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May 31, 2010

Miss Universe New Zealand 2010: an afternoon at the mall

Jack Yan/11.31

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Miss New Zealand 2010 at Johnsonville Mall

Tania of Johnsonville MallMonday was the first full day for the Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 contestants at the Museum Hotel, beginning with interviews with Laura McQuillan of the NZPA and their first choreography class with Sarah McIntyre.
   During the daytime, the highlight was heading to Johnsonville Shopping Centre for a parade, arranged with the help of the mall management’s very helpful Tania (right). It’s been remarkably easy-going at J’Mall, which understands that the pageant has charitable aims and is, at its core, a community event.
   It was the contestants’ first public appearance as a group, and went smoothly, finishing ahead of schedule.
   NZPA also photographed the Johnsonville event for its members, while the Breeze, a radio station, covered it for its listeners.
   Tonight, they had a style workshop with Samantha Hannah, who has served as the fashion editor of this magazine.
   I rejoin the pageant on Tuesday afternoon and will Tweet from their next engagement (hashtag #missnz). Tickets are still available for the pageant final at the Duxton Hotel on Saturday night—you can reserve yours here. (Payment details are on the page.)

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May 30, 2010

Browns prepares winter ’10 ski wear

Lucire staff/23.04

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Browns
Browns Ski Shop in Queenstown and Auckland has brought in Kjus and Carbon from Norway and Canada respectively for its winter 2010 customers.
   ‘At Browns, we like to “cherry pick” only the best ranges and this winter is no exception. The store is packed with clean colours and beautifully structured ski and après-ski wear,’ said Browns buyer Fizz Boyd in a release.
   Karbon was the official clothing for the 2010 New Zealand Winter Olympic team in Vancouver, and supplied over five other countries.
   Canada’s Flash Geo and Degré7 are also stocked by the New Zealand retailer.

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Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 contestants arrive in Wellington

Jack Yan/11.20

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Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 contestants
Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 contestants
These are a few quick cellphone snapshots from the fun today at Miss Universe New Zealand 2010, made during the shooting of the official photographs at the Museum Hotel. Jin Cowan photographed the official images, and the contestants were posing for them in these shots.
   Contestants began arriving Saturday, with the bulk of them having to be present by 3 p.m. today (Sunday) for their fittings with Goodness, newly opened in College Street, Wellington. The above images were taken just after 6 p.m., before the official dinner at the Museum Hotel’s Hippopotamus restaurant and bar. Over dinner, I gave them a pep talk on what we judges expect, and the sacrifices the winner would be expected to make.
   As with previous years, the photographs on the site and on our judging forms are not indicative of the contestants at all. I predict a very tough judging session this week.
   Three former contestants have returned: Zeisha Frémaux, whom I met at the 2007 pageant; and Rosie de Malmanche and Kirsty Pritchard from 2009. They will have strong rivalry from their 10 rivals from around the country.
   The events begin in earnest in Wellington on Monday morning. I’ll live-Tweet with the hashtag #missnz, and most Tweets will feature at Lucire’s Twitter account, Lucire.


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May 29, 2010

A positive feeling for this year’s Miss Universe New Zealand contest

Jack Yan/13.49

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Katie Taylor, Miss Universe New Zealand 2009
Miss Universe

Above Katie Taylor, Miss Universe New Zealand 2009. The author says he looks forward to a strong competition in 2010 as he and his fellow judges find Taylor’s successor on June 5 in Wellington.

Last year, the Miss Universe New Zealand pageant was one of the best natured ones I’ve judged here. What went on backstage was a group of contestants getting on with one another, with none of the nastiness that one might have read of previous years from certain parties on the blogosphere. (Accusations of rigging always make me laugh, considering the arguing that sometimes goes on in the judging room. If you weren’t in there, keep your trap shut.) The mainstream media, too, were generally positive toward the win by Katie Taylor, whose year—in fact, it’s closer to 13 months this time—is coming to a close.
   Right now, it’s looking very positive for 2010. Last year, I had the chance to judge two pageants: chairing the international panel at Fröken Sverige, and doing my third Miss Universe New Zealand. The girls are venturing to Wellington on Sunday to the Museum Hotel; the finals, meanwhile, are at the Duxton Hotel. It’s characteristic of the Wellington way that two competing hotels can put rivalry aside and come together for a pageant that will bring cred and publicity to the capital city.
   In fact, there’s a far more positive buzz in Wellington than there ever was in the two Auckland-based Miss Universe New Zealands that I had judged. Maybe part of this is to do with the more accommodating nature of Wellingtonians; or perhaps New Zealand has come of age and is no longer hostile to beauty pageants. Political correctness is one thing, but there’s a time to recognize that some pageants have moved on from objectification. There is a lively Miss Wellington pageant, I am told (due to a potential conflict of interest I have to decline invitations to attend), which no doubt has helped with the national pageant’s reception.
   When I look at this site’s stats, our story on Malika Ménard’s Miss France win last year received far more hits than our stories on Katie’s win. You might say that this is due to the larger population of the French Republic and her territories, but bear in mind that there were many French media covering the event. For there to be that much interest in an English-language site, there must be something about the way the French embrace beauty pageants. After all, the contest remains televised live on a national, free-to-air network, and the negativity that afflicted Miss New Zealand during the 1990s has either been weathered or never been struck. However, they are quite happy with their idea of femininity, and they seem to have no problem having a female presidential candidate and plenty of women in power. Beauty pageants don’t seem to stop the continued empowerment of women, even if certain glass ceilings still need to be shattered and inequity remains in the system.
   One might think that a mayoral candidate would be the first to cite political correctness. But I don’t believe in taking away a contest that helps build internal pride and confidence. While New Zealand has not yet done away with the swimwear component—something that Fröken Sverige managed to do some years ago—there are aspects of the contest that I champion.
   We have, for instance, never voted in the stereotypical bimbo as a winner. To even be considered for the title, there is a gruelling interview process. Fail that, and you can kiss goodbye to the crown. We want contestants to give solid answers, not what they think we want to hear. We judge them on cosmopolitanism and global awareness. Every Miss Universe New Zealand who has emerged from our pageant has been une citoyenne du monde, someone who could hold their own when they get to a foreign country for the final.
   There is one element that I admit that we have not conquered: why are the girls predominantly thin? As a fashion magazine publisher, this question has surfaced regularly when it comes to photo shoots and catwalk coverage. However, I believe it is entirely conceivable for a contestant who is of an average size and up to enter and win. A healthy average-size contestant will get further than one who has starved herself. We shun those with surgical enhancements—let’s not kid ourselves: despite the rules, it’s obvious that some of those who are in the international pageant have had work done. Our purpose is not only to find someone who will compete well, but represent this country proudly. Last time I looked, New Zealand was not about fakery, and neither should our winner. Size does not matter, and given that young women under 5 ft 5 in have placed in the final five, I am confident that we have no “type” in mind when we head into the judging room.
   Recently, someone on my Facebook page asked why we keep voting in blondes (four winners in four consecutive years, 2006–9). The answer is, as hard as it is to believe, coincidence. I even said last year, inside the judging room, that, statistically, I expected a brunette to win (no redheads were among the contestants in 2009). However, those who were present will have been impressed by Katie’s performance on the evening gown segment, propelling her to the top of a very tight contest.
   My duties with the pageant begin this Saturday, with the finals on June 5, the following week. During the week I will spend plenty of time with the contestants, to see how they interact, giving me an idea of how well they will handle the international competition. I expect to meet a very talented group of young women who have their heads screwed on straight, and actually hope for a tight contest.
   I invite those who want to see the event live to reserve tickets online, and make a separate online payment to the organizers, via this website. You should be able to dispel some of the rumours, and get an idea of just how tough it is to find a winner from among a group of talented, intelligent women.
   Meanwhile, I’ll try to update readers on how the competition is going as the contestants arrive in Wellington. Follow us on Twitter at Lucire.—Jack Yan

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May 28, 2010

Lancôme tips: applying concealer to camouflage imperfections

Lucire staff/13.24

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Pardon the opening title—something wasn’t quite right in the translation in this latest make-up tip from Lancôme. This week, Lancôme make-up artist Petr Blecha and beauty blogger Bjooti talk about applying concealer to camouflage imperfections and darkness. A new concealer in a compact duo that Blecha introduces allows your to mix the two shades to get the right colour to match your complexion.

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Filed under: beauty, Lucire, Paris, TV
May 27, 2010

Jean Paul Gaultier finishes collaboration with Hermès

Lucire staff/13.06

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Hermès has announced in a press release that Jean Paul Gaultier is working on his final collection for the brand. The spring–summer 2011 collection, unveiling this October, ends a seven-year partnership between Gaultier and the Hermès brand.
   Hermès, however, remains the main shareholder of the Jean Paul Gaultier fashion house, holding 45 per cent.
   Gaultier will focus on other projects, according to Hermès.
   Christophe Lemaire has been appointed artistic director of Hermès women’s ready-to-wear from the autumn–winter 2011 collection, says the company.

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Filed under: fashion, Lucire, media, Paris
May 25, 2010

Hothair to launch Jessica Simpson Bob Wig on QVC

Lucire staff/12.33

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Jessica Simpson Bob
Hothair will launch a Jessica Simpson Bob Wig, created by Ken Paves, on QVC on May 30.
   As part of the HairDo range, the bob is available in nine colours to suit most skin tones, says the company. The hair is made from a synthetic fibre called Tru2Life, which can be styled wavy or straight.
   The wig is already available online at www.hothair.co.uk, with a recommended price of £89. It will also be available from Selfridges, Top Shop Oxford Circus, and selected wig shops and other major department stores throughout the country. It is also available at Hothair and Natural Images stores in the UK, or by mail order on 44 20 7403-4422.

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May 24, 2010

Renault, Mercedes-Benz make pushes in film

Lucire staff/3.02

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Festival de Cannes
Festival de Cannes
Getty Images

Above Melissa Theuriau and Mathilda May at Cannes, stepping out of Renault Vel Satises.

Sex and the City 2
Sex and the City 2
Sex and the City 2
Craig Blankenhorn

Above Carrie and co. with the new Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse cabriolet and the Maybach limousines.

Two car companies really pushed their marketing last week. Renault has had fairly good exposure for its poor-selling Vel Satis saloon as the official automotive partner for the Festival de Cannes, though its Mégane CC, which was also present, seemed better suited. (It wasn’t like 2008, when Renault boss Carlos Ghosn revealed the very French-film-glam Laguna Coupé to the world at the Festival by driving there.) But there was a bigger deal going on in the world of film: Mercedes-Benz’s product placement in Sex and the City 2.
   The new E-Klasse convertible is the car of choice in the second Sex and the City film. We like the new Es, and the drop-top model looks even better than we originally thought. It’s a step up from the old CLK, and suits the SATC image better than a pair of Carrie’s Manolo Blahniks.

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