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The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s grandest yet: Romeo & Juliet shoots for the stars with spectacle


NEWS  by Jack Yan/August 16, 2017/12.20


Top photo: Stephen A’Court; above: Ross Brown

Since announcing he would be leaving the Royal New Zealand Ballet as its artistic director in November 2016, it became evident that Romeo & Juliet, the new ballet that had its world première in Wellington tonight, would be Francesco Ventriglia’s love letter to the company. It takes all the talent that the company (and Orchestra Wellington) can muster, dials it up a notch, and Ventriglia injects his own artistry and connections to make this not only a wonderful, classical reinvention of the Shakespearean tragedy, but one that is visually and dramatically authentic.
   It wasn’t a simple matter of staging and choreography: Ventriglia worked with dramaturge Mattia Mario Giorgetti to get the historical and social context of fifteenth-century Verona right; and Academy Award winner James Acheson (Dangerous Liaisons, The Last Emperor, and Restoration) was asked to re-create an authentic Verona with colourful costumes that, in Ventriglia’s words, ‘are as true as possible to the Renaissance as ballet costumes, created in the 21st century, can be’. Jon Buswell (lighting designer), Gillian Whittingham (choreographic assistant), and Frédéric Jahn (guest ballet master) were part of the ‘dream team’, but special mention must be given to fight coordinator Carrie Thiel, whose knowledge of stunt work and swordplay gave Romeo & Juliet an extra edge. There were 13 scene changes and over 90 costumes: Romeo & Juliet was not just the RNZB’s biggest production of 2017, it could well be its grandest over the last several years. It fills its three hours (three acts, two intermissions) with extravagance; lovers of classical ballets will indulge in it.
   Acheson’s work was immediately evident with a bright, summertime Verona set that had more depth and detail than many other productions’; his sets also rotated and moved, easing the audience into each different scene. There was a beauty to these sets as well as a modularity, something that hadn’t been attempted successfully in previous ballets we’ve reviewed. Renaissance-inspired art featured in Juliet’s bedroom and in the church. Acheson is on top of his game, and the costumes and sets lent Romeo & Juliet a world-class flair.
   Opening night saw Joseph Skelton as Romeo and Madeleine Graham as Juliet, a well cast pair: both had caught our eyes in previous ballets. Skelton had an innocent quality as a young man falling in love; Graham gave her Juliet a mix of a childish wonder and determination. Let’s hear it for the boys: Massimo Margaria was on form as Romeo’s friend Mercutio, and his easy Italian charm almost stole the show; while Paul Mathews had a chance to showcase his villainy in Tybalt.
   While ‘villainy’ might be a strong word in some cases (but Sergei Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’ certainly conveyed that in a masked ball scene taking place within the Capulet’s palazzo), it seemed to work here: the swordplay mentioned earlier took audiences from classical ballet to a fight scene in the first act that had the spectacle of Errol Flynn’s 1938 outing as Robin Hood; Ventriglia offered concessions to modernity by "freeze-framing" part of the action while allowing the central characters to continue, with Buswell’s lighting playing along, before gradually speeding it up again—something, we might add, that can only be accomplished with decent ballet dancers.
   Nevertheless, this isn’t a simple tale of good versus evil, but a love story. The pas de deux between Romeo and Juliet at the end of Act I was touching and tender, beginning with Juliet and her nurse preparing for bed in an upstairs room (another clever touch from Acheston), and Romeo performing some remarkable lifts once Juliet joined him.
   The always welcome Sir Jon Trimmer played Friar Laurence, and the church set was another triumph for Acheson with its simplicity and its crucifix (after Giotto) at its centre.
   Juliet’s solos were particularly moving: Graham’s performances in Act III were particular memorable, if tinged with sadness, when Romeo departs her bedroom after their secret wedding night; her contemplation of whether to take the Friar’s potion; and her despair on discovering that he had taken his life after thinking she had taken hers.
   Ventriglia gives a glimpse of the lovers gazing at each other before the final curtain, leaving the ballet on a more positive note, signalling that they are together in the afterlife. Some members of the opening night audience offered ovations to the cast and to Ventriglia, Acheson, Giorgetti and others. As a ballet that began life in October 2016 while Ventriglia was artistic director, it was a fitting valedictory work.

Twenty-two performances have been scheduled from the première on August 16 till September 24, in Wellington (with Orchestra Wellington), Christchurch (with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra), Auckland (with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra), Rotorua, Dunedin (with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra), Invercargill, Palmerston North, and Napier.
   The season is sponsored by Ryman Healthcare. More information can be found at www.rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Anna Cleveland models Paule Ka autumn–winter 2017–18, photographed by Miles Aldridge


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 14, 2017/2.31





Miles Aldridge

Paule Ka has announced that Anna Cleveland will model its autumn–winter 2017–18 collection. The collection, overseen by creative director Alithia Spuri-Zampetti, has been photographed by the famed Miles Aldridge.
   The campaign is an homage to Parisian architecture, with Cleveland appearing suspended in a Haussmannian-era turquoise lounge with gold trim.
   Cleveland’s mother is Pat Cleveland, one of the first black models in the US to achieve prominence, working with some of the top photographers and designers of the 1960s and 1970s.
   Anna Cleveland became a model in her own right, signing with Next Management in the mid-2010s.
   Paule Ka called Spuri-Zampetti and Cleveland ‘kindred spirits’, with the creative director an Italian raised in the US and the model an American raised in Italy. Both now reside in Paris.

Modelled by Anna Cleveland/Next Paris
Photographed and art-directed by Miles Aldridge
Art direction by Grafic Thought Facility, London
Set designed by Vincent Olivieri/the Magnet Agency
Hair by SĂ©bastien Bascle/Calliste
Make-up by Stéphane Marais/Studi57
Behind-the-scenes by Jean Christophe Moine/Ethnomedia

Jaguar launches E-Pace by breaking record—David Gandy, Sienna Miller, Winnie Harlow help promote new model


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 13, 2017/22.46



Nick Dimbleby; Antonio Salgado

Jaguar has announced its platform counterpart to the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque, dubbed the E-Pace. The launch at ExCeL London saw the E-Pace enter the Guinness World Record books with a bang.
   Terry Grant, who holds 21 Guinness World Records’ titles, achieved a barrel roll, leaping 15·3 m and 270 degrees, not unlike the famous scene in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
   Unlike the film, Grant did the stunt with a standard, production-line E-Pace.
   Grant had a 160 m run-up to the ramp and experienced 5·5 g during the roll.
   The stunt required extensive computer programming and CAD modelling.
   Grant now holds the record for the furthest barrel roll in a production vehicle.
   Celebrities such as David Gandy, Vicky McClure, Winnie Harlow, Lady Mary Charteris and Jaime Winstone lent their presence to the E-Pace official launch, Sienna Miller was the VIP at a pre-launch event, while Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra performed the Ibiza Classics at the official premiĂšre at ExCeL. Tong collaborated with Raye to perform ‘You Don’t Know Me’ by Jax Jones at the event.
   Jaguar has been mindful to have the E-Pace take its styling cues from the F-type, rather than the larger F-Pace SUV. First, it signals the car’s sporting intent, despite being based on a front-wheel-drive platform. Secondly, it demonstrates that Jaguar, unlike its chief German rivals, is not wedded to a single “face”: a Jaguar is signalled by its proportions and design more than what the grille up front conveys.
   This technique has been employed before: in the 1950s, Jaguar created its 2·4 saloon (later retrospectively named the Mk I) by using styling cues from its successful XK120 sports’ car.
   Inside, the E-Pace has 4G wifi and a large central touchscreen as standard. The retail price begins at ÂŁ28,500, with orders commencing online now for UK customers.


The Jaguar E-Pace Guinness World Record barrel roll by Lucire












Peter Macdiarmid, Nick Dimbleby, Anthony Cullen









David M. Benett


David Gandy at the Jaguar E-Pace launch by Lucire


Winnie Harlow at Jaguar E-Pace launch by Lucire


Terry Grant on barrel-rolling the Jaguar E-Pace by Lucire


Jaguar design boss Ian Callum on the E-Pace by Lucire

Royal New Zealand Ballet promises an ‘epic’ production with Romeo and Juliet, opening August 16


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 6, 2017/21.15



Ross Brown

The most anticipated ballet of the year in New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet, set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev and choreographed by the company’s outgoing artistic director, Francesco Ventriglia, has its world premiĂšre on August 16 in Wellington. The sets and costumes have been designed by three-time Academy Award-winning designer James Acheson (who won for Dangerous Liaisons, The Last Emperor, and Restoration).
   Other talents behind the full-length, three-act ballet are dramaturge Mario Mattia Giorgetti, choreographic assistant Gillian Whittingham, and guest ballet master FrĂ©dĂ©ric Jahn. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s associate conductor Hamish McKeith will conduct orchestras in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland and Dunedin.
   The company’s biggest production of the year, there will be 13 scene changes and over 90 costumes.
   It is Ventriglia’s second full-length ballet for the RNZB, with work beginning in October 2016. His successor, Patricia Barker, has started as the new artistic director as the reins are handed over, noting, ‘It’s a very exciting time to have joined the RNZB—this production promises to be exquisite while it transports us to the heart of Verona. The energy in the studio is captivating. I have enjoyed getting to know the RNZB dancers and I’m looking forward to seeing them inhabit these iconic characters.’
   Ventriglia said, ‘To create a brand new classical ballet of one of the greatest stories and the most beautiful scores is so invigorating. I’m taking great care to respect Shakespeare and Prokofiev’s great works plus drawing inspiration from Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 multi-Academy Award-winning film. I’m also working with a dream team of collaborators and the very talented artists of the RNZB, who I’d like to thank for their incredible work.
   â€˜James Acheson’s magnificent sets make me feel right at home, like I’m in Verona in the height of an Italian summer. All of the costumes are exquisite. We have been very true to the Renaissance period and I know audiences will also be transported to the time and place where our star-crossed lovers meet.’
   The production promises to be ‘epic’, with 22 performances scheduled from August 16 to September 24 in Wellington (with Orchestra Wellington), Christchurch (with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra), Auckland (with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra), Rotorua, Dunedin (with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra), Invercargill, Palmerston North, and Napier.
   The season is sponsored by Ryman Healthcare. More information can be found at www.rnzb.org.nz.

Bulgari opens new boutique in Frankfurt with royal and celebrity guests


NEWS  by Lucire staff/June 2, 2017/20.31




Simon Hoffman

Bulgari showed off its latest design concept in Frankfurt, and its invited VIPs and celebrities enhanced the evening by wearing the brand’s high jewellery brought from Roma.
   Princess Lilly zu Sayn Wittgenstein-Berleburg, well known in German society circles and an ambassador for the company, wore Bulgari’s high jewellery Serpenti necklace in white and yellow gold with 55 marquise brilliant cut diamonds (10·39 ct), 71 round and pear shaped emeralds (1·77 ct) and pavĂ© diamonds (8·87 ct), a stunning Divas’ Dream high jewellery necklace with matching earrings in pink gold with amethyst beads (13·43 ct), eight pink tourmaline beads (11·72 ct), nine mandarin garnet beads (22·19 ct), round brilliant cut diamonds and pavĂ© set diamonds (5·78 ct), and a magnificent high jewellery necklace in white gold with one emerald bead (3·80 ct), 76 bufftop cut emeralds (3·12 ct) and round brilliant cut and pavĂ© set diamonds (23·36 ct).
   Other VIPs attending the event included Nadja and Cosima Auermann, Lena Gercke, Aylin Tezel and Lars Burmeister; Marzenka performed live, and DJ Julian Smith performed into the night. From Bulgari, Jean-Christophe Babin (CEO), Fabrizio Buonamassa, Lelio Gavazza, Sandra Mohsni and Deniz Imdat played host.
   The new design concept has been conceived by Peter Marino, blending Italian classicism with the local German architecture.














Simon Hoffman; Thomas Lohnes

News in brief: Redken appoints Mana Dave artistic director; PangeaBed’s mattress focuses on ‘sleep fitness’


NEWS  by Lola Cristall/May 31, 2017/0.30

Mana Dave of Auckland, New Zealand salons Blaze and Pony Professional, is now Redken’s artistic director for New Zealand.
   Dave’s role will see him direct the growth of Redken’s New Zealand team, shape the salon creative programme, and offer creative direction for New Zealand Fashion Week shows and seasonal fashion trends.
   He already facilitates classes at Redken Fifth Avenue in New York, and has worked alongside colourist Tracy Cunningham and Redken artistic education director Sam Villa.
   â€˜Within New Zealand I have the vision for our team to be seen by the industry as the lead team for high-impact education and fashion-forward hair trends,’ he said. ‘Our artistic team is working with some of New Zealand’s premier fashion partners like Stolen Girlfriends’ Club, Zambesi, KnĂŒfermann and Huffer on a variety of projects and ultimately I want to see more of them on the international stage showcasing their amazing work.’

PangeaBed is all about quality, creativity and luxury. Bobby Shamsian, president, and co-founder Martin Regueiro, seek to provide customers with stable and highly well constructed pieces intended to deliver both restful nights and elegance to a room. The copper-infused 100 per cent pure Talalay Latex offers a comfortable sleep, directly adapting to the body. Each layered material aims to target a certain element, increasing a peaceful state of mind while decreasing considerable strain and tension brought about from stress. The Latex creates a cooling effect with an antibacterial factor; the cool gel dramatically decreases heat, reducing the tossing and turning throughout the night, the quilted cover is luxuriously lavish for a cozy and snug sleep. The overall concept intends to create a night of ease, relaxation and absolute tranquillity.
   Presented in an elongated box, the mattress easily unravels and inflates to the proper size. The brand stands by its motto, ‘The world at rest.’—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor





Usain Bolt, Chanel Iman, Nina Agdal celebrate Kentucky Derby at G. H. Mumm event in NYC


NEWS  by Lucire staff/May 7, 2017/1.19




Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Storied champagne house G. H. Mumm has again shown off its new, award-winning bottle design for Mumm Grand Cordon, with Olympian Usain Bolt doing the honours in New York during the Kentucky Derby. Other VIPs attending the event were models Chanel Iman and Nina Agdal, and actor–comedian Mario Cantone.
   The new bottle has been designed by Welshman Ross Lovegrove, with the iconic red sash indented into the glass, with no front label. The design has already won gold at the Grand Prix StratĂ©gies du Design.
   Bolt is Mumm’s “CEO”, or Chief Entertainment Officer, a newly coined title as a celebrity spokesman for the brand, and led the celebrations at the launch.
   The party atmosphere even saw Mumm cellar master Didier Mariotti engage in a battle on the turntables with Bolt, when the pair took over from DJ Chelsea Leyland.
   Mumm Grand Cordon celebrates its 140th anniversary this year. Mumm is the Derby’s official champagne partner.


















Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Tailor Skincare launches Your Blend, an innovative, customized two-step moisturizing formula


NEWS  by Jack Yan/May 5, 2017/23.47




Jack Yan

Tailor Skincare, riding high from the award-winning Renew, launched its Your Blend line at Power Yoga Living Studio in Wellington on Friday.
   Founder Sara Quilter, wearing Wilson Trollope and, appropriately for a yoga studio, barefoot, welcomed Tailor staff, clients and supporters—including her parents—and told a confident and heartfelt story on why she created Your Blend.
   Your Blend, described as a ‘personalized multifunctional, morning and night moisturizer’, is a two-step formula, using two extracts as a customized solution for each wearer’s skin and lifestyle. A quick online consultation, which takes into account genetics, environmental factors and skin type generates a recommendation for the two extracts. Your Blend addresses both the skin type (extracts numbered 1–3) and skin concern (4–6), in attractive packaging designed in-house by their communications’ and marketing manager, Stacy Heyman.
   Tailor Skincare recommends adding Renew for best results.
   In a quick post-speech chat to Lucire, Quilter mentioned the inspiration hit her while holidaying in Bali, and she was driven by her belief that everyone should get the best skin care possible.
   The event saw Good Buzz kombucha, Peter Yealands wine, and Soul Organics super juices served to VIPs.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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