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August 26, 2014

Volvo releases details of second-generation XC90

Jack Yan/15.03

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Volvo has released official information on the second-generation XC90, replacing the original SUV that first caught the public’s attention in 2002.
   The new XC90 is aimed at a more affluent audience while preserving traditional Volvo values, as the Swedish brand aims to increase its international sales as a prestige marque, especially in China.
   The XC90 is the first car from the Swedish brand, now a subsidiary of China’s Geely, developed after its sale by the Ford Motor Company.
   The engine line-up features D4 and D5 diesels, producing 190 and 225 PS respectively, and T5 and T6 petrol units, developing 225 and 320 PS. A Twin Engine T8 is the flagship of the range, with 400 PS and a hybrid driveline (petrol engine driving the front wheels, an electric motor driving the rear), in line with Volvo’s loftier ambitions for its big SUV, while showing its social commitment. Volvo says a three-cylinder unit is in the XC90’s future.
   Size has increased, too: length is up to 4,950 mm (compared with 4,807 mm), with a wheelbase up from 2,857 mm to 2,984 mm, ensuring the new car is more commodious. Width is 2,008 mm, an increase from the current model’s 1,936 mm, helping distance it from the mid-sized XC60. Height is now 1,775 mm, the only measure which has decreased from its predecessor, by a mere 9 mm. The tracks are also wider, front and rear, by 3–4 inches.
   Volvo’s new design language, already previewed on the Concept CoupĂ©, Concept XC CoupĂ© and Concept Estate, is a sportier, simpler expression of many of its traditional cues, but shakes off Swedish restraint for a more expressive, aspirational feel. The iron logo has been reinterpreted to appear more solid, with the ribbon at a lower angle. The sides are straighter, with the waistline more parallel with the ground.
   The SUV is on Volvo’s new SPA scalable architecture, which will form the basis of future Volvo models.
   The interior has also been rethought with a new design language, with a large Sensus screen in the middle of the dashboard, divided into GPS at the top, media and phone in the middle, and climate control settings at the bottom. Cloud-based services can also be accessed through the Sensus system, with compatibility with Android and Apple, including Google Maps and Spotify through those OSs. A head-up display is also available. The interior is also more luxurious, with more sumptuous, redesigned seats. Volvo claims the third row of seats provides class-leading room. The Bowers & Wilkins sound system is unique to the XC90, and features an air-vented subwoofer.
   In safety terms, Volvo dĂ©buts two features. The first is automatic braking when turning left (turning right for RHD models) into oncoming vehicles. Secondly, Volvo launches an active safety feature in cases where, should the car begin to depart from the road, it will tighten the front seat belts to hold the passengers in place. Meanwhile, its engineers have developed an energy-absorbing function between the chair and chair frame to dampen the vertical forces, helping to prevent back injuries.
   Volvo Car Group CEO Hakan Samuelsson says, ‘This is one of the most important days in our history. We are launching not only a car, but we are also relaunching our brand. Today begins a new era in our company.’
   The first-generation model continues in China as the XC90 Classic.—Jack Yan, Publisher

















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July 23, 2014

News round-up: Dilmah hosts high teas in New Zealand; Trish Peng searches for new face

Lucire staff/22.50

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Dilmah Tea New Zealand

Dilmah Tea hosted a series of high teas around New Zealand, promoting its socially responsible message along with the rising interest in tea mixology.
   Its Wellington stop on Tuesday, hosted by Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando and his son, Dilhan C. Fernando, the company’s chief marketing officer, and in the presence of Her Excellency Zodwa Lallie, South African High Commissioner, was a particular treat, with a menu designed by Dilmah Real High Tea Gold Medallist Laurent Loudeac, executive chef of the Museum Art Hotel.
   Held at the hotel’s famed Hippopotamus restaurant, guests were treated to everything from ora king salmon sashimi—which we would label as our favourite of the afternoon—to lap sang souchong yoghurt panna cotta and a lychee-infused jasmine tea and rosewater caviar, complemented by various Dilmah teas.
   The selection included Dilmah’s Ran Watte Single Region Ceylon tea, its green tea with jasmine flowers, and its rose tea with French vanilla.
   The highlight was the address given my Merrill J. Fernando, after a video looking back through the history of Dilmah and how his famed catchphrase, ‘Do try it,’ was created by a New Zealand agency.
   He spoke of how Dilmah goes beyond the requirements of Fair Trade with its ethically made tea, because those who grow the tea share in the equity. The value-added components of Dilmah are not done by international traders, but by Sri Lankans, and the company constantly puts money back into the community, funding education, health care, cultural and even business activities.
   Some rivals force down the prices that tea farmers can sell at, keeping them poor, while profiting from the value-added components in the marketing and production chain.
   Mr Fernando also stressed that Ceylon tea is the finest, and that Dilmah, to preserve that integrity, does not mix its teas with those from other countries.
   Through a Trade Me auction, the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation is also raising money for a culinary centre in Sri Lanka which will train people living with disabilities or have been disadvantaged, so that they can find employment to support themselves.
   They can be found on Trade Me, with the auctions closing on July 27. Items include Parawa Estate Ingalalla Grand Reserve 2007 wine, valued at over NZ$1,250; an individually numbered caddy of a very rare tea, FBOP 1, from the Dilmah Opapa Estate in Sri Lanka; a night for two at the Langham Hotel in Auckland; and two nights for two at the Museum Art Hotel in Wellington.
   In other New Zealand news, new label Trish Peng is running a Fresh Face modelling competition as part of her New Zealand Fashion Week dĂ©but next month, with the help of L’OrĂ©al Professionnel and Vanity Walk.
   New Zealand women are invited to enter via the Trish Peng Facebook page. Peng and Vanity Walk, a modelling agency, will judge from the uploaded photo and details.
   Entries close August 2. The winner becomes the face of the next Trish Peng campaign, opens Peng’s fashion week show, receives a modelling contract with Vanity Walk, and wins a year’s supply of L’OrĂ©al Professionnel products.—Jack Yan, Publisher, with Lucire staff


Felicity Anderson/Trio Communications



Dilmah

Top Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando with Lucire publisher Jack Yan. Centre Dilmah chief marketing officer Dilhan C. Fernando and South African High Commissioner, HE Zodwa Lallie. Above Museum Art Hotel proprietor Chris Parkin with HE Zodwa Lallie.

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July 9, 2014

Ellen DeGeneres to launch E. D., a home ware and fashion brand, for holiday 2014

Lucire staff/7.57

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Above Ellen DeGeneres’s Twitter photo with Bradley Cooper in the foreground, which has been re-Tweeted over 3 million times.

Award-winning TV host Ellen DeGeneres will lend her name to a home ware, ready-to-wear fashion, accessories and pet care items range called E. D., to début as a capsule collection for the holidays this year, with a full collection launch in spring 2015.
   She is working with J. Christopher Burch, founder of C. Wonder and CEO of Burch Creative Capital.
   DeGeneres will provide creative direction while Burch provides brand development and manufacturing expertise. E. D. also has Michael Francis, chief global brand officer, Dreamworks Animation and former global CMO of Target; Marisa Gardini, managing partner of E. D. and former president and CEO of Isaac Mizrahi; and Janet Grove, former corporate vice-chairman of Macy’s Inc. and chairman and CEO of Macy’s Merchandising Group.
   DeGeneres said in a release, ‘I’m so excited to work with Chris and our incredibly talented team on this new venture. I’ve always wanted to launch a line of home goods, clothing and accessories. I already get to be inside people’s living rooms with my show. Now I get to be in their kitchens, in their beds, and in their pants. Wait. That’s not what I meant.’
   Ellen DeGeneres’s show is entering its 12th season and has won 51 Daytime Emmys. Her social media following comprises over 29 million Twitter followers and 15 million Facebook fans. Her Twitter selfie from the Academy Awards was the most re-Tweeted image in history (with three million re-Tweets). She has also received a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award, while her three books have all dĂ©buted at number one on The New York Times’ Best Seller List.

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May 29, 2014

A tribute to Massimo Vignelli, a design legend

Jack Yan/10.14

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RIT

Massimo Vignelli, who passed away on May 27, was a hero of mine. When receiving the news shortly before it hit the media in a big way, from our mutual friend Stanley Moss, this title’s travel editor and CEO of the Medinge Group, I posted immediately on Facebook: ‘It is a sad duty to note the passing of Massimo Vignelli, one of my heroes in graphic design. When I was starting out in the business, Massimo was one of the greats: a proponent of modernism and simple, sharp typography. His influence is apparent in a lot of the work done by our brand consultancy and in our magazines, even in my 2013 mayoral campaign graphics. A lot of his work from half a century ago has stood the test of time. There was only one degree of separation between us, and I regret that we never connected during his lifetime. The passing of a legend.’
   This Facebook status only scratches the surface of my admiration for Vignelli. There have been more comprehensive obits already (Fast Company Design rightly called him ‘one of the greatest 20th century designers’), detailing his work notably for the New York subway map, and—curiously to me—glossing over the effect he had on corporate design, especially in the US.
   Vignelli, and his wife Lella, a designer in her own right and a qualified architect, set up the Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture in Milano in 1960, which had clients including Pirelli and Olivetti. In 1965, they moved to New York and Vignelli co-founded Unimark International (with Ralph Eckerstrom, James Fogelman, Wally Gutches, Larry Klein, and Bob Noorda), where he was design director. It was the world’s largest design and marketing firm till its closure in 1977.
   The 1960s were a great time for Vignelli and his corporate identities. He worked on American Airlines, Ford, Knoll, and J. C. Penney, and the work was strictly modernist, often employing Helvetica as the typeface family. Vignelli was known to have stuck with six families for most his work—Bodoni was another, a type family based around geometry that, on the surface, tied in to his modernist, logical approach. However, there were underlying reasons, including his belief that Helvetica had an ideal ratio between upper- and lowercase letters, with short ascenders and descenders, lending itself to what he considered classic proportions. The 1989 WTC Our Bodoni, created under Vignelli’s direction by Tom Carnase and commissioned by Bert di Pamphilis, adheres to the same proportions.
   Although my own typeface design background means that I could not adhere to six, there is something to be said for employing a logical approach to design. American corporate design went through a “cleaning up” in the 1960s, with a brighter, bolder sensibility. Detractors might accuse it of being stark, the Helveticization of American design making things too standard. Yet through the 1970s the influence remained, and to my young eyes that decade, this was how professional design should look, contrary to the low-budget work plaguing newspapers and books that I saw as I arrived in the occident.
   When the Vignellis left Unimark to set up Vignelli Associates in 1971 (and later Vignelli Designs in 1978), their stamp remained. The MTA launched Vignelli’s subway map the following year, and like the London Underground map by Harry Beck in 1931, it ignored what was above ground in favour of a logical diagram with the stops. Beck was a technical draftsman and the approach must have found favour with Vignelli, just as it did with those creating maps for the Paris MĂ©tropolitain and the Berlin U-bahn.
   New Yorkers didn’t take to the Vignelli map as well as Londoners and Parisians, and it was replaced in 1979 with one that was more geographically accurate to what was above ground.
   In 1973, Vignelli worked on the identity for Bloomingdale’s, and his work endures: the Big Brown Bag is his work, and it continues to be used by the chain today. Cinzano, Lancia and others continue with Vignelli’s designs.
   Ironically, despite a rejection of fashion in favour of timelessness, some of the work is identified with the 1960s and 1970s, notably thanks to the original cut of Helvetica, which has only recently been revived (a more modern cut is commonplace), and which is slightly less popular today. Others, benefiting from more modern layout programs and photography, look current to 2010s eyes, such as Vignelli Associates’ work for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
   The approach taken by Lucire in its print editions has a sense of modernism that has a direct Vignelli influence, including the use of related typeface families since we went to retail print editions in 2004. Our logotype itself, dating from 1997, has the sort of simplicity that I believe Vignelli would have approved of.
   Vignelli was, fortunately, fĂȘted during his lifetime. He received the Compasso d’Oro from ADI twice (1964 and 1998), the AIGA Gold Medal (1983), the Presidential Design Award (1985), the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society of Arts (1996), the National Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper–Hewitt National Museum of Design (2003), among many. He holds honorary doctorates from seven institutions, including the Rochester Institute of Technology (2002). Rochester has a Vignelli Center for Design Studies, whose website adheres to his design principles and where educational programmes espouse his modernist approach. It also houses the Vignellis’ professional archive.
   He is survived by his wife, Lella, who continues to work as CEO of Vignelli Associates and president of Vignelli Designs; their son, Luca, their daughter, Valentina Vignelli Zimmer, and three grandchildren.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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April 14, 2014

Video interview: Alexander Wang on his collaboration with H&M, at the Coachella Music Festival

Lucire staff/22.39

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Above H&M’s Margareta van den Bosch and New York designer Alexander Wang.

Alexander Wang (王性仁) is the next designer to collaborate with Hennes & Mauritz, with the announcement made on Saturday at the Coachella Music Festival in Palm Springs, Calif. Online above is video footage from the event, featuring interviews with Wang, Kate Bosworth and Emmy Rossum, along with highlights from the party.
   Wang is the first American to collaborate with H&M in a series that began in 2004, and has seen team-ups with Karl Lagerfeld, Comme Des Garçons, Sonia Rykiel, Roberto Cavalli. Stella McCartney, and Viktor & Rolf. The collaboration will be called Alexander Wang × H&M.
   A beaming Wang says, ‘It’s such an honour. H&M is a brand with so much creativity and they’ve done something so different with these collaborations, and I am so excited to be a part of it with the 10th year anniversary and also be the first American brand that they have collaborated with. It’s really exciting and we have a lot of stuff that’s going to be new for the collaboration that I’m just really excited to reveal in November.’
   In his release, he notes, ‘I am honoured to be a part of H&M’s designer collaborations. The work with their team is an exciting, fun process. They are very open to push boundaries and to set a platform for creativity. This will be a great way for a wider audience to experience elements of the Alexander Wang brand and lifestyle.’
   Bosworth says, ‘I’m so excited for Alex. I’ve known him for such a long time and been an admirer for just as long, and I just live seeing all the success at the moment. H&M is such an accessible label and there is something so inspirational obviously about Alex, and I’m really excited to see what he brings to the brand.’
   Rossum adds, ‘Because I love Alex and I’ve been waiting for so so long for him to ask me to do anything 
 I was happy that I could do something in advance so I could finally wear something of his. I think it’s awesome [he] is doing something for H&M and making it more accessible.’
   Wang’s label was launched in the 2007 and known for its contrasts. The Alexander Wang × H&M collection will have womenswear and menswear, and the Swedish retailer says he will ‘propose a new take on the lifestyle product offering that goes beyond fashion.’
   Margareta van den Bosch, H&M’s creative adviser, says, ‘Alexander Wang is one of the most important voices in fashion today. He understands exactly what people want to wear and does it with an energy and passion that’s infectious. It feels incredible to be collaborating with him this year.’
   The collection will be available in 250 H&M stores worldwide and online, from November 6.

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February 12, 2014

Sponsored video: Air New Zealand’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit safety video goes live, with a competition

Lucire staff/11.06

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A Lucire special promotion

As reported last week, earlier today, Air New Zealand, a member of the Star Alliance network, revealed its safety video, with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes guiding passengers through the procedures while on location in the Cook Islands. Joyana Meyer, the former Miss South Pacific, is the more serious face getting into the specifics, while Christie Brinkley makes a very brief cameo, in a scene where Meredith talks to her via tablet—and is instructed that mobile devices cannot be used in-flight.
   The behind-the-scenes video shown in Lucire and other media last week had already sparked some controversy in New Zealand, with opinions divided over its suitability, but many of the airline’s previous efforts have generated plenty of conversation.
   â€˜The behind-the-scenes video has generated much conversation around the world about our brand and the Cook Islands as a destination since it was released last week,’ says Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s global head of brand development. ‘It’s exciting for us to release the full video today and we hope it will encourage many viewers to consider a trip to the Cook Islands.’
   Air New Zealand has operated flights to the Cook Islands for over 40 years, and in 2013, carried nearly 200,000 people there from Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles.
   And to ensure that the campaign gets even more attention, Air New Zealand has launched a competition with five trips to the Cook Islands as the top prizes. Each winner and a friend will be flown to Aitutaki and treated to five nights at the Pacific Hotel, with NZ$500 spending money.
   At theflyingsocialnetwork.com, there is a multi-choice question. If you answer correctly, you will be entered into the competition. Further conditions are at the website.


Article sponsored by Air New Zealand



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February 8, 2014

Sponsored video: behind the scenes of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit–Air New Zealand safety video

Lucire staff/14.08

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A Lucire special promotion


Air New Zealand, a member of the Star Alliance network, has already received a bit of press for its latest safety video, starring four current Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue models, and veteran Christie Brinkley, who was put on the map thanks to the annual, iconic magazine special. But what happened behind the scenes of Safety in Paradise?
   For years, the airline has come up with some memorable safety videos, including one with air crew wearing nothing but body paint, another with fitness supremo Richard Simmons, a much talked-about Hobbit-themed video with Sir Peter Jackson and J. R. R. Tolkien’s descendants, and a puzzling animated one that made less thematic sense with Ed ‘Al Bundy’ O’Neill and actress and Lucire feature alumna Melanie Lynskey.
   The shoot for the latest safety video took place in the Cook Islands, a New Zealand territory and an idyllic, beautiful holiday location covered by Air New Zealand on its Auckland–Rarotonga and LAX–Rarotonga routes. Models Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes star in it, featuring on location, while the script called for a Brinkley’s involvement from a luxury home in Hollywood, California.
   All models are from the US with the exception of Gomes, who hails from Australia. She is the only Aussie to appear in four consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, and famously appeared in body paint, by New Zealander (and another Lucire feature subject) Joanne Gair, in 2010.
   Former Miss South Pacific Joyana Meyer also appears in the video.
   The video will be officially released on February 12, coinciding with the global celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. It will be rolled out across the Air New Zealand fleet at the end of the month.
   The airline worked with the magazine, which reaches 70 million people.
   Air New Zealand has had a shot in the arm lately thanks to a new CEO, Christopher Luxon, whose former experience lay in branding for a multinational.
   Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s head of global brand development said, ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has a massive worldwide television, online and print campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary and we’re incredibly excited to feature in that activity. The magazine alone has more than 61 million readers annually and the safety video shoot with Air New Zealand will feature in the special anniversary edition. This is money can’t buy global attention focused on a key destination and our airline.’
   At Lucire, the announcement of the cover girl in February is usually a high spot for web traffic, adding to the views from the autumn–winter fashion circuit.
   And it’s not just Air New Zealand that’s happy with the result. MJ Day, the editor of the Swimsuit Issue, called Safety in Paradise ‘a raucous safety video in the true spirit of SI Swimsuit and our Kiwi friends.’


Article sponsored by Air New Zealand




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January 30, 2014

Elin Kling goes “one” with OriïŹ‚ame, just as Stefan Engeseth might suggest

Jack Yan/4.01

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Oriflame

Our good friend Stefan Engeseth, author of Detective Marketing, Sharkonomics and One: a Consumer Revolution for Business, recently gave a presentation to Oriflame, the Luxembourgeois cosmetics’ group.
   Engeseth usually styles One in all capitals—he has done ever since his book came out in 2006, and frequently gives presentations based around his titles. In our work for a related company to Lucire, we have espoused this title a lot, too, in our dealings, and credited Engeseth accordingly.
   So it was quite fascinating to see Oriflame since come out with a new campaign, called The One, with the second word also in all caps, in the wake of the presentation. And it’s used another Swede to promote it: Elin Kling.
   It makes sense. Engeseth’s One can be summarized thus: forget “them and us” when it comes to consumer relations, and try to be on the same side as your customer. Learn about what matters to them, and side with them. That helps build engagement and loyalty, and those are the drivers of your business performance in the 21st century.
   The information that has come out of ResumĂ©, Sweden’s leading advertising and marketing newspaper, mirrors the Engeseth One approach.
   Oriflame is gearing up to the largest launch in its history and Kling becomes its main ambassador. The concept behind The One: a group of influential trend-setters who are linked to the launch of a new make-up brand of the same name.
   Kling has spent years building up her blog to be one of the most successful worldwide and often takes the stance of being “one” with her readers. It’s a formula that many other bloggers use, and it has come naturally as the blogosphere developed. Companies have seen fit to use these connections in the latter part of the previous decade. Kling has been the face of other campaigns where there is a formal agreement for a blogger to be a spokesperson.
   Her own magazine launched on the basis of the strong loyalty she had from her blog.
   She stated in a release, ‘It is an honour to be the global ambassador for Oriflame, a company that I really admire for its values and knowledge in beauty. I look forward to inspire Oriflame customers worldwide by sharing with you my creativity and expertise.’
   In other words, if you follow her already, either online or through her publication, you can feel “one” with her and—the theory goes—see Oriflame as a beauty brand that’s already on your side.
   If it is as good as the manufacturers claim, that’s a positive thing. It’s also a good way to battle some of the larger budgets Oriflame might encounter, and they are betting a lot on this one which appears to engage social media. It could be just right for the mid-2010s.—Jack Yan, Publisher


Above Author Stefan Engeseth photographed in New Zealand.

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