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Alana aims to ‘save the high street’, offers fashion retailers an accessible e-commerce platform

Filed by Lucire staff/May 16, 2020/0.12

Recognizing the impact of COVID-19, Alana, a start-up HQed in Cork, Ireland, offers high-street and independent retailers a virtual shop front, with a single check-out, a same-day delivery service and a flat delivery fee of €3·99. The company sees it helping retailers who have already developed a strong e-commerce offering.
   The start-up expects to expand its offering, by partnering with hotels and tour operators.
   The Alana CityStyleBot is powered by artificial intelligence, recommending styles and brands based on each customer’s preferences and tastes. The new partnership is designed to give customers ‘the ultimate city break,’ where they can use the virtual services and have their orders delivered to their hotels, allowing them to enjoy their destinations with style—all while practising social distancing.
   â€˜Alana allows women the luxury of having their own personal stylist at an affordable rate from the click of a button. It is fast, efficient, and affordable. We bring style to your door,’ says Chloe Markham, Alana’s head of fashion.
   Alana’s community manager Simone McCarthy adds, ‘For retailers, it will boost online sales as well as showcasing their offering through the influencers affiliated with Alana. It is especially valuable for small independent boutiques who are not set up for online sales. There are so many independent fashion retailers that are not online and [the] Alana app is a lifeline for them during COVID-19 as there is a ready-made audience eager to keep up-to-date with fashion and indulge in some retail therapy.’




Above, from top: Alana founder Niamh Parker with her daughter Alannah. Alana head of fashion Chloe Markham. Alana community manager Simone McCarthy.

 


Supermodel Naomi Campbell photographs herself for Essence’s 50th anniversary issue

Filed by Lucire staff/May 8, 2020/11.53

It’s by no means the only case of a model doing a shoot herself during lockdown—Lucire KSA’s May 2020 edition has Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Tania Dawson at home with a Playstation in its opening spread—though it is probably the highest-profile, as Naomi Campbell took to doing a series of self-portraits using her Iphone for the 50th anniversary of Essence.
   Campbell, born the same year as the magazine—indeed, the same month—was the ideal choice for the title aimed at black American women. While selfies—even those done with the cellphone camera set to shoot on a timer, and placed in a correct position—will never be a match for having an entire crew, including a professional photographer, stylist, make-up artist and hairstylist, her efforts are still creditable. No doubt having years of experience in front of the camera helped, as well as the high resolutions offered by modern phones.
   The concept was conveyed via Facetime by Essence’s chief content and creative officer MoAna Luu.
   Campbell wears a vintage Chloé dress on the cover—complete with a thick white border, which seems to be a late 2010s–early 2020s graphic design trend—and more images appear in the magazine’s May–June 2020 issue. Part of Lola Ogunnaike’s interview with Campbell appears on Essence’s website.
   It is the first time the supermodel, whose career began in the 1980s, has photographed herself for a magazine cover.

 


Jessica Jung named Revlon’s newest ambassador

Filed by Lucire staff/May 1, 2020/2.44



Jessica Jung (정수연), the American-born Korean pop star, actress and fashion designer, has been named as Revlon’s new ambassador, fronting the company’s campaigns in Asia.
   The K-pop star will appear in Revlon’s global campaigns for Super Lustrous and ColorStay, and new lines such as Total Color permanent hair colour.
   Jung’s campaigns break in spring 2020 across all media platforms. The first released photo from Revlon (top) was shot by Mario Sorrenti.
   â€˜Revlon has always represented the epitome of glamour for me,’ said Jung in a release. ‘As a young girl growing up in San Francisco, I couldn’t help but be dazzled by the bold imagery of iconic women wearing Revlon make-up! To now be part of these legendary Revlon ambassadors is a thrill and an honour.’
   Those she joins include Gal Gadot, Sofia Carson, Ashley Graham, Adwoa Aboah, and Eniola Abioro.
   â€˜We were drawn to Jessica because she is a force of nature, channelling her positive energy and entrepreneurial mindset into achieving her goals and breaking boundaries all along the way,’ said Silvia Galfo, Revlon global brand president. ‘She loves to experiment with beauty and has an unapologetic spirit that helps her transcend convention, perfectly capturing our “Live Boldly” ethos. We’re thrilled to have her as part of the Revlon family.’
   Jung moved to Korea at 11 and was discovered at a South Korean shopping mall with her sister, Krystal. From there she was part of a girl group, Girls’ Generation, which propelled her to fame. She runs her own fashion line, Blanc & Eclare. Jung is multilingual speaking English, Korean and Mandarin.

 


A farewell to God Friended Me

Filed by Jack Yan/April 30, 2020/12.59


Above: Cara Bloom (Violett Beane) and Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) in God Friended Me.

What a pity that CBS’s God Friended Me has ended its run after two seasons. As fans will have read elsewhere, the producers received word that the series would not be renewed as they were making the last episode, during a time when New York was heading into lockdown. Luckily, there was some unused footage shot for the pilot that was always intended to be where the lead character, Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) would wind up, and they brought that forward, used some narration, clips and VFX, and added it to the core story that they already had in the can.
   I became a fan not because I saw any promotion of it here in New Zealand, but in a real round-about way. Violett Beane, who plays Cara Bloom on the show, was pitched to me by her agent many years ago, when she was in The Flash. But it was always tricky to shoot a North American celebrity outside of New York, where a lot of photographers, make-up artists, hairstylists and stylists are based. Some years later, I reached out and was told I was in luck: Violett was now based in New York and everything came together from there.
   Of course, I had to watch the show in order to know what to ask her, and that came in handy later when I interviewed Javicia Leslie, the actress who plays Ali Finer—out of sheer coincidence the two found themselves in consecutive issues of Lucire in New Zealand, though they were over half a dozen issues apart in Lucire KSA. And I must say I was hooked, and also pleasantly surprised that it was renewed for a second season, one that started with location filming in Paris.
   I had high hopes. Obviously the ratings were good enough for a second season, and the producers had enough faith to do some foreign location filming (though I spotted one ‘Paris’ exterior filmed in NYC). Here was a US show with a decent core message—a young man and his friends helping others in need—without a single gun or violent moment, and some compelling storylines.
   The fact an American show I watched was renewed for a second season was a surprise to me, since most that get my attention are cancelled after one. I imagine it’s because my tastes, and the tastes of the fans these shows earn, don’t reflect the majority. Yet go back a few decades, to the 1970s and 1980s, and I was hooked on those series that wound up being massive hits.
   I know US networks watch ratings like hawks these days, and with all the monitoring technology around, they know which shows are doing well out of sheer numbers. And oftentimes, they don’t get a chance when the numbers slip. Overseas sales count for nothing—even if these shows make their money back and even turn a profit, the fact that we foreigners like them doesn’t count for a thing.
   That seems to be the case for God Friended Me: decent enough ratings on telly but an insufficient gain in DVR playback. Viewers in the 18–49 demographic were down 26 per cent and overall the show was down 20 per cent—enough for the axe to swing.
   Sadly, too, it’s cheaper to do unscripted drama, which is what the TV is full of these days. Whenever I channel-surf, there are precious few scripted series—the old saying that there are more channels now with nothing to watch couldn’t be truer. It then becomes all too tempting to put in a DVD from US television’s heyday—Mission: Impossible is my current go-to—and forget terrestrial television altogether.
   Over the years it’s British television that has caught my attention, and I’m happy to watch those dramas. They also have a natural conclusion, either because few episodes were commissioned to begin with, or they are given a chance to wrap up the storylines.
   Of the American shows this side of the millennium, I think of Daybreak with Taye Diggs and Moon Bloodgood; Journeyman with Kevin McKidd and Gretchen Egolf; Flash Forward with Joseph Fiennes; even the US remake of Life on Mars with Jason O’Mara and Harvey Keitel (never mind the ending, I was a fan of the original and wanted more). None of these managed to get past a single season and I keep wondering if they are too high-concept for viewers now accustomed to the fast-food equivalent of television: reality shows.
   The ones I give up on—Lost, for instance, and Manifest, which started around the same time as God Friended Me—seem to go on for a while.
   I didn’t want to see any more Lost when I found out at the beginning of season 2 what was down the hatch. That was the only mystery I wanted solved. And I could see that Manifest wasn’t going to tie up its loose ends any time soon, so at the end of the 16th episode, I bid it adieu. Yet these are high concept, so something must hook viewers with different tastes to me.
   The only 21st-century US series you could say hooked me, at least for a few years, and that has managed to last 10 seasons is the reboot, reimagining, remake or sequel of Hawai‘i Five-O. Officially, the producers say it’s a reimagining but from the first episode that wasn’t very clear. Steve McGarrett Jr (Alex O’Loughlin) has inherited a car from his father, Steve McGarrett Sr, that looks exactly like the one Jack Lord (the original McGarrett) drove in the original series. When Ed Asner guest-starred, there are clips from the original series, and he tells the star that it was his father, McGarrett Sr, who put him away back in the 1970s. So it’s a sequel. But if it was, then how come the younger McGarrett coincidentally has a partner with the same name (‘Danno’) and is joined by another cop with the same name as someone on the force a generation ago (Chin Ho Kelly). I can deal with Kono being played by a woman. Once I couldn’t work it all out, I gave up.
   That aside, Hawai‘i Five-O is the usual cop fare that happens to have incredible locations, and since a lot of US shows are dark (something I just don’t understand—is no one paying the lighting bills?), Hawai‘ian sunshine is a wonderful relief. And it’s not terribly high-concept, either: some minor story arcs here and there but nothing that gets in the way of the crime of the week.
   With hindsight, perhaps God Friended Me strayed from this slightly. There was still the friend suggestion of the week for Miles to help, sure, but season two saw the characters become accustomed to it (‘You know how the God account works’). If the characters themselves recognize the formula in their universe, what’s in it for us? You can have a formula show, yes, but don’t let the characters be aware of the formula themselves. Secondly, for me, the cancer storyline that Javicia’s character faces might cut things too close to home for those of us who have been through a family fight against the condition. For a show that offered some escape, that was a real downer. And when Miles loses interest in discovering who or what is behind the God account, then inevitably we would, too—his progress there was what kept things interesting for me.
   I wish I wasn’t dissecting the second season like this and, instead, looked forward to the show returning after the break. It is, however, disappointing news, and it could again be years until I hear about another US show that I could be interested in. The fact they keep pulling the plug on them makes you want to avoid getting invested. So, anyone know what new series Bharat Nalluri has got his hooks into? I might have to see that.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Anne Klein teams up with founder’s granddaughter in COVID-19 initiative

Filed by Lucire staff/April 20, 2020/15.49

The Anne Klein brand, part of WHP, has teamed up with its founder’s granddaughter, Hello There Collective CEO Jesse Gre Rubinstein, to distribute 100,000 face masks through the company’s supply chain to essential workers and community organizations in the US.
   Rubinstein’s agency, specializing in social media, will launch Annie Klein’s social series, featuring individuals who have made a difference and connected communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rubinstein will host the series on Facebook Live.
   â€˜Uniting the brand Anne Klein with the founder’s family at this critical time and making a commitment to distribute 100,000 masks to those on the frontlines helping our communities, is a win–win,’ said WHP chairman and CEO Yehuda Shmidman, who added that the collaboration was just the beginning.
   â€˜I am honoured to have the opportunity to play a role in supporting my grandmother’s legacy by highlighting inspiring individuals who even during this time of great uncertainty, embody the vision and strength to empower their community and uplift those around them,’ said Rubinstein. ‘My hope is that this initiative serves as the launch of a powerful network that can both support and inspire others to help not only in the present, but as we begin to rebuild.’

 


Twenty years later, Paula Sweet’s website hits the refresh button

Filed by Lucire staff/April 18, 2020/12.53





Above, from top: Paula Sweet at work in Italy. Her mink design, 2019. Black T-shirts, 2020. The Muslin Mink as detailed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

‘Those were my ideas from the first, to create a fashion brand which made people feel happy, feel powerful, and—most importantly—which was accessible to all. My agenda hasn’t changed. Technology is tomorrow’s great enabler. It seems like the perfect moment in history to present my designs to the world once again.’—Paula Sweet

The era of on-demand personalization presents many more options than mass production ever did for a creative force of nature like Paula Sweet. All her original ideas are still abundantly present in new output, found in her watchwords for the 2019–20 season: Joy, Power and Mink. These appear on a limited-edition label and on her revamped website www.paulasweet.com.
   Today, at 71 years old and energy undiminished, Paula Sweet is ready to reintroduce her classic design sensibility to a young generation, as well as her loyal fans. The revamped website enables users to deploy new and vintage Paula Sweet images on T-shirts, tote bags, cups, cellphone covers and pillows. Hidden on the site are other pages devoted to bespoke fashions, illustration, photography, Instagram posts and books created by Paula. A separate zone called ‘The Works’ includes CV, biographical notes, historic photography and a digital catalogue raisonné showing the incredible range of output by the multitalented and multifaceted Paula.
   It’s been years since she last revamped her website, but the iconic American fashion designer Paula Sweet is poised for a relaunch. Today marks the go-live date of the newly-renovated www.paulasweet.com, revived and repackaged for today’s audiences, with interactive product-creation options which reflect the unique style of the woman who four decades ago first created the Muslin Mink.
   The ubiquitous Mink was a fashion phenomenon which took hold of the public imagination in the 1980s and catapulted Paula Sweet’s fashion house, home products and art into the international spotlight. For over two decades the brand was present in top-end department stores and magazine pages, not to mention in the wardrobes and on the backs of the fast and furious, the famous, the fantastic and the down-to-earth. Today a Muslin Mink can be found in the permanent collection at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, while vintage creations enjoy lively trading on Ebay by international collectors and fashionistas.
   What happened? ‘Parenthood, in a word,’ Sweet says. ‘I stopped to raise my daughter and led a more private life. I didn’t quit creating—I kept the old website going, just shuttered my shop in 2000. I never stopped being busy. I took photos, made ceramics, sewed my own clothes, did a lot of travelling and wrote books. These days I mostly live and work in the north of Italy, just outside Venice. What with the coronavirus I felt the time was right to reach out to a digitally-savvy group like my daughter’s.’



Above: Paula Sweet in the 1970s and the 1990s.

 


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