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September 1, 2015

Spectacle at the MTV Video Music Awards: Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Kylie Jenner, Chrissy Teigen

Lucire staff/12.49

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While Taylor Swift’s Ashish houndstooth dress at the MTV Video Music Awards came in for some criticism, there were no complaints over her sparkling red number that she donned in her duet with Nicki Minaj, with whom she had a recent Twitter spat.
   Spanish luxury jewellery brand Carrera y Carrera notes that the ever-popular singer wore its CĂ­rculos de Fuego ring in yellow gold to complement the dress.
   While it was clear that there were no hard feelings between Swift and Minaj, which stemmed from Swift mistakenly taking exception to something Minaj said, the spectacle that the VMAs have become meant that the rapper wasn’t afraid to court controversy with her original target, Miley Cyrus, who hosted the event. A bit of verbal sparring took place on-stage as Minaj accepted her award for her video for ‘Anaconda’.
   Our video features clips from the VMAs, where the names of today shone on the red carpet: Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Britney Spears, Chrissy Teigen, Demi Lovato, FKA Twigs, Gigi Hadid, John Legend, Karlie Kloss, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Pharrell Williams, Rebel Wilson, Rita Ora, Selena Gomez, the Weeknd, Tyga, Vanessa Hudgens, Wiz Khalifa and others.

August 26, 2015

Rafael Nadal launches new Tommy Hilfiger collections, with Chanel Iman, Lake Bell, Constance Jablonski, Hannah Davis

Lucire staff/10.36

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Tennis star Rafael Nadal is the new spokesman for Tommy Hilfiger underwear, as well as a Tailored collection and the TH Bold fragrance. The announcement, with a reveal of the fall 2015 advertising campaign featuring Nadal and shot in his home town of Mallorca, was made at Bryant Park on Tuesday, August 25.
   Joining Nadal and Tommy and Dee Hilfiger were Jane Lynch (Glee), Lake Bell (First Day of Camp), Nat Wolff (Paper Towns), Martha Stewart, Chanel Iman, Constance Jablonski, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2015 cover girl Hannah Davis, Noah Mills, Arthur Kulkov, Akin Akman, Mary Alice Stephenson, bloggers Bryanboy, Danielle Bernstein and Sazan Barzani, and Tommy Hilfiger CEO Daniel Greider.
   Some of the celebrities present, including Iman, Jablonski, Davis, Mills, Kulkov and Akman, engaged Nadal in a pop-up tennis tournament at Bryant Park. As each team scored a point in the competition, their opponents had to remove a piece of clothing, eventually revealing the Tommy Hilfiger’s men’s and women’s underwear designs. Lynch and Bell played hosts from the umpires’ seat. Nadal, the 14-time Grand Slam winner, won in three consecutive games.
   Barzani ran a live Periscope feed from the event, while comedian Nate Dern, collaborating with Funny or Die, will reveal a series of videos that take a different perspective of the red carpet Q&As.
   The new underwear designs feature new fits, fabrics and deetails. A new four-way stretch technology and premium fabrics promise comfort and durability, according to the company. The Tailored collection features what it calls ‘sharp silhouettes, modern tailoring and rich textures.’ The TH Bold fragrance for men is described as suiting a wearer who has ‘a competitive nature and effortless self-confidence.’
   â€˜Since I first established my brand 30 years ago, we’ve always brought a unique twist to our designs and our advertising. Today’s event continues our tradition of bold, surprising campaigns and iconic ambassadors that celebrate our brand spirit and resonate with our consumers globally,’ said Hilfiger.
   â€˜I love how this event brings together fashion and sport with Tommy’s signature twist—it was the perfect way to kick-off my partnership with Tommy Hilfiger,’ said Nadal.
   The hashtag for the event is #tommyxnadal.












Will Ragozzino/BFA.com










August 20, 2015

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: where talent surpasses itself

Jack Yan/16.19

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Stephen A’Court

Top Dancers Tonia Looker and MacLean Hopper in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Above Tonia Looker and Harry Skinner.

If you ever wish to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet when everyone has reached beyond what you knew was their peak, then A Midsummer Night’s Dream presents that very opportunity: a ballet where the quality is jaw-droppingly magnificent, where choreographer, designer, lighting designer, and musical director have surpassed themselves, and where the dancers have revelled in bringing a production to life.
   In tonight’s (August 20) world première, Tracy Grant Lord’s designs are the first thing you notice, a galactic image of the night sky projected on to the curtain before the action is revealed, then a set that can only be described as her best work reviewed by Lucire to date. Set in a fairy dell in the wood, Lord’s imagination takes us into a world of cabanas and fungi, with electric blue shades offsetting the dark, night sky. It is the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s largest set, complete with bridges, multiple staircases, even a pole from which Puck slides down. Lord notes that her design ‘includes particular structural, decorative and technical elements that exist only for this production, and have all been developed and manufactured in the company workshops.’ This is a unique interpretation, a master-class in ballet set design, all the more impressive when one considers that Lord had a budget to work to. She envelopes us with her world even before the dancers take their first step.
   Kendall Smith’s lighting design comes into its own with Lord’s set, keeping the cabanas’ interiors dark when unused and lighting them subtly when dancers appear. His moon, in Act II, appears as a round, fluorescent ring, emerging from behind the mesh. With Lord employing a single set for the entire ballet, Smith’s lighting gave the production a sense of variety and change throughout. We noted earlier that Smith employed 4,000 LEDs and 2,000 m of fibreoptic cable, and we can certainly say they were put to excellent use. Smith, whose rĂŠsumĂŠ includes lighting for Andrea Boccelli and Luciano Pavarotti, and some of the most respected companies in the US, was flown out with the support of the US Embassy, giving another world-class aspect to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
   Lord also stretched her imagination with the costumes, giving the initial illusion that the fairies were petite; it was only when Oberon and Titania appeared that you began realizing their true scale. Oberon’s and Puck’s costumes had a more cinematic, modern bent than seen in other interpretations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the former having a plunging neckline and a science-fiction feel to it. The fairies’ wings and headgear had metallic detailing, again taking us beyond the typical dell and going past the usual, traditional elements that earlier productions tend to rely on.
   Rising star Liam Scarlett did not disappoint, either, with choreography that expresses a witty yet respectful take on the Shakespeare play. Whether it was transforming Bottom into a donkey, and his subsequent comical pas de deux with Titania, having Puck swing down Ă  la the cinematic Tarzan to commence his antics in the second act, or the strongly romantic pas de deux between Oberon and Titania, Scarlett’s interpretation brought the Mendelssohn score to life, matching movement masterfully to music.
   The music, too, saw RNZB musical director Nigel Gaynor go further than he typically has. Mendelssohn’s score was insufficient for a full-length ballet. Gaynor and Scarlett collaborated, choosing additional Mendelssohn pieces to give the characters greater depth and the story more completeness. Various opuses have been added along with incidental music, and Mendelssohn fans will recognize them and marvel at just how well they have been incorporated, not least how fittingly the choreography has been applied. It’s this characterization which marks out Scarlett’s work. The interactions between the characters—Oberon and Puck, Titania and Bottom, Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius, and the comical pursuit by both Lysander and Demetrius toward Helena—gives the RNZB’s production exceptional entertainment value. Like its The Nutcracker of 2010, the dance techniques are rich enough for the adult ballet-goer to appreciate, while the structure and comical elements give children plenty to enjoy.
   Adding incidental music from Mendelssohn is not new—Balanchine did the same in his version—but the level of dedication is apparent.
   And all this before commenting on the dancing itself, which was exquisite.
   MacLean Hopper had the commanding nature of Oberon on opening night. Tonia Looker’s Titania had a beauty and elegance that never diminished even when dancing with a donkey, thanks to her control. However, Kohei Iwamoto arguably stole the show as Puck, with an irreverence that the audience loved. Harry Skinner’s Bottom may have had a relatively minor role but his transformation, complete with tail, ensured he was remembered. Lori Gilchrist (Hermia), Joseph Skelton (Lysander), Abigail Boyle (Helena) and Demetrius (Paul Mathews) contrasted each other’s emotions through simple movements; when both men are entranced by Helena, Boyle’s movements conveyed her shock at the energetic pursuit—accompanied by an equally energetic rejection of Hermia. Scarlett was never too clever for his own good: he kept to the story and the score, and delivered through the characters in subtle ways, a sign of a choreographer who works in close collaboration with his dancers.
   It was a privilege to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wellington as a world première; after its New Zealand tour (which runs till September 20), it will next be performed by the Queensland Ballet, with whom the RNZB co-produced, in 2016.
   The Vodafone season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs through August 23 in Wellington; Christchurch sees the ballet from August 27 to 29; it opens in Auckland on September 2, running to September 6. It reaches Rotorua for a single performance on September 10, Palmerston North on September 16, and Napier on September 19 and 20. Full details can be found at www.rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher



Top Promotional image for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Above Forget retro: the sketch for Oberon’s costume.

August 18, 2015

Fan Phenomena: James Bond gives 007 fans more; while Sugoi invites you to the world of Bill Murray

Jack Yan/12.09

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In the year of a new James Bond movie, many books emerge. Invariably, there’ll be one on the films themselves, taking readers through the 50-plus years of the Eon Productions’ series, and, if it’s very comprehensive, the 1950s CBS TV version of Casino Royale, the 1967 spoof of the same name, and Never Say Never Again will rate more than a mention. There’ll be something about Ian Fleming, and another book on one aspect of the Bond world (gadgets, stunts, music, or something else). Seasoned Bond fans will think the circus is in town again, because the new book about the films adds little to their existing knowledge.
   Claire Hines’s Fan Phenomena: James Bond, from Intellect Books (ÂŁ15¡50, US$22, releasing November 15), is something different altogether: Bond from an academic and completely cultural viewpoint. Intellect is famous for its titles on popular culture and creative practice, with a rigorous academic bent, and Fan Phenomena: James Bond continues the series but takes the reader into the world of Ian Fleming’s super-spy.
   Hines serves as editor, and there are 11 very distinct contributions to her volume, dealing with everything from canonicity to 007’s appearance as ‘Ladykiller Jimmy’ in Alan Moore’s comics; Bond as a cult brand and cultural phenomenon to the clothes he wears; from the James Bond films through a feminist viewpoint to analyses of his masculinity and identity. Interspersed between these are four ‘Fan Appreciation’ sections, featuring an interview with Ăźber-fan and former Bond novel continuation author Raymond Benson, artist and collector Peter Lorenz, 007 Museum owner James Bond (who had his name legally changed by deed poll) and cross-players CousinCecily and Winter.
   Even the most seasoned Bond fan might not have considered the impact of the character, books and films, and the book fulfils a very important role: it gives them something new. William Proctor’s analysis of continuity gets the book off to a healthy start after Hines’s introduction, though typographically it suffers: the type is inexplicably small, though the layout is modern and the visuals help lift things. Getting Raymond Benson in there early on also helps position Fan Phenomena: James Bond as a book for the cognoscenti as well as those who want an academic examination, and Benson reveals a little more behind the scenes of his years as the official continuation author.
   Matthew Freeman, in considering the many media in which Bond occupies, including the gaming world, shows just how the phenomenon breaks the established rules and succeeds, while JesĂşs JimĂŠnez-Varea and Antonio Pineda’s chapter on Moore’s comics is bound to take many fans into uncharted territory. Joshua Wille’s chapter on fan edits does the same: while many know about ABC-TV’s cutting of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service when it aired on US TV, but there are numerous fan edits made in the digital era that had this author hunting the forums.
   Artist Peter Lorenz’s Bond film posters are stunning and present a nice visual break before Lucy Bolton’s chapter analysing the phenomenology of Bond. Bolton’s piece is perhaps closest to those Bond “collectable” books that come out with the films as she analysed the films from Dr No to Skyfall, and fans may have their own interpretations of their cultural significance through the years. Editor Hines’s own chapter looks at Bond as cult brand, and is fascinating in her study of the 1960s Eon films. Hines reconciles how cult and mainstream come together with the Bond series, successfully. Lisa Funnell gives Bond a feminist slant and the enjoyment she derives as an assistant professor teaching women’s studies.
   Stephanie Jones looks at the Bond lifestyle but primarily through the analysis of one work, The Complete James Bond Lifestyle Seminar, which she reveals is relatively light on Bond references, leading to a less satisfying chapter—though it could hardly be blamed on Jones. Llewella Burton’s chapter on Bond and fashion, and how it became a style through the rise of merchandising as the movies became blockbusters with Goldfinger is punctuated by photos from Galeries Lafayette as it opened a James Bond boutique in 1965, again gold dust for Bond fans. Karen Brooks’s and Lisa Hill’s chapter analyses the new and old masculinities through the three Daniel Craig films of 2006, 2008 and 2012.
   Crossplayers CousinCecily and Winter talk about their love of James Bond and Q, leading neatly on the final chapter by Elizabeth J. Nielsen, which deals with Bond’s homoerotic moments and subtexts. She traces them to Fleming himself in the torture scene in Casino Royale, before covering the flirting between Bond and the new Q in Skyfall, which itself has a phenomenon, attracting both women and the LGBTQ community.
   This is a volume for the intelligent Bond fan, someone who appreciates learning about the impact of Ian Fleming’s creation. Of course the films are covered more, as it was through them that Bond became a global phenomenon. The reader walks away having been better informed: this is not a Bond book for the light reader who wants reassurance of the facts they already know, but one which gives them something more satisfying to consider.




Top A scene from What About Bob?, by Jon Boam. Centre Lost in Translation, by Grace Danico. Above Lost in Translation, by Henry Kaye.

On a briefer note, but still tied with film, Sugoi Books has released an A5 book called Cook Your Own Food: a Bill Murray Scratch and Sniff, retailing at £6. There are 20 pp., with 10 smells, with some stunning illustrations, with artists reinterpreting key moments from Murray’s films, focusing on his culinary habits. ‘Scratch the smelly pads at the top right and enter the world of Bill Murray,’ the publisher asks, and you are spoiled with scenes from Lost in Translation, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, What About Bob?, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and others. For £6, the illustrations are so good it doesn’t even matter if you have a poor sense of smell.—Jack Yan, Publisher

August 15, 2015

Jennifer LĂłpez and her collection headline Endless Jewelry’s entry into New Zealand

Lucire staff/0.39

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Michael Becker/Fox


Jennifer LĂłpez has collaborated with Endless Jewelry, and fronts the campaign for the Danish jewellery brand as it launches into New Zealand this month.
   The actress and singer has created her own range of charms and bracelets, to be sold in New Zealand under the Jennifer LĂłpez Collection.
   She had worn items from the range during the most recent season of American Idol.
   The Endless range features a wide selection of leather bracelets in single, double and triple wraps, and over 600 charms in silver-, rose gold- and gold-plated finishes. Customers will be able to express their own unique style, with charms retailing from NZ$40. New charms and bracelet colours are released regularly.
   Endless is now available in 24 markets and 3,500 stores worldwide. New Zealand stockists can be found by calling 64 9 294-8692.





August 9, 2015

Footnote New Zealand Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary this August with première and events

Lucire staff/14.02

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Above Footnote at its home at 125 Cuba Street.

Footnote New Zealand Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and on August 28–9, it will première 30Forward at the Wellington Opera House to mark the anniversary.
   The première will take place in Wellington, before heading to the Christchurch Arts Festival, Auckland’s Tempo Dance Festival, then to Gisborne, the Kokomai Creative Festival in Carterton, and the Tauranga Arts Festival.
   The production features highlights from past works, as curated by founding director Deirdre Tarrant, and a new commission from choreographer Malia Johnston.
   Footnote will begin its celebrations on August 21 with The Art of Footnote, at a venue on Cuba Street to be announced during August. This exhibition shows posters, programmes and concept designs from Footnote over the last three decades, and runs till August 30.
   A Pecha Kucha event at the Wellington City Gallery, focusing on the culture of movement (covering dance, music, visual art and performance) takes place on August 27. The Tarrant Dance Studios at 125 Cuba Street, Wellington welcomes visitors on August 29 to an open house, while the August 29 performance of 30Forward will be followed by a function.
   The Christchurch dates are August 31–September 1; Auckland on October 15 and 17; Gisborne on October 21; Carterton on October 24; and Tauranga on October 30.
   Tickets are on sale now—visit footnote.org.nz for ticketing information.


Above Rehearsing in 2012.

July 31, 2015

News in brief: Manfred Baumann shows in NYC in ’16; Derma Rescue’s new look; Carrera y Carrera celebrates 130 years

Lucire staff/14.55

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Manfred Baumann

International photographer Manfred Baumann (left) will have an exhibition of his celebrity portraits in New York in 2016, featuring Kristanna Loken, David Hasselhoff and his daughter Hayley, John Carpenter, Mark Hamill, Alison Eastwood, Evander Holyfield, Jorja Fox, Fran Drescher, Molly Parker, JoBeth Williams, Harry Hamlin, Trevor Donovan, Carlos Bernard and Annie Wersching.
   He will also release a “best of” book covering the last few years of his work at the exhibition.
   Kinderma has announced that Derma Rescue, its high-end, luxurious skin moisturizer, has a new look.
   Derma Rescue has a higher concentration and quality of ceramides and antioxidants than competing products, according to Kinderma. It has been helping those suffering from eczema and psoriasis, and a trial with the National Psoriasis Foundation has shown ‘significant results.’
   Finally, Spanish luxury jewellery brand Carrera y Carrera commemorates its 130th anniversary this year. It has launched a book, downloadable as a PDF, as well as a video (below), covering its history.


Carrera y Carrera history from Carrera y Carrera on Vimeo












Manfred Baumann

July 29, 2015

Classic & Sports Car London Show gets an iconic poster by artist Tim Layzell

Lucire staff/13.55

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Motoring artist Tim Layzell was commissioned to create an artwork for Classic & Sports Car magazine’s inaugural London Show, featuring a Jaguar E-type, Bentley Speed Six and McLaren F1 at Alexandra Palace.
   The iconic sports cars are among those in a public poll for the magazine, where readers are invited to name the ‘Best British Car Ever’. Other cars in the running include the Mini Cooper S, the Range Rover, and Jaguar XKSS. The winner will be revealed at the Show at Alexandra Palace, from October 30 to November 1.
   The Show will also feature over 300 classic cars from world-famous collectors and retailers.
   â€˜It’s a real honour to be asked to produce a one-off piece for this amazing new event,’ said Layzell. ‘With such an incredible line-up of icons on the shortlist for the Best British Car Ever and such a stunning location as Alexandra Palace, this commission has been a motoring artist’s dream. I’m so looking forward to the event; with the experts from Classic & Sports Car behind it, it’s going to be a must-attend show.’
   Layzell’s image will be used on all marketing and promotional material for the event.
   Tickets are available from www.classicandsportscarshow.com.

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