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September 30, 2009

Fiat Punto Evo includes methane, LPG variants

Lucire staff/12.06

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Fiat has launched a revised version of its Grande Punto supermini, now called the Punto Evo. The good news: the MultiAir engines, which include diesel units, are better for the environment. Never mind all the infotainment equipment in the new model; Fiat also launches a methane engine as well as an LPG one. (While Kiwi readers remember that LPG cars were commonplace in New Zealand in the 1980s and a good part of the 1990s, this is one of Fiat’s first factory LPG cars in this sector.) And the Americans might not miss out this time: these initiatives could help Chrysler once Fiat is able to put these types of engines into production in North America.

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September 29, 2009

Harry’s understands style

Jack Yan/11.13

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Alison Bartley at Harry's

I finally saw The September Issue last Monday, a bit after our Christchurch writer, Jolene Williams, who filed the official Lucire review. I agree with her words but need to add one thing: for 90 minutes, I was constantly reminded of work and probably was the only person walking out of the cinema more wound up than before I went in. Si Newhouse and the late Steven Florio looked comparatively relaxed. If you’re in this profession already, consider this a warning.
   I was a guest of Harry’s, which time and time again proves to me that it’s a store that understands style. I don’t just mean that it has a nice selection of Day Birger et Mikkelsen and many other labels; it oozes that indefinable quality and unselfishly shares it with its clientèle.
   Not only did it treat a bunch of its customers to the showing of The September Issue at the Penthouse Cinema in Brooklyn (that’s the Wellington, New Zealand ’burb) to celebrate its first anniversary, earlier in the month customers were invited to a dinner at Café Polo where stylist Lisa O’Neill spoke, and at the beginning of the month, Alison Bartley came and talked about video art (above) at the 31 Dundas Street, Seatoun (64 4 388-1020) store. Veuve Clicquot was served, which was more than enough to tempt me to opt for an evening of fine wine and art education over a vodka launch the same night. (Nautilus was served at Café Polo, and it’s the best méthode traditionelle I have sampled.)
   Harry’s does something that few other shops do. We all hear about “personal service”, but as far as most places are concerned, that ends once the cash register is sounded and the goods are taken out of the store. Few try to build up a personalized community, using the serving of good taste as their brand-building means; fewer still exist in the new world. I almost feel as though I am back on the Continent, in my 9e arrondissement neighbourhood stores in Paris.
   I don’t heap praise lightly, but given that I am running for mayor, it’s an additional pleasure to have truly stylish shops in our city.

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Lucire’s view: The September Issue

Lucire staff/10.07

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Above Stills from The September Issue.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour is likened to the Pope in R. J. Cutler’s documentary The September Issue. With a divine omnipotence, a single-arched eyebrow reduces flamboyant designers to stuttering school boys. A flick of her bony, bangled wrist condemns a $50,000 photo shoot to the scrap heap.
   Her powers are heralded throughout the world’s fashion industry. But with this respect comes fear, for Anna Wintour is also abrupt, rude and often downright mean.
   The September Issue was filmed over nine months from inside Vogue’s New York headquarters in 2007. It chronicles the final days bringing together the September issue—an almighty tome that surpasses all others in size, stature and significance.
   In 2007, the September Vogue informed 13 million women across America that beige was the new tan, jackets were the new coats and the latest trend was now last season’s trash.
   This is ripe material for a fly-on-the-wall study. Imagine the drama, cat-fights and absurd situations inside this high-pressured, but well clad, environment. Vogue, one suspects, is not your typical inner-city office.
   But Cutler and his crew fail to capitalize on the richness of their surroundings. The footage uncovers a myriad of stories itching to be told. Instead, the film-makers seem overwhelmed by choice. The result is a series of half-baked ideas that introduce, but do not explore, these piquant narrative strands.
   There is, for example, the taut relationship between Anna and Vogue’s creative director, Grace Coddington. Grace is amongst the industry’s most acclaimed creative heads and is the artistic vision to Anna’s business-savvy management.
   Their relationship embodies the tension between art and commerce, emotion and business, personal and professional demands. These are intriguing issues that deserve time for deeper analysis. But the camera moves all too quickly, merely skimming the surface of issues that underpin office dynamics.
   Grace’s presence in the film overshadows Anna as the key player. With her fly-away orange hair and history to tell, Grace is far more interesting and personable than the fiercely guarded Anna.
   The film manages to capture glimpses of the real Anna Wintour. She can be polite, caring and funny. She falls short of revealing personal detail, but tears spring to her eyes when she mentions her over-achieving siblings and their attitude towards the fashion industry.
   The hand-held camera creates a sense of capturing unscripted reality. Much like the television series The Office, the documentary captures awkward silences, unintentional slips and tell-tale body language.
   The September Issue offers a refreshingly honest view of the fashion industry. It downplays the glamour and opulence in favour for the real people behind the magazine. It captures them at work, without make-up and without free designer goodies. Montages of runway shows, models and enormous wardrobes make an obligatory appearance, but the documentary does not rest on flashy imagery to sustain the audience’s attention for ninety minutes.
   The September Issue offers light entertainment and will undoubtedly appeal to female audiences worldwide. But for those expecting something more substantial will find its lack of direction wholly unsatisfying.—Jolene Williams

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September 28, 2009

Sonia Rykiel is H&M’s next guest designer

Lucire staff/7.58

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Nathalie Rykiel
Matthieu Salving

Above Nathalie Rykiel, President and Artistic Director at Sonia Rykiel.

Sonia Rykiel will be the next guest designer for Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the Swedish company announced today.
   Rykiel follows a long line of famous designers, including Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld and Viktor & Rolf, who have created accessible collections for the mass-market retailer.
   Her designs will be for the winter 2009 and spring 2010 seasons, and will include lingerie and related accessories for the first time. The initial exclusive pieces hit the stores on December 5, with the collection being launched in 1,500 locations worldwide.
   In addition, Rykiel will make her lingerie collection available in her major boutiques, marking another first.
   A second collaboration for spring 2010 features a knitwear collection for women and girls aged 1½ to 8, launching at 250 H&M stores on February 20, says the company.
   ‘Sonia Rykiel is a true fashion icon who invented a signature style around femininity, Parisian chic and modernity—as well as functional, comfortable, wearable clothes. She has an attitude that inspires admiration among women of all ages around the world,’ said H&M creative adviser Margareta van den Bosch in the company’s release. ‘We loved the joyful chic of Sonia Rykiel’s 40th anniversary runway show—and in that spirit this collection is all about revelling in great lingerie for its own sake. This is a totally modern, new kind of lingerie look, and when we started to work together with Rykiel on it, we just couldn’t stop.’
   ‘The Sonia Rykiel pour H&M lingerie collection is the ideal way to offer the essence of Rykiel to a great number of women around the world, and a beautiful way to close the year. The knitwear collection is perfect for welcoming a colourful new season,’ says Nathalie Rykiel, president and artistic director of Sonia Rykiel.
   Sonia Rykiel founded her company in Paris in 1968, with her daughter, Nathalie, joining in 1975. It remains family-owned.

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Sheila de Vries, by appointment

Lucire staff/6.10

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Our roving photographer, Thomaz, has made his way to the Netherlands, where he shot for Sheila de Vries. De Vries is known for dressing HM Queen Beatrix, and celebrities in the Netherlands. She can count Jane Fonda and Barbara Sinatra as clients, thanks to a long stint in the US.
   De Vries maintains a boutique at Cornelius Schuytstraat 37, Amsterdam. From earlier this month, here are Sheila de Vries’s designs for the next season.

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September 27, 2009

Faux fur’s the trend at Lonely Hearts’ Club

Lucire staff/9.18

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Lonely Hearts’ Club has done it better, bolder, sexier and cleverer than before. Proving that it is a key player in the New Zealand fashion industry, it came out with beautiful layering, sheers and knits for autumn–winter 2010. I’m proud to see its look-book features our favourite model, Nicole Clulee of Red Eleven! A (faux) fur coat is going to be the trend staple of winter as seen on the runway at Sera Lilly, Stitch Ministry, Barbara Lee, and here at Lonely Hearts.—Bronwyn Williams

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Lonely Hearts’ Club
Lonely Hearts’ Club
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The Beautiful Life was out of step

Lucire staff/1.39

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Nico Tortorella and Mischa Barton in The Beautiful Life
The CW
 

Above Nico Tortorella and Mischa Barton in The Beautiful Life.

We didn’t think the CW’s The Beautiful Life would last long, but we didn’t expect it to be canned after two episodes.
   It didn’t help that one of its stars, Anglo-American actress Mischa Barton, sought psychiatric treatment months before the series’ début, leading producers (including Ashton Kutcher) to assure the network that there was a back-up plan.
   While tabloids centred around Barton’s health problems, there didn’t seem to be that much attention for The Beautiful Life among those who might have checked out a series about the New York fashion scene.
   It’s easy for us to discuss this in hindsight, but the signs were there: the announcement that Elle Macpherson had been cast, which we covered, didn’t get many viewers for us. In fact, the BBC’s Material Girl is receiving more interest at Lucire—and that’s on a site that has many more American readers than British ones.
   The network, and Kutcher, had high hopes for the series, and the CW had paired it with America’s Next Top Model.
   But that might have not been the wisest move, either. Those who watch reality shows might not wish to indulge in fictionalized exploits. The September Issue had shown, too, that in the world of fashion, reality is far more interesting.
   The CW has announced that Melrose Place re-runs will take the place of The Beautiful Life. Six episodes were filmed, but there is no announcement on when the remaining four would air. Viewer numbers had dropped from 1·4 million to 1 million for the second episode, according to ratings.

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BMW’s new X1, not getting thrashed on Cobra 11

Lucire staff/1.15

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The BMW X1 received its début before it was even shown at the IAA, the Frankfurt Motor Show, namely on the hit RTL TV show, Alarm für Cobra 11: die Autobahnpolizei. Rather than have it thrashed by Semir and Ben (or at least the stunt doubles for actors Erdogan Atalay and Tom Beck) as in the season opener on September 3, here is the X1 in a more sedate mode. BMW also wants to emphasize that the X1 is the first of the X SUV models to be built in Germany (in Leipzig)—until now, they had always been manufactured in the US.

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