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August 11, 2016

A renewed energy for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Giselle

Jack Yan/14.51


Stephen A’Court

Every opportunity to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Giselle is a renewed pleasure. First performed in 2012, and garnering a great review from this publication for its outstanding choreography and production. Conceived in Wellington four years ago by then RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel, with Johan Kobborg, Giselle has become one of the company’s signature ballets, performed in China, the US, the UK, and Italy.
   What was astonishing was being able to enjoy Giselle as though we had never seen the 2012 première: there was a freshness about the latest performance, despite our being familiar with the story. On opening night, Qi Huan, who had retired from the RNZB to teach at the New Zealand School of Dance, returned to take up the role of Albrecht, which we saw him perform in 2012. The years since his 2014 departure haven’t diminished his skills one iota: the ballerino still has a star quality that places him a cut above so many, and his entrechats in the second act showed the power and grace that we have come to expect from someone who has mastered his craft. Also performing Albrecht on other occasions is Daniel Gaudiello, former principal dancer of the Australian Ballet, who is similarly acclaimed.
   Lucy Green took the title role on opening night and it was her youthfulness that gave Giselle a fresh take; the drama of Giselle descending into madness in the first act was so well done that one couldn’t help but sympathize with her character’s pain. Her pas de deux with Huan were exquisite and romantic.
   Also of note was the extensive pointe work by the Wilis in the second act, which demonstrated that the RNZB remains on top of its game.
   Jacob Chown’s Hilarion and Mayu Tanigaito’s Myrtha deserve mention in supporting roles: the dancing by both performers was integral to the story and Chown’s battle with the Wilis was emotionally done; Tanigaito kept the pace of the less plot-driven second act going with intricate skill till we saw what had happened to Giselle and Albrecht. Tanigaito also plays Giselle in performances where Gaudiello is Albrecht, and it’s not hard to see her take on the role with aplomb.
   Stiefel returned to Wellington to fine-tune the production, working with his successor, Francesco Ventriglia, who was responsible for the casting of Huan and Gaudiello.
   Marc Taddei conducted Orchestra Wellington, also giving the performance a new energy, performing the full-length score by Adolphe Adam. He will also conduct the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra when Giselle reaches those cities.
   Giselle opened in Wellington on August 11, before touring to Napier, Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, Rotorua, and Palmerston North, where the season concludes on September 9. Full details are at the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website, rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

July 16, 2016

Launch of John Varvatos’s new fragrance, Bad-Boy Biker, at New York Men’s Fashion Week

Bhavana Bhim/2.56

John Varvatos introduced his newest fragrance, Dark Rebel Rider, during a celebratory concert featuring Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown at his New York City Bowery store.
   The event was held immediately following the John Varvatos spring–summer 2017 fashion show on July 14. The night featured a special performance by Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, a band specially selected by John Varvatos. There to support the Dark Rebel Rider launch were musicians Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Mills, as well as actor Corey Hawkins and athlete–model Dale Moss.
   â€˜Dark Rebel Rider is an extension of the Dark Rebel fragrance collection, which originally launched in 2015. The fragrance is inspired by the bad-boy biker, who walks to his own beat and has an edge but also doesn’t try too hard,’ said John Varvatos. ‘Just like my clothes, the Dark Rebel Rider fragrance is iconic, timeless and represents a courageous attitude. It is a clear expression of a personality that defies the norm.’
   The alluring scent features bitter orange, saffron with black violet and Somalian frankincense amongst the heart of the fragrance. The fragrance is the result of a long-standing collaboration between Varvatos and Givaudan vice-president of perfumery, Rodrigo Flores-Roux. ‘Dark Rebel Rider captures the heart and soul of rebelliousness and bad boy idols through ultra-sexy leather and ambery notes,’ said Flores-Roux. ‘It is luminous but has incredible gravitas and depth; it is supple and sensual but delivers a punch. It is voluminous but never heavy, it is an extraordinary olfactive chiaroscuro.’
   The fragrance is available now exclusively at Bloomingdale’s, and other retailers beginning August 2016, with an MSRP of US$89 for 4·2 fl oz.—Bhavana Bhim

June 30, 2016

Letter from Venezia: a survival guide for summer ’16

Lucire staff/22.13




Paula Sweet

Above, from top: Venezia has legendary picture-perfect palaces all along the Grand Canal. Cruise ship departs, photographed from San Marco Square. Luna Hotel Bagioni’s Canova Restaurant.

Greetings from La Serenissima, where the sultry days of summer have descended as the lanes grow thick with eager visitors. It’s late June, and temperatures already read in the low 30s (high 80s for our US readers), humidity hovering around 65 per cent. By midday, as the sun burns through the Adriatic haze, gelato sellers enjoy a thriving business. Lucire has some insider tips to make your visit a happy one.
   1. Arrive mid-week to avoid the extreme crowds. The city has finally limited the number of cruise ships—at one time 15 a day were allowed—now held to three a day. The behemoth vessels arrive on Friday, depositing 15,000 extra day-trippers loosed into the ancient city on weekends. The city can be more navigable on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
   2. Expect higher prices. Venezia is old and delicate, and tourists a captive audience. There’s an old maxim for travellers, ‘Take half as many clothes as you think you need and twice as much money.’ This holds true for Venezia. As an example, a friend and her daughter sat down at one of the outdoor tables facing the Grand Canal, ordered two small pizzas and two bottles of water. Cost €50. Don’t be surprised!
   3. Wear a hat and keep hydrating. The heat is deceptive, so cover your head and don’t overdo it. If you want to help preserve Venezia, buy an Italian-made straw fedora from a street vendor in support of the local economy. It’s the most functional headgear for the weather and you won’t regret the stylistic flourish you take home. You may also find an afternoon siesta in your hotel room another strategy to beat the heat.
   4. Have a meal at an outdoor restaurant on via Giuseppe Garibaldi. Venezia’s best-kept-secret neighbourhood, where prices may be lower than Rialto or San Marco. A very typical quarter where you will see real Venetians going about their daily business. An easy 15-minute walk from San Marco, along the waterfront, just beyond Arsenale, facing the Lido and the open sea.
   5. Visit the Ghetto. 2016 commemorates the 500th anniversary of the founding of the historic district, located very near the train station. There on March 29, 1516, Jewish residents were granted exclusive sanctuary and permitted to live and do business. While no official celebrations are planned, the area has fascinating architecture, shops and exhibits.
   6. Explore fine dining at Venezia’s great hotels. During the summer, reservations at Venezia’s well known restaurants can be difficult to score. But many of the five-star hotels have great kitchens ready to show you the best of the lagoon’s catch, and new twists on classic preparations in their signature restaurants.
   There’s good news in this category from the Luna Hotel Baglioni, a favourite property located just off San Marco, which upholds an incomparable standard of hospitality and comfort. The hotel’s outstanding Canova Restaurant will soon have outdoor tables adjacent to the entrance, where lunch and dinner can be enjoyed on a quiet passage facing a little-known gondola landing. Fine cuisine, prime location and impeccable service are the hallmarks of this great restaurant.
   While we’re on the subject of the Luna, another new addition to the service package is the introduction this season of dedicated butler service, included with Junior or Senior Suite bookings. Maurizio, a career hospitality professional, brings the full complement of high-grade personalized service and acts as your primary contact to the Luna’s team and the outer world. His mission in life: to make any request come true.
   Hot tip: at the Luna, request Room 407, smaller in size, but with a balcony view of the Grand Canal and Doge’s Palace and a light-filled white marble bathroom. Highly recommended.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor



Paula Sweet

Above: Butler Maurizio adds to the Luna’s premium package.

June 29, 2016

Oh, pretty woman!

Elyse Glickman/21.06



It’s hard to believe that it’s been 27 years since Julia Roberts’ career and her character in the film Pretty Woman were transformed in the confines of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It also speaks volumes that Julia Roberts and this storied Beverly Hills property (now under the Four Seasons umbrella) still turn heads after all these years.
   Just as Julia Roberts has kept herself up to date, so has the hotel’s spa with some new additions. It was only fitting that the crowd-pleaser movie was playing in the background as beauty bloggers and journalists made the rounds to experience sample treatments including products from just added lines Évolué (officially styled in all lowercase, évolué) and Elemis.
   Ã‰volué, created by Beverly Hills-based Jean Seo, features products integrating nourishing and luxurious ingredients sourced from around the world that mimic what the body naturally produces and loses with age. Besides her bubbly personality, Seo’s other top selling point is that her products are tested actresses and models rather than animals. Although Elemis is one of the UK’s top spa skin care brands, the Spa at Regent Beverly Wilshire will be one of the few US spas to feature the new Elemis Biotec system into several treatments. The focal point of the spa experience is a machine combining five technologies that are scientifically proven to increase cell energy for optimum skin function.



   With the event staged from 5 to 8.30 p.m., we could not think of a better way to spend happy hour, with beauty indulgences replacing food. However, as there were so many treatments in so little time, we each had our own differing sets of treatments. As there are usually drinks during happy hour, this event did not disappoint. Invitees were offered champagne or cold pressed juices by LA Juice to stay refreshed (though water consumption was also recommended.)



Elyse: After starting the evening with a manicure where I went outside my comfort zone, colour-wise (a robin’s egg blue by Creative Nail), I signed up to have a practitioner give my face a workout with a light, effervescent Brightening Antioxidant treatment. Next, I balanced things out with an oxygen facial with Natura Bisse products from Spain, and an indulgent Time Reversal Facial using a cocktail of products from Évolué. Between each 15-minute facial session, I enjoyed experimenting with essential oils by Dõterra (officially, dõTERRA) and had a blissful foot massage expertly handled by a cheery member of the spa staff. The practitioner at the Dõterra display claimed that the nose is a conduit to the psyche. After she guided my nose to the right scent suiting my mood and personality at the moment, she handed me a book and turned it to a page that explained how the aromatic oil could put me in a happier state of mind.

Leyla: I enjoyed the Time Reversal Facial, which uses Évolué’s simple, organic formulations. After removing a day’s worth of foundation, powder and eyeliner with their pure jojoba oil cleanser, they gently exfoliated my skin with a natural and less invasive alternative to microdermabrasion. The Évolué Resurfacing Grains, made with oat and milk powder, gently softened my skin without creating unsightly red patches. The treatment was topped off with a mask of face-plumping elastin and collagen. Next, I treated my face to the Biotech Firm-a-Lift by Elemis, which uses a combination of plant stem cells and hyaluronic acid to nourish the skin and reduce fine lines.
   The æsthetician also used an ultrasonic device to oxygenate the skin and stimulate cell growth. I appreciate the fact that Elemis’s products are steeped in scientific research. They do not make any claims without clinical trials. I followed this with a mini-version of the spa’s Elemis Amber and Orchids body wrap. The æsthetician massaged sweet orchid oil into my tired hands, and wrapped them in warm towels. The fragrance stayed with me for several days. For the final touch, I went to the Lea Journo Hair Salon adjacent to the spa for a lesson in contouring my face, “Kardashian-style”.

Jody: After already indulging in a couple of lovely mini-facials, I pondered whether I should sample another. OK, twist my arm! And lucky for me I did, because the Hydrafacial was my favourite. In a nutshell, it is a soothing hydra-dermabrasion procedure that combines deep cleansing, exfoliation, extraction (that’s right—it replaces painful extractions), hydration, and infusion of antioxidants. The result is skin that is clearer and more luminous without the discomfort or down time. It is an all-in-one facial wonder suitable for all skin types, and the cool mist topping it off is a perfect summer pick-me-up.

   Although the schedule was tight for all the guests, everybody found time to be treated to deliciously cool under-eye “gold” or “diamond” masks by Knesko. Better still, they sent everybody home with a gift bag that itself was the spa “to go”. The care package included a generous envelope with Knesco masks for face and neck, full-sized products from Évolué (Resurfacing Grains and Cleanser) and Elemis’s Biotech Skin Energizing Cleanser and Day Cream, featuring electrolytes and minerals our skin thirsts for. Of course, to maintain those benefits, it’s always good to provide incentive to return and leave it to the pros to work their magic.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor; Leyla Messian and Jody Miller, LA Correspondents

June 24, 2016

Jameson’s Caskmates launch in New Zealand, blending whiskey and stout; Stadler Form launches art-déco fan

Lola Cristall/23.23


Jameson Caskmates has launched in New Zealand, after its successful run in Ireland last year. Jameson loaned some of its Midleton Distillery casks to the Franciscan Well brewery in Cork to see what would happen to the brewery’s Irish stout, after a plan was hatched by Jameson Master Distiller, Brian Nation, Master of Whiskey Science, Dave Quinn, and Franciscan Well founder and head brewer, Shane Long when they met in Cork. The casks were then returned to the Distillery and filled with Jameson Irish Whiskey.
   The result was a Jameson Caskmates: a triple-distilled, ‘once stouted’ whiskey with a distinctive taste that features notes of coffee, cocoa, butterscotch and gentle hints of hops.
   Jameson expects that those who enjoy craft beer and whiskey will take to the blending of two disciplines, with a particularly versatile drink. Jameson Caskmates is bottled at 40 per cent ABV and goes on sale in New Zealand from July 2016, with an RRP of NZ$55·99.
   Stadler Form’s art-déco Q Fan is a stunning work of art that looks gorgeous in any part of the home. While it’s a considerably quiet fan, the strength of the three blades projects plenty of cool air. Whether the simplicity of silver or the boldness of bronze, each colour flawlessly complements its surroundings. Weighing as light as 4 kg (slightly less than 9 lb) the fan comes in three distinct speed levels, adapting according to the environment. Despite the intensity of the hot temperature, it rapidly releases cool air in a minimal amount of time. Designed by famous designer Carlo Borer, the fan is in the form of the letter Q, its stainless steel shaped into an absolute work of art.
   The brand was founded by Martin Stadler in 1998 in Zug, Switzerland. Stadler Form collaborates with renowned Swiss-based designers including Kurt Zimmerli, Fabian Zimmerli and Mathias Walker. Stadler Form has become an internationally distinguished brand, distributing its array of inventive products to more than 40 countries, including humidifiers, fans, air purifiers, heaters, dehumidifiers and aroma diffusers.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor, and Lucire staff




June 17, 2016

Sponsored video: Chris Fonseca breaks barriers, with Smirnoff Ice Electric

Lucire staff/14.12



Via Chris Fonseca, on Instagram

We love ideas that challenge convention (otherwise this title wouldn’t exist), and Chris Fonseca’s work does just that.
   He’s a dancer, choreographer and dance instructor who happens to be profoundly deaf after suffering meningitis as a child. But that didn’t stop Fonseca from developing a love of dance, and it’s that love that the Smirnoff Ice Electric Flavors range taps into with its latest campaign.
   This hasn’t been created cynically for marketing Smirnoff—Fonseca has been teaching in South London, where both deaf and hearing people go to learn how to dance. He has, however, taken the idea across the Atlantic thanks to Smirnoff, and you can see his New York class for yourself on social media (check out Fonseca’s Instagram at instagram.com/cfofficial for more). Among those at one New York class were Jeremy Strong, a choreographer for Jason DeRulo, and C. J. Salvador, a dancer for Justin Bieber, notes Vibe, which attended in May.
   Fonseca’s absolutely right: there’s no reason a deaf person cannot be great at dancing, and he gets his students to count the beat through vibrations, especially the bass. He further incorporates the lyrics of the song into his dance. His aim is to break barriers, and to make sure that that deaf people can do whatever they wish. ‘[Being deaf] does not stop me from making everyday achievements,’ he told the BBC.
   â€˜I always say to those young people not feeling body-positive to keep going, like everyday barriers, challenges, keep going: you don’t know how close you are to making a breakthrough. Keep believing anything is possible. Your time is coming soon.
   â€˜My motto is: dreams don’t work unless you work. Dreaming, believing, and achieving.’
   A very telling image on his Instagram shows Fonseca leading his class and on the mirror are the words, ‘How do you know if you don’t try?’, a term that he has hashtagged as well. Smirnoff, meanwhile, has taken more polished shots for its Ice Electric campaign, promoting its non-carbonated, plastic-bottled line—their idea is that you can take your Smirnoff drinks on to the dance floor more readily than when it was bottled in glass.
   His teaching has reached the media, including a cover story for the British Deaf News, which he hashtagged as his proudest moment.


Post sponsored by Smirnoff

June 16, 2016

From supermodels to film: celebrating the work of Peter Lindbergh at Kunsthal Rotterdam

Lucire staff/13.41




Top: An image that kicked off the 1990s, with supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford in New York, appearing on the cover of British Vogue in January 1990. Copyright ©1990 by Peter Lindbergh (courtesy of Peter Lindbergh, Paris/Gagosian Gallery). Centre: Wild at Heart, with Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz, Helena Christensen, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Karen Mulder and Stephanie Seymour, Brooklyn, 1991, appearing in Vogue. Copyright ©1991 by Peter Lindbergh (courtesy of Peter Lindbergh, Paris/Gagosian Gallery). Above: Kate Moss, Paris, 2015, wearing Giorgio Armani, spring–summer 2015. Copyright ©2015 by Peter Lindbergh (courtesy of Peter Lindbergh, Paris/Gagosian Gallery).

An exhibition on Polish-born, French-based photographer Peter Lindbergh, entitled Peter Lindbergh: a Different Vision on Fashion Photography, opens at the Kunsthal Rotterdam on September 10 at 5.30 p.m., running through February 12, 2017. It marks the first Dutch exhibition of Lindbergh’s work.
   Some of the most iconic fashion images of the past generation have been shot by Lindbergh, whose work is regularly seen in various editions of Vogue, and in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Visionaire, Interview and W. Exhibitions of his work have been held around the world beginning with the V&A in 1985. Lindbergh’s black-and-white 1990 Vogue photograph of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford was one that helped cement the reputation of the supermodels, if not arguably kicking off the era itself. Lindbergh’s work gave a sense of reality about his subjects, with his humanist, documentary approach.
   Said Lindbergh in an Art Forum interview earlier this year, ‘A fashion photographer should contribute to defining the image of the contemporary woman or man in their time, to reflect a certain social or human reality. How surrealistic is today’s commercial agenda to retouch all signs of life and of experience, to retouch the very personal truth of the face itself?’
   The exhibition features over 220 photographs and includes exclusive and previously unseen material, including personal notes, Polaroids, storyboards, films and prints. It is divided into nine different sections, representing the different themes in Lindbergh’s creative development: Supermodels, Couturiers, Zeitgeist, Dance, the Darkroom, the Unknown, Silver Screen, Icons, and an exclusive Rotterdam Gallery. This final section contains Lindbergh’s work for the October 2015 issue of Vogue Nederland, with Lara Stone and Elise Hupkes at the Port of Rotterdam.
   Lindbergh’s critically acclaimed Models: the Film (1991) will be screened, along with interviews with Grace Coddington, Nicole Kidman, Mads Mikkelsen, Cindy Crawford and Nadja Auermann.
   Guest curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot points out that the exhibition is not chronological, but a narrative about the photographer.
   The Kunsthal Rotterdam noted, ‘Peter Lindbergh introduced a new realism into photography. His timeless images redefine the norms of beauty. Lindbergh’s visual idiom is influenced by the language of film and by playing with the type of the strong, self-willed woman, from the femme fatale to the heroine, but also the female dancer and the actress. His Å“uvre is characterized by portraits that radiate a certain lack of inhibition and physical grace.’
   The exhibition is accompanied by a hardcover monograph, Peter Lindbergh: a Different Vision on Fashion Photography, retailing for €59,99 (link at Amazon.de), US$69·99 (link at Amazon.com) or £44·99 (link at Amazon UK), curated by Loriot, designed by Paprika of Montréal, and published by Taschen. The introduction has been authored by Kunsthal director Emily Ansenk, while the book features an essay on Lindbergh’s work by Loriot with commentaries from, inter alia, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nicole Kidman, Grace Coddington, Cindy Crawford and Anna Wintour.

June 15, 2016

Bugatti, Luisa Via Roma celebrate partnership: Cecilia Capriotti, Grace Chatto, Leonida Ferrarese among VIPs

Lucire staff/12.59




Stefania d’Alessandro

Luisa Via Roma, styled LuisaViaRoma, is a familiar sight to the fashion scene: it’s one of the biggest international concept stores in Firenze and its history goes back to 1930.
   With Bugatti having extended its brand into lifestyle, using founder Ettore Bugatti’s name for its collection, Luisa Via Roma is an ideal partner for the company. The two announced their collaboration at the Bridge of Love installation on the Arno during Pitti Uomo 90 on Tuesday. The Ettore Bugatti Lifestyle Collection will be available from the Luisa Via Roma physical store in Firenze and its website. A classic Bugatti Type 51 racing car from the 1930s was there at the launch.
   Luisa Via Roma will be the first place in Italy which will retail the clothing and accessories’ ranges from the collection, beginning with the autumn–winter 2016–17 collection.
   The launch of the collaboration, entitled Underwater Love, saw VIPs including Bugatti brand manager Massimiliano Ferrari, Paolo Lao, Petite Meller, Grace Chatto of Clean Bandit, Diego Rizzi, Bugatti marketing and communications’ Elke Palmaers, Bugatti creative director Daniele Andretta, Mauro Bucco, Marlen Lissek, Marco Cartasegna, Filippo Cirulli, Federico Oggioni and Luisa Panconesi, Marco Tolentino, Leonida Ferrarese, and Cecilia Capriotti.





















Stefania d’Alessandro

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