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May 1, 2016

New fashion retail locations: Swarovski in Covent Garden, and Sills & Co. in Wellington

Lucire staff/13.29

Swarovski will open on May 7 in St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden.
   The new 141 m² store will be situated on Long Acre alongside Barbour, L. K. Bennett and COS, and will stock the company’s jewellery and watches.
   ‘We are delighted to be opening our Swarovski boutique in St Martin’s Courtyard. By positioning ourselves at the heart of one of London’s key shopping scenes, our unique store concept and beautiful displays will hopefully inspire and introduce a new set of fashionable customers to the Swarovski brand,’ said Hayley Quinn of Swarovski UK and Ireland.
   Meanwhile, last month, Sills & Co. opened its flagship store in Wellington’s Old Bank Arcade, with its labels Caroline Sills, Sills and Isaac & Lulu.
   The newest label of the three, Isaac & Lulu, is a more fashion-forward brand, named for head designer Ange Todd’s daughter Lulu and Caroline Sills’ grandson Isaac, and is described as being feminine and youthful.


April 21, 2016

Renault releases first details of Koleos II, its most upscale SUV yet

Jack Yan/13.11

We had anticipated this announcement since Salvatore Marti, operations’ manager of Renault New Zealand, told us to wait till April 21 to see photographs of the Koleos II, the company’s latest SUV.
   He never said Renault Maxthon, which was the name bandied about by the media for part of 2016. There’s a logic to having another name with a hard k sound at the start, tying in to Captur and Kadjar, Renault’s other own-brand SUVs.
   We had been concerned that the new Koleos wouldn’t match the Kadjar in looks, since the current model was conceived by Samsung of Korea, one of Renault’s subsidiaries, and never had the flair of some of its rivals.
   Marti assured us that we shouldn’t worry, and he was right: Koleos, which has the same 2,705 mm wheelbase as the Nissan X-Trail, is arguably better looking than the Kadjar. It’s also slightly bigger, in the same way the X-Trail is bigger than its sister car, the Nissan Qashqai, by the same amount. Both sets of Renault’s and Nissan’s SUVs are on Renault’s CMF–C/D platform.
   However, the Koleos will only be a five-seater, with Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker saying that the company was already catering to the seven-seat market with its Scénic IV and Espace V.
   The grille is similar to that of the international (as opposed to the Chinese-market) Renault Talisman, which had been fêted as the Most Beautiful Car of the Year by the Festival Automobile International in Paris. It also ties in to the look of the Renault Mégane IV. It appears that Renault is looking to target more upscale buyers with the Koleos.
   The Koleos II is one of the débutantes at the Beijing Motor Show next week, with CEO Carlos Ghosn officially unveiling it on the 25th. It will be built in Wuhan for the Chinese market, but no announcement has been made on where other countries’ Koleoses will be sourced from. Chinese buyers will get 2·0- and 2·5-litre petrol models, with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
   The Koleos II will be sold in New Zealand, but the Kadjar will not, said Marti.—Jack Yan, Publisher

April 20, 2016

Get in NOW for Footnote: four entertaining dances, representing our times

Jack Yan/14.06


Courtesy Footnote

Footnote New Zealand Dance’s NOW 2016 (New Original Work) programme, which hit Wellington tonight after performances in Auckland, presents four original works by New Zealand choreographers Julia Harvie, Sarah Knox, Lucy Marinkovich and Jessie McCall. It’s a particularly enjoyable programme, mixing meanings, humour and, in the case of Elephant Skin, a lot of balloons.
   Each performance begins with a voice recording that sets the stage for the dance that follows, although viewers are still invited to make their own interpretations.
   Centerfolds (sic) begins with a humorous look at gender stereotyping, with the company’s male and female dancers wearing masks with a bun and dresses, signalling that we often take these cues and make automatic assumptions about a strict male–female duality. Marinkovich looks at roles such as waitress, housewife, heroine, songstress, supermodel, and others, questioning our conditioning; and while not every role appears as costumed characters, they are represented through the varied music choices. Masks play a part throughout, along with multiple costume changes, ensuring that Centerfolds never drags for a moment.
   Your Own Personal Exister is one of our favourites, as it examines not only existentialism but its opposite, inauthenticity. McCall does this with the notion of how, at a children’s birthday party, we feel the centre of attention when we wear our paper “crown”, but what if that crown was never removed? It’s an allegory of the selfie era, the “look at me” validation some seek. Three of McCall’s dancers don crowns, but one doesn’t, although he is unaware of this till some way into the performance. Yet this need consumes him eventually, and he joins the inauthenticity of the others.
   One of the regular techniques here had dancers opening their mouths facing upwards while recorded voices played, which worked particularly well, and the voiceover was poignant at the conclusion of the performance (which we won’t spoil here). And what happens when that crown is removed, where does that leave us? Despite the smaller number of Footnote dancers involved, this was a particularly powerful work that was danced beautifully.
   Elephant Skin takes a humorous look with balloons landing on stage at random points, sound effects creating more laughs, and a particularly brave dancer blowing up a balloon till it popped. Harvie explained in a post-show forum that she wanted freshness and tension in the performance, because as humans, we are problem-solvers, and the dance, too, should solve the problem of the randomly placed balloons. There was, of course, an overall structure which the dancers worked around, and one scene where white balloons stood in for clouds as one performer floated across the stage, before the others began popping the cloud around her.
   Harvie also noted that she has a fascination with balloons and that they have a human element to them.
   Disarming Dissent is the most energetic of the four in terms of getting the dancers to generate forceful movements, and by this time one is marvelling at their stamina. Rowan Pearce’s music reached crescendos twice as the energy built up. Dance, exercise and martial arts combine here as Knox talks about the fight we have against the system, but then how we pacify ourselves, drawn back by either that very system or our own impulses.
   The Wellington première at Te Whaea had a unique forum at the end which featured the dancers, Harvie, general manager Richard Aindow as host, and artistic liaison Anita Hunziker.
   The Auckland performances have been (April 15–16), Wellington has one more night (21st, at Te Whaea), Dunedin is on April 28 at Mayfair Theatre, and those in Invercargill will see NOW 2016 on May 1 at Centrestage during the Southland Festival. For tickets and information, head to footnote.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

New Zealand gets first Renault Zoé glimpse at Leading the Charge event in Wellington

Jack Yan/6.13



New Zealanders got their first look at the Renault Zoé last Friday at the Leading the Charge event in Wellington.
   The electric car, which has been a standard-bearer for the French company’s zero-emissions ambitions alongside its Twizy single-passenger commuter, arrived in the country only that week in right-hand drive form and made its way to the event at the CQ Hotel in Wellington.
   The Zoé posed alongside the Tesla Model S and the BMW i3, which is the subject of an upcoming comprehensive Lucire road test.
   Leading the Charge is a real-world north-to-south road trip from Cape Reinga to Bluff, New Zealand to educate people about zero-carbon motoring, to prove that it is indeed possible, even in a country like New Zealand where major cities are scattered around the landscape, with rural roads linking them.
   Better NZ Trust and EECA are behind the drive, and for Wellingtonians, guest speaker Steve West was on hand to talk about his venture, Charge Net NZ, which aims to have 100 fast-charge stations located nationally.
   Instead of the nightly charge of a car via the mains, which can take all night, these fast chargers pump electricity through in less than half an hour, making the electric car particularly viable. Presently, owners of electric cars pay no road tax.
   In New Zealand, where electricity is in part sourced from hydro sources, electric cars make environmental sense overall.
   Host CQ Hotels had installed eight electric car charging stations in its car park, as part of its social responsibility to the environment.
   The cars have made their way now to the South Island. You can follow @leadingthecharge on Instagram for the latest updates.—Jack Yan, Publisher







April 13, 2016

The Body Shop’s British Rose body care and make-up an ideal line for Mothers’ Day

Lucire staff/14.57


The rose is often associated with England, and the Body Shop’s new range plays on that—though to be inclusive, it’s dubbed the British Rose range, with a full line of body care and cosmetics that plays on the love of a rosy scent.
   The roses are grown in Herefordshire, without the use of chemicals. The whole process respects the biodiversity of the area and the balance of nature, providing a home for the mammals and insects, especially bees, there.
   We’ve sampled the Instant Glow body butter (NZ$36·95), which is silky smooth to apply, and quickly absorbed to start doing its job. There’s no stickiness, and has promises 24 hours’ moisturizing. We love the scent, which is more noticeable in the container, and subtler after application.
   The second Instant Glow product we’ve tested, the Body Essence (NZ$45), is a body lotion that’s light, also quickly absorbed, feels nice on the skin, and gives it a subtle shimmer. The shower gel (NZ$16·50) is soap-free and the scent is more noticeable—which makes the showering experience quite a delight!
   There’s also an eau de toilette (NZ$39·95), bath foam (NZ$29·95), hand cream (NZ$23·95) and exfoliating soap (NZ$15) which we didn’t test.
   In the make-up range, the Body Shop offers nine shades for the British Rose Lip & Cheek Stains. We checked out Pink Hibiscus and Deep Berry, both of which give 12 hours of hydration with a blend of Community Trade honey and organic alœ vera, retailing at NZ$35·50 each. They are gorgeous shades that suit different skin tones, and are right on trend. There’s only a single shade for the British Rose nail colour—a mid-pink—giving a nice finish for only NZ$12·95.
   The remaining item in the range which we didn’t check out is the eye and cheek palette, retailing for NZ$59·50, with a variety of shades suiting casual and formal looks.
   For Mothers’ Day, the Body Shop has three gift packs: the British Rose Treats at NZ$30, with the shower gel, body butter and a Mini Bath, in Lily in Pink; the Essential Gift Collection (NZ$82), with the shower gel, vitamin E moisture cream, body butter and hand cream; and the Deluxe Gift Collection (NZ$152), with shower gel, vitamin E moisture cream, body butter, Body Essence and eau de toilette.
   The British Rose range hits stores in New Zealand on April 18.





April 8, 2016

Kourtney Kardashian announces she’s the new Manuka Doctor ambassador

Lucire staff/0.20

Kourtney Kardashian has inked a deal to represent Manuka Doctor, with the mother-of-three taking to Instagram to make the announcement, accompanied by a photograph of her topless and wearing gold make-up.
   A video from Manuka Doctor shows off its products along with Kardashian, who says she had been using manuka honey for years. She had posted Manuka Doctor via her own app, and says that the company reached out to her to be a spokeswoman.
   ‘When we heard that Kourtney was a fan of our products and a believer in our brand philosophy and approach, we knew that she was the ideal choice for our global ambassador,’ said Manuka Doctor’s Claire Perry. ‘Her track record of believing in natural products that are backed by science, along with her position as a pop culture icon and committed Mom, makes her incredibly relatable to our consumers worldwide.’
   Kardashian calls the tie-up ‘a super, organic, perfect fit.’
   She is known for using natural products, with her personal website focusing on eco-friendly products.
   The deal is for two years, starting April 2016.
   Auckland-based Manuka Doctor sources its manuka honey from New Zealand and is sold through 12,000 stores globally. Its line is 100 per cent bee-friendly. It was first featured in Lucire in 2012.

A video posted by Manuka Doctor (@manukadr) on

April 5, 2016

Royal New Zealand Ballet announces world première of The Wizard of Oz

Lucire staff/12.08


Ross Brown

The Royal New Zealand Ballet released more news about its much-anticipated première this year of The Wizard of Oz, conceived by its artistic director Francesco Ventriglia.
   Based on the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum, the ballet will be in two acts and will stay true to the source material.
   It began its life in Firenze in 2013 as a one-act ballet but was never performed. Ventriglia took the opportunity to re-create it for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, with the music of French pianist and composer Francis Poulenc. Poulenc’s style is melodical, with the production using the music from his jazz age, earlier in his career. Ventriglia says the score is ‘a greatest hits of Poulenc,’ compiled by RNZB pianist Michael Pansters.
   Said Ventriglia in a release, ‘This story is very close to my heart. I loved it as a child and feel that it holds many truths that are too easily forgotten or overlooked in adulthood. I’m delighted to choreograph this ballet for my New Zealand dancers and to have its world première in New Zealand—my new home.’
   He added, ‘Each character has their own dance vocabulary—classical pointe work, barefooted contemporary ballet, and even some ruby slipper tap dancing.’
   Sets and costumes were designed by Gianluca Falaschi in Italy. Ventriglia said, ‘There’s tutus for the porcelain world, Munchkins in 1930s-style bathing suits, bare-chested flying monkeys, butterfly-gowned Good Witch, exaggerated bustle and black corset for the Wicked Witch and of course loads of green sequins, red glitter and gingham.’
   The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Wizard of Oz kicks off in Wellington on May 4, and will visit nine centres around New Zealand: Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Blenheim, Rotorua, Auckland, Palmerston North, and Napier. Further information can be found at the Royal New Zealand Ballet website, www.rnzb.org.nz.

March 14, 2016

Jaguar launches XF in style in New Zealand with Murray Crane and Crane Brothers event

Lucire staff/0.56



Arguably, Jaguar launches with more style in New Zealand than in other countries, thanks to its collaboration with its ambassador Murray Crane, and his menswear label Crane Brothers.
   The second-generation XF launch last Thursday saw not just drinks and canapés, but the release of Crane Brothers’ autumn–winter 2016 collection.
   Held at Crane Brothers’ Auckland central store on High Street, the launch event included the release of a limited-edition Jaguar × Crane Brothers tie collection and an XF chauffeur–test drive service for Crane Brothers customers.
   The tie collection features seven styles in wool, silk and cashmere, featuring British tweed and Donegal tweed, tying in to the Britishness and modernity of the Jaguar brand.
   The chauffeur and test drive service will take Crane Brothers customers from their door (limited to Auckland inner-city locations) to the High Street store, running from today (Monday, March 14) to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, where they can get a taste of the new XF.
   Jaguar has enjoyed a record-breaking sales’ month at the beginning of 2016 in New Zealand, and the XF is expected to build on the success the company has found with its new XE, F-type and XJ.
   The new XF X251 series is a departure from its predecessor, using an aluminium-intensive architecture inspired by the larger XJ. As noted in Lucire last year, Jaguar cites carbon dioxide emissions of 104 g/km for its most economical XF in the UK. The weight saving means that the new XF is cleaner, and Jaguar claims it is 80 kg lighter than the competition, using the base model for comparison. In terms of environmental impact, Jaguar Land Rover uses a form of aluminium alloy called RC5754, which is predominantly made from recycled material, for its pressings.







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