fashion houses too often confuse diversity — such as showcasing Black models — with true inclusivity, which would involve employing professionals in the creative process.

Creations, part of the 'We Are Made in Italy' fashion event, are shown during the women's Spring Summer 2023 fashion week, in Milan, Italy, Sept. 21, 2022.

Creations, part of the ‘We Are Made in Italy’ fashion event, are shown during the women’s Spring Summer 2023 fashion week, in Milan, Italy, Sept. 21, 2022.

“I have a feeling they don’t understand at all what diversity means. They tend to confuse diversity with inclusion,” she said.

Buchanan said he holds on to his optimism but acknowledged that the post-pandemic market is difficult as stores are not investing in collections by new designers.

“We knew going into this that this was going to be a slow grow,” Buchanan said. “Working with the designers, we have to be transparent about what is ahead of them. … They are not going to be Gianni Versace tomorrow.”

Jean noted that the new designers for major fashion brands did not come up through the Italian system but from abroad. Despite the progress, she and her collaborators still see some resistance to hiring people of color in creative roles and to the idea that “Made in Italy” can involve homegrown Black talent.

“It is more glamorous to have someone from the outside,” she said.

Jean said she is also waiting for the Italian fashion council to follow through on an invitation to create a multicultural board within its structure. She said she feels the initial industry embrace of the diversity project has cooled.

“None of us believed the totality of the promises. Now we are entering a territory that we know well, when people feel free and comfortable not to maintain promises. It is obvious,” Jean said.

As for her future: “I am at a crossroads,” the designer said. “My traveling companions are outside the door that I was allowed to enter. For a while, being the only one in the room, you feel special. But when you see that many of those who are still outside the door are better than you, you understand that you were not special. You were very lucky.”


Why Adam Levine’s Cringe DMs Are Perfect for the Meme Machine

A royal epoch ending in the UK. A war roiling across Europe. A constant drumbeat of inflation creeping up, cutting household budgets. An ever-present worry that the pandemic isn’t over. The world is in an odd place, and anxiety levels are through the roof. Things are so bad, in fact, that people—the very online ones, at least—are turning to Adam Levine for comfort.

In recent days, the Maroon 5 singer has been the subject of claims that he sent flirtatious Instagram messages to a string of women. Model Sumner Stroh also alleged that Levine cheated on his wife, Behati Prinsloo, last year. In an Instagram story, Levine admitted to speaking to women “in a flirtatious manner,”, but denied that he had a physical affair. A number of other women have since shared similar messages they claim are from Levine.

Those messages have given all-new fodder to the internet’s meme machine, making it impossible to scroll through Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter without being confronted by jokes taking screenshots of the alleged messages out of context.

“Memes tend to spread fast and far when they are easy to make sense of without the initial topical context and when they’re technically easy for people to participate in via remix,” says Alex Turvy, a PhD candidate at Tulane University in New Orleans who studies memes. “This one has both in spades.”

The raw material—Levine’s alleged sexts—are vague enough to be deployed in a number of different situations. And they’re as subtle as some of Maroon 5’s crooniest songs. “This genre of meme requires almost zero cultural literacy,” Turvy says, “so it can be understood and created by basically anyone.”

And they are being created by plenty of people. People have remixed Levine’s alleged request that he “may need to see the booty” of Stroh, followed by the word “Fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk” (with 25 Ks), into the minds of pirates, among others. One Twitter user said it was “truly a gift and we need to incorporate it into the lexicon.”

“It’s the perfect combination of celeb relatability—seeing someone so polished be so cringey in text to express a feeling that we’ve all had at one point—and the sheer absurdity of it,” says Amanda Brennan, senior director of trends at XX Artists, a marketing agency. Don Caldwell, editor in chief of Know Your Meme, agrees. “It’s like a teenage boy wrote them, which makes them super memeable.”

The “booty” is just one of the treasures in Levine’s alleged DMs. Another two-part missive also went viral this week. “It is truly unreal how fucking hot you are / Like it blows my mind” is, on the face of it, an affirmation of a woman’s attractiveness. But taken out of context by the internet’s meme makers, it was transformed into an ode to mozzarella sticks and a reinterpretation of the Goldilocks fairy tale, among other things.


Frida Kahlo: The style of an icon

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Her vibrant colours, floral hair-dos and striking jewellery have made Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s style as famous as her paintings. A new exhibition at the Galliera fashion museum in Paris is exploring the artist’s identity through some of the objects stored at her famous “Casa Azul” in Mexico City. Clothes, makeup and personal correspondence give us an insight into a woman who was ahead of her time.

Also on the programme, we visit an exhibition that explores the art of skateboarding. Plus, we speak to the new director of France’s prestigious Avignon theatre festival. Portuguese actor, director and playwright Tiago Rodrigues tells us more about his new role.


Can Society Learn From the Mistakes of Futurism?

Steven Novella cohosts the popular podcast The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe together with his brothers Jay and Bob. As children growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, the brothers were obsessed with science fiction and futurism.

“Our younger selves definitely imagined that by now it would be like 2001: A Space Odyssey,” Novella says in Episode 526 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “There’s going to be permanent space stations in space, there’s going to be an infrastructure between here and the moon, a lunar base. All that stuff, we took it for granted.”

The next few decades showed that futurism is harder than it looks. Technological changes may seem inevitable, but they often come down to one person making an arbitrary choice. If Henry Ford had decided to build electric cars rather than gas-powered ones, it would have changed the course of our whole civilization. “Things could have definitely played out very differently,” Novella says. “If some guy in Pennsylvania didn’t discover crude oil for another 20 years, how totally different would our world be today? There’s nothing inevitable about our present, and therefore there’s nothing inevitable about the future.”

In their new book The Skeptic’s Guide to the Future, the brothers try to improve on the futurism of yesteryear by identifying 10 “futurism fallacies” that have bedeviled earlier predictions. One of the biggest fallacies is imagining that future society will be just like present-day society, only with more gadgets. “You can’t just project a technology forward, you also have to think about it in the context of all other technologies also advancing over the same period of time,” Novella says. “So we won’t be traveling in space in 500 years, our genetically-modified cyborg descendants will be traveling in space in 500 years. And you have to include that as part of your calculation.”

Despite the checkered history of futurism, Novella thinks it’s an important pursuit that deserves more attention. “If you’re living your life in this brief little window of time, without any sense of where you are in history, you could lose sight of what’s important, you could lose the ability to adapt nimbly to changes in technology, to changes in culture, to make decisions about the future,” he says. “So I do think there’s a lot of benefit to futurism as an academic discipline, we just have to be realistic about it.”

Listen to the complete interview with Steven Novella in Episode 526 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Steven Novella on The Skeptic’s Guide to the Future:

We’ve been doing the research for this book our whole lives. We’re not starting from scratch, which is part of the reason why it was fun and easy to write, from that point of view. We know about things like room temperature superconductors. We didn’t need to do research to know that it needed to be a chapter in the book, what the potential of it is. But we did need to update ourselves and do a much deeper dive. We’ve been doing a podcast for 18 years, so we had a huge background of science news items and interviews with people about these topics, but even still, when you sit down and go, “All right, I need to write a definitive chapter about reaction rockets, and what role they’re going to play in the future,” you still discover surprising things.

Steven Novella on space travel:

If you have a space infrastructure where you’re routinely traveling to different destinations in space, you’re going to be in an optimal vessel for each stage of your journey. You’re going to take something into low Earth orbit, get to a space station, and then from there you’re going to get your cislunar shuttle to the moon, or you’re going to get a shuttle that will rendezvous with a deep space shuttle that’s going to Mars. And then you’re going to get on a lander optimized for Mars or optimized for the Moon, or whatever your destination is. Because those are very different things, and making one ship that can do everything is just not pragmatic, and the waste is going to be immense. And so I think we’re going to have multiple legs to get anywhere, which is not something you really see in a lot of science fiction.

Steven Novella on futurism:

When you look at past futurists, the big mistakes they make are not predicting the game-changers. Anyone can predict incremental advances, but the things that really trip futurists up are when they think something is going to be a breakthrough and it isn’t, or they just entirely miss the real breakthroughs. The big one is the analog-to-digital transition. Nobody picked up on that. Asimov completely missed it. Nobody saw how digital technology was going to transform our society and our world. Of course now, once it has, it seems obvious. But that was a game-changer that nobody saw coming. So now we’re trying to predict, “What are the future game-changers like that going to be?”

Steven Novella on science fiction:

Science fiction is just one massive thought experiment. It’s actually a thousand thought experiments, but collectively it’s this meta thought experiment about, “What’s the future going to be like? What is technology going to be like? What are people going to be like in the future?” That’s part of my fascination with it, is just imagining something completely different, and looking at things in different ways, changing variables you didn’t know were variables—you didn’t even know that was something that could be different. We’re all sort of parochial in our view of life and the universe, and science fiction forces you to pick your head up and step back. It forces you to take a bigger view, to look at civilization and humanity and massive arcs of time, and things that are just way beyond the experience of our day-to-day life.

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Roger Federer’s Last Match is Doubles Loss With Rafael Nadal

This day, this match, had to come, of course, for Roger Federer, and for tennis, just as it inevitably must for every athlete in every sport.

Federer bid adieu Friday night with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41 after a superlative career that included 20 Grand Slam titles and a statesman’s role. He wrapped up his days as a professional player with a loss in doubles alongside his longtime rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe in the Laver Cup against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World.

The truth is that the victors, the statistics and the score (OK, for the record it was 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9) did not matter, and were all so entirely beside the point. The occasion was, after all, about the farewell itself. Or, better, the farewells, plural: Federer’s to tennis, to the fans, to his competitors and colleagues. And, naturally, each of those entities’ farewells to Federer.

“It’s been a perfect journey,” Federer said. “I would do it all over again.”

When the match, and with it, his time in professional tennis, ended, Federer hugged Nadal, then Tiafoe and Sock. And then Federer began crying. As cascades of clapping and yells of affection came from the stands, Federer put his hands on his hips, his chest heaving. Then he mouthed, “Thank you,” while applauding right back toward the spectators who had chanted, “Let’s go, Roger! Let’s go!” during the concluding moments of a match that lasted more than two hours and ended at about 12:30 a.m.

The Swiss star announced last week that the three-day team event, which was founded by his management company, would be his final event before retirement, then made clear the doubles outing would be his last match. His surgically repaired right knee — the last of three operations came shortly after a loss in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in July 2021, which will go down as his final official singles match — is in no shape to allow him to continue.

Fans of Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer react as they arrive at the O2 arena in London, Sept. 23, 2022 ahead of his doubles match with Team Europe's Rafael Nadal.

Fans of Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer react as they arrive at the O2 arena in London, Sept. 23, 2022 ahead of his doubles match with Team Europe’s Rafael Nadal.

“For me, just personally, (it was) sad in the first moment, when I came to the conclusion it’s the best decision,” Federer said in an interview with The Associated Press this week about his emotions when realizing it was time to go. “I kind of held it in at first, then fought it off. But I could feel the pain.”

A couple of hours before Friday’s match, Federer tweeted: “I’ve done this thousands of times, but this one feels different. Thank you to everybody who’s coming tonight.”

He had said he wanted this to feel more like a party than a funeral, and the crowd obliged, rising for a loud and lengthy standing ovation when Federer and Nadal — each wearing a white bandanna, blue shirt and white shorts — emerged together from a tunnel leading out to the black court for the last match on Day 1 at the O2 Arena. The spectators remained on their feet for nearly 10 minutes, through the pre-match warmup, holding aloft phone cameras to capture the moment.

They came ready to roar for him, some with Swiss flags, some with homemade signs, and they made themselves heard with a wall of sound when Federer delivered a forehand volley winner on the match’s second point. Similar reactions arrived merely at the chair umpire’s announcement before the third game of “Roger Federer to serve,” and again when he closed that game with a 117 mph service winner.

Doubles requires far less movement and court coverage, of course, so the stress on his knee was limited Friday. Federer showed touches of his old flair, to be sure, and of rust, as to be expected.

As his parents and wife sat in front-row seats behind a baseline, there were a couple of early forehands that sailed several feet too long. There also was a forehand that slid right between Sock and Tiafoe and seemed too good to be true — and, it turned out, was: The ball traveled through a gap below the net tape and so the point was taken away from Federer and Nadal.

Although it amounted to, essentially, a glorified exhibition, all four doubles participants played as if they wanted to win. That was clear when Sock leaped and screamed after one particularly terrific volley or when Tiafoe sent a couple of shots right at Federer and Nadal.

But the circumstances did allow for moments of levity.

Federer and Nadal were able to laugh after a bit of confusion over which should go for a ball on a point they lost. After Nadal somehow flicked one back-to-the-net shot around the post, only for it to land barely wide, Tiafoe crossed over to extend a hand with congratulations for the effort.

Team Europe's Roger Federer is lifted by fellow players after playing with Rafael Nadal in a Laver Cup doubles match against Team World's Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the O2 arena in London, Sept. 23, 2022.

Team Europe’s Roger Federer is lifted by fellow players after playing with Rafael Nadal in a Laver Cup doubles match against Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the O2 arena in London, Sept. 23, 2022.

In the first set, the two greats of the game couldn’t quite hear each other between points, so Federer trotted from the net back to the baseline to consult with Nadal, then pointed to his ear to signal to the fans what the issue was.

Before Federer, the men’s mark for most major tennis championships was 14 by Pete Sampras. Federer blew past that, accumulating eight at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open, five at the U.S. Open and one at the French Open, setting a new standard that Nadal, now with 22, and Novak Djokovic, with 21, equaled, then surpassed, as part of a golden era for the sport.

Federer’s substantial resume includes 310 weeks at No. 1 in the ATP rankings, a Davis Cup title and Olympic medals. Beyond the elegance and effectiveness while wielding a racket, his persona made Federer an ambassador for tennis, someone whose immense popularity helped attract fans.

Surely, there are those who would have found it particularly apt to see Federer finish across the net from Nadal, often an on-court nemesis but eventually an off-court friend. Maybe it could have taken place about 15 miles away at Centre Court of the All England Club, say, or in Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros, or Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park, or even Arthur Ashe Stadium, the centerpiece of the U.S. Open, the lone Grand Slam tournament at which they never faced off, somehow.

Perhaps they could have provided everyone with one final installment of a head-to-head matchup as memorable as any in the long history of their sport — or, indeed, any other.

Roger vs. Rafa — just one name apiece required — belongs up there with McEnroe vs. Borg (as it happens, the two Laver Cup team captains, John and Bjorn), Evert vs. Navratilova, Sampras vs. Agassi, Ali vs. Frazier, Magic vs. Bird, Brady vs. Manning, and so on.

Over the years, Federer and Nadal showed off individual greatness and compelling contrasts across their 40 matches, 14 at Grand Slam tournaments, nine in major finals: righty vs. lefty, attacker vs. grinder, seeming effortlessness vs. relentless intensity.

And yet, there was an unmistakable element of poetry with these two men who challenged each other and elevated each other performing as partners, slapping palms and sharing smiles.

“Two of the ‘GOATs’ playing together,” said Sock, using the popular acronym for “Greatest of All-Time.”

This goodbye follows that of Serena Williams, the owner of 23 major singles championships, at the U.S. Open three weeks ago after a third-round loss. It leaves questions about the future of a game he and she dominated, and transcended, for decades.

One key difference: Each time Williams took the court in New York, the looming question was how long her stay would endure — a “win or this is it” prospect. Friday WAS it for Federer, no matter the result.

“All the players will miss him,” said Casper Ruud, who beat Sock in singles 6-4, 5-7, 10-7.

The other results, which left Team Europe and Team World tied at 2-2: Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-1 in a match interrupted briefly when an environmental protester lit a portion of the court and his own arm on fire, and Alex de Minaur got past Andy Murray 5-7, 6-3, 10-7.

Due to begin playing shortly after the end of Murray’s loss, Federer and Nadal first provided him with some coaching tips, then watched part of that one on TV together in a room at the arena, waiting for their turn. When Federer and Nadal were in action, it was Djokovic’s turn to suggest strategic advice.

The last hurrah came after a total of 103 career singles trophies and 1,251 wins in singles matches for Federer, both second only to Jimmy Connors in the Open era, which began in 1968.

At the height of his powers, Federer appeared in a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals, winning eight, from 2005-07. Extend that to 2010, and he reached 18 of 19 major finals.

More than those numbers, folks will remember the powerful forehand, the one-handed backhand, the flawless footwork, the spectacularly effective serve and eagerness to get to the net, the willingness to reinvent aspects of his game and — the part of which he’s proudest — unusual longevity.

“I don’t think we’ll see another guy like Roger,” Tiafoe said. “The way he played, and the grace he did it with, and who he is as an individual.”


Africa Fashion Up contest celebrates future of African style


Started by former model Valérie Ka, the Africa Fashion Up contest highlights African talent and puts the continent’s social and economic priorities centre stage. This year’s winners hail from Ivory Coast, Morocco, South Africa, Kenya and Congo Brazzaville and will be mentored by Balenciaga and France’s HEC Paris Business School. The Grand Prix was shared between South Africa’s energetic Jacques Bam and laid-back Kenyan designer Muyishime Edi Patrick. We take a closer look.