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January 10, 2017

Bringing Confucius’ legend to life

Lola Cristall/11.04




Liu Haidong

After Asia, Europe and Australia the dance drama, Confucius, lands in New York. The China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG) returned with a marvellous performance at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. The China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre presented an inspiring feature, directed and choreographed by a 77th-generation descendant of Confucius, Kong Dexin. Written by Liu Chun with costume design by Yang Donglin, the set and its design make for a magnificent backdrop for this dramatic, expressive tale. The beautifully decorated Asian-influenced stage, upbeat traditional tunes and eye-catching outfits make the crowd yearn for more. The full 90-minute performance is divided into six parts: ‘Inquiry’, ‘The Chaotic Time’, ‘Out of Food’, ‘Great Harmony’, ‘Mourning for Bene­volence’, and ‘Happiness’, each explicitly telling a tale, evoking philosophical concepts brought about by the arts. The renowned philosopher’s life blossoms on the stage, sharing various profound messages. As dancers expressed the story, Confucius’ words of wisdom are highlighted on two screens on either side of the stage.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor









Liu Haidong

December 7, 2016

Opel previews Insignia B, with clues to next Holden Commodore and Buick Regal

Lucire staff/1.07



GM has shown official photographs of the Opel Insignia B, which will be sold in the UK as a Vauxhall and Australasia as the Holden Commodore. Opel has focused on making the new Insignia more efficient, and it has completely reinterpreted how a sporty, large car should look. The new large car boasts a Cd figure of 0,26, yet lightweight materials have shaved up to 175 kg off the weight.
   Length is roughly the same as before, but it’s 29 mm lower, and the wheelbase has been increased by 92 mm (aiding rear passenger space), and the track by 11 mm. In isolation, it appears larger compared with the outgoing Insignia, something which will help its prospects internationally, where a version of the Insignia has to compete in China as the upscale Buick Regal, and in the former E-segment in Australia as the Holden Commodore. There is an increasing commonality between Opel and Buick design languages, too, with GM saying the Insignia B has a ‘sweepspear’ line that begins at the front door—a term that was first used at Buick in the 1940s. A coupé-like fastback roofline and an upper chrome strip—the latter is also tipped for the estate—give the Insignia B a more distinctive appearance. The driver also sits 30 mm lower than before.
   Opel’s design vice-president for Europe, Mark Adams, says that the Insignia B is meant to look more upscale than its predecessor, saying it has ‘the aura of a car from the premium, upper class.’ Inspiration came from the Opel Monza Concept of 2013.
   There is a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and a wide range of engines, though Opel has not yet revealed specifics before the Insignia B’s official launch in Genève next year. The big news under the skin is all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, aiding stability: this feature is expected on the top models worldwide. FlexRide adapts dampers, steering and throttle response to suit a driver’s style.
   Its LED headlights adapt to the traffic conditions, and there are other premium features, including a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane assist with lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. GM’s Onstar service is also standard, with automatic crash response and stolen vehicle assistance, with a concierge service allowing occupants to book hotels, launching with the car next year.







November 16, 2016

Ralph & Russo, Charlotte Tilbury, Anya Hindmarch among Walpole winners; Lucy Hale named ambassador for Casetify

Lucire staff/12.50

Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale has been named as a spokeswoman and creative director for Casetify, a company retailing cellphone cases, Apple Watch bands, Macbook sleeves and clutches.
   The capsule collection of 34 pieces has been launched in time for the new Apple Iphone 7, based around the idea of ‘delicate but daring,’ a motto credited to the actress. The designs reflect Hale’s tastes, including one with the quotation, ‘I like big brows and I cannot lie,’ as well as cheetah, floral and cacti prints, and one featuring her own dog, Elvis.
   Prices begin at US$40, and the range can be found at www.casetify.com/lucy-hale.
   The 15th annual Walpole Awards, presented in London on Wednesday, saw numerous fashion and beauty brands honoured for their contribution to luxury. Ralph & Russo won Outstanding Achievement in British Luxury, presented by Nadja Swarovski (right).
   Other winners included make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury, who won British Luxury Brand of the Year, and accessories’ designer Anya Hindmarch won the prize for Digital Innovation in British Luxury. Burberry and House of St Barnabas jointly won the Champion of British Luxury Sustainability award.

Skilful execution by tomorrow’s stars at New Zealand School of Dance’s 2016 Graduation Season

Jack Yan/11.39




Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Meistens Mozart. An excerpt from Political Mother. Pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty.

The New Zealand School of Dance’s Graduation Season once again brings an expertly executed programme, mixing genres from classical to modern to experimental. Among the programme tonight were three premières: Helgi Tomasson’s Meistens Mozart was performed for the first time in New Zealand, while Amber Haines’s Incant and Jiři Bubeniček’s Dance Gallantries received their world premières on opening night of the season at Te Whaea.
   Meistens Mozart started the evening and showed that, with the right arrangement and choreography, the German language could be made cheerful. Songs by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Bernhard Flies and Jakob Haibel, sung by the Tölzer Boys’ Choir, accompanied the six dancers, the standout of whom was George Liang. Liang had previously been at Canada’s National Ballet School, and we had seen him perform last month at the Republic of China’s National Day celebration. There were no opening-night jitters from any of the six, who instantly transported us to an alpine society, celebrating springtime love, courtship and playfulness.
   The all-male He Taonga—a Gift was an energetic and intense performance where drumbeats from Whirimako Black’s ‘Torete te Kiore’ soundtrack sparked sudden moves, a demonstration of control and strength from the 14 dancers. Choreographed by Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete, He Taonga was created for the School in 2009 and reprised tonight.
   Opening the second section, Laura Crawford and Yuri Marques were like delicate dolls in their pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, Act III, with the choreography after Marius Petipa. Marilyn Rowe, OBE staged and coached, while Qi Huan was répétiteur. This was a tough ballet piece to get right and the pair got stronger as they performed, gaining confidence and drawing us into their romance.
   Taking a complete tangent into modern dance was the solo performance of Glitch, a new work from NZSD tutor Victoria Columbus, whose talents we most recently saw at the World of Wearable Art, where she serves as director of choreography. The movements themselves were created by graduate Connor Masseurs, who performed the dance, playing the part of a “glitching” robotic man short-circuiting on stage with skilful, shuddering movements. Masseurs completely absorbed us with his solo: it wasn’t just his limbs that Masseurs controlled, he extended the idea to facial movements, inventively finding new ways to glitch. Masseurs first performed the dance at the Grand Théâtre at the Maison de la Culture de Tahiti as part of a gala at the Académie de Danse Annie Fayn.
   Incant was mysterious, brooding, and ethereal: this all-female work saw dancers come together to generate new shapes, conveying to us notions of clouds, trees in a forest, or tunnels, at times passing a lit sphere between them. Haines’s choreography was meant to question traditional notions of beauty and got us successfully focusing on the collective moves of the dancers. ‘This world,’ she notes in the programme, ‘invokes a mesmerizing state of collective consciousness and celebrates the power and luminous beauty of shared intention.’ A captivating work, it ended the second set of dances.
   Dance Gallantries was another more traditional work, with 10 dancers telling more playful stories of romance, complemented by Otto Bubeniček’s colourful costume design and solo violin music by J. S. Bach.
   A group of 12 performed an extract from Political Mother, the evening’s one political work with jarring music and clever choreography by Hofesh Shechter. A couple merrily folk-dances in a town square, happy to be part of their society, but are they genuinely happy or manipulated by the state? Their expressions seem to suggest the latter, fooled into believing that all is well and happy in their naïveté. The action moves on to a prison, where the music is muffled and dancers ape being restrained by either arms or ankles. The final scene, with a large group of dancers back in the town, show that the entire society has succumbed to the illusion, raising their arms in acceptance. It makes you question about the times we live in, and whether intellectual discourse is suppressed in favour of simpler ideas, a population told to be happy without really knowing why.
   Finally, Tchaikovsky’s music from The Nutcracker was excerpted for the upbeat Tempo di Valse, with the NZSD returning to a ballet to finish the evening. The ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ was instantly recognizable, the 15 dancers showing classical movements. Nadine Tyson choreographed, while the colourful traditional costumes were designed by Donna Jefferis.
   Depending on the show, the pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty may be replaced by Jack Carter’s Pas de deux romantique, with music by Rossini; while Glitch may give way to The Wanderer, choreographed by Columbus and perforned by Liang.
   The season runs from November 16 to 26 at Te Whaea in Wellington, New Zealand, with prices ranging from NZ$18 to NZ$33. Tickets can be booked at the New Zealand School of Dance, or online at nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/book-tickets. We’d rate it another must-see, especially to catch some rising stars—we understand that some are off overseas, already snatched up by dance companies.—Jack Yan, Publisher

September 23, 2016

Gillian Saunders takes top honours at 2016 World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show, with Supernova

Lucire staff/11.00




WOW

New Zealand designer Gillian Saunders has scooped the Brancott Estate Supreme Award at tonight’s World of Wearable Art (WOW) Awards’ Show. Saunders, who had entered 15 garments before her winning entry, Supernova, has won eight awards prior to 2016, but this is the first time she has taken out the top prize.
   Saunders, who was born in England, has been involved in television and theatre for most of her working life. She was trained in Yorkshire, and went on to Christchurch, New Zealand, where she worked as a props’ maker for the Court Theatre.
   â€˜I had been making stage props for theatre and TV for years. WOW was the perfect challenge—could I make props for the body as well?’ she said.
   Supernova was inspired by ‘Thierry Mugler’s Chimera dress [from the autumn–winter 1997–8 collection], … the iridescent spiny fins of the Hippocampus from the Percy Jackson movie The Sea of Monsters, and some incredible NASA images taken by the Hubble Telescope,’ she noted. ‘Once all these elements were combined, Supernova was brought to life.
   â€˜The large gems represent new stars being born and the dark shadows represent deep space. Each scale has been individually cut, shaded with marker pens and then hand-sewn on to the garment. Each gem has had its sticky backing removed and then glued on by hand.’
   Saunders also won the Avant-Garde section in this year’s competition, judged by WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, Zambesi’s Elisabeth Findlay, and sculptor Gregor Kregar.
   Dame Suzie said, ‘Supernova has the design innovation, the construction quality and vibrant stage presence in performance to win WOW’s top award.’
   Saunders’ 2013 design, Inkling, won the Weta Creature Carnival Award and an internship for her at Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop. It is currently part of the WOW international exhibition, touring around the world, and presently at the EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington, where it will be displayed till January, after which the exhibition will head to the Peabody Essex Museum in Boston, Mass.
   She also won the Avant-Garde section in 2007 with Equus: behind Closed Doors, while in 2009, Tikini was second in the Air New Zealand South Pacific section.
   Designers from New Zealand, China, India, England, Australia, and the USA won awards in each section.
   The American Express Open section this year saw Renascence, by Yuru Ma and Siyu Fang of Shanghai take first place. The Spyglass Creative Excellence section was won by Mai (I), by Pritam Singh and Vishnu Ramesh of Gujarat. Queen Angel, by Adam McAlavey of London, won the MJF Lighting Performance Art section.
   Baroque Star, by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry of Christchurch, won the Weta Workshop Costume and Film section, netting the duo a four-week internship at Weta Workshop, plus travel, accommodation, and prize money.
   The Wellington Airport Aotearoa section was won by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitry Mavinis of London, with their creation Princess Niwareka. The World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum Bizarre Bra section was won by Julian Hartzog of Tarpon Springs, Fla., with Come Fly with Me.
   Of the special awards, Dame Suzie chose Incognita, by Ian Bernhard of Auckland, as the most innovative garment, giving it the WOW Factor Award. Renewal, by Alexa Cach, Miodrag Guberinic and Corey Gomes, won the First-Time Entrant Award. The Knight by Jiawen Gan of the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology won the Student Innovation Award. The Sustainability Award, recognizing the protection of our environment and the use of materials that would otherwise be discarded, was won by Bernise Milliken of Auckland, for Grandeer. Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder of Wellington, won the Wearable Technology Award. The Wellington International Award, given to the best international entry, was won by Daisy May Collingridge of Woldingham, Surrey, England, for Lippydeema. Collingridge also won the UK–Europe Design Award with this entry.
   Khepri, by Miodrag Guberinic and Alexa Cach of New York, NY, won the Americas Design Award. Yu Tan of Shanghai won the Asia Design Award with The Renaissance Happens Again, while Cascade, by Victoria Edgar of Geelong, Victoria, won the Australia and South Pacific Design Award.
   The David Jones New Zealand Design Award was won by Voyage to Revolution, by Carolyn Gibson of Auckland.
   The Cirque du Soleil Performance Art Costume Award, chosen by Denise Tétreault, Costumes Lifecycle and Creative Spaces Director of the Cirque du Soleil, was won by Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder. Mulder receives prize money, flights and accommodation for a one-month internship at Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters in Montréal, Québec.
   WOW runs in Wellington, New Zealand, through to October 9, and will be seen by 58,000 people live during its run. It employs over 350 cast and crew.
   This year, 133 entries by 163 designers (some worked in pairs) were received, competing for a prize pool of NZ$165,000.



WOW


Renascence, by Yuru Ma and Siyu Fang, Shanghai.


Mai (I), by Pritam Singh and Vishnu Ramesh, Gujarat.


Queen Angel, by Adam McAlavey, London.


Baroque Star, by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Princess Niwareka, by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitri Mavinis, London.


Come Fly with Me, by Julian Hartzog, Tarpon Springs, Fla.


Incognita, by Ian Bernhard, at AUT, Auckland.


Renewal, by Alexa Cach, Miodrag Guberinic and Corey Gomes.


Grandeer, by Bernise Milliken, Auckland.


Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder, Wellington.


Lippydeema, by Daisy May Collingridge, Woldingham, Surrey.


Khepri, by Miodrag Guberinic and Alexa Cach, New York.


The Renaissance Happens Again, by Yu Tan, Shanghai.


Cascade by Victoria Edgar, Geelong, Victoria.


Voyage to Revolution by Carolyn Gibson, Auckland.

August 24, 2016

Linden Leaves enters China staying true to its principles, without using animal-testing procedures

Lucire staff/12.46

Linden Leaves has been trying to solve the problem of entry into the Chinese market for some time. To sell in China, conventional wisdom was that animal testing is required, and when Lucire approached experts in China, they found no way round it. This was in spite of a free-trade agreement between New Zealand and the People’s Republic of China—it was accepted that all would have to undergo the same procedure.
   The good news, announced this month, is that Linden Leaves has, after some persistence, found a way to enter China without animal testing, thereby staying true to its ethos. The company has managed to secure exclusive authorization by the Chinese government.
   Founder Brigit Blair says, ‘I feel so proud that we did not bend our own company ethics and policy for the greater lure of the Chinese dollar due to their animal testing policy. It is so exciting that we have managed to enter the market in a way that means we are able to stay true to what we stand for, not only as a company, but also as a cruelty-free nation.’
   Linden Leaves’ skin care and body care ranges are now stocked at Shanghai’s largest Duty Free Downtown store, with over 2,000 people attending the opening event of its new counter, with further forays into China, through domestic stores and Duty Free stores, planned.

June 18, 2016

Amanda Seyfried guest of honour at Clé de Peau Beauté’s Shanghai launches for autumn ’16

Lucire staff/13.16




Lintao Zhang

Actress Amanda Seyfried was guest of honour at Shiseido’s Clé de Peau Beauté event in Shanghai on Thursday, held at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, and at its skin care launch on Friday at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai.
   Seyfried, who is Clé de Peau’s ambassador, appeared at the event for autumn–winter 2016, with the theme ‘Fearless Beauty’. The latest make-up collection has been conceived by Lucia Pieroni, make-up creative director of Clé de Peau Beauté, and was inspired by art-déco artist Tamara de Lempicka (right).
   The Shanghai event had a 1920s theme, connecting to the Fairmont Peace Hotel’s original era. As Cathay House, the property had opened in 1929, at a time when de Lempicka was active. Shiseido staff dressed in 1920s-themed costumes, and furnishings were similarly inspired, while art from de Lempicka was displayed, along with six original paintings by contemporary artist Ashley Longshore, who was also present at the event. Longshore had also designed the package for the holiday collection, also announced at the event. Chinese artist Yi Zhou MCed the gala dinner, during which Seyfried and Longshore spoke.
   The new range includes the new Liquid Rouge, with Seyfried promoting shade no. 18. She said, ‘Just like a dress that presents you at your best, this rouge is a wonderful item that makes you look dramatic and attractive. When I’m wearing it, I feel like I can be bolder and freer than I usually am. I also like the crystalline, brilliant texture.’
   She also said at the press conference, ‘I feel great affinity with women who live strong, bold lives, like Tamara de Lempicka. Even in the face of difficulty, it’s important to forge ahead powerfully without flinching, maintaining a sense of conviction. If society becomes such a place that women can play active roles while being even more radiant and true to themselves, I think we may be able to resolve the many difficult issues facing the world today.’
   On Friday, the Clé de Peau skin care line was announced at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai, with Seyfried, Longmore, brand director Roxana Daver, and Kentaro Fujiwara, CEO of Shiseido China.
   The range will be marketed from this autumn in Japan, mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, USA, Canada, and Russia.

































Lintao Zhang

May 21, 2016

AmFAR Cannes gala raises $25 million: Katy Perry, Sonam Kapoor, Bella Hadid, Doutzen Kroes, Paris Hilton among VIPs

Lucire staff/13.33




Pascal Le Segretain; Gareth Cattermole; Kevin Tachman/AmFAR

The swankiest do during the Festival de Cannes is the AmFAR gala, held at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, and presented by Harry Winston and Bold Films. The event, Cinema Against Aids, raised over US$25 million supporting AmFAR, the Foundation for Aids Research, and its pursuit of a cure for HIV–Aids. Sponsors included the Weinstein Company, Renault, and Moët Hennessy.
   Kevin Spacey MCed the event, with his impressive mimicry, playing Johnny Carson, Bill Clinton, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, and his Frank Underwood from the US House of Cards remake. Adrien Brody, among others, furnished artwork that was auctioned to raise funds for AmFAR; other items included a Damien Hirst sculpture and a week-long stay at Leonardo DiCaprio’s home in Palm Springs. Swiss art auctioneer Simon de Pury presided over the auction.
   Katy Perry (in Marchesa), the Village People, Sister Sledge and the Bluebell Girls performed live, and Carine Roitfeld curated a fashion collection with a disco theme featuring Karlie Kloss (who arrived in Marchesa), Jourdan Dunn, Bella Hadid, and Doutzen Kroes (who arrived wearing Tom Ford), among others. The collection raised over US$1 million.
   Celebrities attending included Brody and DiCaprio, Harvey Weinstein, Dame Helen Mirren (who, like so many of her L’Oréal Paris spokespeople attending, wore make-up from the brand), Milla Jovovich, Paris Hilton (with jewellery by Avakian), Barron Hilton, Uma Thurman, Sonam Kapoor (in Ralph & Russo), Heidi Klum, Irina Shayk (in Miu Miu), Faye Dunaway, Alessandra Ambrosio (in Redemption, with Jimmy Choo shoes and jewellery by Boucheron), Toni Garrn, Jasmine Tookes, Karolína Kurková (in Armani Privé and Harry Winston jewellery) and Archie Drury, Ana Beatriz Barros (in Ralph & Russo), Petra NÄ›mcová (in Georges Chakra with jewellery by Chopard), Barbara Palvin (in Armani Privé), Hailey Clauson, Sasha Luss, Sharam Diniz, Valery Kaufman, Izabel Goulart, Sophie Taylor, Chanel Iman, Liu Wen, Elle Fanning, Joel Edgerton, Orlando Bloom, Chris Tucker, Kirsten Dunst, Vanessa Paradis, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Joel Edgerton, Juliette Binoche, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Eva Herzigova, Chloë Sevigny, Julian Lennon, Lewis Hamilton, Matt Bellamy, Adriana Lima, Nicolas Winding Refn, Nina Agdal, Elif Aksu, Mert Alas, Alina Baikova, Natasha Poly (in Roberto Cavalli), Mischa Barton, Boris Becker, Dean Caten, Dan Caten, Eva Cavalli, Anna Cleveland, Mina Cvetković, Heidi de la Rosa, Lily Donaldson, Isabeli Fontana, Georgia Fowler, Luma Grothe, Jessica Hart, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Xiao Wen Ju, Liya Kebede, Lara Leito, Maryna Linchuk, Angela Lindvall, Sasha Luss, Catrinel Marlon, Angela Martini, Stella Maxwell, Margot Moe, Mia Moretti, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Soo Joo Park, Marcus Piggott, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Vladimir Roitfeld, Olivier Rousteing, Remo Ruffini, Dragos Savulescu, Lucky Blue Smith, Lara Stone, Daria Strokous, Kasia Struss, Jasmine Tookes, Dasha Zhukova, and AmFAR board chairman Kenneth Cole.









































































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