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Pininfarina at 90: creating the future with connectivity, data and AI

Filed by Lucire staff/May 15, 2020/11.54

No doubt many of us have been forced into virtual environments with COVID-19, for those lucky enough to have benefited from the technological innovations of the last several decades. And companies like Pininfarina, the design house that has penned some of history’s greatest Ferrari cars, as well as more humble fare from mass-market manufacturers, recognize that the future isn’t just about the hand-crafted work that the company’s founders once knew, but about user experiences.
   As it celebrates its 90th anniversary, the Torino-based firm is offering automotive customers everything from concept and design to user experience through its responsive, multi-sensorial, on-board-experience demonstrator, AutonoMIA.
   Pininfarina envisages that AutonoMIA will help it explore how new technologies—AI, 5G, displays, haptics, sensors, natural interfaces, and, in the future, augmented reality, holographic displays and autonomous driving—can ‘re-enchant’ the driving experience.
   It has collaborated with ART of Umbria, which created the infotainment platform for AutonoMIA, along with the hardware and middleware. The application layer was designed with Siili Auto, a leading Finnish automotive software developer. ARAS supplied the seats and padded parts. The company will build on AutonoMIA with its partner WayRay with its holographic head-up display technology and new applications for autonomous driving, urban mobility and infotainment.
   ‘AutonoMIA shows how Pininfarina may combine experience design with creative technology, reinventing the on-board experience at a time when digitalization, connectivity, data and artificial intelligence are substantially redefining mobility. With its experience-design team and Partners, Pininfarina today helps its customers through mobility experiences which are getting more and more digital,’ said Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of Pininfarina.

 


Jessica Jung named Revlon’s newest ambassador

Filed by Lucire staff/May 1, 2020/2.44



Jessica Jung (정수연), the American-born Korean pop star, actress and fashion designer, has been named as Revlon’s new ambassador, fronting the company’s campaigns in Asia.
   The K-pop star will appear in Revlon’s global campaigns for Super Lustrous and ColorStay, and new lines such as Total Color permanent hair colour.
   Jung’s campaigns break in spring 2020 across all media platforms. The first released photo from Revlon (top) was shot by Mario Sorrenti.
   ‘Revlon has always represented the epitome of glamour for me,’ said Jung in a release. ‘As a young girl growing up in San Francisco, I couldn’t help but be dazzled by the bold imagery of iconic women wearing Revlon make-up! To now be part of these legendary Revlon ambassadors is a thrill and an honour.’
   Those she joins include Gal Gadot, Sofia Carson, Ashley Graham, Adwoa Aboah, and Eniola Abioro.
   ‘We were drawn to Jessica because she is a force of nature, channelling her positive energy and entrepreneurial mindset into achieving her goals and breaking boundaries all along the way,’ said Silvia Galfo, Revlon global brand president. ‘She loves to experiment with beauty and has an unapologetic spirit that helps her transcend convention, perfectly capturing our “Live Boldly” ethos. We’re thrilled to have her as part of the Revlon family.’
   Jung moved to Korea at 11 and was discovered at a South Korean shopping mall with her sister, Krystal. From there she was part of a girl group, Girls’ Generation, which propelled her to fame. She runs her own fashion line, Blanc & Eclare. Jung is multilingual speaking English, Korean and Mandarin.

 


A farewell to God Friended Me

Filed by Jack Yan/April 30, 2020/12.59


Above: Cara Bloom (Violett Beane) and Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) in God Friended Me.

What a pity that CBS’s God Friended Me has ended its run after two seasons. As fans will have read elsewhere, the producers received word that the series would not be renewed as they were making the last episode, during a time when New York was heading into lockdown. Luckily, there was some unused footage shot for the pilot that was always intended to be where the lead character, Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) would wind up, and they brought that forward, used some narration, clips and VFX, and added it to the core story that they already had in the can.
   I became a fan not because I saw any promotion of it here in New Zealand, but in a real round-about way. Violett Beane, who plays Cara Bloom on the show, was pitched to me by her agent many years ago, when she was in The Flash. But it was always tricky to shoot a North American celebrity outside of New York, where a lot of photographers, make-up artists, hairstylists and stylists are based. Some years later, I reached out and was told I was in luck: Violett was now based in New York and everything came together from there.
   Of course, I had to watch the show in order to know what to ask her, and that came in handy later when I interviewed Javicia Leslie, the actress who plays Ali Finer—out of sheer coincidence the two found themselves in consecutive issues of Lucire in New Zealand, though they were over half a dozen issues apart in Lucire KSA. And I must say I was hooked, and also pleasantly surprised that it was renewed for a second season, one that started with location filming in Paris.
   I had high hopes. Obviously the ratings were good enough for a second season, and the producers had enough faith to do some foreign location filming (though I spotted one ‘Paris’ exterior filmed in NYC). Here was a US show with a decent core message—a young man and his friends helping others in need—without a single gun or violent moment, and some compelling storylines.
   The fact an American show I watched was renewed for a second season was a surprise to me, since most that get my attention are cancelled after one. I imagine it’s because my tastes, and the tastes of the fans these shows earn, don’t reflect the majority. Yet go back a few decades, to the 1970s and 1980s, and I was hooked on those series that wound up being massive hits.
   I know US networks watch ratings like hawks these days, and with all the monitoring technology around, they know which shows are doing well out of sheer numbers. And oftentimes, they don’t get a chance when the numbers slip. Overseas sales count for nothing—even if these shows make their money back and even turn a profit, the fact that we foreigners like them doesn’t count for a thing.
   That seems to be the case for God Friended Me: decent enough ratings on telly but an insufficient gain in DVR playback. Viewers in the 18–49 demographic were down 26 per cent and overall the show was down 20 per cent—enough for the axe to swing.
   Sadly, too, it’s cheaper to do unscripted drama, which is what the TV is full of these days. Whenever I channel-surf, there are precious few scripted series—the old saying that there are more channels now with nothing to watch couldn’t be truer. It then becomes all too tempting to put in a DVD from US television’s heyday—Mission: Impossible is my current go-to—and forget terrestrial television altogether.
   Over the years it’s British television that has caught my attention, and I’m happy to watch those dramas. They also have a natural conclusion, either because few episodes were commissioned to begin with, or they are given a chance to wrap up the storylines.
   Of the American shows this side of the millennium, I think of Daybreak with Taye Diggs and Moon Bloodgood; Journeyman with Kevin McKidd and Gretchen Egolf; Flash Forward with Joseph Fiennes; even the US remake of Life on Mars with Jason O’Mara and Harvey Keitel (never mind the ending, I was a fan of the original and wanted more). None of these managed to get past a single season and I keep wondering if they are too high-concept for viewers now accustomed to the fast-food equivalent of television: reality shows.
   The ones I give up on—Lost, for instance, and Manifest, which started around the same time as God Friended Me—seem to go on for a while.
   I didn’t want to see any more Lost when I found out at the beginning of season 2 what was down the hatch. That was the only mystery I wanted solved. And I could see that Manifest wasn’t going to tie up its loose ends any time soon, so at the end of the 16th episode, I bid it adieu. Yet these are high concept, so something must hook viewers with different tastes to me.
   The only 21st-century US series you could say hooked me, at least for a few years, and that has managed to last 10 seasons is the reboot, reimagining, remake or sequel of Hawai‘i Five-O. Officially, the producers say it’s a reimagining but from the first episode that wasn’t very clear. Steve McGarrett Jr (Alex O’Loughlin) has inherited a car from his father, Steve McGarrett Sr, that looks exactly like the one Jack Lord (the original McGarrett) drove in the original series. When Ed Asner guest-starred, there are clips from the original series, and he tells the star that it was his father, McGarrett Sr, who put him away back in the 1970s. So it’s a sequel. But if it was, then how come the younger McGarrett coincidentally has a partner with the same name (‘Danno’) and is joined by another cop with the same name as someone on the force a generation ago (Chin Ho Kelly). I can deal with Kono being played by a woman. Once I couldn’t work it all out, I gave up.
   That aside, Hawai‘i Five-O is the usual cop fare that happens to have incredible locations, and since a lot of US shows are dark (something I just don’t understand—is no one paying the lighting bills?), Hawai‘ian sunshine is a wonderful relief. And it’s not terribly high-concept, either: some minor story arcs here and there but nothing that gets in the way of the crime of the week.
   With hindsight, perhaps God Friended Me strayed from this slightly. There was still the friend suggestion of the week for Miles to help, sure, but season two saw the characters become accustomed to it (‘You know how the God account works’). If the characters themselves recognize the formula in their universe, what’s in it for us? You can have a formula show, yes, but don’t let the characters be aware of the formula themselves. Secondly, for me, the cancer storyline that Javicia’s character faces might cut things too close to home for those of us who have been through a family fight against the condition. For a show that offered some escape, that was a real downer. And when Miles loses interest in discovering who or what is behind the God account, then inevitably we would, too—his progress there was what kept things interesting for me.
   I wish I wasn’t dissecting the second season like this and, instead, looked forward to the show returning after the break. It is, however, disappointing news, and it could again be years until I hear about another US show that I could be interested in. The fact they keep pulling the plug on them makes you want to avoid getting invested. So, anyone know what new series Bharat Nalluri has got his hooks into? I might have to see that.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Instagram round-up, April 24: whatever you do, don’t mention the pandemic

Filed by Lucire staff/April 24, 2020/12.19

There’s a lot happening around this time of year, including the Orthodox Easter, Earth Day, the start of Ramadan, and ANZAC Day, and over the last week, celebrities have been Instagramming in a more positive way, even though the COVID-19 pandemic is very much with us.
   Natalia Vodianova (@natasupernova) showed off her dining table spread to commemorate the Orthodox Easter: the Orthodox Church never went with the Gregorian calendar and stuck with when they thought Easter should be, so there is a discrepancy between the two dates. They may well have a point: after all, can one Pope really declare a new starting-point for January 1? Religion aside, Vodianova had a colourful display to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in her own way.
   American model Kara del Toro (@karajewelll) posed with her vintage Chanel sunglasses, which are arguably in vogue for 2020. Del Toro managed to keep up her high standard of photography on her Instagram—we’re guessing that it pays to have archives! Her most obvious COVID-19-related post was four weeks ago; since then her fans have been able to indulge in escapism through her Instagram account.
   It’s the same with Norwegian-born, Australian-based model and singer Hilde Osland (@hildeee), who gathered up her favourites of her in red, and put them into a single post of nine images. She’s a pro at Instagram: whenever we try to post nine, it crashes! She’s also becoming a pro at TikTok, where some of her content is reposted from.
   Our friend Panos Papadopoulos (@panosofficial) poses with sunnies and a black jacket, with a simple message, and comes close to acknowledging the pandemic: ‘Keep your best mood … the world is changing’, while hashtagging #positivevibes. We’ll gratefully accept!
   We completely admire Samantha Hoopes (@samanthahoopes) for being real and showing off bikini photos taken four months after the birth of her child. She notes, ‘7 months later my skin is still all stretched out! This is a reminder of how fucking awesome our bodies are & our journey into our new bodies is all about Self love & confidence is key! For me it has been a ride from loosing all my weight to figuring out ways to “bounce” back & in all of it I am proud of my new shape, new skin & new body!’ We love her positive attitude and it’s a wonderful message to have in these times.
   No stranger to Instagram, Viki Odintcova (@viki_odintcova) is staying at home in Moskva and playing with make-up, taking a selfie and keeping her message simple.
   Claire Rose Cliteur (@clairerose) poses for a selfie wearing eco-friendly, sustainable fashion brand Pangaia, which has its own material science R&D facility. The label, which was founded last year, may well be the first one that combines this level of research with its own collections.
   Finally, commemorating Earth Day is actress Alexandra Daddario (@alexandradaddario), with a million likes of her image in the forest. The earlier text caption has disappeared in favour of a simple Earth emoji, and maybe that’s all you need.

 


Lego Technic and Ducati re-create Panigale V4 R; Ferrari helps with COVID-19 fight

Filed by Lucire staff/April 18, 2020/13.25




For both adults and children alike, Lego has worked the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati, to re-create the Panigale V4 R in miniature. Part of the Lego Technic range for older children, the model can teach them how the two-speed gearbox activates the V4 engine, and how the suspension and steering work. It is the first Lego Technic motorcycle to include a gearbox that simulates different speeds and riding techniques. The model measures 32 cm in length, 16 cm in height, and 8 cm in width, and comprises 646 pieces. It will be available at Ducati dealerships and its online store, and at Lego stores, both physically and online from June 1, priced at €59.99.




   With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of Salon Privé, which showcases luxury cars, supercars, and a concours d’élégance on the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, have shifted the event back three weeks, to take place from September 23 to 26. Ninety-five per cent of the exhibitor space had already been sold, and the organizers expect there to be numerous product launches for 2020.


Above: Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance 2019 best of show winner: a 1948 Talbot Lago T26 GS Fastback Coupé by Figoni.

   Finally, Ferrari notes that it has begun producing respirator valves and fittings for protective masks at its Maranello plant to help the fight against COVID-19. The valves and fittings are going to Mares and Solid Energy, who are altering their masks to create new ones for patients and front-line health care workers. Nuovamacut Gruppo TeamSystem is handling the logistics.

 


The lockdown continues: celebrity Instagram round-up, April 10

Filed by Lucire staff/April 10, 2020/10.00

As the COVID-19 lockdown continues in many parts of the world, many celebrities and models are keeping their spirits up, especially to their Instagram audiences.
   Winnie Harlow (@winnieharlow) showed photos of her on a New York rooftop with paints in the background, with a positive message: ‘If you can see the light over the horizon keep going’. It’s not too clear if these were taken during lockdown as they are particularly polished, and her captions do not suggest that they’re her present status.
   Clearer was Kaia Gerber (@kaiagerber), who kept things simple at home with a camisole and jeans, and earlier photos suggest she’s been indulging in books.
   Alexina Graham (@alexinagraham) has had immense fun during her self-quarantine in the UK, as she discovered with her sister that she can balance a glass on her head while wine is being poured into it. It’s her new party trick, and there’s a video on her Instagram.
   Lily-Rose Depp (@lilyrose_depp) wasn’t going to forget her little brother’s birthday: Jack Depp turned 18, and Lily-Rose posted strips of old photographs containing the siblings.
   In a sign of our times, actress and Lucire cover alumna Laura Vandervoort (@supervandie) posted a photograph of coloured rocks, each with a message of hope and positivity, saying that she added four to the row on a walk during her lockdown in Toronto.
   Showing that you can’t keep a good model down, Sara Sampaio (@sarasampaio) decided to dress up and put on her make-up for her at-home selfie during lockdown in Los Angeles.
   Meanwhile, Natalie Roser (@natalie_roser) offered a selfie in Rose & Bare nude underwear along with a coupon code for Easter.
   But it’s Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) who takes the prize here for making the most of the situation. She still managed to pose for Vogue Italia while quarantined. The magazine sent her a Chanel look, and she donned the outfit, photographed ‘home on the farm’ by fellow model and friend Leah McCarthy, with whom she’s self-isolating. The image appears in Vogue Italia’s April 2020 issue. •

 


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