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March 4, 2015

Royal New Zealand Ballet stages an entertaining, memorable Don Quixote

Jack Yan/12.40

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Evan Li


Royal New Zealand Ballet

Top Mayu Tanigaito and Kohei Iwamoto as Kitri and Basilio. Above A Barcelona town square scene as pictured in the programme.

It’s always a pleasure to kick off a Royal New Zealand Ballet season on a high. Don Quixote, which opened at the St James in Wellington tonight, takes the well known ballet, set to the music of Ludwig Minkus, and tweaks it for modern audiences.
   It is a restaging of the 2008 production of Don Quixote by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The choreography by Adrian Burnett, after Marius Petipa, is intact, as are the concept, sets and costumes as conceived by former artistic director Gary Harris, with tiny tweaks to keep audiences entertained (watch for the sailors’ selfie in the third act). Sharon the mechanical dog is still there to delight younger audience members, and the story is particularly easy to follow; while ballet veterans can enjoy the talent of the new dancers, particularly Kohei Iwamoto and Mayu Tanigaito as Basilio and Kitri respectively.
   The design brings the seventeenth-century story, and the nineteenth-century ballet, more firmly into the twentieth century, with Don Quixote donning an aviator’s cap and jacket, bringing his mop with him, taking the place of Rocinante, the horse. There are plenty of Iberian references in the bright costumes and the hairstyles, as well as the choreography, with flourishes in the movement and fans recalling flamenco dances, even if the structure of the ballet remains very Russian.
   The Don’s bedroom and the Barcelona town square contrast each other: the former is packed with books, darkening the set, while the latter is bright and airy, suggesting a seaside location. Nigel Gaynor conducted a faultless Orchestra Wellington.
   John Hull makes for an entertaining Don Quixote, with big shoes to fill—Sir Jon Trimmer delighted audiences in 2008—but it is the remaining roles which confirm a few accepted ideas about performance. The first is that it’s often more delicious playing a villain, as Paul Mathews steps back into the role of Gamache, complete with his pet dog, while Abigail Boyle tonight played Mercedes. This pair gave captivating performances, especially Mathews in each of the three acts; he and Boyle almost upstaged the others in the first scene of the third act, as they returned to Barcelona after robbing the Don. As Gamache gets drunk, Mathews dances accordingly—and it’s often harder to pull that off than performing traditional moves.
   Dulcinea appears briefly in the dream sequence after the robbery takes place, and less is made of her role.
   The second idea is that if you get the subsidiary characters right, the production will feel more fulfilled, and Shane Urton’s performance as the Don’s nephew, Sancho, had a wonderful and intentional naĂŻvetĂ© as he accompanies his uncle on the adventure. Urton stayed in character till the end, and enriched the ballet no end.
   The third idea is that audiences will always welcome a happy-ending love story. Tanigaito already received applause in the first act for a series of fouettĂ©s, but it was her pas de deux with Iwamoto in the third act, and his dramatic catch, where the attention rested firmly again on Basilio and Kitri. With increasing energy on stage from the courting couple, Don Quixote finished on an expected high.
   Don Quixote will continue in Wellington till March 7, before moving to Christchurch for March 11–14, Invercargill for March 18, Dunedin for March 21, Auckland for March 26–9, and Palmerston North for its final performance on April 1. Further information can be found at the RNZB’s website at www.rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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February 24, 2015

Kathryn Wilson launches Baby Wilson, a designer shoe line for babies

Lucire staff/12.53

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Kathryn Wilson, arguably New Zealand’s best known shoe designer, whose first appearance was in Lucire’s pages, has branched out with a babies’ range of footwear, called Baby Wilson.
   Wilson had already extended her core Kathryn Wilson range, with Miss Wilson and the children’s line Little Miss Wilson.
   As a new mother herself, Wilson’s new line for autumn 2015 is a hand-made unisex range for babies aged six to eighteen months, in supple calf leather, with cream, gold and black shades, along with cute polka dots on some designs. The first style, Lola, is a lace-up bootie.
   The new range is now available at Kathryn Wilson retailers, and online at www.kathrynwilson.com.





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February 16, 2015

A hair-drier that lets you get more control: top tips using the new GHD Aura

Lucire staff/23.58

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The GHD Aura is the latest professional hair-drier, with the soft of innovation that we have come to expect from the British company.
   If you’re thinking a hair-drier is just a hair-drier, think again. GHD’s Aura has two patented technologies, called Cool-Wall and Laminair, where you can direct the air flow for greater precision and control.
   Laminair ensures that the hair is more evenly heated at the same temperature, aiding styling and leaving hair smoother and shinier. It also helps align hair in a single direction. Cool-Wall creates a ring of cool air around the hot air, so the casing and nozzle remain cool—allowing you to get the drier closer to the scalp for more volume and root lift.
   It’s received award-winning hairdresser Sara Allsop’s endorsement, as she uses the Aura at her Auckland salon, Dharma. Allsop says the GHD Aura is quieter and more powerful.
   GHD has released two DIY videos showing techniques you can employ to get your hair smooth and polished, or extra, glossy volume.
   Retail price in New Zealand is NZ$300. For stockists in New Zealand, call 0800 880-209 or visit www.ghdhair.com/nz.

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February 8, 2015

Red Carpet Events LA’s 2015 Grammy suites: everyday luxuries get real

Elyse Glickman/22.25

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Elyse Glickman


Red Carpet Events LA

While the products and inventions featured at Grammy pre-award parties tend to focus more on fun and funky in comparison to offerings at Golden Globe, Emmy and Oscar events, leave it to Roger Zamudio and his Red Carpet Events LA to create an experience that is as earthy and real as it is upscale.
   Celebrities on hand included 2015 Grammy nominees Antonique Smith, Adam Ellison, Charlotte Huggins, Jason Rabinowitz, Jo-El Sonnier, Manny Marroquin, Mindi Abair, Stephen Trask, Adam Ellison, Nimrod Antal, the Order, and Palo as well as actors Sean Kanan and Kelly Perine.
   The benefiting charity was the Los Angeles-based African Millennium Foundation (AMF), whose mission is to eliminate and mitigate poverty, hunger and disease in African countries by assisting African women and children with attaining the necessary tools for achieving self-sufficiency. The strategic non-profit and non-governmental organization got word to attendants about their commitment to the social and economic empowerment of African women and their families. It is especially fitting that Ancestry.com was one of the main attractions and sponsors of the Grammy get-together.
   The event returned to the W Hotel Westwood in West Los Angeles, a little bit away from the fray, with a cozy courtyard setting with interesting innovations and inventors from the US, Germany and Canada—many of them affordable. One thing that was most welcome was ice-cold Zico coconut water in natural and chocolate flavours, given a spring-like spike in the temperature. Returning vendors included down-to-earth wellness purveyors Nuwati Herbals and Tikkun Holistic Spa (on hand to show off their expanded line of made-in-LA Karen’s Products by Karen Chae). Even pampered cats and dogs got a little something: savoury snacks from I and Love and You (whose cat treats had Lucire contributor Leyla Messian’s cats standing up and singing for their supper).
   As this was a pre-award show event, there had to be a couture purveyor on hand to dress VIP women. That firm was Clarisse, Inc., whose designs did not skimp on pomp or circumstance. The guys, meanwhile, could bask in the glow of a 641-horsepower McLaren 650S at the door of the W Hotel Westwood. The state-of-the-art supercar—with its brand’s New Zealand heritage—employs motorsports technology and over 50 years of racing know-how to deliver the fastest, most dynamic and most efficient specimen of its kind on the market. Grammy nominees and presenters got a charge out of a speed test drive.
   In contrast, most of the fashion and beauty offerings were quite approachable. Several of them even had their key designers or creators on-site. These included Canada-based costume jewellery line Artizan by Robin Barre, Geek Eyewear by Alena Lehrer, Sweet North Babe handbags and accessories by Yvonne Begemann, and the founders of the Java Coffee Infused Skincare collection, made with coffee as the main ingredient.
   There were also very lavish hair care products from Arganesse and salon line Jonathan Product, which is under new ownership and features a new range of goods. Victoria Duke featured her new make-up setting spray. The crew from Joy and Mario espadrilles were back with a new collection that includes fashion forward high black canvas wedges as well as a seriously cool leopard spot design available in April. Even with that, the stock cleared out quite early in the event.
   Some of the best things at the suite, meanwhile, could be found in the take-home bags, which were closed tightly to ensure we would wait to open them at home. Goodies included a full collection of Hipsy hair bands (which stay in place even temperamental hair textures like mine and Leyla’s), Pretty Woman nail polish and a certificate for a pair of Australia-based Octavia shoes. I was particularly intrigued as I noticed the line was small and quite specific, focused on very traditional New York basic, sling-back pumps and fashion-forward Versailles and Osaka variations with wedge heels.
   Elizabeth Zielinski, creative director and founder, who has worked with Red Carpet Events previously, notes that while celebrities and professional women want styles that complement their individual look, the primary emphasis is on quality materials and comfort, especially with the wedge designs. These are brought to life by a fourth-generation shoemaker family in the countryside of Guangzhou who Zielinsky says demonstrates traditional skill and art form with exquisite attention to detail.
   â€˜Our focus is to celebrate women and share their excitement for life, people and fashion,’ she says. ‘We are very proud supporters of Care Australia, where $5 from every pair of shoes sold from the website goes to supporting social and economic empowerment. Care is an international humanitarian aid organization fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring about lasting change to their communities,’ right in line with the charities Red Carpet Events LA supports.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor




Elyse Glickman



Red Carpet Events LA









Elyse Glickman






Red Carpet Events LA; above right by Elyse Glickman


Red Carpet Events LA

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February 3, 2015

Don Quixote opens the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2015 season

Lucire staff/2.35

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Ross Brown

The Royal New Zealand Ballet opens its 2015 season in March with Don Quixote, marking its first production under the company’s new artistic director Francesco Ventriglia.
   The sets and costumes have been conceived by former artistic director and designer Gary Harris, whose prior work for the RNZB included The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty, with choreography by Adrian Burnett after Marius Petipa.
   This version of the classic ballet, set in Barcelona, was first seen at the end of 2008 and is known as a vibrant, effervescent take, set to the music of Ludwig Minkus, conducted by Nigel Gaynor. Sir Jon Trimmer had the lead role in the earlier production.
   Ventriglia said in a release, ‘I’m very happy that in my first season I can push our young talented dancers to rise to the challenge that this ballet presents to combine brilliant balletic technique with the great acting ability. The dancers have a superb story to tell and they will give it their all.’
   The story follows the ageing Don Quixote and his young nephew Sancho, as they aid the two lovers, the beautiful Kitri and the penniless Basilio, while dealing with the villainous Gamache, and Kitri’s pretentious father.
   Don Quixote opens at the St James Theatre in Wellington on March 4, touring until April 1 to Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Auckland and Palmerston North. More details can be found at www.rnzb.org.nz.
   The following season sees Salute, a collaboration between the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Army Band, and Dwayne Bloomfield, Gareth Farr, Neil Ieremia and Andrew Simmons, commemorating the centenary of World War I.

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January 27, 2015

Stoneleigh hosts pop-up bar for Volvo Ocean Race’s Auckland stopover

Lucire staff/4.16

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From top The Stoneleigh pop-up bar at the Auckland stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race. Scenes at sea over the weekend during the Volvo Ocean Race: from the all-women Team SCA, where Sam Davies and crew sail past a traditional Vietnamese fishing boat; and on board Dongfeng Race Team.

When the Volvo Ocean Race hits Auckland, Stoneleigh will host a pop-up garden bar from February 27 to March 15.
   The bar will be located at Te Wero Island on the Auckland Viaduct, and Stoneleigh will serve its Latitude wines from Marlborough’s Golden Mile, complemented by food from Masu restaurant.
   It will open from 11.30 a.m. to 10 p.m. during this period.
   â€˜We’re thrilled to be associated with such a highly anticipated event,’ said Stoneleigh winemaker, Jamie Marfell. ‘The Auckland stopover of the 2014–15 Volvo Ocean Race is being held in a superb location and we look forward to taking in all of the in-port action.’

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January 22, 2015

Spark to help one Kiwi hopeful into the fashion industry

Lucire staff/13.10

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Above The home page of the Spark My Potential website.

Following on from its Spark Lab Fashion Month announcement, the New Zealand telco will support one New Zealander who wishes to start in the fashion industry.
   The successful applicant, to be announced on February 27 as Fashion Month concludes, will be supported through the crowd-funding initiative, Spark My Potential. They will receive access to coaching, publicity and top-up funding through the Spark Foundation, says the company.
   New Zealanders are invited to apply by emailing fashionmonth@spark.co.nz before February 20, 2015, detailing the project, goal, funding target and timeline.
   â€˜Whether you want to create your own fashion line, you need help entering this year’s Fashion Week, or you want to do something completely outside the square, we’d like to hear from you,’ said Spark GM for Home, Mobile and Business Jason Paris in a release.

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Filed under: fashion, Lucire, New Zealand
January 19, 2015

Scandal in a bottle: the Body Shop breaks conventions with its Red Musk collection

Eleanor Wright/23.56

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The Body Shop’s first official release this year is sure to make its mark on 2015 with the introduction of the scandalous Red Musk collection. A fiery statement to kick-start the New Year will surely shake the foundations of convention and tradition. Following on from the classic 1981 White Musk collection, regarded as the first fragrance with man-made cruelty-free musk, the Body Shop’s latest release is set to challenge conventions by composing a feminine fragrance which men can wear, too.
   The malleability of this scent is immediately captured within the bottle itself. A classically rounded vessel with a minimalist stopper seduces the eye with a gradual blend of tones from black to a zesty red, to a deep orange ending with a clear finish. This visualization perfectly echoes the smouldering scent within. A blend of pepper, cinnamon and tobacco teases the senses with a subtle yet spicy aroma. The pepper immediately adds a sparkling dimension introducing a sensual bite, immediately followed with the sweet yet savoury notes of the cinnamon; finally, the tobacco amplifies a mysterious allure with a smoky finish.
   This suitable combination is unusual for a fragrance specifically for women and, as a result, challenges the tradition of men’s scent as well. The interchangeability of this musk provides a feminine edge whilst soothing the masculinity of the aromas, culminating in a dynamic scent that transcends the traditional label of unisex. The campaign stresses ‘No Flowers, Only Spices’ to emphasize the significance of not merely breaking the rules but making their own.
   This scent has been perfected throughout the collection including a body lotion, fragrance mist and body wash as well as the perfume. The collection will reach stores next week, on January 26. The sensual fragrance makes it the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day and the radical positioning and smouldering scent make it the ideal statement fragrance of 2015.—Elle Wright

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