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July 23, 2014

News round-up: Dilmah hosts high teas in New Zealand; Trish Peng searches for new face

Lucire staff/22.50

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Dilmah Tea New Zealand

Dilmah Tea hosted a series of high teas around New Zealand, promoting its socially responsible message along with the rising interest in tea mixology.
   Its Wellington stop on Tuesday, hosted by Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando and his son, Dilhan C. Fernando, the company’s chief marketing officer, and in the presence of Her Excellency Zodwa Lallie, South African High Commissioner, was a particular treat, with a menu designed by Dilmah Real High Tea Gold Medallist Laurent Loudeac, executive chef of the Museum Art Hotel.
   Held at the hotel’s famed Hippopotamus restaurant, guests were treated to everything from ora king salmon sashimi—which we would label as our favourite of the afternoon—to lap sang souchong yoghurt panna cotta and a lychee-infused jasmine tea and rosewater caviar, complemented by various Dilmah teas.
   The selection included Dilmah’s Ran Watte Single Region Ceylon tea, its green tea with jasmine flowers, and its rose tea with French vanilla.
   The highlight was the address given my Merrill J. Fernando, after a video looking back through the history of Dilmah and how his famed catchphrase, ‘Do try it,’ was created by a New Zealand agency.
   He spoke of how Dilmah goes beyond the requirements of Fair Trade with its ethically made tea, because those who grow the tea share in the equity. The value-added components of Dilmah are not done by international traders, but by Sri Lankans, and the company constantly puts money back into the community, funding education, health care, cultural and even business activities.
   Some rivals force down the prices that tea farmers can sell at, keeping them poor, while profiting from the value-added components in the marketing and production chain.
   Mr Fernando also stressed that Ceylon tea is the finest, and that Dilmah, to preserve that integrity, does not mix its teas with those from other countries.
   Through a Trade Me auction, the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation is also raising money for a culinary centre in Sri Lanka which will train people living with disabilities or have been disadvantaged, so that they can find employment to support themselves.
   They can be found on Trade Me, with the auctions closing on July 27. Items include Parawa Estate Ingalalla Grand Reserve 2007 wine, valued at over NZ$1,250; an individually numbered caddy of a very rare tea, FBOP 1, from the Dilmah Opapa Estate in Sri Lanka; a night for two at the Langham Hotel in Auckland; and two nights for two at the Museum Art Hotel in Wellington.
   In other New Zealand news, new label Trish Peng is running a Fresh Face modelling competition as part of her New Zealand Fashion Week dĂ©but next month, with the help of L’OrĂ©al Professionnel and Vanity Walk.
   New Zealand women are invited to enter via the Trish Peng Facebook page. Peng and Vanity Walk, a modelling agency, will judge from the uploaded photo and details.
   Entries close August 2. The winner becomes the face of the next Trish Peng campaign, opens Peng’s fashion week show, receives a modelling contract with Vanity Walk, and wins a year’s supply of L’OrĂ©al Professionnel products.—Jack Yan, Publisher, with Lucire staff


Felicity Anderson/Trio Communications



Dilmah

Top Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando with Lucire publisher Jack Yan. Centre Dilmah chief marketing officer Dilhan C. Fernando and South African High Commissioner, HE Zodwa Lallie. Above Museum Art Hotel proprietor Chris Parkin with HE Zodwa Lallie.

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June 10, 2014

Sponsored video: American Express wants your EveryDay moments

Lucire staff/11.37

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American Express’s EveryDay Card is an addition to its traditional range of debit and credit cards. It’s aiming at younger consumers by hiring Shameless Maya, the online personality known for her beauty tips and slices of life on YouTube, who recounts her “everyday moment” of heading out with a friend to do some exercise. She invites visitors to post theirs on the page’s comments. Maya’s YouTube channel has just below 405,000 subscribers at the time of writing, so she has some cut-through with some of today’s consumers.
   American Express’s new cards show a reinvigorated company, prepared to explore every segment. Not that long ago, it was looking as though it would fade into the past, the choice of Cary Grant in Charade and Karl Malden in countless advertisements in the 1970s and 1980s, trading somewhat on the notion of the American traveller abroad. Its Travelers’ Checks, once a must for anyone travelling around the world, were beginning to be replaced by credit cards and multi-currency debit cards.
   But where were the cards that had more acceptable interest rates for younger consumers, or the tie-ins with airlines and other partners?
   Realizing it needed a boost, American Express got to work. EveryDay is the latest example of American Express’s partnerships across the retail spectrum in the US, with reward points gained with over 500 brands, mostly in the homeware and clothing sectors—the latter ideal for Lucire readers. Double points can be earned while shopping at US supermarkets. There is no annual fee—unlike other American Express cards which can take out hundreds each year, if not thousands when specifying some of the top-of-the-tree ones. Finally, there is 20 per cent extra to earn if one uses the American Express EveryDay card 20 or more times per month.
   Shameless Maya’s spot is below in our sponsored video.


Video sponsored by American Express

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Filed under: history, living, New York, TV
June 7, 2014

Destination datelines: Catalina, Paris, Gurgaon, Punta Ala

Lucire staff/13.57

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©1964 Bettmann/Corbis


©1966 Hulton–Deutsch/Corbis

Top The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night, 1964. Above George Harrison marries Pattie Boyd in 1966.

Catalina Island, California
Hard to believe it’s been a half-century since the premiĂšre of A Hard Day’s Night. To commemorate the date, the Catalina Island Museum will mount a special 50th anniversary screening of the legendary movie starring the Beatles on Sunday, July 6 in Avalon’s Casino Theatre at 7 p.m. Lucire loves the vintage dĂ©co interior. On hand to take questions will be author Pattie Boyd (right), who you can surely interrogate about her life and times as wife of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and her best-selling memoir, Wonderful Tonight. Pattie exudes energy and personality, and loves to laugh. Watch for her in a famous scene which takes place on a train: she’s the blonde girl in a school uniform, who flirts with George.


Paris, France
A new website has launched this week which could simplify the task of finding lodging in this capital city: www.myboutiquehotel.paris/fr/. It looks like a pretty cleverly designed and attractive site, listing over 250 boutique hotels. You can select by price, star rating, location, nearby landmarks, areas of interest, but the kicker is the promise of a real live human being person available on the phone to assist you. We’d be interested to learn of anyone’s experiences with this site. Good luck with your launch!

Gurgaon, Haryana, India
While the city, population 20 million, stews under a layer of world-class pollution (mostly the by-product of wood fires), the problem of traffic compounds the subject. Gurgaon excels in congestion, and this week some like-minded technology companies are rolling out Folksvagn, a cheekily-named ride-sharing solution in the Palam Vihar and Sector 22–3 area. It’s also a vote of support for Gurgaon start-ups like our friends at Nagarro, one of a group deploying modern mindsets in the interest of transforming urban mobility with programmes like this. If you’re looking for a sustainable and socially responsible ride to work in Gurgaon, this may be your answer.

Punta Ala, Italy
This week, Baglioni reopens La Vela, a classic architectural monument originally known as a swinging disco in 1965. You can see its signature roofline on the very exclusive beach here. A glorious renovation transforms the space into a 160-seat restaurant and spa. Ideally situated among a cypress grove, with astounding views of the nearby islands Elba, Capraia and Pianosa, the airy infinity terrace promises to be an ideal location for sunset beverages and prime people-watching. GM Luigi Magnani promises ‘a soft club’ experience for evenings.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor


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May 29, 2014

A tribute to Massimo Vignelli, a design legend

Jack Yan/10.14

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RIT

Massimo Vignelli, who passed away on May 27, was a hero of mine. When receiving the news shortly before it hit the media in a big way, from our mutual friend Stanley Moss, this title’s travel editor and CEO of the Medinge Group, I posted immediately on Facebook: ‘It is a sad duty to note the passing of Massimo Vignelli, one of my heroes in graphic design. When I was starting out in the business, Massimo was one of the greats: a proponent of modernism and simple, sharp typography. His influence is apparent in a lot of the work done by our brand consultancy and in our magazines, even in my 2013 mayoral campaign graphics. A lot of his work from half a century ago has stood the test of time. There was only one degree of separation between us, and I regret that we never connected during his lifetime. The passing of a legend.’
   This Facebook status only scratches the surface of my admiration for Vignelli. There have been more comprehensive obits already (Fast Company Design rightly called him ‘one of the greatest 20th century designers’), detailing his work notably for the New York subway map, and—curiously to me—glossing over the effect he had on corporate design, especially in the US.
   Vignelli, and his wife Lella, a designer in her own right and a qualified architect, set up the Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture in Milano in 1960, which had clients including Pirelli and Olivetti. In 1965, they moved to New York and Vignelli co-founded Unimark International (with Ralph Eckerstrom, James Fogelman, Wally Gutches, Larry Klein, and Bob Noorda), where he was design director. It was the world’s largest design and marketing firm till its closure in 1977.
   The 1960s were a great time for Vignelli and his corporate identities. He worked on American Airlines, Ford, Knoll, and J. C. Penney, and the work was strictly modernist, often employing Helvetica as the typeface family. Vignelli was known to have stuck with six families for most his work—Bodoni was another, a type family based around geometry that, on the surface, tied in to his modernist, logical approach. However, there were underlying reasons, including his belief that Helvetica had an ideal ratio between upper- and lowercase letters, with short ascenders and descenders, lending itself to what he considered classic proportions. The 1989 WTC Our Bodoni, created under Vignelli’s direction by Tom Carnase and commissioned by Bert di Pamphilis, adheres to the same proportions.
   Although my own typeface design background means that I could not adhere to six, there is something to be said for employing a logical approach to design. American corporate design went through a “cleaning up” in the 1960s, with a brighter, bolder sensibility. Detractors might accuse it of being stark, the Helveticization of American design making things too standard. Yet through the 1970s the influence remained, and to my young eyes that decade, this was how professional design should look, contrary to the low-budget work plaguing newspapers and books that I saw as I arrived in the occident.
   When the Vignellis left Unimark to set up Vignelli Associates in 1971 (and later Vignelli Designs in 1978), their stamp remained. The MTA launched Vignelli’s subway map the following year, and like the London Underground map by Harry Beck in 1931, it ignored what was above ground in favour of a logical diagram with the stops. Beck was a technical draftsman and the approach must have found favour with Vignelli, just as it did with those creating maps for the Paris MĂ©tropolitain and the Berlin U-bahn.
   New Yorkers didn’t take to the Vignelli map as well as Londoners and Parisians, and it was replaced in 1979 with one that was more geographically accurate to what was above ground.
   In 1973, Vignelli worked on the identity for Bloomingdale’s, and his work endures: the Big Brown Bag is his work, and it continues to be used by the chain today. Cinzano, Lancia and others continue with Vignelli’s designs.
   Ironically, despite a rejection of fashion in favour of timelessness, some of the work is identified with the 1960s and 1970s, notably thanks to the original cut of Helvetica, which has only recently been revived (a more modern cut is commonplace), and which is slightly less popular today. Others, benefiting from more modern layout programs and photography, look current to 2010s eyes, such as Vignelli Associates’ work for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
   The approach taken by Lucire in its print editions has a sense of modernism that has a direct Vignelli influence, including the use of related typeface families since we went to retail print editions in 2004. Our logotype itself, dating from 1997, has the sort of simplicity that I believe Vignelli would have approved of.
   Vignelli was, fortunately, fĂȘted during his lifetime. He received the Compasso d’Oro from ADI twice (1964 and 1998), the AIGA Gold Medal (1983), the Presidential Design Award (1985), the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society of Arts (1996), the National Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper–Hewitt National Museum of Design (2003), among many. He holds honorary doctorates from seven institutions, including the Rochester Institute of Technology (2002). Rochester has a Vignelli Center for Design Studies, whose website adheres to his design principles and where educational programmes espouse his modernist approach. It also houses the Vignellis’ professional archive.
   He is survived by his wife, Lella, who continues to work as CEO of Vignelli Associates and president of Vignelli Designs; their son, Luca, their daughter, Valentina Vignelli Zimmer, and three grandchildren.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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May 18, 2014

Cannes day four: Freida Pinto, Jennifer Lawrence, Eva Longoria, Isabeli Fontana, Natasha Poly

Lucire staff/12.47

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Gisela Schober


Tim P. Whitby


Venturelli

Fashionistas closely followed one of Saturday’s films at the Festival de Cannes: the second bio-pic on the late French fashion design legend Yves Saint Laurent.
   The first, simply titled YSL and directed by Jalil Lespert, was released in January to largely positive reviews, particularly from the former partner of Saint Laurent, Pierre BergĂ©. Critics said it glossed over Saint Laurent’s own genius.
   The second, directed by Bertrand Bonello and entitled Saint Laurent, had mixed reviews. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it superior to YSL, but ‘it is no less forgiving, no less respectful, no less convinced of Saint Laurent’s importance as a popular artist, and really no better at persuading the non-fashionista laity, which I confess includes me.’ Guy Lodge in Variety, who also preferred the Bonello effort, noted, it was ‘considerably more spectacular, but also less practical, with its baroque ornamentation and slip-sliding chronology.’
   It received support from François-Henri Pinault, the owner of the Yves Saint Laurent brand, but not from BergĂ©. Both films claimed “official” status.
   Relatos Salvajes, another film that premiĂšred on Saturday, is a tale of numerous revenge fantasies, produced by Pedro AlmodĂłvar and directed by Damian Szifron, received more even acclaim from critics at the Cannes Film Festival.
   The winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes for best picture is announced on May 24.
   Caught on the red carpet at Saint Laurent and around Cannes were Freida Pinto, Eva Longoria, Isabeli Fontana, Natasha Poly, LĂ©a Seydoux, Aymeline Valade, Grazi Massaferi, TaĂ­s AraĂșjo and LeĂŻla Bekhti. Julianne Moore appeared as part of the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Donald Sutherland; while on the red carpet for The Prophet were Salma Hayek, Jean Paul Gaultier, Tonie Marshall, Francois-Henri Pinault, and Mika. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy were at the premiĂšre of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, while Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green—seen together in 2006’s James Bond reboot Casino Royale—were at The Salvation’s red carpet.
   Also among our videos: Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank give a press conference for The Homesman, Salma Hayek gives an interview for The Prophet, discussing Chime for Change, women’s rights and the recent kidnapping of young girls in Nigeria, and Cate Blanchett presents Chopard trophies to Adele Exarchopoulos and Logan Lerman.

Saint Laurent red carpet

Saint Laurent press conference

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Prophet

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

The Salvation

The Homesman press conference

Salma Hayek

Cate Blanchett presenting Chopard trophies

Red carpet round-up of the day





Andreas Rentz/Getty Images


Tim P. Whitby


Tim P. Whitby



Andreas Rentz/Getty Images




Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Film Français

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May 15, 2014

Nicole Kidman defends Grace of Monaco on day one of Cannes Film Festival 2014

Lucire staff/1.08

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It was never going to be easy to play someone so beloved, and Nicole Kidman has had to face the critics with her performance of HSH Princess Grace as Grace of Monaco opened the Festival de Cannes.
   The film is set in the 1960s, just after Grace Kelly wed HSH Prince Rainier II, when she flirted with returning to Hollywood.
   Grace of Monaco had upset the Grimaldi family earlier. The Royal Family had issued a statement calling the trailer a ‘farce’ and that the film had a ‘totally fictional nature’.
   Kidman says that despite this, she would not have changed her performance if she were to do it again, and defended it at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
   She admits it is a fictionalization with dramatic licence, but notes that ‘the film has no malice toward the family, particularly toward Grace or [Prince] Rainier.
   â€˜I still have respect, and I want [her children] to know the performance was done with love.’
   The Monaco royals did not attend the opening.
   Other than Kidman, whom we spotted yesterday doing her interviews for Grace of Monaco, Nadja Auermann and Yassine Azzouz have been snapped on the red carpet later in the day. Auermann, appropriately, wore items from Montblanc’s Princesse Grace de Monaco collection, namely its Petales de rose necklace, bracelet and bouquet studs.
   Lucire TV has a brief interview clip with Kidman at her Cannes press conference, as well one showing the Cannes jury, which is presided this year by New Zealand director Jane Campion.
   Actresses Carole Bouquet, Leila Hatami and Jeon Do-yeon, actors Willem Dafoe and Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal, and directors Sofia Coppola, Jia Zhangke and Nicolas Winding Refn make up the rest of the jury.
   The Grace of Monaco after-party video is also featured.
   Paris editor Lola Saab is in Cannes presently and will file her diary after the event.

Red-carpet opening

Jury on the red carpet

Nicole Kidman at Grace of Monaco press conference

Jury press conference

Grace of Monaco after-party with Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth



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May 14, 2014

Jaguar to build six Lightweight E-types, perfect re-creations of the 1960s original

Lucire staff/12.43

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Even though Jaguar is riding a high with ultra-modern, forward-looking models such as the XJ and F-type, it has announced that it will produce six more Lightweight E-types, the first time the company has engaged in building re-creations in its nine-decade history.
   Jaguar originally planned to build 18 ‘Special GT E-type cars’ in 1963, but only ever completed 12. The six will be perfect reproductions of the original, built by hand to the exact specifications of the first twelve cars and using up the remaining chassis numbers allocated in 1963. They will feature the 3·8-litre XK-derived straight-six engine, and an all-aluminium body and engine block.
   The first “new” Lightweights will appear later this summer, with established Jaguar collectors prioritized among potential customers.


Above The original Lightweight E-type as it appeared in the 1960s.

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Filed under: design, history, living, London, Lucire
May 2, 2014

Naomi Watts, Nicola Bulgari, Veronica Bulgari—VIPs at Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces in Houston

Lucire staff/1.38

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Michelle Watson/CatchLight Group LLC


Chinh Phan/CatchLight Group LLC

Bulgari opened its 130 Years of Masterpieces exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science with Bulgari vice-chairman Nicola Bulgari, his daughter Veronica Bulgari, and actress Naomi Watts in attendance, along with Wendi Grimes, chair of the Museum, Joel Bartsch, its president and CEO, and Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.
   The exhibition begins May 2 and runs through October 5, 2014.
   The function on Wednesday brought together 220 guests at the Museum, who enjoyed an Italian dinner in a setting evoking the Scalinata della TrinitĂ  dei Monti (the Spanish Steps). Modern pianist Elizaveta (a.k.a. Elly K.) performed live at the venue. Other guests included Lynn Wyatt, Joanne King Herring, Sima Ladjevardian, Greggory Burk, Isabel David, Becca Cason Thrash, Christina Girard, J. J. Watts, Divya Brown, Claire Cormier Thielke, Ashley Menzies, David Grimes, Valerie Sarofim, Annie Amante, Mickey Rosmarin, Alberto Festa, Linda McReynolds, Scotty and Jana Arnoldy, and Monica Hartland Blaisdell.
   The exhibition features c. 150 pieces and is said to be the most substantial Bulgari retrospective featuring the Heritage Collection. Many pieces are from the personal collection of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and others, some which have never been seen publicly before, are on loan from Wyatt, Herring and Girard. Sketches, photographs, archival materials and interactive displays provide context.
   â€˜The exhibit has came to Houston for 130 years of the company because Houston is a mirror of Bulgari values—it’s a bold, powerful, daring entrepreneur city, always forward thinking in exactly what Bulgari stands for in the world of jewellery, so it’s a great match,’ said Babin in a release.
   Naomi Watts wore a stunning one-of-a-kind Serpenti necklace from Bulgari’s high jewellery collection (a sleek double-coil diamond Serpenti in white gold with two pear shaped diamonds [1·04 ct], emeralds [48·67 ct], and pavĂ© diamonds [170·50 ct]), and carried a Bulgari cocktail evening pochette in palm embroidered silver and gold. Wyatt wore an 8 ct white gold necklace (with 29 emerald cut diamonds [57·45 ct] and 567 round brilliant cut diamonds [44·22 ct]), as well as an 18 ct white gold bracelet (12 emerald diamonds [16·95 ct] and 374 round brilliant cut diamonds [23·51 ct]), and an 18 ct white gold diamond bracelet (28·92 ct). Herring wore an 18 ct white gold necklace with sapphires (93·64 ct), peridots (161·85 ct), milky quartzes and round brilliant diamonds (21·29 ct), and matching earrings.


Michelle Watson/CatchLight Group LLC



Chinh Phan/CatchLight Group LLC





Michelle Watson/CatchLight Group LLC



Chinh Phan/CatchLight Group LLC

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