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BRM Chronographes announces limited-edition, hand-made Martini Racing chronographs


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 23, 2017/11.52


Despite most brands announcing smart watches, one company remains true to traditional hand manufacture, emphasizing quality.
   BRM Chronographes, which machines and assembles its exclusive watches by hand in Vexin, France, has announced two limited-edition watches in partnership with Martini Racing.
   The two watches bear the famous Martini Racing blue and red stripes, as well as detailing from the car world, namely perforated hands, piston pushers and straps with holes. The crown, on the 44 mm stainless steel case, has a Martini Racing logo. BRM Chronographes will only make 150 of each type, one with a white dial and strap, the other with navy blue.
   BRM eschews mass manufacture, and makes only 2,000 watches per year.
   The timeless designs will be released in June 2017, and retail at €7,200.

A grand Petit double bill: Royal New Zealand Ballet performs Carmen and L’Arlésienne


NEWS  by Jack Yan/March 22, 2017/13.15




Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Joseph Skelton as Don José and Natalya Kusch as Carmen in Carmen. Yuri Marques, with Shaun James Kelly as Frédêric and Madeleine Graham as Vivette in L’Arlésienne. Madeleine Graham as Vivette and Shaun James Kelly as Frédêri in L’Arlésienne.

What a treat to see two of Roland Petit’s ballets—L’Arlésienne and Carmen—performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, faithfully executing two of the late Parisian maestro’s works, staged by the Roland Petit Trust’s Luigi Bonino.
   They are particularly close to RNZB artistic director Francesco Ventriglia’s heart, having worked with Petit himself and having danced the role of the Toreador in Carmen in Milano and New York after the maestro cast him. ‘Maestro Petit was the first to trust me as an artist, and it was a turning point,’ writes Ventriglia in the notes to the season’s performances.
   Both are passionate ballets, but perhaps more so tonight as the RNZB returned home to Wellington to perform them for the first time, dedicated to their late senior costumier, Andrew Pfeiffer, who passed away March 3 after three decades’ service to the company.
   Ventriglia, accompanied by RNZB executive director Frances Turner, made the announcement on stage before the curtain went up.
   When it did, we were taken into Provence with the first ballet, L’Arlésienne. It’s the briefer of the two ballets (and receives a lower billing in RNZB publicity: it’s Carmen with L’Arlésienne) but particularly intense, exploring themes of dreams, isolation and solitude. The ballet draws from Provençal folk music and costumes—costumier Christine Laurent gives black shawls to the women and vests with a red sash to the men—and the pas de deux between Frédéri (Shaun James Kelly) and Vivette (Madeleine Graham) is tinged with intensity and tragedy. Frédéri’s descent into madness through his obsession with the unseen Girl from Arles is well portrayed by Kelly, especially his solo at the end as he tries hard to break through his mental turmoil—for a finalé it’s particularly powerful and Kelly builds to it and carries it. Graham’s Vivette tries in vain to save him with emotions showing in her light and flowing dance and her expressions. It’s a tragic end for a man who refused to conform and who allows his obsession to dominate him.
   The ballet is characterized by the small steps from folk dance, contrasting Frédéri’s wilder, grander contemporary moves as he tries to break from the rigidness of Provençal society; while simple sets by Réné Allio keep the focus on the leads, from a canvas cloth with an abstract landscape to the final window.
   That simplicity is in contrast to the rich and somewhat sinister reds in the first two scenes in Carmen: the tobacco factory exterior that opens the second ballet sees a giant wooden frame and hanging laundry as the full cast performs; the tavern scene has a touch of surrealism with the barren frames of the wooden chairs adding to the spectacle. There’s fake cigarette smoke emanating from the stage (the scene calls for dancers to light up). Here it’s the late Antoni Clavé’s costume and set design at work, the women in bodices with zig-zag lines. Among this we first meet Carmen, played to perfection tonight by RNZB’s Ukrainian-born, Wien-trained guest artist Natalya Kusch, a powerful ballerina in total control of her craft. Her Carmen oozed defiance, with her cropped hair and short black dress. It’s the company’s ability to attract international talent that adds to its world-class performances, and Kusch’s Carmen was a veritable femme fatale, her en pointe moves emphasizing her prowess.
   After Carmen and Don José (Joseph Skelton) spend the night together, their pas de deux was particularly sensual—watch for one explicit move where Skelton arches his back and Kusch lays and rubs on top of him—and hinted at the peril ahead. Skelton’s tense portrayal as he stabs the victim drew you more deeply into the ballet, while his final confrontation with Carmen is powerful and tragic.
   Carmen is the grander of the two, and a spectacular note to finish on. With the relatively short run time, it packs a great deal in, making it more concentrated than the Rio de Janeiro-set version performed by the RNZB in 2010, a full-length ballet by Didy Veldman.
   The Two Ballets by Roland Petit, Carmen with L’Arlésienne, continue till April 1, with four more performances in Wellington (from March 23 to 25) before moving to Auckland (March 29 to April 1). Further details are available at the RNZB’s website.—Jack Yan, Publisher



Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Massimo Margaria as Chief Bandit, Joseph Skelton as Don José and Natalya Kusch as Carmen in Carmen. RNZB dancers with Joseph Skelton as Don José in Carmen.

Converse celebrates 100 years of the Chuck Taylor All Star with a series of films


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 16, 2017/11.23





Above, from top: The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star. The All Star ’70, evoking the decade of big lapels and platform shoes. The Chuck Taylor All Star II. In black, the lightweight Chuck Taylor All Star Modern.

Converse, which began in 1908, has been making the All Star shoe, later the Chuck Taylor shoe, continuously since 1917.
   It’s the most successful type of shoe in history, with 200,000 pairs sold daily. Its nickname came after Charles H. Taylor, a basketball player for the Akron Firestones, who became one of the shoe’s biggest supporters. By 1932, with input from Taylor, it officially gained his name.
   Converse has been adding variations to the Chuck Taylor shoe over the years, including the Chuck Taylor All Star II in 2015, a premium design with more colours and a liner borrowed from parent company Nike, which bought up Converse at the turn of the century.
   There’s also the Chuck Taylor All Star ’70s model that débuts more colours for spring–summer 2017, a design that harks back to the 1970s but with more cushioning and thicker rubber. Then there’s the Chuck Taylor All Star Modern that’s lightweight, again available in an all-new version this month.
   To celebrate the centenary of the All Star, Converse has launched a digital and social media series that looks at what made the line iconic.
   Millie Bobby Brown presents a video called Chucks in Film, with excerpts showing a previous Chuck Taylor All Star appearance (Michael J. Fox’s shoes in Back to the Future) and an interview with costume designer Stephanie Collie. Long Beach artist Vince Staples, Born × Raised creator Spanto and basketball player Jordan Clarkson discuss how Los Angeles culture impacted on the Chuck Taylor All Stars’ æsthetic. Finally, model Winnie Harlow looks at the Chuck Taylor All Stars’ connection to the fashionable set and youth culture. A final film, Forever Chuck, is a nonconformist commercial that celebrates youth and the Converse brand.
   The four videos are featured below as Converse marks 100 years of its All Stars.

Opinions: what we need from media beyond ‘fake news’; looking to the stars


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 15, 2017/21.47

We need independent media


Paul Clarke/CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37435469

Above: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Earlier this month, Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote an open letter expressing his concerns about the evolution of his invention, the World Wide Web. (Interestingly, he writes the term all in lowercase.)
   It wasn’t just about ‘fake news’, which is how the media have reported it. His first concern was, in fact, about our losing control over our personal data, and determining when and with whom we share them. It’s something I’ve touched on regularly since 2011, when Google breached its own stated policies over user-preference collection for advertising purposes, something that Facebook appears to be following suit with mid-decade. This was long before Edward Snowden blew the lid on his government’s monitoring, something that’s happening to citizens of other occidental nations, too.
   Sir Tim writes, ‘Through collaboration with—or coercion of—companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online, and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy. In repressive regimes, it’s easy to see the harm that can be caused—bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, like sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.’
   But the one that struck me as very pertinent to publishing is Sir Tim’s second point. It’s the one that most news outlets seized on, linking it back to ‘fake news’, a term now corrupted by the executive branch of the US Government when attacking coverage that it doesn’t like. However, Sir Tim’s points were far broader than that. And it’s evident how his first point links to his second.
   It’s not hard to see that there is biased coverage on both the right and right wings of US politics (interestingly, they call it left and right), although Sir Tim points to how ‘a handful of social media sites or search engines’ show us the things that appeal to our own biases through their algorithms. ‘Fake news’ then spreads through these algorithms because they play to our prejudices. He writes, ‘those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.’ These sites are able to determine what we see based on the data we’ve given them, willingly or unwillingly.
   It’s so far from the ideals of the World Wide Web that it’s sad that the medium, which was once so expansive and inspirational as we surfed from one site to the next to read and absorb information, has come to this: a tool for becoming more insular, the first path to the idiocracy.
   Google, as I wrote last year, biases itself toward larger sites, no longer rewarding the media outlet that breaks a news item. The incentive to be that maverick medium is, therefore, lessened greatly online, because the web isn’t being ranked on merit by the largest player in the search-engine business. It’s why Duck Duck Go, which doesn’t collect user data, gives search results that are generally fairer. We think it’s important to learn alternative viewpoints, especially in politics, otherwise the division that we already see in some countries will only deepen—and at worst this can lead to war. In peacetime countries, a compatriot with opposing political thoughts is not our enemy.
   Facebook’s continued data collection of user preferences is also dangerous. Even after users opt out, Facebook’s ad preferences’ page demonstrates that it will keep collecting. Whether or not Facebook then uses these preferences is unknown—certainly Facebook itself clams up—but since the site reports journalists who alert them to kiddie porn, kicks off drag queens after saying they wouldn’t, and forces people to download software in the guise of malware detection, who knows if any of Facebook’s positions are real or merely ‘fake news’? Knowing the misdeeds of sites like Facebook—and Google which itself has been found guilty of hacking—do they actually deserve our ongoing support?
   Of course I have an interest in getting people to look beyond the same-again players, because I run one media outlet that isn’t among them. But we have an interest to seek information from the independents, and to support a fair and neutral internet. We may learn an angle we hadn’t explored before, or we may find news and features others aren’t covering. Better yet, we may learn alternative viewpoints that break us out of our prejudices. Surely we can’t be that scared of learning about alternatives (maybe one that is better than what we believe), or having a reasoned debate based on fact rather than emotion or hatred? And if you are sharing on social media, do you want to be one of the sheep who uses the same click-bait as everyone else, or show that you’re someone who’s capable of independent thought?
   It shouldn’t be that difficult to distinguish fake-news sites from legitimate media (even though the line gets blurred) by looking at how well something is subedited and how many spelling mistakes there are. Perhaps the headlines are less emotive. There is a tier of independent media that deserves your support, whether it is this site or many competing ones that we’ve linked ourselves. Going beyond the same-again sources can only benefit us all.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Stars in their eyes


Chanel

Above: Chanel continues its long-running Comète collection.

Coco Chanel is known for embracing astrology. Her inspiration is reflected in many of her jewellery creations and designs years later. The star motif is highlighted within the Comète collection and while the lion, representative of the brand, is reminiscent of the city of Venezia and symbolic of her astrological sign. The designer’s influential vision comes to life within many of the intricately detailed pieces.
   To this day, astrology serves as a tool that could provide one with knowledge and even supposed explanatory perceptions. Fashion-focused entities and individuals have contemplated to what extent one’s rising sign or ascendant, representing the door to one’s identity, is correlated to one’s wardrobe and personal style. Some inquisitive individuals ponder about personalities, style and even probable futuristic outcomes in the financial field. The AstroTwins, Tali and Ophira Edut, who have been featured in a number of outlets, have given advice to a slew of celebrities. While they focus mainly on various predictions according to the stars, some have used astrology to tap in to the financial market. The Merriman Market Analyst is one of the many prominent sites that discuss and explain transformations and changes in planets that could serve in financial as well as everyday astrology. Other than the website, they have published books for international audiences, divulging and examining the planets and geocosmic aspects. According to the website’s disclaimer, ‘The hope is … it will help the reader understand the psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events …’ For decades, the founder continues to ponder on certain circumstances, whether on a weekly or yearly basis, leading a team of apprentices that follow in his footsteps.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor

Fragrance du Bois launches sustainably sourced Oud Intense


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 11, 2017/9.11

Here’s an ideal fragrance to go along with Lola Cristall’s favourites in Lucire issue 36. Fragrance du Bois’s latest Oud Intense complements its earlier Nature’s Treasures collection, except this time the parfumerie has gone the opposite direction with a full, undiluted oud experience.
   The spray is far bolder and designed to be a layer on top of other perfumes and scents, though it can be worn on its own.
   Fragrance du Bois’s Oud Intense features oud oil that is sourced ethically and sustainably from its own plantations.
   In keeping with the house’s exclusivity, Oud Intense is available only at its boutique in Genève, and at Jovoy, Paris and Doha, priced at €395, with a 15 ml spray version at €125.

Filed under: beauty, environment, Lucire, Paris

H&M stays positive with unisex denim line, following love-themed Paris catwalk show


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 8, 2017/20.59



Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has announced a new denim line, Denim United. The difference this time is that it is a truly unisex collection, with identical women’s and men’s designs, with jackets, overalls, shorts, T-shirts and an oversized hoody. The materials and silhouettes are shared between the sexes.
   More sustainable materials have been used, including organic and recycled cotton.
   The collection goes on sale on March 23, online-only at hm.com.
   â€˜It is very natural for us to launch a unisex collection as fashion is constantly evolving and intersecting and today we see there are no boundaries in democratic style. Fashion should always be inclusive,’ said Marybeth Schmitt of H&M in a release.
   The announcement follows H&M Studio’s showing of its spring–summer 2017 women’s and men’s collections at the Tennis Club de Paris during Paris Fashion Week, where the designs went on sale at its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York and online immediately. They went on sale in other stores on March 2.
   Celebrities in attendance in Paris included Nicki Minaj, Olga Kurylenko, Alexa Chung, Lucky Blue Smith, Clémence Poésy and Sasha Lane, while Emily Ratajkowski led the celebrations in New York.
   Models walking in Paris included Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Adwoa Aboah, Amber Valletta, Jordan Barrett, Winnie Harlow and Luis Borges. The Weeknd gave a special performance at the Paris show, performing ‘Starboy’, ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and ‘I Feel It Coming’.
   The collection featured fine knits, loose-fitting shorts, tops, dresses, anoraks and sandals, with ruffle detailing and bold graphics proclaiming ‘Love’.
   â€˜With this collection we want to send a global message of love. There are a few pieces that carry the word again and again, kind of like a ticker tape and as a constant reminder of what is important. It feels like now, more than ever, we all need positive feelings and thoughts in our lives,’ said H&M creative director and head of design Pernilla Wohlfahrt.

Paris show

Backstage

The celebrities

The show

The Weeknd

New York event

Barbara Palvin, Soo Joo Park, Julianne Moore, Kiersey Clemons star in L’Oréal Paris’s Voluminous Original Mascara campaign


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 7, 2017/23.25

L’Oréal Paris’s latest campaign for its Voluminous Original Mascara, dubbed The Original, brings together a group of celebrities, including models Barbara Palvin, Soo Joo Park, Dominique Babineaux, Hari Nef, Katerina Tannenbaum, and Juana Burga, actresses Julianne Moore, Diane Keaton and Kiersey Clemons, Blondie’s Debbie Harry, and TV host Lauren Ezersky.
   The first spot, shown below, sees quotations from customers around the US, where Voluminious Original Mascara is the country’s number-one entrant in the category. Babineaux and Palvin are the main models, though the whole cast appears at the end.
   L’Oréal Paris says it made its choice of the models based on their originality, rule-breaking, and truth.
   â€˜We are excited to bring together trail-blazing individuals in celebration of the mascara that women have loved for over 25 years. They each embody the essence of Voluminous Mascara—originals who continue to be fresh, creative and confident,’ said Tim Coolican, president, L’Oréal Paris USA, in a release.
   The spot promotes the original black shade as well as new blue ones. The mascara, says L’Oréal Paris, can build up to five times the natural eyelashes’ thickness.

Margot Robbie shows you can in a Nissan, with BladeGlider electric sports car


NEWS  by Nathalia Archila/February 20, 2017/23.19



Patrick Gosling

Margot Robbie (Focus, The Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad) has become a spokeswoman for Nissan, showing off the Japanese brand’s electric car credentials with its BladeGlider sports car around the streets of Monaco, and into Casino Square.
   The Australian actress tested one of the two BladeGliders on closed roads in the principality, racing against its twin. She drifts around Fairmont Hairpin, and slid sideways around the Massenet corner.
   The petite sports car has a very Japanese appearance with its origami-like folds and detail-rich surfaces, and seats three, with the driver in the central position. It’s not for sale—it’s a prototype that will be unveiled at the Salon de Genève later this year.
   It’s in direct contrast to the bulky Nissan Leaf, the world’s best selling electric vehicle.
   The Renault–Nissan Alliance has invested heavily in electric cars, staking its future on the growth of the sector.
   In a release, Robbie said, ‘It’s a really exciting time for electric vehicles. More people are choosing to go electric, leading the way to a more sustainable future and the Nissan BladeGlider hints at the future of smarter performance cars,’ said Margot Robbie.
   Nissan chose Monaco as it has a sustainability programme that aims to reduce carbon emissions by up to 50 per cent by 2030. ‘We want to inspire people to take small steps towards cleaner, safer cities, and working with Margot is the perfect way to do just that,’ said Gareth Dunsmore, Director of Electric Vehicles for Nissan Europe.
   The advertisement forms part of a campaign, hashtagged #ElectrifytheWorld, to get people talking about sustainability and zero emissions living.—Nathalia Archila and Lucire staff

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