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November 21, 2014

News in brief: Kendall Jenner chooses District; you choose for Charlie’s; Alejandra Alonso models Carrera y Carrera

Lucire staff/3.44

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District notes that Kendall Jenner, the new face of Estée Lauder, wears a top from its range. The blush pink top retails for US$108. Blake Lively had also recently chosen District for a photo shoot for her new website, Preserve.


   Charlie’s wants New Zealand customers to try their Straight Up cola, and decide whether it should become a permanent part of its range. Kiwis are invited to post their feedback with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down selfie, or simply write a few words, at Charlie’s Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #straightupcola.
   Finally, Carrera y Carrera, the Spanish jewellery brand, has launched new visuals with model Alejandra Alonso as its new face. The campaign has been conceived by MAFIA, and features items from Carrera y Carrera’s new Seda Imperial range, as well as from Círculos de Fuego, Bambú and Ruedo. It will break in publications internationally this month.






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November 20, 2014

Expertly executed: the New Zealand School of Dance’s 2014 Graduation Season

Jack Yan/14.23

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Stephen A’Court

Top Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood in Double Stop. Centre Wessel Oostrum’s The Speech, danced to the words of Charlie Chaplin. Here, Jeremy Beck dances. Above The challenge of dancing the Balanchine Ballet, Concerto Barocco, here with Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood. Choreography by George Balanchine, and copyrighted to the George Balanchine Trust.

The New Zealand School of Dance’s Graduation Season for 2014, at Te Whaea Theatre in Wellington from November 19 to 29, is a must for anyone who appreciates dance and wants a glimpse of the next generation of performers.
   The six performances show vitality and variety, from the challenging Balanchine Ballet, Concerto Barocco, to the modern and energetic Trigger II: One Thing Leads to Another, created by the students themselves. While every dancer was on the money with their expertise, technique and stamina, we noted in particular Law Lok Huen in Concerto Barocco, William Keohavong in his solo in The Speech, Amanda Mitrevski in three of the pieces in the final Purcell Pieces, and Mason Kelly, who elicited spontaneous applause after his dance to Purcell’s ‘The Frost Scene’ from the opera King Arthur.
   Balanchine ballets are tough and are especially demanding with their technique, and the Graduation Season opened with one: Concerto Barocco, performed to Bach’s Concerto for two violins, strings and continuo in D minor, BWV 1043. We hadn’t expected to see a ballet but the principal dancers—in tonight’s case, Law Lok Huen, Megan Wright and Jack Bannerman—acquitted themselves expertly, especially as one of the techniques is to move “against” the music.
   In the first set, it was The Speech that captivated us, danced by William Keohavong. Choreographed by Dutch choreographer Wessel Oostrum, Keohavong’s movements were poignant, against the words from Charlie Chaplin’s finishing monologue from The Great Dictator. They were negative when Chaplin’s speech dwelled on negative subjects; more optimistic as they reflected on liberty and freedom. The words, too, seem very fitting for our times, when we question whether corporate greed is driving supposedly free societies. While Oostrom intended The Speech as a tribute to those who lost their lives in World War I, the contemporary choreography coupled with the Tramp’s monologue made it the most socially relevant performance of the night.
   Trigger II: One Thing Leads to Another got the second set off to an energetic start, with 18 dancers (from all years at the School) involved. Students appeared in dull greys and blues initially, and the costumes became more colourful and vibrant as the dance went on. This was an entertaining piece that any lover of modern dance will enjoy, thanks in good part to the direction of Malia Johnston, artistic director of the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art award show. However, it was Val Caniparoli’s romantic Double Stop, where Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood gave a poetic duet. We were spellbound with their dance, and it was not surprising to see Qi Huan’s credit as répétiteur. Formerly with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Huan took up a teaching role earlier this year, after having appeared in some of our favourite lead roles over the years. Caniparoli had already created a beautiful ballet to Philip Glass’s ‘Song II’ that had premièred in 2011, but Vottari and Wood danced this with such passion that belied their status as students of the School of Dance.
   Excerpts from Rapt, which closed the second set, saw alumnus Craig Bary, who was in the original cast in 2011, return to teach the chosen sections to the NZSD dancers, before Douglas Wright, who created the original dance–theatre performance, and his assistant Megan Adams (an NZSD alumna) added the nuances. Being excerpts rather than the full 80-minute work, we focused more on the nine dancers’ considered and precise execution. Once again, we were impressed.
   With two sets having gone extremely well, the third, entitled Purcell Pieces, had to be of a very high quality to keep the audience happy. The School did not disappoint. Choreographed by Nils Christie, and a collaboration between the New Zealand School of Dance, the Queensland Ballet and Singapore Dance Theatre, Purcell Pieces is set to the music of Henry Purcell, but giving each piece a modern interpretation in dance. Loose, colourful costumes designed by Annegien Sneep and Noelene Hill and flowing movements characterized these final dances, with Amanda Mitrevski’s two appearances notable for her expressiveness, and Mason Kelly conveying the sense of solitude and coldness in his performance to ‘The Frost Scene’. Kelly was the stand-out for nearly the entire audience in the third set, judging by the applause. Purcell Pieces ended with rose petals coming down onto the stage, finishing the night on a high.
   The Graduation Season runs at Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand, till November 29, with performances nightly at 7.30 p.m., excepting Sunday and Monday. Matinees will take place on Sunday, November 23 and Saturday, November 29, at 2 p.m. Tickets are NZ$29 for adults, NZ$24 for students and seniors, and NZ$16 for children under 13. Tickets can be booked at www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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November 18, 2014

Bentley gauges interest with Grand Convertible concept as it guns for Rolls-Royce Drophead

Lucire staff/13.19

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Since Volkswagen took over Bentley, the company has only fielded one convertible line in the top tier, the Azure. Since 2010, the marque has left the convertible market for the Continental GTC to pursue, but those wanting something more exclusive have had to turn to Bentley’s former sister brand, Rolls-Royce, which had tapped into the Azure’s former market with the imposing Phantom Drophead. The Rolls-Royce took cues from expensive motor boats, with its wooden rear deck, and the cubic capacity was 6,749 cm³, a single cubic centimetre less than the 6,750 that the company’s cars had as standard for much of the period under Vickers ownership.
   Bentley, not to be outdone, has taken its Mulsanne, which débuted in 2009, and created a new convertible, called simply the Grand Convertible. Under the bonnet is the company’s 6,752 cm³ twin-turbo V8, developing 537 PS (395 kW), while externally, the Grand Convertible has a wooden deck, signalling just which car it is gunning for. However, it is just a concept for now, developed to gauge potential consumer interest.
   Bentley calls the Grand Convertible its ‘most sophisticated open-top car’ and it is relying on being more understated than its rival. It is certainly elegant, and its proportions are more classical than the Continental GTC’s.
   Bentley chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, said at the car’s unveiling in Los Angeles, ‘This concept demonstrates Bentley’s ability to create a pinnacle convertible Grand Tourer, while embodying elegance beyond compare. With this car we combine the opulent Mulsanne experience with the full sensory indulgence of open-air touring, continuing to unite luxury and performance in new ways.’
   The car will go on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show from November 19. In December, it will be displayed at Art Basel in Miami.

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November 15, 2014

Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin unveil collaboration with Barneys New York, Madison Avenue

Lucire staff/0.35

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Neil Rasmus and Billy Farrell, of BFAnyc.com

Barneys New York unveiled its collaboration with film director Baz Luhrmann and four-time Academy Award-winning production designer Catherine Martin, christened Baz Dazzled, at its Madison Avenue store.
   Luhrmann, Martin and Barneys creative director Dennis Freedman, have taken holiday themes and, according to Barneys, in true Luhrmann style, ‘turned them upside-down into a world of fantastical characters, enchanted environments, and luxurious, metallic textures.’
   â€˜From the first time my wife Catherine Martin and I found ourselves in New York back in the ’80s, we always marvelled at the way Barneys took the familiar and managed to turn it on its head. This way of seeing the world is somewhat akin to our own creative philosophy,’ said Luhrmann. ‘Here we are now, so many years later in our adopted home, honoured to join the pedigree of artists, performers, and creative organizations which have collaborated with Barneys, to take the familiar and turn it on its head.’
   Urbanized woodland creatures, including a b-boy elf, a “true owl” who always speaks the truth, a graffiti-ing squirrel, and Celestina the ice princess, inhabit a fantasy world ruled by the Luna and Solar queens. There is a series of live performances and interactive theatre in each of the Barneys windows.
   The themes for the four windows are love (Elphresh the elf pursues his impossible love, Elfemeral), beauty (the Spirits of the Snow, by artist Anthony Howe), truth (Truth, an eight-foot-tall steampunk true owl, by artist Chris Cole), and freedom (a trapped ice princess dreams of freedom).
   The Madison Avenue store’s façade ties in to the theme, with the Solar and Luna queens singing out of two Juliet balconies on the second floor.
   Music for the performances is provided by a cappella group Pentatonix, ­comprised of vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, and Mitch Grassi, vocal bass Avi Kaplan, and beatboxer Kevin ‘K. O. Olusola­who, who exclusively scored and recorded custom versions of classics. In addition, Pentatonix provided vocals to several characters.
   Costumes have been created by Zaldy, who worked with Martin. The performances were directed in collaboration with Luhrmann, Martin, Barneys New York, and Andrew Katz.
   A limited-edition Baz Dazzled XO Exclusively Ours collection of luxury holiday décor and gifts is available on the ninth floor of the Madison Avenue store, select Barneys stores nationwide, and Barneys.com. Items include an engraved Berti champagne sabre, a knit rabbit throw by Adrienne Landau, Studio DKS pillows, children’s costumes, stuffed animals, and exclusive Prada-created fur-lined sleeping bag and luxury picnic set.
   Pentatonix sang at the unveiling, singing, with the Luna and Solar queens, Madonna’s ‘Holiday’.
   Celebrities and VIPs at both the unveiling and the Central Park Zoo dinner afterwards included Richard and Lisa Perry, Amy Sacco, Aurelie Bidermann, Dakota Fanning, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, Deborra-Lee Furness, Dennis Freedman, Estelle, Giovanna Battaglia, Stefano Tonchi, Jessica Joffe, Kate Foley, Lily Kwong, Meryl Poster, Michael Avedon, Pat Cleveland, Simon Doonan, Max Osterweis, Victoria Justice, Wendi Deng, Zani Gugelmann, Madison Guest, Victoria Justice, Hamish Bowles, Anna Wintour, Michael Avedon, Dorian Grinspan, Virginia Smith, Carter Elwood-Etherington, Breken Elwood-Etherington, Jennifer Zuccarini, Edward Menicheschi, Hailey Gates, Bronson van Wyck, Charles Rockefeller, Allese Thomson, Knight Landesman, and Brooke Garber Neidich.
   Twenty-five per cent of sales from Baz Dazzled holiday products will be donated to Room to Read, a literacy organization helping children in developing countries.



































Neil Rasmus and Billy Farrell, of BFAnyc.com

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November 3, 2014

News round-up: letter from Marrakech teased; Jessica Alba favours Jane Iredale; our road tests

Lucire staff/22.02

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Theo Wargo/Getty Images


Stanley Moss

Top Olivia Wilde, Jordan Hewson and Jessica Alba at the 2014 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030, in Central Park on September 27. Above Paula Sweet photographs exclusively in Morocco for Lucire: the secrets of Berber Saffron Tea. From left to right, Amanjena GM Gabriel Louzada, Paula Sweet, Abdelhadi.

In an upcoming edition of Lucire: letter from Marrakech. An exclusive report from travel editor Stanley Moss which includes a private visit behind closed doors at the original home of Yves Saint Laurent in the Medina, then the lost recipe for saffron tea, a Berber delicacy prepared for our readers at Amanjena in Marrakech.
   In beauty news, Jessica Alba has publicly declared her love of Jane Iredale’s real gold shimmer powder in OK. Says Alba, ‘If I’m going to show some leg, I’ll mix a little into my body lotion too. It creates a subtle shimmer that makes cellulite lumps and bumps a tad less noticeable.’ The powder is the headline product commemorating the brand’s 20th anniversary year. And they really mean ‘real gold': it contains 24 ct gold leaf and mica, and it’s available alongside silver and bronze shimmers in a limited-edition Jane’s Signature Gilded Collection tin (£32). The gold and silver can be used on top of the cheekbones as a highlight, while the bronze can be applied over the body.
   Meanwhile, publisher Jack Yan has been testing more cars in the ‘Living’ section in Lucire. There’s the BMW 116i here, a real driver’s car for those seeking something small, while he dons his halo and channels his Simon Templar in his test drive of the Volvo S60 T6 AWD R Design Polestar.





Paula Sweet

Above, from top One of several hidden courtyards at Saint Laurent’s house. An elegant sitting room in St Laurent’s home in the Medina. Saffron, rarest of spices, more expensive than gold, used in an exclusively brewed tea at Amanjena, Marrakech. An elegant tabletop displaying traditional tea-making ingredients at Amanjena.


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October 30, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performs A Christmas Carol, the feel-good ballet of the season

Jack Yan/14.03

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Ross Brown/RNZB

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s final season for 2014, sponsored by Vodafone, sees Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol brought to life. Created for the Northern Ballet, it’s a true crowd-pleaser and the perfect family outing.
   The RNZB’s Christmas performance has often been a spectacular that audiences of all ages can enjoy, and A Christmas Carol is no exception. The familiar Yuletide tunes and original music by American-born composer Carl Davis, CBE make A Christmas Carol musically accessible. Davis’s work will be familiar to television and film audiences (he scored The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and, most recently, an episode of the 2012 continuation of Upstairs, Downstairs), and he brings a similar lyrical, orchestral style to the ballet.
   The familiarity of Dickens’ novel also helps: the characters are well known, especially to children, and this version, created for the Northern Ballet, stays close to the original Victorian setting. The humour is distinctly English: the second act’s dance between Mr and Mrs Fezziwig (played by Rory Fairweather-Neylan and Brontë Kelly on opening night) is Carry on in nature, while the Ghost of Christmas Present’s (MacLean Hopper) tendency to throw glitter made him the least frightening of the trio that visit Ebenezer Scrooge.
   Paul Mathews, in the lead, exuded energy and still yielded surprises despite the well known storyline, but it was the flashback scene with a pas de deux between Young Scrooge (Shane Urton) and Belle Fezziwig (Lucy Green) that was the most touching and graceful in the ballet.
   Belle, knowing the relationship had come to an end, expressed a lifelessness as she moved en pointe away from Young Scrooge, ever focused on finance.
   The loss of love between the two was poignant, and the point at which Scrooge became the miserable character at the beginning of the story. It gave an extra element, almost a humanity, to Scrooge, that was seen in the novel.
   Bob Cratchit, played by Kohei Iwamoto, was perfectly cast.
   Each set was lovingly created, with production design by Lez Brotherston, the backdrops faithful to the emerging industrialization of the Victorian era, and the lighting by Jon Buswell (presumably following the original design by Paul Pyant) was used to eerie effect on two occasions: the emergence of Scrooge’s business partner’s ghost (light streamed up in a ghostly form before the dancer playing Marley appeared) and the Ghost of Christmas Past (who appeared to float as he visited Scrooge). Transitions between sets were cleverly handled, particularly Scrooge’s grave in the last act.
   This is the first performance Lucire attended where the company sings, and young Wilson Jack, as Tiny Tim Cratchit, performs a touching solo of ‘How Far Is It to Bethlehem?’ (and never mind that it was composed outside the Victorian era). Nigel Gaynor, conducting Orchestra Wellington, excelled handling this extra dimension.
   It was the finalé that was the most upbeat of any recent Royal New Zealand Ballet season, something that could be seen not just with the lengthy applause but the smiles on the audience’s faces as members began departing the St James Theatre.
   The Wellington performances began October 30 and run till November 8 inclusive; Dunedin is from November 15 to 16; Christchurch from November 20 to 22. A Christmas Carol then returns to the North Island, in Palmerston North on November 26, Napier on November 29 and 30, Auckland on December 3 to 7, and Takapuna from December 13 to 14. Full details of dates and venues can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet website.
   The late Christopher Gable directed the original production for the Northern Ballet, with choreography by Massimo Moricone; Daniel de Andrade serves as producer. It is the first ballet by the RNZB performed after the appointment of its new artistic director, Francesco Ventriglia, who takes up his new position during the run.—Jack Yan, Publisher


Bill Cooper

Above An image from the Northern Ballet’s production of A Christmas Carol.

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October 20, 2014

Stoneleigh launches limited-edition, early-release Nature’s Collection wines

Lucire staff/22.43

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Stoneleigh has launched a new, limited-edition, early-release wine series, called Nature’s Collection, comprising 2014 vintages of sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, chardonnay and rosé, retailing now at NZ$17·99 in New Zealand.
   The Collection’s labels feature artwork with distinctive symbols, signifying flora, fauna, forest and coastline. The images within the symbols were taken by New Zealanders and uploaded to Stoneleigh via an app earlier this year.
   The Nature’s Collection name is not a marketing ploy: Stoneleigh began with fruit from the stony vineyards in Raparua in Marlborough. Winemaker Jamie Marfell (left) has used techniques that heighten the natural flavour and aroma.
   The sauvignon blanc, made from grapes from low-cropping vines, has a ‘complex flintiness’, with very little done to the wine to maintain the purity of the flavour. The pinot noir has a similar ‘natural brilliance,’ says Marfell, while large-format oak cuves have fermented the chardonnay for three months. The rosé has also been fermented with oak.
   â€˜Our stone-studded vineyards are a constant source of wonder, producing grapes for wines with incredible flavours and aromas. We wanted to celebrate not just our wonder of nature but all of the natural wonders in New Zealand,’ said Marfell.

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October 12, 2014

David Trubridge shows off artwork at World of Wearable Art celebrating Brancott Estate’s firsts

Lucire staff/11.00

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Visitors to the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art award show on Sunday night got an extra treat, as furniture and lighting designer David Trubridge showed off a crowdsourced artwork constructed from bamboo plywood to commemorate the concept of “memorable firsts”.
   The theme ties in not only to the World of Wearable Art, but from Brancott Estate’s pioneering heritage as the first to establish a vineyard in New Zealand’s South Island in the 1970s.
   Trubridge and Brancott Estate asked the New Zealand public to submit photographs representing a memorable first. The 500-plus submissions—which the company says ranged from weddings and a first trip abroad to the first blossom of spring—were printed using a red-and-white duotone effect on to lightweight bamboo plywood sheets, which formed the “feathers” in Trubridge’s giant winged creation.
   The artwork was revealed in a performance that resembled a bird taking off on its maiden flight, one of the inspirations Trubridge had. ‘The first thing that jumped into my mind was the image of a young gannet sitting on the edge of the cliff. The first time it flies is the start of its journey all the way to Australia. It takes off and it doesn’t stop,’ he says. The wearer gradually flexed before revealing the full form and all the images with arms outstretched.
   Trubridge had the help of his family in creating the performance, including his wife, Linda, who is an artist, and his son, Sam, who is a member of the performing arts’ faculty at Massey University.
   The wings were held together with twine, and move with the wearer. It presented a new challenge to Trubridge, as he was not accustomed to creating something that would be worn.
   â€˜The process of creating this artwork has taken my team and I on an amazing creative journey and exploration that has led us to many creative firsts. It’s a project I’m very proud to have taken part in,’ says Trubridge.
   â€˜It’s not a single pendant, fixed light or object, it requires a degree of flexibility. Creating something that can transform from a cloak to a wing was a challenge as my work is usually a closed form. We had to have the ability for it to go from one shape to another and flex and move with the figure and that’s a whole new, exciting, pioneering first for us.’
   â€˜David has combined memorable firsts from the New Zealand public into a poetic, moving, kinetic piece of wearable art. The final creation truly embodies the pioneering spirit of Brancott Estate and WOW,’ says Brancott Estate’s chief winemaker, Patrick Materman.
   The artwork was shown at the Brancott Estate bar at the TSB Arena, and a filmed performance can be seen on the website at www.brancottestatewow.co.nz.

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