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October 30, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performs A Christmas Carol, the feel-good ballet of the season

Jack Yan/14.03

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Ross Brown/RNZB

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s final season for 2014, sponsored by Vodafone, sees Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol brought to life. Created for the Northern Ballet, it’s a true crowd-pleaser and the perfect family outing.
   The RNZB‚Äôs Christmas performance has often been a spectacular that audiences of all ages can enjoy, and A Christmas Carol is no exception. The familiar Yuletide tunes and original music by American-born composer Carl Davis, CBE make A Christmas Carol musically accessible. Davis‚Äôs work will be familiar to television and film audiences (he scored The French Lieutenant‚Äôs Woman, the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and, most recently, an episode of the 2012 continuation of Upstairs, Downstairs), and he brings a similar lyrical, orchestral style to the ballet.
   The familiarity of Dickens‚Äô novel also helps: the characters are well known, especially to children, and this version, created for the Northern Ballet, stays close to the original Victorian setting. The humour is distinctly English: the second act‚Äôs dance between Mr and Mrs Fezziwig (played by Rory Fairweather-Neylan and Bront√ę Kelly on opening night) is Carry on in nature, while the Ghost of Christmas Present‚Äôs (MacLean Hopper) tendency to throw glitter made him the least frightening of the trio that visit Ebenezer Scrooge.
   Paul Mathews, in the lead, exuded energy and still yielded surprises despite the well known storyline, but it was the flashback scene with a pas de deux between Young Scrooge (Shane Urton) and Belle Fezziwig (Lucy Green) that was the most touching and graceful in the ballet.
   Belle, knowing the relationship had come to an end, expressed a lifelessness as she moved en pointe away from Young Scrooge, ever focused on finance.
   The loss of love between the two was poignant, and the point at which Scrooge became the miserable character at the beginning of the story. It gave an extra element, almost a humanity, to Scrooge, that was seen in the novel.
   Bob Cratchit, played by Kohei Iwamoto, was perfectly cast.
   Each set was lovingly created, with production design by Lez Brotherston, the backdrops faithful to the emerging industrialization of the Victorian era, and the lighting by Jon Buswell (presumably following the original design by Paul Pyant) was used to eerie effect on two occasions: the emergence of Scrooge‚Äôs business partner‚Äôs ghost (light streamed up in a ghostly form before the dancer playing Marley appeared) and the Ghost of Christmas Past (who appeared to float as he visited Scrooge). Transitions between sets were cleverly handled, particularly Scrooge‚Äôs grave in the last act.
   This is the first performance Lucire attended where the company sings, and young Wilson Jack, as Tiny Tim Cratchit, performs a touching solo of ‚ÄėHow Far Is It to Bethlehem?‚Äô (and never mind that it was composed outside the Victorian era). Nigel Gaynor, conducting Orchestra Wellington, excelled handling this extra dimension.
   It was the final√© that was the most upbeat of any recent Royal New Zealand Ballet season, something that could be seen not just with the lengthy applause but the smiles on the audience‚Äôs faces as members began departing the St James Theatre.
   The Wellington performances began October 30 and run till November 8 inclusive; Dunedin is from November 15 to 16; Christchurch from November 20 to 22. A Christmas Carol then returns to the North Island, in Palmerston North on November 26, Napier on November 29 and 30, Auckland on December 3 to 7, and Takapuna from December 13 to 14. Full details of dates and venues can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet website.
   The late Christopher Gable directed the original production for the Northern Ballet, with choreography by Massimo Moricone; Daniel de Andrade serves as producer. It is the first ballet by the RNZB performed after the appointment of its new artistic director, Francesco Ventriglia, who takes up his new position during the run.‚ÄĒJack Yan, Publisher


Bill Cooper

Above An image from the Northern Ballet’s production of A Christmas Carol.

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October 15, 2014

Out now: Chanel releases new No. 5 campaign with Gis√®le B√ľndchen, directed by Baz Luhrmann

Lucire staff/4.59

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After teasers this week, Chanel has now premi√®red its new No. 5 campaign, The One That I Want, starring supermodel Gis√®le B√ľndchen, and written and directed by Baz Luhrmann. Academy Award winner Catherine Martin oversaw the production design.
   Luhrmann directed the 2004 campaign for Chanel No. 5 with Nicole Kidman.
   In the last 10 years, Luhrmann says that the focus has changed. With the Kidman campaign, he says it was about a woman breaking free, then return to reality. Today, B√ľndchen plays a woman who listens to her heart, free to make her own choices.
   ‚ÄėThe Chanel woman can be with herself on a beach, can be with her child, can have an aspirational and fulfilling work life, and at the same time she can have a true relationship; she can have romance. And in the end, the Chanel woman chooses love,’ says Luhrmann.
   Earlier, the director explained why B√ľndchen was the perfect casting: ‚ÄėShe can be on the beach one moment and incredibly athletic. She has children. She has a very, very significant relationship. And yet, she has a career where she can create aspirational, sensual, incredibly glamorous imagery, and somehow, what‚Äôs most important to her, ‚Ķ is love, to really be fulfilled. And I think that‚Äôs what we try to convey in this little film.‚Äô
   Chanel says the new film, which is 3 minutes 23 seconds‚ÄĒand cut to 30- and 60-second versions, ‘tells the story of a woman who struggles to find space for everything‚ÄĒherself, family, career, and love.’
   The film itself is emblematic of Luhrmann’s earlier work: glamorous, romantic, with mixed historical eras and music playing a huge role.
   Chanel has also released behind-the-scenes videos, including one on the costume design and another on the locations (including Fiji, Montauk, the Queensboro Bridge, and Manhattan), as well as interviews with Luhrmann and B√ľndchen.
   Other Chanel No. 5 campaign directors have included Ridley Scott, Luc Besson, Kathryn Bigelow, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Martin Scorsese.
   The accompanying music is Lo-Fang‚Äôs cover of ‚ÄėYou‚Äôre the One That I Want‚Äô, composed by John Farrar.

The making-of

Baz Luhrmann

Locations

Costume design

Song

The fragrance

Interview with Gis√®le B√ľndchen




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September 29, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet to perform A Christmas Carol for its Ô¨Ānal 2014 season

Lucire staff/13.15

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Ross Brown/RNZB

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will perform A Christmas Carol for its final season in 2014, in a version created for Northern Ballet in the UK. Northern Ballet’s master, Daniel de Andrade, is in New Zealand to stage the production.
   Based on the Charles Dickens story, the ballet is expected to surprise, with large sets, 650 costume elements, 75 characters and music by television composer Carl Davis that incorporates well known Christmas carols.
   De Andrade said in a release, ‘This evocative production has been a hit in the UK for over 20 years and such was its success that the BBC televised the production. The stunning sets and costumes transport audiences to Victorian England where Dickens‚Äô classic characters are beautifully brought to life by talented dancers who not only dance but sing and act. It‚Äôs a narrative masterpiece and you couldn‚Äôt find a truer Christmas ballet.’
   Christopher Gable directed the original Northern Ballet version, with choreography by Massimo Moricone, production design by Lez Brotherston, and original lighting by Paul Pyant.
   Nigel Gaynor conducts the New Zealand performances.
   The ballet opens at the St James Theatre in Wellington on October 30 and tours the country, finishing in Takapuna on December 14. Notably, the company will perform at the newly restored Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch for the first time, on November 20.
   The dates are: Wellington, October 30 and 31, and November 1, 2, 6‚Äď8; Dunedin, November 15 and 16; Christchurch, November 20‚Äď2; Palmerston North, November 26; Napier, November 29 and 30; Auckland, December 3‚Äď7; and Takapuna, December 13 and 14. Full details can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website.

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September 26, 2014

The 2014 Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art awards: Supreme Award goes to Hawkes Bay

Lucire staff/11.00

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World of Wearable Art Awards

Top Kate MacKenzie’s winning Poly Nation, which took top honours at the 26th World of Wearable Art Awards; Show tonight in Wellington. Above Runner-up Gothic Habit, by San Francisco designer Lynne Christiansen.

Hawkes Bay designer Kate MacKenzie is the winner of the 2014 Brancott Estate Supreme WOW award, at the 26th World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show held in Wellington tonight.
   MacKenzie‚Äôs Poly Nation is an inventive design, telling the story of travel and made from leather and cardboard suitcases. The inspiration centred on the idea of ‚ÄėIf suitcases could talk, they would carry stories of travel, culture and integration.‚Äô It tells the story of people drawn to New Zealand with new ideas and beliefs.
   The design has netted MacKenzie NZ$30,000 in prizes.
   She also took out the Air New Zealand South Pacific section.
   MacKenzie had come third, along with Deidre Morgan, last year in the American Express Open section.
   Lynne Christiansen of San Francisco, Calif. took second place. She has entered seven times, and has won awards before, including the 2013 International Americas Award. Christiansen‚Äôs Gothic Habit was made from laser-etched felt and wood, constructed from 2,300 individually cut pieces to form a gothic cathedral. Christiansen also won the Open Section.
   In the individual categories, My Gradational Body by Zhujun Zhu of China won the Avant-Garde section; Fenced off by Luiz Fernando Sereno Penna of New Zealand won the children‚Äôs section.
   The Spark Creative Excellence section, with the Airborne theme this year, was won by Annkathrin Selthofer of Germany with her Waving Gorge design. Sebastian Denize of New Zealand won the Bizarre Bra section with Re-Decked, while Mark Dobson, also of New Zaland, won the Weta Costume and Film section (judged by Weta‚Äôs Sir Richard Taylor) with Sakana No Senshi.
   Emily Valentine Bullock of New Zealand took home the WOW Factor Award with her Sulphur Crested Frockatoo; the Shell Sustainability Award was won by Laura van Staveren of the Netherlands with Appearance. Shell also sponsored the Student Innovation Award, which was won by Tess Tavener Hanks of Australia with Baroque Living Room.
   The first-time entrant award was scooped by Ali Khan and Frida Khan of Qatar with Bling Warrior. Pop Cultural by Nicki van Asch of New Zealand won the New Zealand Design Award.
   The four Wellington International Awards, one being awarded to each geographic region, were won by Back to the Future: Chrome Queen, by Joanna Peacock of the UK, for Europe; Girl in Ribbons, by Julian Hartzog of the USA for the Americas; Odette by Lulan Huang of China for Asia; and Fenghuang (phoenix) by Svenja XX of Australia for Australia and the South Pacific.
   Wellington designers (Ross Hardie, Rachel Hardie, Hannah Goldblatt, Dylan Mulder, Kris Eriksen, Ian Loveridge, Liz Ritchie, Paula Rowan, Rénée Louie and Emily Valentine Bullock) netted the lion‚Äôs share of prizes this year, taking three section awards, four honourable mentions and one special award.
   Founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, designer Vicky Taylor, and sculptor Jeff Thomson judged.
   Lucire fashion editor Sopheak Seng will have further thoughts from the designers as he files his report from awards‚Äô night at WOW.














World of Wearable Art Awards

Above, from top My Gradational Body, by Zhujun Zhu. Fenced off, by Luiz Fernando Sereno. Waving Gorge, by Annkathrin Selthofer. Re-Decked, by Sebastian Denize. Sakana No Senshi, by Mark Dobson. Sulphur Crested Frockatoo, by Emily Valentine Bullock. Baroque Living Room, by Tess Tavener Hanks. Bling Warrior, by Ali Khan and Frida Khan. Pop Cultural, by Nicki van Asch. Back to the Future: Chrome Queen, by Joanna Peacock. Girl in Ribbons, by Julian Hartzog. Odette, by Lulan Huang. Fenghuang, by Svenja XX.

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September 16, 2014

A busy week for Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Lucire staff/12.23

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A Lucire exclusive




Paula Sweet

In a whirlwind week, two extraordinary events occurred in northern Italy, both under the stewardship of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.
   On the night of Wednesday, September 10 at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, a travelling exhibition showcasing the finalists to this year‚Äôs Prix Pictet launched. This year‚Äôs theme, Consumption, introduced by Pictet‚Äôs Stephen Barber at a gala reception, themes the world‚Äôs most prestigious annual photography prize. You can visit this important show at the Fondazione‚Äôs impressive and expansive space, a converted factory, through October 12.
   The following Sunday, September 14, Divine, an installation focusing on highlights from the 20th century costume jewellery collection of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, opened at Ca‚ÄôD‚Äôoro in Venezia. A gathering of local luminaries and international guests witnessed the official launch of the show. Over 400 objects notable for their history and elegance are displayed in the Galleria Georgio Franchetti, remaining on exhibit through January 11, 2015.
   In her exhibition notes, Sandretto Re Rebaudegno says she first developed interest in accessible costume jewellery designs because they represent a cultural heritage that ‘brings us back to hard times and great social change.’ But you will find they are also remarkable for their craftsmanship and inherent beauty.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Via Torino Modane 16
Torino
Telephone 39 011 3797600

Ca d’Oro Galleria Giorgio Franchetti
Cannaregio 3932
Venezia
Tuesday‚ÄďSunday, 8.15 a.m. to 7.15 p.m., Monday, 8.15 p.m.‚Äď2 p.m.








Paula Sweet

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September 5, 2014

Meadowlark shows its ‘anarchist queen’ Dynasty jewellery collection

Lucire staff/20.56

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Meadowlark’s Dynasty collection builds on its previous two, Ritual and Veni Vedi Vici, taking the inspiration from an ancient Russian monarch, traditional Indian bridal adornment and grunge‚Äďluxe supermodel nostalgia, says the company.
   The company had already made headlines for its distinctive, high-impact jewellery with Rihanna modelling its pieces in the September 2014 issue of W.
   There’s more than a nod to the body-piercing √¶sthetic: among the items are headpieces, nose chains, septum and lip rings, stud and hoop earrings, rings and necklaces, all taking strong forms such as spears, thorns and discs, and encrusted with diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
   The earrings are sold individually, allowing for maximum customization.
   ‚ÄėWe took the idea of ‚Äô90s piercing jewellery and put a luxe, grown-up twist on it using silver, gold and diamonds.’ says designer and co-founder Claire Hammon. She says the collection is ‘for the brave,’ suiting what the company calls a ‘modern anarchist queen’ who wishes to defy the status quo.

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September 3, 2014

Sponsored video: La Redoute wants you to convey the language of love

Lucire staff/11.10

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A Lucire special promotion

The French way of life has always seemed more appealing to Britons. Publicis took this tack in introducing us to Nicole and Papa for the Renault Clio over 20 years ago, with sunny imagery and a sense of joie de vivre. It goes beyond ‚Äúthe grass is greener‚ÄĚ, and it‚Äôs that Frenchness that retailer La Redoute has taken for its latest campaign.
   It‚Äôs not sunny scenery this time, but the French language, which, to most Anglophone ears sounds more appealing. Maybe it‚Äôs the way the French have marketed themselves as romantics, and that the ideal language of love is theirs. And with Mr La Redoute (or is Monsieur?), the Francophone character in its latest spot played by Florent Thevenot, things certainly sound smooth.
   Britons are arguably more reserved, partly for cultural reasons and the notion of the ‚Äústiff upper lip‚ÄĚ, and La Redoute believes the French can help us lighten up and express ourselves.
   In fact, we seem to need Valentine‚Äôs Day, birthdays or Christmas to show people we love them‚ÄĒin fact, 22 per cent of people in the UK haven‚Äôt said ‚ÄėI love you‚Äô in over a year, and only 30 per cent say it daily‚ÄĒbut 82 per cent of us wish to hear it. Eighty-three per cent of Brits believe that ‚ÄėI love you‚Äô sounds better in a Continental tongue, with 20 per cent preferring to hear it in French. Fifty-five per cent of women admit they have a penchant for French poetry.
   While the spot won‚Äôt be lost on Francophones, Mr La Redoute tells unsuspecting Brits charming words of endearment‚ÄĒand without spoiling it, let‚Äôs say the participants are not only impressed by the language of love, but he has one more surprise left up his sleeve.
   La Redoute continues to sell French style‚ÄĒits fashion website is number one in fashion and homewares in its home country, and has partnerships with Viktor & Rolf, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jenzo, Paco Robanne, Yves Saint-Laurent, Isabel Marant and others.
   And it wants to encourage readers to get their messages of love out there, too. Share it with the #languageoflove hashtag on Twitter and Facebook, and get some extra tips from Mr La Redoute via the website.


Post sponsored by La Redoute




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Filed under: culture, fashion, London, TV
August 19, 2014

Sponsored video: Wasa uses paid parental leave to sell crisp bread

Lucire staff/10.53

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Wasa‚Äôs blue and yellow logo already indicates its origins‚ÄĒSweden. It‚Äôs a brand that most Swedes already know, as the company has been making kn√§ckebr√∂d, a type of cracker or crisp bread, for decades. The company, founded by K. E. Lundstr√∂m in 1919 in Skellefte√•, might now be under Italian ownership, but it still has its royal warrant, probably helped by Wasa‚Äôs name‚Äôs connection to the 16th-century monarch Gustav I and the Vasa dynasty.
   The new advertising campaign, aimed at the US, doesn‚Äôt look into the name‚Äôs royal origins, but plays on its perceived Swedishness. As multinational food brands go, many of them, now absorbed into bigger players, rely on their national origins for differentiation, and Wasa is no exception. The difference is that Wasa kn√§ckebr√∂d remains very Swedish in its execution and is seen as quintessential.
   But what is Sweden about? It certainly makes a telling contrast to the United States. The advertisement stays away from anything controversial like health care or law enforcement, and touches on Sweden‚Äôs image of an egalitarian democracy.
   Clarissa, the American businesswoman in Sweden for work, attends a yoga class, only to find that her classmates are a group of attractive fathers with their babies.
   Sweden offers 16 months‚Äô paid parental leave or f√∂r√§ldraf√∂rs√§kringen. Ninety per cent of Swedish fathers take the leave. This can be contrasted to New Zealand, which offers 14 weeks, increasing to 18 in 2016, after the policy was introduced by the Alliance in the 2000s. The US, where the ad is targeted, offers none‚ÄĒjoining Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.
   Proclaims one of the Dads in the ad, ‚ÄėThis is Sweden. We have something called pappaledighet. It’s when the daddies stay at home for six months while the moms are working.‚Äô Clarissa breaks the fourth wall, and ponders, ‚ÄėWe sent a man to the moon. What a waste, when we could have sent him to the playground as our Swedish sisters do.‚Äô
   And to seal the deal, perhaps in a very obvious fashion, a baby brings her a box of Wasa crisp bread.
   It‚Äôs an unusual approach to selling a fast-moving consumer good, but it emphasizes that the Swedish national image remains a very healthy one for companies that have a connection to the Nordic nation.


Article sponsored by Wasa

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Filed under: culture, living, society, Sweden
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