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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

January 7, 2017

GBK puts the ‘lounge’ back into its Golden Globe Century Lounge

Elyse Glickman/22.23




Elyse Glickman

For GBK’s last several award show-outings, Gavin Keilly and his troupe went high volume and high production, complete with backdrops at such larger-than-life places as the W Hollywood. The sampling, gifting and revelry went on for days at these things (well, two, to be exact, but you get the idea, based on our coverages from the past). This time, Gavin went back to basics, staging his 2017 Golden Globes pre-party in At the P (a delightfully pared-down and intimate space not far from Paramount Studios, yet far from the maddening crowds of past parties).
   With excess stripped away, guests could give their undivided attention to marquee charities, American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) and Lambda Legal, whose contributions to the world will be especially welcome and needed in the changing (and more challenging) social climate brought on in force during 2016. Lambda Legal is a non-profit US organization whose members, since 1973, have worked tirelessly to attain and protect the civil liberties of gays, lesbians, transgender people and those affected by HIV through impact litigation, public policy work, activism and education. The MDA, Israel’s national emergency medical response agency and Red Cross affiliate, is a global pioneer in mass casualty response, sharing its knowledge with governments throughout the world.
   The comfy, gallery-like space also provided a nice backdrop for some wonderful bites and drinks from 4 Copas Tequila, IXIB DimSum Eats, and SuShe Art. The former put on quite a show, starring female sushi chefs doling out handrolls and cut roll pieces atop leaf-covered models. Napa Technology, meanwhile, demonstrated its Genesis Perfect Pour wine dispensing system that not only dispenses perfect glasses but extends the shelf life of uncorked bottles.
   GBK regulars were there to the delight of guests, including Tweezerman with its men’s grooming sets and metallic travel sets for women; Babar Hair Tools (including the Babar Mini Max cordless and rechargeable flat iron and its new hair-drier release); and the always welcome Artisan Group with their grab bags. Highlights from my surprise bag reflected that small jewellery items are big again. They included delicate semi-precious stone necklaces from Little P’s, Creations by Kristel and CY Designs, and earrings from Fizz Candy. BeezKneez is still buzzing with modern paper products that beg to bring back the art of handwritten notes.
   There was something for the sports fan (NIMA Sports college football helmet speakers), the amorous (virtual “toys” from SenseMax), savvy designer-brand shoppers (TemptBrands.com, offering guests Street Affaires sunglasses); Drew Barrymore followers (super cute Flower sunglasses) and shoe fanatics (guiltysoles.com). However, we really liked the new line of stylish, pet-feeding pieces from OnoFriends.com that mitigate food and water over-spill as well as the EZPZ all-in-one sectioned food dish and placemat for infants and toddlers.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor







Elyse Glickman

December 12, 2016

British glamour meets Moroccan tradition

Lucire staff/13.34



Marrakech, an historic crossroads, always surprises when east meets west, and today the city finds itself in a time of rediscovery. The recent COP convention drew global attention to the issues of climate change, the annual film festival is in full force, and all eyes turn toward the 2017 Biennale which begins next December. The breaking news that British style icon and design legend Jasper Conran has opened his first boutique hotel property here adds gloss to the blossoming Moroccan rose. L’Hôtel Marrakech is small by any standards, only five spacious luxuriously-appointed suites overlooking a courtyard garden, and can be booked in its entirety. Objects of décor selected from Conran’s personal collection artfully counterpoint the whitewashed walls and tile surfaces, garlanded by flowing voile curtains and opulent plantings. A heated lap pool hidden by banana trees nestles next to a classic burbling fountain. There’s a roof terrace with views of the Atlas Mountains, yet a sense of privacy and exclusivity prevails. This property delivers a fusion of rest and comfort, a nostalgic memory of a classic palace. A full-service kitchen is on hand to serve the finest local delicacies or a ‘perfect steak and chips’. Welcome to the medina, Jasper. It’s lovely to see your vision merge with these ancient walls!—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Editor’s note: Jasper Conran is quoted in the upcoming fourth edition of my book, What Is a Brand?, available spring 2017 from Ronzani Editori.











December 7, 2016

Dragonfly launches this season’s must-have cookbook at Mojo St James pop-up venue

Cecilia Xu/18.25



Dragonfly has been a local favourite in Wellington Central since it opened: it’s the perfect bar to chill out at after work on any day of the week, even better on a Friday. It’s the spot to hit in the weekend, whether for fine dining or distinctive cocktails. It boasts a spacious and expansive breadth of contemporary environment in its indoor, bar, and outdoor garden seating. The atmosphere is beautifully constructed and decorated, which is what makes it such a magnetic regular spot for the locals, and a gem for the newcomers. It’s subtle, too, with no brash lighting or signage cluttering up its Courtenay Place location.
   Dragonfly’s mixture of modernity, with rustic Asian influences, romanticism and relaxation matches its cuisine perfectly. This is reflected in the launch of their début cookbook, featuring the restaurant’s name on the cover—Dragonfly—Asian Dining Lounge—but referred to as the Dragonfly Cookbook. After years of successful cuisine perfectionism and experience, the book is a compilation of Dragonfly’s finest recipes, credited on the cover to brother and sister co-owners Brent Wong and Tania Siladi, with copy by Siladi and her daughter Jenna. Aided by a copious number of beautiful photographs and food imagery, by restaurant manager Ginny Maddock, who is a trained photographer, the book draws you to want to either dine at Dragonfly, or begin your own rustic Asian food adventure and exploration.
   The book has been painstakingly art-directed, and lavishly printed in Wellington, New Zealand; and priced at NZ$55. Wong explains that they won’t be making much on the book—and once time is factored in, the price will barely cover the cost. However, they see it as a way to share Dragonfly’s expertise. The Dragonfly Cookbook is available at Moore Wilson’s and online at www.orient-nz.com/dragonflycookbook.
   Due to the recent 7·8 Kaikōura earthquake that also affected Wellington, Dragonfly was one of the many businesses and stores closed for safety reasons. However, nearby Mojo in the St James Theatre just metres away has opened its doors for regular night time pop-up openings of Dragonfly. To see many of their regular customers quick to attend this as well as their book launch event on Tuesday night reflects how well Dragonfly is liked and respected by many in the capital, and perhaps a little change in operating venue may be great for the Christmas season.—Cecilia Xu; with Jack Yan, Publisher


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 28, 2016

Grayton announces first mechanical watch with smart features

Cecilia Xu/23.18


‘Technology evolves but style is timeless’ is a value in which boutique watch designer brand Grayton strongly stand by. This is exactly what the brand has produced, raising the bar in what a classic watch can do with the release of their Origin mechanical watch, available for pre-sale beginning today on Indiegogo, with a commercial release slated for May 2017.
   The unique selling-point of the Origin is its smart strap, which is interchangeable and connected to your smart phone. The Origin is crafted in a brushed 316L stainless steel case with polished accents, with a see-through back cover that gives a glimpse of the watch’s self-winding mechanism. Its power reserve is 41 hours.
   The well hidden, built-in electronics make the strap indistinguishable from the best traditional leather straps. The accompanying app is compatible with both Iphone and Android platforms, and is ideal for receiving notification alerts in the office or recording workout fitness data at the gym, activity tracking, phone notifications, music control and more.—Cecilia Xu

November 23, 2016

Porsche Design Sport by Adidas releases spring–summer 2017 collection, for year-round activity

Lucire staff/3.01


Adidas and Porsche Design, the design company founded by Butzi Porsche, have released their spring–summer 2017 Porsche Design Sport by Adidas collection.
   These sportswear items blend the idea of Adidas’ performance heritage with efficient design. Jacques Chassaing, senior design director for the label, says that wearers are active even during Europe’s cold winter months, and need items that help them stay warm and dry.
   Because customers wear the items not just at the gym, but as part of their everyday travel and commuting, the padded jacket is designed to keep them warm, thanks to PrimaLoft Gold insulation. There is also a vest that can be paired with the wool mix top, and a water-repellant, five-pocket Commuter pant.
   Porsche Design Sport by Adidas also has the UltraBoost trainer collection, again blending Porsche Design’s functional ideas with Adidas’ performance ones. Foam aids comfort, while the leather adds luxury. The Drive Team bag has an EVA-moulded compartment to protect valuables, and ventilated slits allow wet clothing inside to dry out.
   Unifying some of this season’s designs is a subtle hexagonal pattern, intended to give a futuristic look, and features reflective elements for safety, appearing on the Reflective jacket, Reflective Cap II, Seven-Eighth Tight and Endurance 2·0 shoes, and the OT back-pack.
   The colour palette is focused on dark blue and black, though some pieces are in a bright red shade, which is particularly eye-catching and fitting for this season.




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.

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