Lucire


  latest news   fashion   beauty   living   volante   print and tablet   tv
  home   community   shopping   advertise   contact

A sense of belonging

Filed by Jack Yan/June 17, 2020/11.16


Jack Yan

Above: Wellington, New Zealand’s Lambton Quay, normally a main thoroughfare, during that country’s lockdown.

Over the last two issues of Lucire KSA, we ran a story each on COVID-19. The first examined how companies fared after previous economic crises, looking at the past for answers. Last month, we examined what companies were doing in response to the pandemic, a report from the present. This month, it may be prudent to take some punts about the future.
   Even before the COVID-19 crisis, China was selling cars with air filtration and purification systems, such as the Oshan X7 and the Geely Icon. These two SUVs were responding to the pollution that plagues Chinese cities, and when the Icon was launched in February, its system was turned into a positive selling point as fears about COVID-19 mounted. When the X7 was revised in March 2020, its system received an upgrade, to allay fears about the novel coronavirus. But these are minor product enhancements, for what is the point of these SUVs during a lockdown when driving is curtailed?
   We often refer to the automotive sector in Lucire because it’s one of the most evident places where brands and trends emerge, and with fewer players than in fashion, it’s often easier to see what those might be. Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice-president for global car design, pointed out to Forbes that after each major crisis—he uses World War II as an example—there is a creative surge, and that the US car industry of the 1950s picked up on it, with ‘a promise of the future.’ He says, ‘Many times, this whole “vision of tomorrow” comes from the difficulties of today. So I think we as people will express our emotions physically and you’ll see this in all the arts.’


GM

Oshan

Above, from top: Oldsmobile Golden Rocket, a 1956 show car from GM that pointed to an optimistic, jet-age future. The Oshan X7 SUV, with a standard air purifier.

   Other emotions that have emerged during this time include loneliness, in those countries or communities that are facing a lockdown, and the desire for human contact, alleviated somewhat by the knowledge that many are in the same boat, and by the ease of digital contact in developed countries, with VR, Skype and Zoom, the latter entering the vernacular and enjoying a massive rise in popularity, despite privacy concerns. But on the flip side are emotions of appreciation, in countries where governments have acted and people have been unified.
   Travel editor Stanley Moss, based in Italy, chatted last month to the general manager of the Baglioni Hotel Luna in Venezia, Gianmatteo Zampieri. Stanley reported in our web edition that the conversation was ‘lively’, rather than pessimistic, when at the time Italy had one of the most troubling COVID-19 numbers on record. He writes, ‘The Rialto Bridge is deserted, and uncrowded phantom vaporetti lazily float by. The St Mark’s Basin stands empty, with only stray small craft passing.’
   Mr Zampieri remarked, ‘The Lagoon is like a mirror. There’s not a boat to be seen, the water is crystal clear, and schools of little fish are swimming in the canals. We have a gondola landing at our entrance, and we are seeing little crabs crawling up the gondola poles. Ducks are nesting on the vaporetto docks, and laying eggs there.’
   Stanley continues, ‘Mr Zampieri has an optimistic perspective on all this. He says that following these difficult times we’ll be given a chance to return to a Venezia renewed, where the air and water are clean, landmarks uncrowded and Baglioni’s teams rested and ready to welcome back guests.’
   Many will have seen the photos of Venezia’s clean waterways, or how the Himalayas are now visible from the state of Punjab, India, where they had been hidden due to air pollution. At Lucire’s HQ in Wellington, New Zealand, native kererū pigeons can be seen flying in flocks and close to homes, whereas before they would be seen individually or in pairs, seldom venturing quite so closely into neighbourhoods.
   Lockdowns saw an appreciation of the quietness and the absence of noise pollution, a silver lining for those who were forced to stay home.
   In economies that are opening up, the hum of traffic has returned, along with rush hours, immediately rendering the rural-like quietness nostalgic.
   It may well accelerate certain emerging movements. It’s not difficult to link this love of nature to better air quality, less pollution, and the desire for improved public transport or alternative fuels. With fashion such a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions—Quantis estimates c. 8 per cent can be attributed to apparel and footwear, while 114,000 million items of clothing were sold in 2019—fast fashion has become more exposed during the crisis. A shocking 70 per cent of the product winds up in landfills or is incinerated, and inventory is currently growing in warehouses around the world. The Business of Fashion estimates that fashion is an industry that will need between US$20,000 million and US$30,000 million per annum to meet global climate and development goals in the coming decade.
   With several of my colleagues at Medinge Group, the Swedish think-tank dealing with brands with a conscience, we summarized in one session how we have become more acutely aware of how natural resources should be used sustainably, how many indigenous populations have been appropriate guardians of them and of global biodiversity, and how it has been possible to opt for self-sufficiency and sourcing a lot of our food locally, potentially boosting a localization movement.
   Somewhere in between these truths is an understanding that collaboration and co-creation are potential ways forward for the industry: to both consume more mindfully and produce more responsibly. Climate activists like Greta Thunberg rightly point out that earlier generations could have done better, and COVID-19 may have woken more up to the idea that change can happen, and we can create a better way.
   It would seem more important, then, to look at brands and responsibility, both of which are beginning to be the ways out for many sectors.
   In the 2020s, it is becoming more evident that brands should promote a sense of belonging, because people agree with its values and wish to be seen to be connected with them. Perhaps the analogy of a desirable club is not inaccurate. The top–down approach of the generation before, mass marketing products through mass media, is history: it does not build brands, and is better left to low-cost retailers keen to push short-lived product over quality. In 2020, in the midst of COVID-19, there is no stigma to having less tidy hair or older clothes, because neither signals a lack of standing; and a brand pursuing a profit strategy over one centred around purpose may find such an approach off-putting to its audiences.
   Improving the pay of workers, for instance—something our fashion feature interviewee in this issue, Johan Graffner of the Swedish label Dedicated, does with its suppliers—has been shown to make them more productive. Essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis have been praised as people have come to appreciate the value of their work in providing our necessities. Reworking and reframing the relationship workers have over their work could be a way forward: that those who invest their labour have the same voice as those who invest their capital, something pushed for by a group that counts Profs Nancy Fraser, Thomas Piketty and thousands of scholars from around the planet. They note that a strategy centred purely on profit has led us astray. Providing dignity, however, may be more in line with how people have come to feel over their work.
   Fair Trade impacts the workers living in places where work has been outsourced. Simon Anholt, in his book Brand New Justice, goes further with suggesting a shared equity model. Building environmental and social strategies into the brand is yet another step that could be taken, with measurable outcomes—many metrics for this already exist. Kering (the parent to Gucci, YSL and others), for instance, has an Environmental Profit & Loss Account, which assigns a financial value to environmental impact.
   The other reset must come with our use of resources. If collaboration with one’s own workers is possible, then it must equally be possible to work with those who understand biodiversity best. My colleague at Medinge Dr Nicholas Ind writes, ‘Indigenous people represent 5% of the world population, but manage 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity.’ Yet this traditional knowledge is often overlooked, though it would be fair to say that people appreciate its value far more in the midst of this crisis.
   These greater goals are more appealing to the consumers who will emerge in a post-COVID-19 landscape. However, shifting to it, and giving it more than lip service, will require governmental support, the third limb in making this model work. Many territories have shown that working together with government and governmental agencies can defeat the virus: Taiwan, Hong Kong and New Zealand are among those that have experienced a largely unified approach and brought new daily infections close to zero. We can work on the same side. Intervention may be justified when it comes to wages, to prevent the temptation to force them down in order to maximize profits. Without governmental input, that US$20,000 million to US$30,000 million per annum target cannot be easily achieved.
   In such a context, it has made the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 particularly prescient as it sought to insulate the country from precisely such shocks by diversifying the economy and the labour force. The brands that have emerged now need to visibly demonstrate that they have desire, as well as the means, to be part of a better world—and make us want to belong.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


My computer thinks I am a woman

Filed by Lucire staff/March 14, 2020/18.04

My computer thinks I am a woman.
   I found out quite a long time ago, but it was mostly just a funny topic for small-talk between friends.
   How did I recognize this about my computer? Sometimes via the feminine form of address though Google Translate, sometimes by ‘Merci, Mademoiselle Dmitry Kostyukov d’avoir acheté votre TGV ticket,’ sometimes by automatic redirection to the women’s section at online shops and other small businesses. Did I do something specificially for this? No. It just happened somehow.
   One day, I got an email with proposing a collaboration. After a brief conversation, I realized that it was sent to me not as a photographer, but as a model for a women’s swimsuit brand. And yes, they produce swimming suits only for women, and are a company founded by women. Of course they are very progressive, from the north of Europe, and use diverse models.
   I never hid my identity, and I decided to say ‘Yes’ to see how the algorithm would work on me. On January 22, I became a Bright Ambassador with the nickname Bright_Woman. The algorithm recommended a Bora-Bora bikini or Scarlet Cora one-piece. I decided to start with Scarlet. I received a welcome email from the CEO (obviously automated), and the possibility to share a 15 per cent discount with my friends (let me know if you need one) and, of course, a package with a swimming suit: welcome to the intersection of the online and offline worlds. Indeed, I know this is the way that brands try to sell their products—we all know it—but there is also the way that the machine see us. So what might it see? I weigh 82 kg, which probably means a plus-size (for the average height) woman, who sometimes reads feminist texts, with 10,000 followers on Instagram. Apparently, I suit their advertising.
   Is it all true? I got the message during the winter. If my computer knows me at least a little bit, it should know I never ever go to the beach on vacation. I’ve probably gone on a holiday where you need a swimming suit and head to the beach a maximum of two times in my life. I’m not even sure if I have a togs or shorts. But the algorithm assumes I do.
   Using the brand’s Instagram and iconic Dutch beach portraits as references, I went to the nearest beach—at Den Haag in February, with the crazy wind, rain and a 7°C temperature (which felt like 0°C)—to connect the algorithm and a contemporary brand’s vision with my actual reality.—Dmitry Kostyukov







Dmitry Kostyukov

 


Johanna Ortiz × H&M: full collection to drop on March 12

Filed by Lucire staff/March 3, 2020/17.42




Matt Jones

Recognizing the power of the Latin American market, H&M’s full collection with Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz—who has both a following in her home market as well as the US—will launch in March with 19 pieces.
   This follows the four pre-drop dresses. Like the initial pieces, the collaboration features an exotic colour palette, tropical florals, and the energetic design that Ortiz is known for.
   Key pieces include a red floral maxi-dress, a magenta midi-dress in broderie anglaise, a black patterned floor-length column dress in viscose crèpe, and a ruffled wrap skirt in black-and-white cotton-poplin.
   Ortiz’s designs have already been seen on Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Alexa Chung, Jessica Biel, Olivia Palermo, and Sienna Miller.
   Trained at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Ortiz headed back to her native Colombia to create her eponymous label. She also gives back to the community with an educational programme for local women.
   H&M headed to Cali to understand the designer’s construction and to work on the collaboration.
   ‘The imprint of Colombia—the rhythm of the salsa dance, the beauty of the elegant orchids and the effortless palm trees dancing in a balmy pink sunset—can be felt in every Johanna Ortiz design,’ says Ortiz. ‘I’m thrilled to be able to infuse this H&M collection with effortless glamour and introduce some Latin American festivity to the H&M customer’s wardrobe. I hope customers wear the pieces barefoot and with a beautiful flower in their hair.’
   H&M head of womenswear design Maria Östblom said, ‘Johanna Ortiz has a gift for creating confident, colourful designs that make you want to dance. This collection is both a celebration of Colombia’s creative history and craftsmanship and an opportunity to bring Johanna’s signature feminine styles to our customers. The reaction to the pre-drop was very positive, and now the wait is over, we can’t wait to see how our customers will style this exciting collection.’
   The main collection will appear in selected H&M stores and at hm.com on March 12.



Matt Jones

 


Panos Papadopoulos condemns racism; pledges financial support to family of ‘heroic’ doctor who warned about coronavirus

Filed by Lucire staff/February 24, 2020/9.02

Panos Papadopoulos, known in the Nordic countries as the “king of swimwear”, is trying to locate down the family of the late Dr Li Wenliang, whom Panos dubs a ‘hero’ for trying to warn the world about the coronavirus on December 30, pledging to offer financial support to his family.
   In early February, Dr Li succumbed to the same virus he tried to warn the world about before he was initially silenced.
   Panos strongly condemns the racism he sees targeting all east Asians as a consequence of the virus spreading, and says he wants to use his position of privilege to take a stand.
   As a Greek immigrant to Sweden himself, Panos can relate. ‘After the crisis in Greece in 2007–8, the Greek people were treated like pariahs. We had done nothing wrong, however we were made targets for evil prejudice and ignorance. And now Asians around the world are abused for the disaster caused by the virus. The virus is not an Asian problem, it’s a global one. We are all in this together. Racism is a human disgrace in any form it may appear,’ he says.
   Panos came to Sweden in his late teens as a Greek refugee, escaping conflict and political instability back in Greece. Through his drive and determination he created a successful business from scratch and his swimwear brand became the biggest in the whole of Scandinavia.
   He finds some of the comments levelled at Chinese and at all east Asians on social media despicable.
   ‘I’m seeing Filipinos, Thai, Japanese and other nationalities being made targets by the small-minded. There are Chinese in Europe who have been here for generations and never set foot in China. Yet racists and xenophobes seem to revel in their own ignorance,’ Panos says.
   Panos says the rise of social media has emboldened many ignorant people, but he believes they can instead unite for the common good.
   ‘Our planet is round, we own our problems together. The human race has to unite and help each other through crises like this, and it does not matter where they spring from. No nation or people should stand alone when it comes to issues concerning us all. We must all take action and responsibility,’ he says.
   He says that Dr Li was an example of someone who understood the coronavirus to be indiscriminate—affecting people regardless of creed, colour or nationality.
   He believes that Dr Li made an enormous sacrifice by following the Hippocratic oath, serving humanity whatever the cost, and practising his work with love and passion.
   Panos says that he wants to pay his deepest respects to Dr Li.
   ‘As a statement for peace, an act of humanity and an appeal for global unification, as well as sending a clear signal to fight injustice, racism and the misuse of power, I want to reach out to the family of late Doctor Li Wenliang. According to the media he and his wife were expecting their second child. I can’t even imagine the terror the family is going through. It’s so tragic,’ Panos continues.
   It remains to be seen if he can connect to the Li family.
   ‘It’s important for me to be able to thank these brave people, in the loving memory of their father and husband, as an act to defeat the coronavirus, and the racism following in its wake. The late Dr Li and I seem to share the same values. My mission has always been to follow my strong beliefs in respect, love and passion. Both in my former career as a business leader and fashion designer, as well as in my future business, House of Panos,’ he says.

 


Kendall Jenner, H. E. R., Chiara Ferragni, Li Yuchun lead Giambattista Valli × H&M campaign

Filed by Lucire staff/October 17, 2019/21.29





Mert and Marcus/H&M

While the look book for the Giambattista Valli × H&M collection features a line-up of professional models, the campaign has bigger names—already previewed in part by the celebrities who wore the pre-drop collection at AmFAR at Cannes earlier this year: Kendall Jenner, H. E. R., Chiara Ferragni, Clara 3000, Luka Isaac, Li Yuchun (李宇春, or Chris Lee) and Cameron Monaghan.
   The campaign was shot in Roma, Valli’s home town, by Mert and Marcus. Melanie Ward styled both the photos and campaign film.
   In May, when the collection was previewed, Valli said, ‘I am excited about this collaboration: H&M gives me the opportunity to bring my vision of style and my celebration of beauty to a wider audience. The goal is to share my love for beauty and to be able to be part of everyone’s “happy moments”, to help create love stories all around the world.’
   The collection is meant to be a summary of his style without a narrative, said the designer, although there is ‘a sense of fluidity’ between womenswear and menswear. The range spans jackets, dresses, coats, cargo pants, sweatshirts, and accessories. It is his first foray into menswear.
   The collection launches worldwide in selected stores on November 7.





Mert and Marcus/H&M

 


Svenska Hollywoodfruar’s Elena Belle models Panos Emporio spring 2020, featuring Manic Panic wigs

Filed by Lucire staff/October 13, 2019/0.20




One thing that the partnership between Panos Emporio and Syversen AS has brought is a renewed energy to the swimwear label’s promotions and opportunities.
   In its earlier years, Panos Papadopoulos and Panos Emporio mastered the art of high-profile swimwear models, including controversial ones. In more recent years, it has reached out to social media influencers, helping reduce its customers’ median age, but, as the old adage goes: it’s just not the same.
   But this year, you can see the excitement with Elena Belle, one of the Svenska Hollywoodfruar, a reality series reminiscent of The Real Housewives franchise, but following Swedish women and their American husbands (Britt Ekland having been one of the wives, in seasons 6–7). Belle, who joined in season 10, is the new face of Panos Emporio for its spring–summer 2020 collection. And as hinted in Lucire earlier this year, Panos Papadopoulos himself went behind the lens.
   The 34-year-old model says, ‘I think Panos Emporio’s swimwear feels both luxurious and sensual. They have something for all ages and occasions.’
   Celebrities are familiar territory for Panos, who has worked with Jannike Björling, Traci Bingham, Frank Andersson, Victoria Silvstedt, Elena Paparizou, Josefine Forsberg, José Solano, and Sendi Skopljak.
   ‘I’m really very happy and feel blessed that so many big stars, at the height of their careers, wanted to work with me, like Bingham, Dr Alban, Silvstedt, and others,’ he says.
   ‘Most of them were very easy to work with, and with some of them, it was fantastic, because they wanted to make a great shoot. The bigger the star, the easier it was: they felt comfortable and safe in my hands.
   ‘But you’ll see with Elena in the programme, it was hard to get everything done on time, and maybe she didn’t understand my expectations for the photo shoot.’
   Panos says that Belle focused on very small details in order to present herself well, which took up the time they had for the shoot.
   He also felt that she had to play up for the cameras, as conflict in reality shows drives up the entertainment for certain viewers. ‘I understand her, because it was important to make a good image for TV over the number of photos we shot.’
   The location for the shoot, Weese’s Pieces in Littlerock, Calif. appears in a Panos Emporio advertisement in Lucire issue 40, and is an iconic spot. Papadopoulos said, ‘We chose a location that is luxurious, to match the entire concept of the upcoming collection.’
   The making of the shoot with Belle appears in Svenska Hollywoodfruar on October 15 at 9 p.m., and can be seen on www.tv3.se and www.viafree.se. A draft from Panos Emporio’s collection appears in the episode.
   Panos adds, ‘The thinking behind this photo shoot and concept was to pave the way for new, innovative and creative trends in the fashion industry. We operate in an industry where it is not enough to just design and create for the here and now: we must think about the future and be at the forefront to lead the way for the industry three, five, even ten years from now.’
   He forecasts a revival for wigs, especially as consumers are happy to indulge in greater luxury, the direction he is taking for spring–summer 2020.
   As a result, Panos Emporio teamed up with Manic Panic, which matched its colourful swimwear designs with suitable hair.
   The three natural wigs supplied in the shoot are in line with Manic Panic’s ethos: to create vegan and cruelty-free hair colour, something they have done for over four decades. The brand, which started during the punk era—its founders were part of the original Blondie lineup—has kept at the forefront of consumer trends, adopting its cruelty-free ethos and getting a PETA certification. Fans include Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Jared Leto and Jake Gyllenhaal, with the company creating Leto’s green hair as the Joker, and Margot Robbie’s blue and pink pigtails as Harley Quinn, in Suicide Squad.
   The Manic Panic wigs in the shoot are bright and even multi-coloured, with great attention to detail to get the colours perfect.
   It was Panos’s idea to create some new trends and ideas, hence the partnership with the hair colour pioneer.
   Panos admits Belle did not like the idea of donning wigs for the shoot. ‘That’s the biggest issue for a creative designer: if we work with a celebrity who has a set idea of her own image, that can make it difficult.’
   Nevertheless, he was thrilled that Manic Panic understood his vision. LA-based hairstylist Briza Bot, a Manic Panic ambassador, did the hair on the shoot.
   ‘Working with Manic Panic was energetic and positive, and I know people like these kinds of photos because they give out happy and great vibrations!’ he says.





 


Next Page »

 

Get more from Lucire

Our latest issue

Lucire 40
Check out our lavish print issue of Lucire in hard copy or for Ipad or Android.
Or download the latest issue of Lucire as a PDF from Scopalto

Lucire on Twitter

Lucire on Instagram