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Instagram won’t replace the fashion magazine

Filed by Jack Yan/January 31, 2020/12.14


Lindsay Adler

Above: The cover from Lucire KSA, January 2020, modelled by Camille Hyde with fur by House of Fluff. Photographed by Lindsay Adler Photography, styled by Cannon/the Only Agency, hair by Linh Nguyen, and make-up by Joanne Gair using Danessa Myricks Beauty.

A few weeks ago, I got out of the habit of Instagramming. Since 2012, I did it initially out of fun, then as a way of keeping up with hobbies and a few friends, but when some personal changes happened, the habit left. Facebook I had departed for any personal updates in 2017, after some well documented problems—before Christopher Wylie voiced his concerns to The Observer, incidentally—while Twitter has revealed that its data-gathering doesn’t stop even when you’ve opted out of personalized advertising. Facebook does the same, and it’s public knowledge that it’s quite happy to sell these data to others.
   I thought it was a massive mistake for Facebook to remind us that it owned Instagram and Whatsapp through its latest branding efforts, because surely the parent company and its flagship product are tainted by now? It’s been further tainted by the stench of politics, the tribalism that they exhibit, and the outright lies its bosses tell.
   At some point, some government will develop the cohones to say monopoly power is bad and stifles innovation, changing Big Tech significantly. Perhaps some agency will have the guts to point out that regular deceptive comments to the public do have consequences. But till then, this first year of the decade won’t look too different from the last year of the last in terms of how the majority of people consume media, old and new.
   None of these fleeting media give you much depth, and Instagram is arguably the least tainted by politicking and negativity, showing pretty pictures (for the most part) that you can either like or scroll past.
   I was, therefore, surprised that in the last few years, I read one proclamation that the days were numbered for fashion magazines since there was Instagram. I beg to differ, and it’s not just out of a personal bias, but out of keen observations of the ebbs and flows of social media. Yes, I may have got out of the habit of Facebooking and Instagramming, but millions of others haven’t. But to say fashion magazines were a thing of the past? It’s hard to fathom.
   Instagram does give a few obvious benefits. Immediacy, for one. Users can then link the item to a smartphone-optimized shopping site. As a retail aid, it’s clever. It has video, where brand stories can be told. But, like any new medium, at best this complements what already exists. Instagram doesn’t replace long-form journalism told by an objective observer.
   At home we have a 34-year-old copy of The Australian Women’s Weekly. It’s the Christmas issue, and it’s packed with articles that entertain, with barely any sensationalism. The magazines of this era, buoyed by healthy advertising prices and editors who arguably enjoyed educating as much as entertaining, aren’t, to me, relics. Lucire has always strived to be a decent read, more so in our print editions, and while our presentation is more contemporary, our values haven’t changed. We moved past offering a magazine that was based around today’s news, with retail specials for the following month, long ago. We could see that wasn’t relevant in a digital age. But we repositioned and kept what did work. World-class photography. Interesting articles, properly subbed. You deserve a good read, where you pick up a copy and gain something from it. We also wanted to reflect (perhaps even preempt) your values about the environment and our place in this world. I think that’s why Lucire, in particular our original edition; our newest edition, Lucire KSA; and the former Twinpalms Lucire in Thailand, have reader appeal. It should last you for more than a single sitting. That December 1985 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly could even last beyond the date the February 1986 issue went on sale.


Aleksandr Mavrin


Hilde Osland, via Instagram

Top: Like travel editor Stanley Moss, Russian model Viki Odintcova headed to Canggu, Bali, and shared this image from Wapa di Ume Sidemen photographed by Aleksandr Mavrin on her Instagram. Above: Hilde Osland models Fashionnova, not far from Lucire’s HQ in Wellington, New Zealand.

   Social media have only really replaced any medium that was fleeting and shallow. You could potentially get more insight into your favourite reality TV stars on their personal ’Grams than in a gossip magazine. Glamour models and certain celebrities—Viki Odintcova of Russia, and Norwegian-born, Australian-based model and singer Hilde Osland for two—may show more on their accounts than in lads’ magazines. Cellphone cameras can rival some professional ones in resolution, and while there’s no substitute for the professionally shot photos, those surfing social media and its small, rectangular, black-mirror format of all of seven inches are quite happy with “near enough”. And, indeed, for those professional images, especially editorials, a beautifully printed page has a totally different effect to something seen on screen.
   Digital is here to stay—and being one of the earliest proponents of that, we should know. Social will also stay, maybe offered by other firms, but we won’t break our addictions easily. Admittedly, as a company, we never expected social to play as big a part as it ultimately did. But print, and the long-form articles that appear in it, are going to stick around for a long time to come, too.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Megyn Kelly’s new channel gets into the Zeitgeist, interviewing former news producer wrongly accused of Robach leak

Filed by Lucire staff/November 9, 2019/0.10

On her new YouTube channel, former lawyer and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly interviews Ashley Bianco, a former ABC News producer who was fired by her new employers, CBS News, over the leaking of a clip featuring journalist Amy Robach talking off-air but with a “hot mic” about the Jeffrey Epstein case.
   Epstein was a convicted pædophile who had connections with politicians and royalty, including HRH the Duke of York, and died while in custody after being charged with sex trafficking offences. He had served a light sentence in the late 2000s after a plea deal with prosecutors. The story ventured back into the limelight after a major investigative piece by the Miami Herald.
   The controversial clip shows Robach being frustrated that, despite having had the Epstein story for three years and an interview with one of his victims, Virginia Roberts, ‘we would not put it on the air.’ She added, ‘We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate or Will, I think that also squashed the story … And I freaking had on all of it. I’m so pissed right now like every day I get more and more pissed. Because I’m just like, “Oh my God, what what we had was unreal.” Other women backing it up … Brad Edwards the attorney, three years ago, saying like there will come a day where we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pædophile this country has ever known. I had it all three years ago.’
   Robach later clarified with a statement: ‘As a journalist, as the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration. I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations.’
   Bianco made the clip—as well as many others—as part of her job at ABC News, but ensured it stayed within the network. She had never leaked it, a claim that has been confirmed by James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, which published the clip last week.
   O’Keefe’s source inside ABC News has also gone public, confirming that it was not Bianco.
   Nevertheless, under New York’s laws, Bianco could be fired “at will” and without reason. ABC News had tipped off CBS News, which had hired Robach, saying she had accessed the clip. That led to her dismissal after four days.
   Bianco says the clip was well known inside ABC News and numerous people could have accessed it.
   She was interviewed by Kelly to give her side of the story.

 


Demasking the torture of Julian Assange

Filed by Lucire staff/June 26, 2019/19.38


David G. Silvers/Wikimedia Commons


Above: The author, Prof Nils Melzer

I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.
   Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the US had encouraged allies to find reasons to prosecute Assange, Swedish prosecution informed the tabloid press that he was suspected of having raped two women. Strangely, however, the women themselves never claimed to have been raped, nor did they intend to report a criminal offence. Go figure. Moreover, the forensic examination of a condom submitted as evidence, supposedly worn and torn during intercourse with Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever—neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure again. One woman even texted that she only wanted Assange to take an HIV test, but that the police were ‘keen on getting their hands on him’. Go figure, once more. Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian embassy.
   All right, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his alleged unsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short, a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak.
   Well then, I thought, at least we know for sure that Assange is a Russian spy, has interfered with US elections, and negligently caused people’s deaths! But all I found is that he consistently published true information of inherent public interest without any breach of trust, duty or allegiance. Yes, he exposed war crimes, corruption and abuse, but let’s not confuse national security with governmental impunity. Yes, the facts he disclosed empowered US voters to take more informed decisions, but isn’t that simply democracy? Yes, there are ethical discussions to be had regarding the legitimacy of unredacted disclosures. But if actual harm had really been caused, how come neither Assange nor Wikileaks ever faced related criminal charges or civil lawsuits for just compensation?
   But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian embassy and smearing fæces on the walls? Well, all I heard from embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.
   In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, The New York Times and ABC News.
   Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere “mudslinging” in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenceless, and even “persecution” once the state is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.
   Yes, living in an embassy with a cat and a skateboard may seem like a sweet deal when you believe the rest of the lies. But when no one remembers the reason for the hate you endure, when no one even wants to hear the truth, when neither the courts nor the media hold the powerful to account, then your refuge really is but a rubber boat in a shark-pool, and neither your cat nor your skateboard will save your life.
   Even so, you may say, why spend so much breath on Assange, when countless others are tortured worldwide? Because this is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.—Nils Melzer

 


Brother Vellies and others: your input needed

Filed by Lucire staff/November 1, 2017/23.07

There’s a particular kind of new investigative method, born of an era of fake truth, alternative facts, fake news and fake-everything-else. It’s called citizen journalism: real people not always of the Fourth Estate are asked to provide first-hand testimony on a story reported. Lucire is interested in your stories about businesses who claim to uphold sustainable, fair-traded or ethical values, but where evidence disproves the assertions.
   In January 2017, a fourth-generation family-owned business in Marrakech asked for help from a Lucire reporter to recover over US$30,000 in unpaid bills for product delivered to a NY-based business called Brother Vellies. A look at the company website represented that the business was fair-traded, woman- and minority-owned, set up to support traditional craft businesses, especially in Africa. The business has been featured in major fashion media.
   The Marrakech firm provided invoices and delivery receipts for the goods, and evidence that Brother Vellies had continually increased subsequent orders while ceasing to pay as promised. They continue to sell product received from a small overseas operation, but never paid for. Lucire’s reporter located a skilled American negotiator with expertise in settlement, who spoke to the principal at Brother Vellies, attempting to begin the settlement process. He received no cooperation and no response. In the past eight months neither contact nor money has been sent to the Marrakech business. When we reached out to Brother Vellies, they promised us a response by the close of business on October 24. They have missed their self-imposed deadline.
   Are you a vendor to Brother Vellies? Have you had a similar experience with them? Are you a customer? Has the business lived up to its brand promise? Are there other businesses which can be reported about with similar stories, representing they are fair-traded and ethical, but whose conduct disproves their claims? Contact us at our form confidentially, or email us at info@lucire.com.
   We’ll report back on your replies.

 


The fallout continues over Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long sexual harassment

Filed by Jack Yan/October 11, 2017/23.48

The fallout from The New York Times’ exposé into sexual harassment and sexual assault claims against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein continues.
   The story broke in the broadsheet on October 5 in a story by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, with quotations from actress Ashley Judd, while The New Yorker ran an even more detailed piece by Ronan Farrow, the result of a 10-month investigation, that included a recording of an attempt by Weinstein against actress Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, and three women coming forth to say he raped them.
   It cuts closer to home when you learn that one of your own cover models was also a victim of Weinstein’s harassment.


Jon Moe

Above: Jennifer Siebel, as she appeared in Lucire in 2004.

   Jennifer Siebel, now Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who covered our print issue in May 2004, wrote in The Huffington Post of her experience with the producer.
   ‘When the Bill Cosby scandal broke, and then Roger Ailes, and then Bill O’Reilly, and then Justin Caldbeck shortly thereafter—topping a floodgate of evidence of the disgusting culture of sexual harassment across the U.S.—I have to admit that my thought was, “Will the shoe ever drop on Harvey Weinstein?”’ opened her article.
   Jennifer’s story is familiar: ‘I was naive, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances—work invitations with a friend late-night at The Toronto Film Festival, and later an invitation to meet with him about a role in The Peninsula Hotel, where staff were present and then all of a sudden disappeared like clockwork, leaving me alone with this extremely powerful and intimidating Hollywood legend.’
   Not only do all the stories bear a disturbing similarity, but they highlight a rape culture in our world today, and show that there were members of Weinstein’s staff who were complicit.
   New Zealander Zoë Brock wrote in Medium that she was ‘Harveyed’ in 1997 at the Hôtel du Cap: ‘After a few minutes a couple of the guys made motions to leave temporarily to make calls. The energy shifted and I became very uncomfortable. I turned to Ben and asked him to please get in touch with my friends immediately and find out where they were. [His assistant] Ben [Silverman] said he would go downstairs and see if they were having trouble getting up to the room, and left.
   ‘And suddenly I was alone in a remote hotel suite with Harvey [****]ing Weinstein …
   ‘Harvey left the room, but not for long. He re-emerged naked a couple of minutes later and asked if I would give him a massage. Panicking, in shock, I remember weighing up the options and wondering how much I needed to placate him to keep myself safe. He asked if I would like a massage instead, and for a second I thought this might be a way to give him an inch without him taking a mile.’
   Brock managed to lock herself in the bathroom, then be firm with Weinstein, and reprimanded him, before leaving the suite.
   According to Brock, Silverman said to her after the incident, ‘I’m so sorry. I want you to know that of all the girls he does this to you are the one I really felt bad about. You deserve better.’
   Brock said she had told this story numerous times over the last 20 years, and initially confided in her mother, and actor Rufus Sewell, who said he had tried to warn her.
   On Twitter, actress Rose McGowan has been particularly active, and it is believed that she was one actress who had reached a settlement in 1997 with Weinstein. Since then, other actresses have come forth with stories about the times they were ‘Harveyed’: Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette, and Mira Sorvino. Weinstein’s wife of nearly 10 years, Georgina Chapman, one half of the Marchesa label, has announced that she would be leaving him.
   The fact this publication has covered events at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc where Weinstein was present, or where the Wein­stein Company was a sponsor, fills me with a sense of dread. You can’t help but think what went on in his suite post-party. Given that this sort of abuse has carried on for decades, unbeknownst to some of us—and I suspect we’re going to see numbers that are much greater than the level of offending Bill Cosby is suspected of—it is time for it to be exposed and end. It is toxic, and it is not representative of the society we want to create. More women should be encouraged to come out, and, I hope, those who have been victims of pædophiles will state their case, too. We’ve always heard rumours about the latter, and the crimes of Jimmy Savile show just how far things went in the UK. It would be naïve to think that the US did not have its own networks of power-players keeping a lid on things.
   Over the next few days and weeks, the power structures that allowed this harassment and assault to take place will be taken apart and hopefully unravelled, and similar ones protecting other serial abusers will suffer the same fate.
   Weinstein’s position in Hollywood may have once been considered to be unassailable, but thanks to a group of very brave women, it shows that no one is immune.—Jack Yan, Publisher


Georgina Chapman getting ‘massive support’ by Entertainment Tonight


Archives: des actrices sortent du silence contre Harvey Weinstein by AFP LP


Antony Jones

Above: Harvey Weinstein as he last appeared in this publication, at a Cannes Film Festival event in May 2017.

 


Opinions: what we need from media beyond ‘fake news’; looking to the stars

Filed by Lucire staff/March 15, 2017/21.47

We need independent media


Paul Clarke/CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37435469

Above: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Earlier this month, Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote an open letter expressing his concerns about the evolution of his invention, the World Wide Web. (Interestingly, he writes the term all in lowercase.)
   It wasn’t just about ‘fake news’, which is how the media have reported it. His first concern was, in fact, about our losing control over our personal data, and determining when and with whom we share them. It’s something I’ve touched on regularly since 2011, when Google breached its own stated policies over user-preference collection for advertising purposes, something that Facebook appears to be following suit with mid-decade. This was long before Edward Snowden blew the lid on his government’s monitoring, something that’s happening to citizens of other occidental nations, too.
   Sir Tim writes, ‘Through collaboration with—or coercion of—companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online, and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy. In repressive regimes, it’s easy to see the harm that can be caused—bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, like sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.’
   But the one that struck me as very pertinent to publishing is Sir Tim’s second point. It’s the one that most news outlets seized on, linking it back to ‘fake news’, a term now corrupted by the executive branch of the US Government when attacking coverage that it doesn’t like. However, Sir Tim’s points were far broader than that. And it’s evident how his first point links to his second.
   It’s not hard to see that there is biased coverage on both the right and right wings of US politics (interestingly, they call it left and right), although Sir Tim points to how ‘a handful of social media sites or search engines’ show us the things that appeal to our own biases through their algorithms. ‘Fake news’ then spreads through these algorithms because they play to our prejudices. He writes, ‘those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.’ These sites are able to determine what we see based on the data we’ve given them, willingly or unwillingly.
   It’s so far from the ideals of the World Wide Web that it’s sad that the medium, which was once so expansive and inspirational as we surfed from one site to the next to read and absorb information, has come to this: a tool for becoming more insular, the first path to the idiocracy.
   Google, as I wrote last year, biases itself toward larger sites, no longer rewarding the media outlet that breaks a news item. The incentive to be that maverick medium is, therefore, lessened greatly online, because the web isn’t being ranked on merit by the largest player in the search-engine business. It’s why Duck Duck Go, which doesn’t collect user data, gives search results that are generally fairer. We think it’s important to learn alternative viewpoints, especially in politics, otherwise the division that we already see in some countries will only deepen—and at worst this can lead to war. In peacetime countries, a compatriot with opposing political thoughts is not our enemy.
   Facebook’s continued data collection of user preferences is also dangerous. Even after users opt out, Facebook’s ad preferences’ page demonstrates that it will keep collecting. Whether or not Facebook then uses these preferences is unknown—certainly Facebook itself clams up—but since the site reports journalists who alert them to kiddie porn, kicks off drag queens after saying they wouldn’t, and forces people to download software in the guise of malware detection, who knows if any of Facebook’s positions are real or merely ‘fake news’? Knowing the misdeeds of sites like Facebook—and Google which itself has been found guilty of hacking—do they actually deserve our ongoing support?
   Of course I have an interest in getting people to look beyond the same-again players, because I run one media outlet that isn’t among them. But we have an interest to seek information from the independents, and to support a fair and neutral internet. We may learn an angle we hadn’t explored before, or we may find news and features others aren’t covering. Better yet, we may learn alternative viewpoints that break us out of our prejudices. Surely we can’t be that scared of learning about alternatives (maybe one that is better than what we believe), or having a reasoned debate based on fact rather than emotion or hatred? And if you are sharing on social media, do you want to be one of the sheep who uses the same click-bait as everyone else, or show that you’re someone who’s capable of independent thought?
   It shouldn’t be that difficult to distinguish fake-news sites from legitimate media (even though the line gets blurred) by looking at how well something is subedited and how many spelling mistakes there are. Perhaps the headlines are less emotive. There is a tier of independent media that deserves your support, whether it is this site or many competing ones that we’ve linked ourselves. Going beyond the same-again sources can only benefit us all.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Stars in their eyes


Chanel

Above: Chanel continues its long-running Comète collection.

Coco Chanel is known for embracing astrology. Her inspiration is reflected in many of her jewellery creations and designs years later. The star motif is highlighted within the Comète collection and while the lion, representative of the brand, is reminiscent of the city of Venezia and symbolic of her astrological sign. The designer’s influential vision comes to life within many of the intricately detailed pieces.
   To this day, astrology serves as a tool that could provide one with knowledge and even supposed explanatory perceptions. Fashion-focused entities and individuals have contemplated to what extent one’s rising sign or ascendant, representing the door to one’s identity, is correlated to one’s wardrobe and personal style. Some inquisitive individuals ponder about personalities, style and even probable futuristic outcomes in the financial field. The AstroTwins, Tali and Ophira Edut, who have been featured in a number of outlets, have given advice to a slew of celebrities. While they focus mainly on various predictions according to the stars, some have used astrology to tap in to the financial market. The Merriman Market Analyst is one of the many prominent sites that discuss and explain transformations and changes in planets that could serve in financial as well as everyday astrology. Other than the website, they have published books for international audiences, divulging and examining the planets and geocosmic aspects. According to the website’s disclaimer, ‘The hope is … it will help the reader understand the psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events …’ For decades, the founder continues to ponder on certain circumstances, whether on a weekly or yearly basis, leading a team of apprentices that follow in his footsteps.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor

 


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