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May 12, 2016

A Billion Lives has world première in New Zealand, revealing powerful forces aiding the tobacco industry

Jack Yan/11.16


Jack Yan

Above: The team behind A Billion Lives, and Doc Edge organizers Dan Shannon and Alex Lee.

Those of us outside the vaping world have probably looked at e-cigarettes, wondering why on earth these could be better for your health. Or we may have thought they were a fad, since the only people I knew who vaped were tech hipsters, who enjoyed vaping as though it was a matter of course, and nothing to be curious about—thereby keeping their habit a closed shop. But then, perhaps they were tired of repeating themselves, and had settled into being comfortable with their e-cigs.
   A Billion Lives is a documentary that takes a look into this world, but it does so much more. The title refers to the number of people who can be saved if they give up smoking, but there are powerful forces at play to ensure that people don’t. And those forces have ensured that there is misinformation about vaping and the potential for the technology to save lives.
   Filmmaker Aaron Biebert, who directed and narrated the film which had its world première in Wellington as part of the Doc Edge Festival, journeyed to 13 countries on four continents to find similar patterns worldwide: here is a life-saving technology of e-cigarettes, but governments were banning them or fining citizens over their use, ignoring the science and deciding to be complicit with the tobacco industry in keeping people addicted to a harmful product. Instead, governments spend money spreading lies about e-cigarettes, calling them a gateway to cigarettes, or that one could get formaldehyde poisoning, claims that the film demonstrably refutes. E-cigarettes are not completely safe, and the film acknowledges that, but they have proven to be a successful tool to help those giving up smoking, especially where mainstream solutions have failed.
   In his own country, the US, Biebert points out that governments collect far more revenue from cigarette taxation than from several industries combined, and have no real incentive to cut off the flow of dollars. E-cigarettes, which were invented by pharmacist Hon Lik in China, were conceived as a way to give up smoking, and have been successful for 30 million people around the world. A Billion Lives points out that nicotine is not what causes lung cancer, and that the US Surgeon-General has said as much. What are harmful are the tar and 4,000 chemicals in modern cigarettes. It equates nicotine with coffee in terms of addictiveness, and the figure of 95 per cent less harmful than a typical cigarette featured prominently in the film. Vaping essentially allows one to get the pleasure of nicotine without the harm of the tar and toxins.
   Yet as a society, we have come to equate nicotine as being the evil, addictive substance, and that’s no accident.
   This point is made halfway into the film, with a good part of the first section looking into the history of cigarettes (Flintstones sponsor announcements for Winston cigarettes elicited laughs from the audience), and David Goerlitz, the Winston male model from the 1980s, being a particularly effective interviewee, discussing how he went from a smoking advocate earning millions to having a crisis of conscience when his brother developed lung cancer and died. Goerlitz went to the other side, and became a high-profile spokesman who was able to talk in plain language just what governments, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma (which sells patches and gum, and would like to continue doing so) were doing. Health professionals were being marketed to far more than the public, permitting Big Pharma to continue to sell its products, the film notes.
   Biebert was able to get other interviewees at a very high level, including Dr Derek Yach, the former executive director of the World Health Organization, and Dr Delon Human, former president of the World Medical Association, among others, speaking plainly about how lives could be saved through vaping e-cigarettes, a tool which could get smokers to kick their habit.
   Meanwhile, the pro-smoking side was represented through historical clips—you get the feeling that we had only touched the surface of what was out there, with corporations spending thousands of millions to fund biased studies and get on to our airwaves.
   Beautifully shot and scored, this independently funded feature tells a story about our times and just why so many citizens today are wary of their governments and multinational corporations. Those who oppose global trade agreements, for instance, do not do so in isolation—and while A Billion Lives takes no political side, it does tap into the Zeitgeist of our modern suspicion about what is on our airwaves and what are the motives behind it. Like Adam Curtis, whose documentaries seek to explain the complex in simple terms, Biebert has done the same, narrating and directing, although he appears on camera as well when narrative gaps need to be plugged. He is an honest, frank speaker, and gives the film a personal touch.
   Young smokers who tried e-cigarettes were often people who already smoked and saw them as a way to give up their addiction, and most, Biebert pointed out in a post-screening Q&A, were not even using nicotine in their e-cigarettes.
   Yet the state of California, where Biebert is based, spent $75 million telling us about the evils of e-cigarettes, said the director in his Q&A; while in the film, he points out that US federal funds were being illegally used for lobbying activities. The American Lung Association had deceived the public, too, notes Biebert, who told the audience, ‘If you get powerful charities on side, you can do anything.’ The increasing restrictions on e-cigarettes in the US, the subject of federal lawsuits, was equated to ‘Prohibition II’.
   Dr Marewa Glover of End Smoking NZ, who introduced the film at its première, said that young people were using e-cigarettes as a way round peer pressure, when people in their circle smoked.
   However, Australia has already banned e-cigarettes, with one interviewee, Vince, who sold them, telling a story about being raided by authorities and now faces losing his home as he fought the government on principle. He believed firmly he was saving lives. There are massive fines for vaping in Brunei and Hong Kong. There were restrictions in New Zealand, too, noted Glover, although those who sought to misinform were technically in breach of the country’s health legislation.
   Biebert says he is neither a smoker nor a vaper; but all good documentary-makers, he had a commitment to get the right information out there. He acknowledges that vapers have not given themselves the best image, either, and that A Billion Lives can only be one small part of getting the truth out.
   ‘We need to cut the head off the monster,’ said Biebert, ‘and the monster is being funded by big business. We need more than the movie. People need to get the right information.’
   He added, ‘The truth ends up winning. Even condoms were illegal in the US at one time.’
   A Billion Lives will begin making its way to other countries. The website is at abillionlives.com, while the movie’s Instagram is at abillionlivesfilm.—Jack Yan, Publisher


Above: The author (centre) joins Aaron Biebert, director (left) and Jesse Hieb, producer, for a photo.

February 27, 2016

Gala Italia: New York gets a taste of the best Italian wines

Lola Cristall/2.33



The 31st edition of Gala Italia certainly proved to be a lavish, elegant and classy event at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The Italian Wine & Food Institute’s (IWFI) event combines delectable wines with good food amongst enjoyable company. Chef Ashfer Biju and pastry chef Michael Mignano served enticing dishes with appetizing, high-end ingredients, paired with a selection of nine different wines ranging from sparkling to deliciously sweet, each intended to revive the senses. The variety of wines were: 2006 Ferrari, Riserva Lunelli, Trento DOC; 2014 Planeta, Chardonnay, Sicilia IGT; 2013 Tenuta Santa Caterina, Silente delle Marne, Monferrato Bianco DOC; 2011 Marchesi Antinori, Villa Antinori Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva; 2008 Tenute Lunelli, Carapace, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG; 2008 Condè, Sangiovese di Romagna DOC Riserva; 2007 Mezzacorona, NOS Teroldego Rotaliano DOC Riserva; 2012 Bertani, Villa Arvedi, Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena DOCG; and 2011 Sorrentino, Fior di Ginestre, Passito IGT Pompeiano. They provided various tastes for different palates with immensely flavoured textures to accompany the five-course menu, including a cheese platter.
   Ferrari’s Riserva Lunelli, made using a traditional method called metedo classico evoked succulent flavours in one sip. A bouquet of savoury aromas erupted while sipping on delectable Tenute Lunelli’s Carapace, appropriately accompanying a tasty citrus semolina olive oil cake.
   Roma-based Eredi Pisanò’s menswear fashion collection featured a number of pieces as the company toured the Grand Ballroom to introduce guests to sophisticated ensembles. As the intimate crowd continued to indulge in a delectable meal in the midst of this exquisite ambiance, a select few, who had contributed to the victory of Italian wine in the US, were recognized for their work and honoured with an award by the IWFI’s president, Lucio Caputo. Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato (the Serafina Restaurant Group), Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque), Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW (the president of the International Wine Center), Florence Fabricant (a New York Times food writer), John F. Mariani (a food and wine editor and author) and Adam Stru (founder and chairman of wine enthusiast companies), were recognized for their contributions to the wine industry.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor

February 14, 2016

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2016 has three covers: Ronda Rousey, Ashley Graham, Hailey Clauson get the honours

Lucire staff/6.36




James Macari; Frédéric Pinet

In a break with tradition after 52 years, Sports Illustrated has three different Swimsuit Issue covers in 2016—and that means three different cover girls. UFC champion Ronda Rousey, body activist and model Ashley Graham, and SI rookie Hailey Clauson each have a cover for 2016.
   The announcement was made during the live broadcast of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 Revealed, hosted by Nick Cannon and Rebecca Romijn.
   Graham and Clauson were photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos, and Rousey by Frédéric Pinet in the Bahamas, in body paint by Joanne Gair, whose work can be seen in issue 35 of Lucire. Other locations included the Dominican Republic, Tahiti, Malta and Zanzibar.
   The issue goes on sale February 15, coinciding with launches in print, digital, and mobile, and a New York City fan festival. Virtual-reality content is also included through the SI Swimsuit app.
   Clauson said on finding out she had made the cover, ‘I’m shaking and crying. I love it so much because it represents three different strong and beautiful women.’
   Graham said, ‘I’m insanely speechless. I cannot comprehend how I feel right now. This will go down in the books forever. It is a historic moment. Not only is this the first time that I’m in the issue, but I’m on the cover and sharing this honor with two of the most stunning women. This is for all the women who didn’t think they were beautiful because of their size. This is for them.’
   Rousey said, ‘It’s a real honour being part of such a historic issue that really pays homage to different body types of women and not promoting just one cookie-cutter image for every woman, but showing that the healthiest version of every body type is the sexiest version out there. And I couldn’t be happier … I think I was just as honoured to get it as to be there in person to watch Ashley’s reaction.’
   Other models in this issue include Irina Shayk, Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, Rose Bertram, Kate Bock, Hannah Davis, Emily DiDonato, Hannah Ferguson, Gigi Hadid, Erin Heatherton, Samantha Hoopes, Chanel Iman, Bo Krsmanović, Robyn Lawley, Tanya Mityushina, Barbara Palvin, Sofia Resing, Kelly Rohrbach, Chrissy Teigen, Lindsey Vonn and Caroline Wozniacki.
   The TV special also included a performance by Ne-Yo and the presentation of the Jule Campbell Award to former SI model Elle Macpherson.

January 27, 2016

Emanuel Ungaro celebrates 50th anniversary, launches La Diva eau de parfum at Petit Palais

Lucire staff/4.57




Pascal le Segretain

Emanuel Ungaro celebrated its 50th anniversary on Tuesday, with a party at the Petit Palais in Paris, and launched its La Diva perfume to coincide with the occasion.
   Creative director Fausto Puglisi and president Asim Abdullah played host to 600 guests, who were shown a virtual history of the house in images, choreographed and created by Ali Mahdavi and scored by Monarchy, on the wall of the venue. Salvatore Ferragamo Group CEO Michele Norsa introduced La Diva, with the façade of the Petit Palais showing a projection of the new fragrance’s press image, modelled by Charlotte Free. Ferragamo Parfums has licensed the Emanuel Ungaro brand for the fragrance.
   Guests included Suzy Menkes, Kristina Basan, Elodie Frégé, Frédérique Bel, Leila Ndabirabe, Zahia Dehar, Estelle Lefébure, Catherine Baba, Laurie Cholewa, Karole Rocher, Blanca Li, Jin Weng, Bojana Panić, Alexia Niedzielski, Elizabeth von Guthman, Axelle Lafont, Prince Wenzeslaus of Liechtenstein, Lola le Lann, César Domboy, Richard Orlanski, Frédéric Taddei, Ariel Wizman, Nicolas and Alexandre Lestrat, Kyle Eastwood, Kamel Ouali, Aure Atika, Isabelle Funaro, Amanda Sthers, Fausto Puglisi, Ali Mahdavi, Benjamin Belin, Manu Katché, Frédérique Lopez, and Sofiia Manousha.
   Musical trio LEJ (Lucie, Elisa and Juliette) performed live at the Petit Palais, while Marie-Amélie Seigner took over with her DJ set as guests danced till late into the evening.
   The fragrance goes on sale in March, as eaux de parfum in 30, 50 and 100 ml sizes, priced from €39 to €69. The fragrance has top notes of pear and raspberry, midnotes of pink peppercorn, basenotes of honey and vanilla, with a floral heart, enriched with notes of patchouli. Firmenich’s Marie Salamagne created the scent.

















Pascal le Segretain


























Victor Boyko

September 23, 2015

Tommy Hilfiger and Jeffrey Deitch host Rock Style exhibition launch in London

Alex Barrow/3.42




Darren Gerrish

On Monday, the Rock Style exhibition’s official opening was celebrated at Sotheby’s S2 gallery in London. Hosted and curated by famous fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, the exhibition celebrates the innovative connection between music and fashion, as examined in Tommy Hilfiger and Anthony De Curtis’ book, Rock Style, written in 2000.
   Hilfiger himself has been a notable figure of fashion for 30 years and has dressed celebrities such as Lily Aldridge, Zooey Deschanel, Snoop Dogg and Naomi Campbell. Although he no longer runs the company, Hilfiger is still heavily involved in the fashion industry. De Curtis complements him perfectly with his music-critic background, writing for publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times and Relix, making them the perfect duo to have written the book Rock Style.
   The show exhibits numerous photographs of rockers over the years, as well as paintings of idols such as Deborah Harry, Joey Ramone, Sid Vicious and George Harrison done by street artist and graphic designer Shepard Fairey. The exhibition emphasizes the nature of fashion, music and identity, and how the three collaborate to create the worlds that these stars lived in. The very essence of nostalgia and fashion experimentation is captured in the large images, ones that depict the unique identity of each performer. The iconic leathers and studs of Sid Vicious, the radical prints and colours of Jimi Hendrix, and the very photogenic nature of David Bowie, is captured in these prints. In creating a visual exhibition, the show brings the book to life and provides a sentiment and fond memory of the rock star idols of the ’50s through to today.
   Notable attendees of the Rock Style exhibition launch included Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, Melissa Odabash, Harrods fashion director Helen David, editor of British GQ Dylan Jones, Sir Philip Green, Bob Gruen, Gered Mankowitz, Tim Jeffries, Fru Tholstrup, Justine Picardie, Katie Martin, Tamara Beckwith, Melissa Odabash, Don Letts, Caroline Rush, Stephen Webster, Mark Quinn, Henry Hudson, Philip Colbert, Steve Varsano, Lisa Tchenguiz, and Jaye Kamel, as well as other artists and socialites.—Alex Barrow













Darren Gerrish

September 11, 2015

New York Fashion Week spring–summer 2016, Day 2 videos: Givenchy, Jason Wu, Betsey Johnson, Nicole Miller, Zang Toi

Alex Barrow/23.14

Givenchy captures the trademark flair that has been evident through previous years of work. At this year’s spring–summer 2016 fashion show, inspiration for the collection was drawn from the delicate mystery of nightwear. Black and white silks with laced camisole-like features were teamed with heavy thick robes to capture the essence of the evening. As the collection developed, the styles took a radical turn towards elaborate, exotic pieces teamed with equally exaggerated headdresses, typical of Givenchy models. In menswear, heavy suits were contrasted with unusual cropped cutout shirts. Throughout the show the black and white them resonated.
   Jason Wu’s collection seems to lack any direct channel of inspiration with different fabrics and styles in his spring–summer 2016 collection. With a noticeable colour palette of red and teal, Wu’s collection experiments with chiffon, lace, tulle, knits, silks and leathers to create a wide appealing æsthetic collection. With the occasional collaboration of contrasting fabrics in one outfit, Wu’s abilities are no doubt in good form for this year’s fashion week.
   Betsey Johnson’s collection is in a complete league of its own, with its kooky carnival meets punks meets rainbow radical appeal. Elaborate tulle dresses with colour-popping accessories and contrasting patterns make up the collection. Johnson’s vision is clearly one of playing with fashion and testing the boundaries.
   Other designers which showed their collections on Day 2 included Zimmerman, Wes Gordon, Kate Spade, Custo Barcelona, Yigal Azrouël, Pamella Roland, Nicole Miller, CG, Zang Toi, Idan Cohen, Karigam, and Kye.—Alex Barrow

Givenchy

Jason Wu

Betsey Johnson

Idan Cohen

Karigam

Kye

Nicole Miller

Zang Toi

September 10, 2015

New York Fashion Week spring–summer 2016, Day 1 videos: BCBG, Erin Fetherston, Tadashi Shoji

Alex Barrow/23.16

BCBG Max Azria presented their collection on Day 1 of New York Fashion Week with a hippy flair of contrasting textures, colours, and prints. With a trending theme of bucket hats and chunky leg warmers, teamed with clashing layers of various clothes, the disheveled look was surprisingly effective.
   Erin Fetherston’s collection encompassed the epitome of romance and femininity. With floaty fabrics and pastel hues, as well as downplayed bohemian patterns, the collection played with the romance of ’40s fashion and the flower power of the ’60s and ’70s. The overarching tone however suggested innocence, playfulness and romance.
   Tadashi Shoji’s designs, too, place heavy emphasis on the beauty of floaty fabric. This collection focuses on the fabrics rather than necessarily on the shape of those wearing them. Embroidered silks, textured fabrics and long floral feature gowns are dominant in the collection. Romantic long pastel pieces tend to be a focus point, made ever more beautiful by the minimal styled hair and natural make-up of the models.
   Other designers which presented their collections on Day 1 were Tome, Desigual, Nicholas K, Ohne Titel and Kids Rock.—Alex Barrow

BCBG

Erin Fetherston

Tadashi Shoji

Tome

Desigual

Nicholas K

Ohne Titel

Kids Rock

August 18, 2015

Fan Phenomena: James Bond gives 007 fans more; while Sugoi invites you to the world of Bill Murray

Jack Yan/12.09

In the year of a new James Bond movie, many books emerge. Invariably, there’ll be one on the films themselves, taking readers through the 50-plus years of the Eon Productions’ series, and, if it’s very comprehensive, the 1950s CBS TV version of Casino Royale, the 1967 spoof of the same name, and Never Say Never Again will rate more than a mention. There’ll be something about Ian Fleming, and another book on one aspect of the Bond world (gadgets, stunts, music, or something else). Seasoned Bond fans will think the circus is in town again, because the new book about the films adds little to their existing knowledge.
   Claire Hines’s Fan Phenomena: James Bond, from Intellect Books (£15·50, US$22, releasing November 15), is something different altogether: Bond from an academic and completely cultural viewpoint. Intellect is famous for its titles on popular culture and creative practice, with a rigorous academic bent, and Fan Phenomena: James Bond continues the series but takes the reader into the world of Ian Fleming’s super-spy.
   Hines serves as editor, and there are 11 very distinct contributions to her volume, dealing with everything from canonicity to 007’s appearance as ‘Ladykiller Jimmy’ in Alan Moore’s comics; Bond as a cult brand and cultural phenomenon to the clothes he wears; from the James Bond films through a feminist viewpoint to analyses of his masculinity and identity. Interspersed between these are four ‘Fan Appreciation’ sections, featuring an interview with über-fan and former Bond novel continuation author Raymond Benson, artist and collector Peter Lorenz, 007 Museum owner James Bond (who had his name legally changed by deed poll) and cross-players CousinCecily and Winter.
   Even the most seasoned Bond fan might not have considered the impact of the character, books and films, and the book fulfils a very important role: it gives them something new. William Proctor’s analysis of continuity gets the book off to a healthy start after Hines’s introduction, though typographically it suffers: the type is inexplicably small, though the layout is modern and the visuals help lift things. Getting Raymond Benson in there early on also helps position Fan Phenomena: James Bond as a book for the cognoscenti as well as those who want an academic examination, and Benson reveals a little more behind the scenes of his years as the official continuation author.
   Matthew Freeman, in considering the many media in which Bond occupies, including the gaming world, shows just how the phenomenon breaks the established rules and succeeds, while Jesús Jiménez-Varea and Antonio Pineda’s chapter on Moore’s comics is bound to take many fans into uncharted territory. Joshua Wille’s chapter on fan edits does the same: while many know about ABC-TV’s cutting of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service when it aired on US TV, but there are numerous fan edits made in the digital era that had this author hunting the forums.
   Artist Peter Lorenz’s Bond film posters are stunning and present a nice visual break before Lucy Bolton’s chapter analysing the phenomenology of Bond. Bolton’s piece is perhaps closest to those Bond “collectable” books that come out with the films as she analysed the films from Dr No to Skyfall, and fans may have their own interpretations of their cultural significance through the years. Editor Hines’s own chapter looks at Bond as cult brand, and is fascinating in her study of the 1960s Eon films. Hines reconciles how cult and mainstream come together with the Bond series, successfully. Lisa Funnell gives Bond a feminist slant and the enjoyment she derives as an assistant professor teaching women’s studies.
   Stephanie Jones looks at the Bond lifestyle but primarily through the analysis of one work, The Complete James Bond Lifestyle Seminar, which she reveals is relatively light on Bond references, leading to a less satisfying chapter—though it could hardly be blamed on Jones. Llewella Burton’s chapter on Bond and fashion, and how it became a style through the rise of merchandising as the movies became blockbusters with Goldfinger is punctuated by photos from Galeries Lafayette as it opened a James Bond boutique in 1965, again gold dust for Bond fans. Karen Brooks’s and Lisa Hill’s chapter analyses the new and old masculinities through the three Daniel Craig films of 2006, 2008 and 2012.
   Crossplayers CousinCecily and Winter talk about their love of James Bond and Q, leading neatly on the final chapter by Elizabeth J. Nielsen, which deals with Bond’s homoerotic moments and subtexts. She traces them to Fleming himself in the torture scene in Casino Royale, before covering the flirting between Bond and the new Q in Skyfall, which itself has a phenomenon, attracting both women and the LGBTQ community.
   This is a volume for the intelligent Bond fan, someone who appreciates learning about the impact of Ian Fleming’s creation. Of course the films are covered more, as it was through them that Bond became a global phenomenon. The reader walks away having been better informed: this is not a Bond book for the light reader who wants reassurance of the facts they already know, but one which gives them something more satisfying to consider.




Top A scene from What About Bob?, by Jon Boam. Centre Lost in Translation, by Grace Danico. Above Lost in Translation, by Henry Kaye.

On a briefer note, but still tied with film, Sugoi Books has released an A5 book called Cook Your Own Food: a Bill Murray Scratch and Sniff, retailing at £6. There are 20 pp., with 10 smells, with some stunning illustrations, with artists reinterpreting key moments from Murray’s films, focusing on his culinary habits. ‘Scratch the smelly pads at the top right and enter the world of Bill Murray,’ the publisher asks, and you are spoiled with scenes from Lost in Translation, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, What About Bob?, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and others. For £6, the illustrations are so good it doesn’t even matter if you have a poor sense of smell.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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