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Greed a topical comedy about fast fashion and the practices that support it

Filed by Jack Yan/June 28, 2020/12.01

Greed, the new Steve Coogan comedy directed by Michael Winterbottom (The Trip), is a satirical tale about a thinly disguised version of Sir Philip Green, the head of Arcadia Group, who stood accused by various British government committees of plundering British Home Stores while it was under his company’s control. The phrase levelled at Sir Philip, ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’, once dealt to Tiny Rowland, is used here at Coogan’s Sir Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie, just in case you weren’t sure whom they were parodying.
   Lucire attended one viewing at a packed cinema, where moviegoers were turned away as it proved to be far more popular than anticipated.
   Given the cast—Coogan, Isla Fisher, and David Mitchell—it would be wrong to expect much more than a comedy, and on this count, it delivers, with more topical panache than most films of the genre.
   Up for criticism by the film are fast fashion—McCreadie spends his adult life pushing suppliers in Sri Lanka (the Indian locations are unconvincing) into a race to the bottom—as well as the shallow “unreality” of reality TV, or, as the trade calls it, unscripted drama. Included in the mix are the corrupt practices of modern business and their legal loopholes, and tax havens such as Monaco, where McCreadie’s ex-wife, Samantha, played by Fisher, is resident. Through all of this is the device of the officious bystander, Sir Richard’s biographer, Nick, played by Mitchell, who gets to interview certain parties, which Winterbottom shoots in documentary style.
   Sir Richard’s 60th birthday bash on Mykonos obviously references Sir Philip’s £5 million 50th on Crete in 2002, right down to the togas, and this is where things take a turn that not even Sir Philip’s enemies would wish on the milliardaire. Asa Butterfield, as the McCreadys’ younger son, and Dinita Gohil, as Amanda, a Sri Lankan-born Brit working for McCready, give the film more depth at the points where it’s needed, showing that the farce in which the ultra-rich live have real victims, inside and outside of the immediate family. Whovians will spot Pearl Mackie as Cathy, the director of the reality show in which daughter Lily McCready, played by Sophie Cookson, stars, trying the Method whilst playing herself.
   There’s a sense from earlier reviews—inevitable that we would have seen them given New Zealand’s later release—that the film doesn’t know what genre it is, whether it’s comedy, drama or documentary, an assessment with which we disagree. While the film puts a new spin on the term ‘eat the rich’, the last act wraps up the entirety of the film neatly: namely that for all the lessons that we might have learned, the fictional McGready family ticks on, with little changed. No, the outcome isn’t funny, but it is a call to action—it’s Winterbottom exercising pathos. Showing statistics about fast fashion, the income gap, and the single-digit earnings of Asian garment workers takes that one step further. Are we choosing to fund these lifestyles and the fast-fashion machine, or should we opt for the sort of designers often championed by this magazine, who work with Fair Trade, eschew seasons, and emphasize quality?
   And sometimes it takes a film that is largely entertainment to make us realize just what has been going on. The message could well be lost if this were an out-and-out documentary, which would have had a limited audience; better to have us question our consumerist habits—you know, the ones we still observed as we lavished Amazon with US$11,000 per second as the COVID-19 pandemic panic began—in the form of entertainment, ensuring a wider reach. It’s not the first to do this, and it won’t be the last—it’s a long tradition that includes The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and South Park on television and, more recently, the oddly slow-moving Brexit with Benedict Cumberbatch, and the German feature Curveball. There’s nothing more appealing in the grey depths of winter, with overseas travel not available to us, than sunny, colourful Greek locales. And when you can travel again, pack those labels with a more ethical background.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Oberoi One: a new loyalty programme

Filed by Lucire staff/March 6, 2020/13.10


Word reaches us that the Oberoi chain is about to announce a long-overdue top-tier loyalty programme, something that’s been absent in the brand while competitors have refined the art over recent years.
   Following our stay at Oberoi’s Wildflower Hall property in Shimla last year, we acquired a rosy glow for the brand. The remarkable level of service and attention impressed us—every detail of our stay was picture-perfect. This under a wave of adverse conditions, not the least of which was a freak snowstorm that closed the mountaintop. We could go on at length about the beautiful repair of the property, its situation atop the venerable hill station, the high professionalism of staff, the richness of the welcome, and the component of over-the-top attention. Exceptionalism at every aspect. While our experience with Oberoi has been routinely excellent, the Shimla property put our opinion into the stratosphere.
   We are looking forward to learning more about Oberoi One, the brand’s guest recognition programme, which promises a spate of exclusive personalized benefits and privileges. While member-only rates on the website, happy hours at the bar, complimentary stays and upgrades sound alluring and in keeping with competitor brands, the advantage of flexible check-in and check-out timings has an enlightened aspect that can only sweeten the otherwise long-awaited offering for the frequent traveller.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

 


Retail: travel ed. Stanley Moss launches merchandising site; Net-à-Porter adds Chinese designers to Tmall

Filed by Lucire staff/January 22, 2020/12.50

Lucire’s travel editor Stanley Moss has some great items now for sale through his merchandising site. At diganzi.wixsite.com/espacediganzi, you can choose from his books—including The Crimson Garter and Fate and the Pearls, which were both serialized in Lucire, as well as The Hacker (which will appear in serial form in this publication), Hitman in Delhi, Nuclear Brands and What Is a Brand?. They’re all there, at a single place. Or order mugs, T-shirts, tote bags and pillows with Stanley’s own designs under ‘Printable Objects’ (we’d choose Greetings from Sedona, shown above).
   While we’re on the subject of merchandising: wait, there’s more. Stanley, along with Paula Sweet, who has photographed most of his travel features here in Lucire, have a book publishing website, Second Guess Press, with more titles to be had. There are three new titles for this month alone: Cat Soubbotnik’s Air; Marco Fazzini’s Canto dell’isola; and Paula’s Tales of Knobs, featuring her photography front-and-centre.

StyleBox, a service that matches shoppers with stylists, has gone into beta on Google Play and the Apple App Store, and is available for download.
   There’s an algorithm that does the matching, with the aim of building a long-term relationship between stylist and shopper. StyleBox says thousands of registered users have already signed up, and over 100 stylists who have uploaded thousands of styles.
   The company says it hasn’t placed AI first, and instead focuses on the relationship. The platform has been built on Amazon and other e-commerce sites, according to the company.
   ‘With StyleBox, we aim to solve three problems every fashion shopper faces: selecting new items, matching existing clothes, and finding a unique personal style. As a result, we make online shopping easy for fashion-conscious shoppers by matching them with expert stylists who understand their needs and preferences,’ said StyleBox founder Janet Proger.


Everyone’s heard of Net-à-Porter, one of the most recognized e-tailers in the occident. And it could well become a leader in the orient, too, as it announced its cooperation with 11 Chinese designers.
   Hosted at Shanghai’s Kee Club on January 15, 10 days out from the Lunar New Year, the private event was organized by Net-à-Porter and Mr Porter president Alison Loehnis and Wu Yating, Alibaba’s joint-venture chief. Richemont, which owns Net-à-Porter, and Alibaba have a joint venture called Feng Mao, which brought together 130 luxury brands on the Tmall Luxury Pavilion.
   The 11 labels were Comme Moi, Ms Min, Calvin Luo, Feng Chen Wang, Märchen, Ming Ma, Pronounce, Short Sentence, Shushu/Tong, Staffonly, and Susan Fang. Six have produced exclusive, limited-edition collections for Feng Mao.
   The 11 are the first Chinese designers presented by Net-à-Porter.

 


The Body Shop’s Body Yogurt range a treat for Christmas

Filed by Victoria Whisker/December 18, 2019/12.45


It is the season for special edition scents: introducing the Body Shop’s Body Yogurt range including Rich Plum, Warm Vanilla and Juicy Pear. These ultra-lightweight and fast-absorbing yogurts are perfect for Christmas. They are best applied after a shower, locking in moisture and leaving your skin enriched with a fruity scent that lingers.
   The Yogurts have glycerin, which is a humectant that helps reduce the loss of moisture, actively drawing water from deep within the skin and the environment, leaving the skin supple and moisturized. The tub-like container locks in the custard-yoghurt-like jelly, looking more like shampoo in the way of consistency rather than the Body Shop’s best-seller, the humble Body Butters.
   Alcohol as an ingredient is not always bad: in fact, benzyl alcohol is a compound found in grapes and great for oily skin, as well as alcohol denat, which ensures quick drying and light texture. However, worrying to those with sensitive skin is the fragrance found, despite being dermatologically tested, which can cause irritation to the skin.
   This vegan moisturizer and super-lightweight Body Yogurt, made from plant-based products, leaves the skin feeling nourished and smooth all day. From Community Trade organic almond milk from Spain, vanilla extract from Madagascar and enriched pear extract from Italy, Body Shop hand-picks the best ingredients from all over the world.
   It really is the season to dream big: no longer being confined by standard packs, you can mix and match items in a reusable festive pouch. The pouch, made from 100 per cent natural jute, is made in India by Community Trade partner Teddy Exports, providing fair pay to communities. Sacks come in colour schemes of yellow, purple and pink, and can be reused as a toiletry bag. They also come as packs fitting the vanilla, plum or pear theme for a fresh and fruity twist.
   Also giving a fruit twist are the Rich Plum Lip Butter and Warm Vanilla Hand Cream: the plum yellow balm dries clear and leaves a matte finish to the lip, and the vanilla cream has a luxurious heavy texture with its natural lipid barrier enhancing technology. The Body Shop truly is looking after your skin this Christmas with its enchanting new scents.—Victoria Whisker

 


Travel editor Stanley Moss to speak, plus Q&A session and book signing in Gurgaon

Filed by Lucire staff/November 10, 2019/14.13


Paula Sweet

Stanley Moss, pictured earlier this month at Brunton Boatyard in Fort Kochi.

Travel editor Stanley Moss will be the guest of honour at the second edition of Converse@Nagarro, an interactive talk series, in Gurgaon on November 13.
   Nagarro, the software development and technology consultancy, was the basis of Stanley’s fictional company Talsera in his novel The Hacker. It hosts the event on Wednesday at 11 a.m., at its Training Room 1, Plot 13.
   Those attending the event will hear Stanley speak, followed by a Q&A, and a book signing.
   In addition to his travel editing at Lucire, Stanley founded the Club of Venice, where he hosts private conversations on branding, and consults for Gottschalk + Ash in Zürich. He has written numerous books, including Nuclear Brands, What Is a Brand?, Hitman in Delhi, The Hacker and Hack Is Back.
   The Converse@Nagarro series sees ‘leaders and expert speakers from political backgrounds, public agencies, private sector, civil society and citizen groups at large to share insight and experience. Experts will share their experience, thinking and work so as to inform, inspire and engage with the audience,’ says the company.

 


New Land Rover Defender unveiled: an icon reinvented

Filed by Lucire staff/September 10, 2019/8.36



Land Rover has finally unveiled its new Defender, replacing the first generation that could trace its origins back to 1948.
   One of the company’s most anticipated models, the new Defender has a familiar silhouette, with short overhangs and a tough, capable appearance, though the details themselves are modern.
   The models are still called 90 and 110, though they don’t reflect the actual inch measurements of the wheelbase as they did for their predecessors.
   Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s chief design officer, said, ‘The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable—a visually compelling 4 × 4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment.’
   Land Rover says the Defender’s D7x architecture is 95 per cent new, and is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction, stiffer than the body-on-frame set-up.
   Inside, the Defender has a modular, constructivist approach, but as a 21st-century design, it features a touchscreen, Jaguar Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system, and 5G-ready software-over-the-air updates. By mounting the automatic gearshift high up, just below the screen, there is an option of a centre seat, so three people can sit across the front row.
   Pioneered with earlier Land Rover products, the Defender comes with the Activity Key watch, which allows users to unlock the vehicle from their wrists, while the tech includes Clearsight Ground View, providing 3-D visualization of the terrain below. A head-up display is also available.
   Two diesels, a petrol, and a mild hybrid petrol are available, and a plug-in hybrid is expected to join the range.
   Independent air suspension is standard on the 110s, though the 90s, available later, will feature coils, other than the flagship trim. All Defenders have four-wheel drive.
   Land Rover says Defender prototypes have covered 1·2 million km in the desert, the Arctic, and to 10,000 ft in the Rockies.
   Ground clearance is 291 mm, and the Defenders can wade up to 900 mm.
   Not noted in Land Rover’s information is where the new British-developed Defender is built. It is believed it will be made at Jaguar Land Rover’s new plant in Nitra, Slovakia, which already builds the Discovery model.















 


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