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Dr Martens, Suicoke collaborate on sandal capsule collection

Filed by Lucire staff/March 19, 2021/0.33



Dr Martens and Suicoke have collaborated on two sandals, which fuse the former’s Lorsan sandal with of the latter’s mainline silhouettes.
   The capsule collection comprises the Boak (NZ$360) and the Depa (NZ$340), made from Dr Martens’ Black Smooth leather. The sandals feature both companies’ branding, clip buckles on the Boak and Suicoke’s pull-tab on the Depa, and finished with Dr Martens’ heel tab and yellow welt stitching.
   Suicoke said in a press statement, ‘Dr Martens and Suicoke share a mutual understanding and unique approach to design that consistently challenges creative development—utilizing only the highest-quality materials.
   â€˜We don’t design to a specific demographic, but simply to make something special. It shouldn’t be distinguished from us but rather by the consumer. They are the ones with the freedom and right to choose the product if it fits their lifestyle.’
   In New Zealand, Area 51 retails the capsule collection.

 


For SAIC’s goodness: MG launches HS plug-in hybrid SUV

Filed by Jack Yan/March 3, 2021/3.29




MG Motor has announced the plug-in hybrid version of the HS for the Australian and New Zealand markets, in a live-streamed launch on March 2.
   The HS plug-in hybrid is the second electrified MG on sale in the region, after the all-electric ZS crossover, the price leader in the segment. The HS range effectively succeeded the GS, which sold in limited numbers in New Zealand. The platform, perhaps predictably, features MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension at the rear.
   Giles Belcher, sales director for MG Motor Australia and New Zealand, hosted the event from Sydney, joined by CEO for the region Peter Ciao. David Hearty, the project general manager for the HS for Australia and New Zealand, and Danny Lenartic, general manager for EVs for Australia and New Zealand, also took the podium to introduce the new vehicle.
   Ciao said that he could not copy the European approach and import it to Australasia, with the different population densities, tastes and needs.
   â€˜With the PHEV, we knew 90 per cent of the time we are just driving in the city. The electric vehicle engine is perfect for this. You can enjoy perfect driving and performance and low running costs. Then, when you want to explore and venture in this beautiful country, the petrol engine provides an additional range so you never have to worry about a charge station. It really is the best of both worlds,’ he said.
   He stressed that the aim of MG was to provide the best value for its customers, including making electrified vehicles mainstream.
   Hearty said the HS would be the flagship crossover for the range in the region, which probably means that large Roewe models would not don MG badges in this part of the world.
   Showing confidence and how far MG has come since it returned to the New Zealand market with the 6, the HS plug-in hybrid retails in New Zealand for NZ$52,990 (plus on-road costs), in a single Essence AWD trim, backed by an eight-year, 160,000 km battery warranty, and a five-year unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty.
   The HS plug-in hybrid is particularly well equipped in this market, with a panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera, a 12·3-inch digital instrument display complemented by a 10·1-inch HD centre touchscreen, and heated and electrically adjustable leather seats. The MG Pilot driver safety system is standard.
   Externally, the HS has 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, and daytime running lights. The hero colour, called Clipper Blue, is exclusive to the PHEV.
   Claimed range for just the 16·6 kWh lithium-ion electric motor is 52 km (WLTP combined cycle), and an EV-only mode is available. Top speed is 190 km/h, and 100 km/h is reached in 6·9 s. Total output is 284 PS (209 kW) with peak torque at 480 Nm, with fuel consumption at 1·7 â„“/100 km (combined cycle)—a whopping 166 mpg (Imperial)—and carbon dioxide emissions of just 39 g/km. The powertrain means that emissions are reduced from 50 to 70 per cent.
   The estimated 7·2 kW charging time is five hours.
   Parent company SAIC was formally pronounced ‘sake’ by the company officials, rather than referred to by its initials.
   As with Chinese convention, the electrified models were referred to at the press conference as ‘new energy vehicles’.
   Lenartic says SAIC is ‘focusing on accelerating innovative development … areas of electrification, intelligent connectivity, software-defined motoring, knowledge sharing, and continued globalization of its brands.’
   Lenartic says it sold 320,000 new-energy vehicles globally in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 73·4 per cent, the second-fastest growth rate in the world. Twenty-five thousand of those were exported to Europe.
   He also pointed out that SAIC had its own battery production, part of its own supply chain.
   Lenartic refused to say whether plug-in hybrid versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander were in MG’s sights, saying that was something the market would decide.
   â€˜This is only the beginning of the electric dream,’ said Lenartic. ‘Certainly it’s a sign of bigger things to come.’
   The cars arrive in Australian dealerships in March and in New Zealand dealerships in April.—Jack Yan, Publisher









 


Dreaming of Saint-Tropez and Sardegna

Filed by Lucire staff/February 28, 2021/17.30




Above, from top: Airelle’s newly-renovated 103-room Château de la Messardière overlooks San Tropez from a wooded hilltop. The inside swimming pool at the spa. The outside terrace.

Like our faithful readers, Lucire’s luxury travel writers look forward to the imminent relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions as the warm summer months approach. It’s been a long eighteen months of self-isolation, with much time for self-reflection. We’ve asked ourselves what is really important, and reconsidered our priorities. In the future we will travel less, but travel better. Three exceptional new Mediterranean destinations call out to us.
   We’re big fans of La Bastide in Gordes, France, a much beloved five-star from the Airelles collection. We’ve reported previously on Val d’Isère’s Mademoiselle from the same group.
   Airelles has two fresh surprises for us. Château de la Messardière, a majestic five-star palace hotel perched atop a landscaped hill on the outskirts of Saint-Tropez has undergone extensive renovation over the last two years and is due to open for the summer season on July 1, 2021. The hotel reduced its room count to 103 rooms and suites, each with their own private terrace, created two signatures suites, and now includes exceptional dining and wellness options. Down on the shore, Pan Deï Palais, a historic boutique hotel with only ten guest rooms and two suites is also available for exclusive private hire. Decorated in honour of a famous love story between an Indian princess and a French army general, the Pan Deï Palais is more like an intimate and luxurious family home with all the exotic charms of an Indian palace. It’s home to Dolceva restaurant, one of St Tropez’s most sought-after dining spots. A hidden gem away from the crowds, Dolceva celebrates la dolce vita in a typically Mediterranean setting with chef Marco Garfanini reimagining transalpine classics. Both of these premium grade properties sit at the top end of the market in price, comfort, culinary and wellness offerings.
   The always-superlative Baglioni Group reimagines post-pandemic luxury with the brand new Baglioni Resort Sardinia in Puntaldìa, offered under the umbrella of the Leading Hotels of the World. Slated to open on June 1, 2021, the 76-suite property is set on Sardegna’s northeast coast, within the Tavolara marine reserve, near Lu Impostu, one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Includes fabulous views across the crystalline bay, spacious and modern rooms, large pool, sun terrace and a kids’ club. A new gourmet restaurant, Gusto by Claudio Sadler promises outstanding fruits of the sea. The 4 ha. private estate sweeping down to the ocean is a remarkable private address for your return to the comforts of discreet getaway destinations.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor




Above, from top: Airelles’ Pan Deï Palais is a discreet 10-suite palace set within the city limits of St-Tropez. It features Dolceva, a celebrated on-site fine dining gourmet restaurant.


Baglioni’s brand new Baglioni Resort Sardinia in Puntaldìa is set on a 4 ha. site fronting a pristine bay with fabulous views.

 


Where have the fun fashion magazine websites gone?

Filed by Jack Yan/February 6, 2021/21.45


Above: The very first site (alphabetically) linked from our Newsstand pages, Annabelle of Switzerland, complete with large lead image and smaller subsidiary ones.

I took a look at Lucire’s Newsstand reviews tonight. This section is a relic of the early dot-com days that Lucire came from (in the 1990s), when people exchanged links with each other to help with their search engine positioning, and, to make the sections look legitimate, you put your favourite websites in there as well. When it came to Lucire, naturally, we included our competitors as a resource for readers. I have to say that we were pretty choosy.
   Each time I re-examine the list, which is probably every couple of years, I’m removing sites. Many have fallen by the wayside over the last 23 years, and some that we link have content frozen in the mid-2010s. They are still good resources, so they’re staying. They might even be a good read for those countries who are still dealing with COVID-19 cases in a very real, confronting way.
   What I did remove throughout the three pages of reviews, however, were the ratings. We used to rate quite a few of the sites on content and design, because when we first started, there was a huge variety. It was a relatively new medium, so people were still experimenting. They were a guide, nothing too serious—though I still remember one New Yorker getting so upset that, if I recall correctly, he felt he had to retaliate by linking Lucire with a negative review. (The low score came in part from home page art that was only tested on certain monitors, and on higher-res ones, its elements didn’t line up, with ghastly results. Cutting up images and have them reassemble on screen was something we all did back then, to cope with slow download speeds.) I suspect all that did was send his readers intrigued about our supposed terribleness our way, who then would have found his review somewhat childish and unreliable, since we were winning awards for the online edition of Lucire. Other than that humorous blip of small-mindedness—which I suppose underlines how elements of New Yorkish Trumpism was there long before the real estate magnate ran for president—the ratings were an accepted feature of the pages for many years.
   The reason for their removal is, sadly, the lack of creativity in web design these days. I’m not saying we’re breaking new ground ourselves, though what you see here was still designed by someone on our team and not part of a template that comes with a web-page service. And don’t get me wrong on that, either: some of those templates are really, really good.
   But we’ve settled into a certain look being acceptable on the web, including mobile devices (which have limited creativity in publishing). As browsers and computers have become more powerful, publishing packages have made use of more of their capabilities. Also a good thing, because this enables more people to make websites. However, this means there is less need for someone to tinker and create something from scratch, because there are great programs that have more than half the legwork done. Then there are those developing templates for these software packages, bound somewhat by the features that form their foundation. That has led to standardization, because, like it or not, there are certain things you must do to make a site work for the range of devices that will be pointed at it nowadays.
   The ratings, then, become meaningless, if so many of the sites reviewed have a similar design concept: big lead image, smaller ones on the home page pointing to the significant articles, similarly sized text (and, in many cases, pretty big text), etc. With fonts now transmitting with web pages, it’s no longer special for a website to have bespoke typography. And with so many fonts available, many have opted to get creative on their typographic choices—which could give us some basis for separating the great from good, but outside of the design world, this seems to be an unfair criterion on which to judge.
   We could still rate for content, but to get in to the directory, the content had to be reasonably decent to begin with.
   While there’s big type on the web, the trend in print appears to be very small body type, so small that it’s uncomfortable to read. I don’t know what’s driven this, since the physiology of the human eye and what point sizes we find legible and readable hasn’t changed, but needless to say it’s not one that Lucire in print has, or will, follow. Trend-wise, I hope that we might get to a more sensible balance again.


Above: A spread from Rolling Stone, November 2020, showing the small type now seen in print.

   Right now the mobile space is getting all the love, hence this standardization, even though I’ve tired of those devices for some years now. We anticipated that the tide would turn with Facebook and removed all the gadgets sourced from that site before The Observer broke the Cambridge Analytica story. I’ve tired of the privacy intrusions by some of the Big Tech websites, even though I have a Google-free Android phone; and I’ve tired of the tiny keyboards and the utterly inefficient ways of entering words on phones, and that includes voice recognition. Technology is here to serve us, not the other way round.
   Therefore, I’m not sure that pandering to the limitations of the smaller screen is the right thing to do, which I know, given the time people spend on their devices in 2021 could be an unwise decision. But maybe some of us have to take those first steps and say: there are better things to do with your day, and better ways of reading that won’t strain your eyes. Look up from your devices. Enjoy life. Find the medium where your posture’s not compromised. Even if the trend is to fixate you to your phones and strain your eyes there, and then to make life difficult for you in print with tiny type that strains your eyes even more. We want to be humane, take part in making your lives better, and not hooking you for every moment possible.
   Another reason this site doesn’t get as much mobile support as others—a reason to knock our own design score down—is that each time we create a version for handheld devices (at the turn of the century, you could download Lucire news on to PDAs like Newtons), the technology is quickly rendered obsolete: either programs are invented that distil the large images and web page layouts into something that the devices can tackle, or resolutions improve, or browsers come with a text-only mode. Worryingly, the means of having smaller devices being able to deal with traditional web pages haven’t appeared as quickly this time, which may point to a dearth of innovation in the occidental online space in the 21st century.
   That is what you get when the technology space is dominated by giants, as it leads to the suppression of innovation, something that isn’t serving humankind one bit. Standardization hasn’t just happened because we all settle: the clever inventions aren’t getting out there because the barriers to entry are high. Big Tech isn’t just about suppressing speech and getting political: it’s affecting our everyday enjoyment and appreciation of online media. YouTube and others have “exit pages” that hinder us from leaving their sites, in an attempt to keep us from departing and score themselves an extra page view that they can record (if we the people do this, the search engines penalize us). They want to keep us where they can watch us, not the other way round.
   I’d love to see that “old-fashioned” innovation return, with great websites that knock our socks off, getting 10 for content and 10 for design again. I’m sure there are clever people out there bucking the trend, and we’d love to hear from them. With all the sites out there, discovering them is as hard as ever, with search engines like Google potentially getting less reliable as their algorithms feed us content that might hook us more than help us, such as giving us political news that appeals to our own biases rather than help make us better rounded people.
   It’s really down to us to get the word out about great sites, businesses and organizations. I realize that most of us can only do this through the services Big Tech provides. You’re probably on this page because you followed a search engine result or a social media referral. But if we want to break free of them, if we want to see great sites and innovation return, then we each need to do our bit, by freeing ourselves from the dominant players that are holding things back. Get those searches from Duck Duck Go, where they’re less biased. Ask yourself whether it’s that vital to share that Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram photo, or social media comment. And, I say this without irony, let us know in the comments of some of those great online destinations that you think deserve to be linked.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


Jaguar turns continuation efforts to its 1953 Le Mans-winning C-type

Filed by Lucire staff/January 28, 2021/11.49




‘Continuation’ editions are a great money-spinner for car companies with a history: offer a classic based on the original plans, and wait for the well heeled collectors to snap them up. Aston Martin has done it with both the DB4 GT and the James Bond Goldfinger DB5, and Jaguar with the E-type Lightweight.
   Now it’s the turn of the C-type, with eight planned, each to be hand-built. Unlike replicas, these fetch a higher price because of their provenance, being built by the company itself. Jaguar claims the C-types are ‘fully authentic’, with the cars to come from Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry.
   The cars will be equipped to the 1953 Le Mans winner specifications, with disc brakes, and the 3·4-litre inline six with triple Weber carburettors. The cars will not be road-legal, but can be used in historic racing and on the track.
   Jaguar used a period C-type for the basis of its new manufacturing data, and, of course, it had exclusive access to the original engineering drawings and records created by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, competitions’ manager Lofty England, and engineers William Heynes, Bob Knight and Norman Dewis.
   Customers can specify their continuation C-types virtually, too, with an online configurator. These can be shared with the hashtag #70yearsofCtype, with Jaguar planning to feature them on its social media.



Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Top: Jaguar’s works C-type racing team before the start of the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours, including Stirling Moss with no. 17. Moss would finish second overall, with Peter Walker. The no. 18 Jaguar C-type of Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton wins the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours.

 


Hublot releases a limited edition of 50 Big Bang Tourbillion Automatic Orange Sapphire watches

Filed by Lucire staff/January 27, 2021/8.59


The luxury watches in our ‘Year of the ox’ feature aren’t the only new releases for 2021. Hublot shows there’s still plenty of life in the skeleton look, and it’s showing off a new tourbillon movement (which is self-winding) along with a new colour, in its new Big Bang Tourbillion Automatic Orange Sapphire, limited to 50 pieces.
   Hublot has used more sapphire in the movement, with three sapphire bridges (the barrel bridge, an automatic bridge, and a tourbillon barrette). The movement is designed in-house, with a self-winding mechanism designed to last 72 hours, using ceramic ball bearings and other innovations. The orange shade is a first for through-tinted sapphire, using titanium and chromium during manufacture.
   The grey micro-rotor is in 22 ct gold, and is set off by decoration that has been bevelled, sun ray-brushed and sand-blasted, while the skeleton work has been accentuated by sand-blasted platinum. It’s all in line with Hublot’s reputation in creating timepieces with cutting-edge materials, with its own metallurgy and materials’ laboratory.

 


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