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The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s grandest yet: Romeo & Juliet shoots for the stars with spectacle


NEWS  by Jack Yan/August 16, 2017/12.20


Top photo: Stephen A’Court; above: Ross Brown

Since announcing he would be leaving the Royal New Zealand Ballet as its artistic director in November 2016, it became evident that Romeo & Juliet, the new ballet that had its world première in Wellington tonight, would be Francesco Ventriglia’s love letter to the company. It takes all the talent that the company (and Orchestra Wellington) can muster, dials it up a notch, and Ventriglia injects his own artistry and connections to make this not only a wonderful, classical reinvention of the Shakespearean tragedy, but one that is visually and dramatically authentic.
   It wasn’t a simple matter of staging and choreography: Ventriglia worked with dramaturge Mattia Mario Giorgetti to get the historical and social context of fifteenth-century Verona right; and Academy Award winner James Acheson (Dangerous Liaisons, The Last Emperor, and Restoration) was asked to re-create an authentic Verona with colourful costumes that, in Ventriglia’s words, ‘are as true as possible to the Renaissance as ballet costumes, created in the 21st century, can be’. Jon Buswell (lighting designer), Gillian Whittingham (choreographic assistant), and Frédéric Jahn (guest ballet master) were part of the ‘dream team’, but special mention must be given to fight coordinator Carrie Thiel, whose knowledge of stunt work and swordplay gave Romeo & Juliet an extra edge. There were 13 scene changes and over 90 costumes: Romeo & Juliet was not just the RNZB’s biggest production of 2017, it could well be its grandest over the last several years. It fills its three hours (three acts, two intermissions) with extravagance; lovers of classical ballets will indulge in it.
   Acheson’s work was immediately evident with a bright, summertime Verona set that had more depth and detail than many other productions’; his sets also rotated and moved, easing the audience into each different scene. There was a beauty to these sets as well as a modularity, something that hadn’t been attempted successfully in previous ballets we’ve reviewed. Renaissance-inspired art featured in Juliet’s bedroom and in the church. Acheson is on top of his game, and the costumes and sets lent Romeo & Juliet a world-class flair.
   Opening night saw Joseph Skelton as Romeo and Madeleine Graham as Juliet, a well cast pair: both had caught our eyes in previous ballets. Skelton had an innocent quality as a young man falling in love; Graham gave her Juliet a mix of a childish wonder and determination. Let’s hear it for the boys: Massimo Margaria was on form as Romeo’s friend Mercutio, and his easy Italian charm almost stole the show; while Paul Mathews had a chance to showcase his villainy in Tybalt.
   While ‘villainy’ might be a strong word in some cases (but Sergei Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’ certainly conveyed that in a masked ball scene taking place within the Capulet’s palazzo), it seemed to work here: the swordplay mentioned earlier took audiences from classical ballet to a fight scene in the first act that had the spectacle of Errol Flynn’s 1938 outing as Robin Hood; Ventriglia offered concessions to modernity by "freeze-framing" part of the action while allowing the central characters to continue, with Buswell’s lighting playing along, before gradually speeding it up again—something, we might add, that can only be accomplished with decent ballet dancers.
   Nevertheless, this isn’t a simple tale of good versus evil, but a love story. The pas de deux between Romeo and Juliet at the end of Act I was touching and tender, beginning with Juliet and her nurse preparing for bed in an upstairs room (another clever touch from Acheston), and Romeo performing some remarkable lifts once Juliet joined him.
   The always welcome Sir Jon Trimmer played Friar Laurence, and the church set was another triumph for Acheson with its simplicity and its crucifix (after Giotto) at its centre.
   Juliet’s solos were particularly moving: Graham’s performances in Act III were particular memorable, if tinged with sadness, when Romeo departs her bedroom after their secret wedding night; her contemplation of whether to take the Friar’s potion; and her despair on discovering that he had taken his life after thinking she had taken hers.
   Ventriglia gives a glimpse of the lovers gazing at each other before the final curtain, leaving the ballet on a more positive note, signalling that they are together in the afterlife. Some members of the opening night audience offered ovations to the cast and to Ventriglia, Acheson, Giorgetti and others. As a ballet that began life in October 2016 while Ventriglia was artistic director, it was a fitting valedictory work.

Twenty-two performances have been scheduled from the première on August 16 till September 24, in Wellington (with Orchestra Wellington), Christchurch (with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra), Auckland (with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra), Rotorua, Dunedin (with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra), Invercargill, Palmerston North, and Napier.
   The season is sponsored by Ryman Healthcare. More information can be found at www.rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Harlem-Cruz Ihaia crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2017


NEWS  by Lucire staff/August 12, 2017/14.04



Alan Raga

Harlem-Cruz Ihaia was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2017 at Skycity Theatre before an international audience in 51 countries, including a national television audience watching live on Bravo TV in New Zealand and a stream right here at Lucire.
   The 19-year-old bilingual kohanga reo teacher from Napier won both the Entrepreneurial Challenge, where she raised more for Variety—the Children’s Charity than any previous entrant, as well as top honours before a judging panel comprised of actress Teuila Blakely (Filthy Rich), music legend Frankie Stevens, make-up guru and cosmetics’ brand owner Samala Robinson, former Miss Universe New Zealand director and current director of the Talent Tree Evana Patterson, boutique PR agency boss Anna Jobsz, and motivational speaker Areena Deshpande.
   Mark Leishman and Holly Pollock (The CafĂ©) MCed the Grand Final, which returned to free-to-air television for the first time in New Zealand in a generation.
   Members of Ms Ihaia’s whānau performed a haka for her after her crowning in honour of her win.
   Speaking with Ms Ihaia after her win, she said she was overwhelmed, saying her victory was unexpected.
   She had entered to break stereotypes of both Māori and of beauty pageants. Her motto is, ‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.’
   Brooke Houia of Auckland was runner-up, and Shekinah delos Santos, also of Auckland, took the second runner-up position.
   Dr Sarah Hensby-Bennett and Holly Waghorn took fourth and fifth positions respectively.
   Performances from the soulful Lavina Williams, new talent RazĂ©, and illusionist AndrĂ© Vegas kept the evening’s entertainment fun and lively as the Top 20 became the Top 10.
   This year’s finalists have helped Miss Universe New Zealand raise over $140,000 for Variety—the Children’s Charity, with many of the finalists sponsoring deserving Kiwi kids.
   International couturier Sidney Eculla flew in from the Philippines to create a collection for the finalists, while the students at Sewtec had the finalists model Pacific Fusion designs, showcasing emerging talent.

Jaguar launches E-Pace by breaking record—David Gandy, Sienna Miller, Winnie Harlow help promote new model


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 13, 2017/22.46



Nick Dimbleby; Antonio Salgado

Jaguar has announced its platform counterpart to the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque, dubbed the E-Pace. The launch at ExCeL London saw the E-Pace enter the Guinness World Record books with a bang.
   Terry Grant, who holds 21 Guinness World Records’ titles, achieved a barrel roll, leaping 15·3 m and 270 degrees, not unlike the famous scene in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
   Unlike the film, Grant did the stunt with a standard, production-line E-Pace.
   Grant had a 160 m run-up to the ramp and experienced 5·5 g during the roll.
   The stunt required extensive computer programming and CAD modelling.
   Grant now holds the record for the furthest barrel roll in a production vehicle.
   Celebrities such as David Gandy, Vicky McClure, Winnie Harlow, Lady Mary Charteris and Jaime Winstone lent their presence to the E-Pace official launch, Sienna Miller was the VIP at a pre-launch event, while Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra performed the Ibiza Classics at the official premiĂšre at ExCeL. Tong collaborated with Raye to perform ‘You Don’t Know Me’ by Jax Jones at the event.
   Jaguar has been mindful to have the E-Pace take its styling cues from the F-type, rather than the larger F-Pace SUV. First, it signals the car’s sporting intent, despite being based on a front-wheel-drive platform. Secondly, it demonstrates that Jaguar, unlike its chief German rivals, is not wedded to a single “face”: a Jaguar is signalled by its proportions and design more than what the grille up front conveys.
   This technique has been employed before: in the 1950s, Jaguar created its 2·4 saloon (later retrospectively named the Mk I) by using styling cues from its successful XK120 sports’ car.
   Inside, the E-Pace has 4G wifi and a large central touchscreen as standard. The retail price begins at ÂŁ28,500, with orders commencing online now for UK customers.


The Jaguar E-Pace Guinness World Record barrel roll by Lucire












Peter Macdiarmid, Nick Dimbleby, Anthony Cullen









David M. Benett


David Gandy at the Jaguar E-Pace launch by Lucire


Winnie Harlow at Jaguar E-Pace launch by Lucire


Terry Grant on barrel-rolling the Jaguar E-Pace by Lucire


Jaguar design boss Ian Callum on the E-Pace by Lucire

Erdem is H&M’s next guest designer—director Baz Luhrmann will helm the film campaign


NEWS  by Lucire staff//16.04


H&M

H&M’s latest designer collaboration is with Erdem—and if that wasn’t big enough news, the Swedish giant has enlisted the visionary Australian director Baz Luhrmann to create the film to promote the new range.
   The two talents are perfectly suited: Erdem, created by the Canadian-born, UK-based Erdem Moralioglu, focuses on the ideas of history and personal narrative, finding him favour aming celebrities including the Duchess of Cambridge, Jessica Alba, and Kate Bosworth, while Luhrmann’s films tell fantastic stories that embody imagination and startling visuals. The new collection, which dĂ©buts on November 2 in selected stores and online at hm.com, promises to have a spectacular kick-off.
   As with his predecessors, Moralioglu will reinterpret his earlier collections for the collaboration and, for the first time, he will create a menswear collection.
   H&M says he will reinterpret his most celebrated prints and textiles for the Erdem × H&M collection.
   â€˜I am so happy to collaborate with H&M, and to explore my work on a whole new scale including a menswear collection which I have never done before. It’s also such a thrill to work with Baz Luhrmann, one of the most important storytellers of our time,’ said Moralioglu.
   â€˜For me, fashion is always about more than just clothing, it is a form of expression—a standalone art form. I am excited to be collaborating with Erdem and H&M to reveal the story of this unique collection,’ said Luhrmann.
   H&M’s creative adviser, Ann-Sofie Johansson, said, ‘From the moment we started talking with Erdem about the collaboration, I was captured by his vision. For Erdem × H&M he has created an enchanting world full of beauty, delicacy and rich details. These are special pieces you will want to wear forever.’


Erdem × H&M teaser, by Baz Luhrmann by Lucire

Pamela Reif and Hunkemöller collaborate on lingerie collection, out August 19


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 11, 2017/23.39




Hunkemöller.co.uk

One of Germany’s top influencers and fashion Instagrammers, Pamela Reif, is Hunkemöller’s new face, collaborating on and promoting its main lingerie line.
   Reif has over three million followers on Instagram, typically sharing in German but occasionally in English.
   The collaboration helps Hunkemöller reach Reif’s younger audience, who follow her for fashion, beauty, travel and fitness content.
   Reif calls her collection ‘young, fresh and still sexy’, and says it ‘plays with a mixture of beautiful fabrics, colours and the latest trends.’ Those fabrics include sheer mesh, velvet and lace, in styles including bodysuits, bralettes, bras and panties. Hunkemöller will also release homeware as part of the collection.
   â€˜Every woman is beautiful. It just takes the right lingerie to emphasise the beauty that you already have.’
   The collection goes on sale on August 19. The current lingerie collection can be found at www.hunkemoller.co.uk.



Hunkemöller.co.uk

In brief: Robbie Williams, Ayda Field Williams, Mads Mikkelsen celebrate Marc O’Polo’s 50th; H&M to open in Wellington


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 7, 2017/14.19




Joerg Koch; Gisela Schober

Marc O’Polo celebrated its 50th anniversary (hashtagged #MOP50 and #MOPxRobbie) at its flagship store on Theatinerstraße in MĂŒnchen, with special guests Robbie Williams, his wife Ayda Field Williams, Mads Mikkelsen, and DJ Marcus Kavka. The four held a panel discussion that was live-streamed via Facebook.
   The Williamses had worked with Marc O’Polo on its Iconic Capsule Collection, and presented the 50th anniversary designs live at the store.
   The collection comprises 20 contemporary–casual pieces, including sweatshirts, a hoody dress and a bomber blouson for women, and a hoody, crew-neck sweater, and tracksuit top for men. Williams’s signature is embroidered on the sleeves, while the women’s sweatshirts feature the words ‘Love my life’ and ‘Come undone’, taken from his song titles.
   Williams has opted for pink for one of the men’s designs. Peter Lindbergh shot the campaign imagery.
   Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has announced that it will open a second New Zealand retail store, in the country’s capital, Wellington. The opening is set for late 2017, and will be located at the Queensgate mall in Lower Hutt. No other details were on hand.
   The first store in the country, at Sylvia Park in Auckland, opened successfully in 2016.







Joerg Koch; Gisela Schober


Robbie Williams and Ayda Field Williams on Marc O’Polo by Lucire


Marc O’Polo celebrates its 50th anniversary by Lucire

Royal New Zealand Ballet promises an ‘epic’ production with Romeo and Juliet, opening August 16


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 6, 2017/21.15



Ross Brown

The most anticipated ballet of the year in New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet, set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev and choreographed by the company’s outgoing artistic director, Francesco Ventriglia, has its world premiĂšre on August 16 in Wellington. The sets and costumes have been designed by three-time Academy Award-winning designer James Acheson (who won for Dangerous Liaisons, The Last Emperor, and Restoration).
   Other talents behind the full-length, three-act ballet are dramaturge Mario Mattia Giorgetti, choreographic assistant Gillian Whittingham, and guest ballet master FrĂ©dĂ©ric Jahn. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s associate conductor Hamish McKeith will conduct orchestras in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland and Dunedin.
   The company’s biggest production of the year, there will be 13 scene changes and over 90 costumes.
   It is Ventriglia’s second full-length ballet for the RNZB, with work beginning in October 2016. His successor, Patricia Barker, has started as the new artistic director as the reins are handed over, noting, ‘It’s a very exciting time to have joined the RNZB—this production promises to be exquisite while it transports us to the heart of Verona. The energy in the studio is captivating. I have enjoyed getting to know the RNZB dancers and I’m looking forward to seeing them inhabit these iconic characters.’
   Ventriglia said, ‘To create a brand new classical ballet of one of the greatest stories and the most beautiful scores is so invigorating. I’m taking great care to respect Shakespeare and Prokofiev’s great works plus drawing inspiration from Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 multi-Academy Award-winning film. I’m also working with a dream team of collaborators and the very talented artists of the RNZB, who I’d like to thank for their incredible work.
   â€˜James Acheson’s magnificent sets make me feel right at home, like I’m in Verona in the height of an Italian summer. All of the costumes are exquisite. We have been very true to the Renaissance period and I know audiences will also be transported to the time and place where our star-crossed lovers meet.’
   The production promises to be ‘epic’, with 22 performances scheduled from August 16 to September 24 in Wellington (with Orchestra Wellington), Christchurch (with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra), Auckland (with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra), Rotorua, Dunedin (with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra), Invercargill, Palmerston North, and Napier.
   The season is sponsored by Ryman Healthcare. More information can be found at www.rnzb.org.nz.

GHD releases limited-edition Pink Blush range to support Breast Cancer Foundation NZ


NEWS  by Lucire staff/July 5, 2017/9.18



GHD has released its limited-edition Pink Blush range to support the Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, on sale both in stores and online from today.
   GHD has raised over A$20 million globally to date in partnership with breast cancer charities around the world.
   Products include the Pink Blush Platinum styler and roll bag (NZ$370, with NZ$20 donated to BCFNZ), the Pink Blush V styler and roll bag (NZ$320, with NZ$20 donated), the Pink Blush Air hair-drier (NZ$250, with NZ$20 donated), and the Pink Blush paddle brush (NZ$39, NZ$2 donated).
   Further information, including more ways to support the initiative, can be found at ghdhair.com/anz/pink. In New Zealand, products can be purchased online at ghdhair.com/nz.

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