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July 31, 2014

Audi releases A3 Sportback E-tron, its first plug-in hybrid

Lucire staff/15.11

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Audi, Volkswagen’s premium brand, has launched a plug-in hybrid for the European market, based on the A3 Sportback.
   The Audi A3 Sportback E-tron will be sold through 410 dealers in Europe, including 105 in Germany. The German retail price is €37,900. A leasing plan sees the A3 at €319 for a 36-month term. First deliveries will take place this winter.
   The vehicle has an 8·8 kWh lithium–ion battery pack for its electric motor with a range of 50 km, but combined with its 1·4-litre petrol engine, it can manage 900 km. The combined power output is a claimed 150 kW (204 PS), with fuel consumption at 1·5 l/100 km (188 mpg Imperial) and carbon dioxide emissions at 35 g/km.
   The A3 Sportback E-tron’s battery is under the rear seats, allowing maximum cargo space, while the car weighs in at a reasonable 1,580 kg.
   Early reports indicate a seamless switch between electric and petrol modes, but some noticeable road noise from the standard tyres and the quiet electric motor.
   Audi plans for every E-tron dealer in future to have a charging station for customers, who can use it even after purchase. For the German market, Audi will offer an installation service where a technician checks the electrics at a customer’s home, makes the necessary adjustments, and installs the charging dock, for charging the car safely.
   Customers can even opt for what the company calls ‘Audi Energy’, essentially electricity generated from hydroelectric sources in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
   Wayne Griffiths, Audi’s head of sales in Germany, says there is high interest among dealers and customers for the new model: ‘The combination of efficient drive technology and a sustainable energy source is really what the market is looking for.’

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July 9, 2014

Opel Corsa E breaks cover, as GM releases official details

Lucire staff/7.37

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GM has released details of its fifth-generation Opel Corsa (Vauxhall Corsa Mk IV in the UK), promising that the new model will set benchmarks for its class.
   It will have to: it joins a talented segment with cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Honda Fit, Toyota Vitz and Peugeot 208.
   The Opel Corsa E is virtually identical in length to the outgoing model, with much of the cabin space cleverly used in its 4 m.
   There is a new platform, dubbed Gamma II in GM-speak, with no carryover components from the Corsa D. The new sheetmetal has greater differentiation between three- and five-door models, with styling by Brit Mark Adams. A panoramic roof is optional. Other options include blind spot alert, lane departure warning, and a rear-view camera.
   The new interior has a redesigned instrument panel and dashboard, including Opel’s Intellilink in-car system, already seen on the Adam subcompact, which is on a shorter version of the Corsa E’s platform. Intellilink features a seven-inch colour touch-screen, which can be controlled via apps on the Apple Iphone and Google Android.
   Appealing to the Corsa’s urban drivers, there is a revised speed-sensitive power steering, with less understeer. Ride and handling have also been improved, says Opel.
   Opel has joined the trend toward three-cylinder petrol engines, with a one-litre Ecotec direct-injection turbo as the smallest unit, developing 90 or 115 PS. It is combined with a stop–start system to lower fuel consumption.
   A 1·3 turbodiesel, a 1·2 and 1·4 petrol engine, and a 1·4 turbo are also on offer, mated to new six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.
   The Corsa will not be sold in Australasia or North America, where the Korean-made Chevrolet Aveo (under various names), also on the Gamma II platform, is GM’s entry in the B-segment.



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Filed under: design, living, Lucire, technology
June 23, 2014

Net-a-porter offers Diane von Furstenberg-designed Google Glass as first third-party retailer

Lucire staff/14.47

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Net-a-porter has announced that its US customers can purchase a Diane von Furstenberg-designed Google Glass through its online store today, making it the first third-party retailer of the much-hyped product.
   The DVF Made for Glass design, available in five colours (black, green, plum, brown and white), retails for US$1,800, and includes a frame, shade, earbud and case. A limited number is available.
   Founder Natalie Massenet said in a release, ‘We are thrilled to offer Glass to our tech-savvy customers who are true leaders and innovators in style and lifestyle. We pride ourselves on leading the way in delivering the best in service, product, and technology and we are excited to bring Google Glass to our US customers, ahead of the Glass consumer release.’
   US buyers can visit Net-a-porter’s DVF Made for Glass page at www.net-a-porter.com/Shop/Designers/DVF_Made_For_Glass. Due to Net-a-porter’s geography-based serving, non-US buyers will be asked to sign up for updates, and cannot purchase.
   All data recorded by Google Glass are stored by Google, including photos, videos, audio, and location. Users can record pictures and video offline if they prefer. Google has not announced if it would use these data for ad-targeting purposes as it does with some user data from Gmail.

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May 1, 2014

Sponsored video: don’t follow the rules—Microsoft Surface launches business promotion

Lucire staff/12.16

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A Lucire special promotion


Microsoft is keen to get businesses into its Surface tablet series, and over the last few years has even redesigned its flagship Windows operating system around touch-screen technology.
   But what is surprising is how Microsoft is almost an underdog brand among a mid-2010s world where Apple’s I technology and Google Android have become mainstream terms. Some might even choose Microsoft because it has cachet—after all, its founder, Bill Gates, is now perceived as a humanitarian hero, a 180-degree change from the image he faced two decades ago.
   So it makes sense for Microsoft to team up with another company that has an established record, yet sees itself as somewhat antiestablishment: The Guardian.
   Its latest promotion, Uncompromise, a.k.a. The Rise of the Renegade Professionals, looks at businesses that have opted to use Microsoft Surface. They’re also businesses that refuse to follow the rules.
   Honest Burgers of Brixton was started by two best friends, Tom Barton and Phil Eeles (above), who believed there was a market for gourmet burgers—at a time when they couldn’t even get deliveries of premium meats into the area.
   Kerry Roy, founder of Camp Katur, saw a market for glamping—luxury camping holidays—again at a time when no one saw a niche for the business in Yorkshire.
   In each case, Microsoft Surface’s portability, and compatibility with the well known Office software, aided the business.
   Along with The Guardian, Microsoft will produce a short film about a business that also refuses to follow the rules—there’s an entry form for entrepreneurs who are interested in being showcased.
   We’re loving this idea because Lucire itself would not have existed if our founders followed the rules. In 1997, there were people who thought a web fashion magazine was a lousy idea and could not understand it.
   And when we wanted to branch into print, there were just as many doubters.
   By checking out this link, you can read more about Honest Burgers, Camp Katur and others—inspiring, original businesses who decided not to compromise.


Video sponsored by Microsoft

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April 16, 2014

GBK’s 2014 MTV Movie Awards’ celebration: tech and trends

Elyse Glickman/11.29

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Leave it to event planning master and philanthropist Gavin B. Keilly to transform SLS’s ballroom into a more intimate space showcasing great charities and some choice must-haves for summer.
   As usual, funds and awareness were raised for some worthwhile charities, including Los Angeles Youth Network (which aids abused, neglected and homeless adolescents in becoming sufficient through street outreach, food, emergency shelter, a transitional living programme, and educational enrichment programmes), the Santa Monica branch of the American Red Cross, and Autism Speaks.
   Lambda Legal, going strong after four decades, provided press a real scoop on Day 1 of the suite about their West Coast Liberty Awards, taking place June 13 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire. Scandal’s Dan Bucatinsky (who won an Emmy for his work as James Novak, elevating and broadening America’s conversation on LGBT issues), will be honoured with a Spotlight Liberty Award. He joins an industrious group that includes Lance Bass, Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffith, Alan Cumming and Judith Light. The awards show bolsters Lambda Legal’s efforts to encourage equal and fair treatment of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
   Even with a more relaxed vibe than GBK’s dos for the Oscars and Golden Globes, the spotlight is, true to form, on luxuries big and small that bring convenience and style to one’s home and social life. A coffee-table book by internationally renowned interior designer Sandra Espinet is perhaps one of the most aspirational gifts offered at the suite—pages and pages of global chic put together by a woman whose travels and life story are as enviable as the rooms she’s created for her top-tier clientèle. Onkyo USA provided a nice aural balance to that with its sleek and chic headphones merging precision hi-fi technology with an IOS-certified 6N copper cable designed to control media playback and accept or reject calls from compatible Apple devices. Its titanium drivers reproduce an exceptionally wide dynamic range, resolving hidden details and creating a spacious atmosphere.
   Fashionistas who prefer their earbuds more discreet would appreciate Audiopark’s Audiowrap, fashioned with beads and bling that camouflage the buds and coil up into a snappy bracelet. Qupid, meanwhile, provided fashion-forward shoes made from “vegan” leather, and Thursday Friday translated designer bags and runway-inspired graphics into a canvas carry-all format. Adding to the list of eco-friendly chic was Pono Woodworks’ Surfrider watch, transforming rare Hawai‘ian koa wood into a stylish, unisex beach to boardroom timepiece.
   After a short hiatus, the Artisan Group was back and better than ever, with a display of gorgeous, statement-making baubles, bracelets, earrings and accessories. While the luck is in the draw of whatever surprise goodie bag you are given, there were some particularly wonderful things in mine from Lucinda de Castro, Shirleybird Jewellery, Andrea Designs, Firefly Myst and Gamiworks.
   Nibbles on hand included decadent treats from Barry’s Gourmet Brownies, Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips and wonderful spirits from Deep Eddy Vodka, an Austin, Texas brand made with real ingredients and 10 times distilled vodka. Guests received a four-pack of Deep Eddy Vodka (50 ml each of Straight, Ruby Red, Sweet Tea, Cranberry). Ripped Cream, a natural protein coffee creamer, offered a jolt of flavour and energy to balance out the caffeine buzz of one’s favourite coffee.
   Celebrities on hand during day one included Omar Epps (House, Resurrection), Paige Turco (The 100), Tiya Sircar (The Crazy Ones), Tara Holt (Californication), Percy Daggs (the Veronica Mars movie), Rebecca Mader (Once Upon a Time), Shannon Beador (the newest cast member on The Real Housewives of OC), Caitlin Carmichael (Chosen), Carlitos Olivero (The X Factor USA), and Donna d’Errico (Baywatch).—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor

















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March 8, 2014

Top of the world and top of the Beverly Hilton with top beauty finds

Elyse Glickman/8.29

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So many suites, so little time. However, one that was literally head, shoulders and eight storeys above the rest was the TMG International Red Carpet Ready Luxury Suite, which was very international in its products and its welcoming vibe for a carefully curated guest list of celebrities, VIPs and media. The set up atop the Beverly Hilton Hotel had a funhouse feel—albeit a most glamorous funhouse for sophisticated fashionistas—with each room having its own set of surprises that popped out at you.
   TMG International’s pre-Oscar thrill ride started off in a front room of a penthouse suite set up almost like a velvet-lined jewellery box focused on the dazzling and highly covetable gold accented sterling silver pieces from Ariva, a Rhode Island-based company focused on reconciling the look and craftsmanship of fine jewellery with the prices of silver “investment” pieces that could be worn every day. Though these precious items were there for the trying and the borrowing, the company’s representatives couldn’t have been nicer or more genuine about the enthusiasm about their collection.
   You could say the second room was the “family room”. Moms and Moms-to-be received a lovely care package from Rockabye Mommy, a “Mommy concierge” that puts together personal and customized shopping for the selective prospective parent. Their nifty package was geared toward girly glam, with baby jewellery, barettes and bib for baby, and leggings, camera strap and organic fruit and vegetable wash for Mom. The affiliation from Kitson brought more Hollywood Mommy-and-me street cred to the charming bundle.
   Grown-up men and women could protect and accentuate their personal bundles with shapewear by Rounderbum. Made in Mexico, these underpinnings feel cotton-soft on the skin, with some pieces adding stylish flair while holding the essentials in place. Adding extra ambiance was LifeNSoul’s candy-coloured line of high-performance earphones, high-tech ear buds and speakers.
   Although we were breezed past the hair salon room, which was packed to the rafters with VIPs hoping to salvage their rain-soaked tresses, our lovely escort led us to the next room, which took the form of a luxury day spa with Montana-based skin care line Sevique prominently featured. As celebrities were pampered with treatments such as the ‘Eye Relaxation with Anti Aging Benefits’, ‘Facial Massage with Deep Cleansing & Protection’, and ‘Neck & Décolleté Hydration & Anti Aging Massage’, Sevique’s founder Susan Nickell and other reps highlighted step- by-step benefits of their natural, cruelty-free products while focusing on guests’ red-carpet ready concerns such as close-up interviews and strapless gowns.
   From the serenity of the Sevique spa, we then thought we landed in Barbie’s Dream House, awash in pink. However, it was a showcase for Cocoa Brown Tanning, devised by Irish inventor Marissa Carter, who, with her doting mother, showed how her three products used together could add a very convincing and realistic glow even to the fairest Irish rose (as opposed to US House Speaker John Boehner orange). A short passage to India concluding our journey, with a room that featured the Icandy Salon from San Francisco, and SHAPES Brow Bar, which brings Indian threading to many locations through southern California, including Sherman Oaks Fashion Square. The teams in that room would not rest, or let us get up, until we were looking our very best (at least under rainy circumstances).—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor



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January 20, 2014

Six young designers selected for Rotterdam museum, to exhibit alongside Viktor & Rolf, Martin Margiela

Lucire staff/9.29

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Iris van Herpen/Jean Baptiste Mondino


Karl Giant

Top Iris van Herpen is among the six winners of the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Awards. Above Olek of Poland, also on the winners’ list.

An exhibition, The Future of Fashion Is Now, will open on October 11, 2014 and run to January 18, 2015 at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, featuring the works of Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Coppens, Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, and others.
   Additionally, six young fashion designers will feature among the 60 who will exhibit, having just won the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Awards.
   To find the emerging designers, 20 international scouts selected two or three designers for the exhibition and the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Award. A jury of six—made up of Viktor & Rolf, Vogue Nederland editor-in-chief Karin Swerink, Vassilis Zidianakis, Han Nefkens and José Teunissen, selected the final six.
   The winners are Iris van Herpen (the Netherlands), Craig Green (Great Britain), Dolci & Kabana (Australia), Olek (Poland), Digest Design (China) and Lucco (Peru).
   The Award, the brainchild of Nefkens and Tenuissen, supports fashion talent, offering designers the opportunity of creating new work, then given on perpetual loan to the museum.
   Swerink notes that the winners ‘had to engage, inspire and surprise me. All six designers met these three criteria.’
   The six will not fly blind: the jury will assist them up to the opening, says the Museum. The public can follow the process online.
   ‘The exhibition addresses the critical position young fashion designers adopt towards the fashion system and the role of clothing in today’s society. Sustainability, new technologies and the value of clothing for the identity of an individual or a community are themes with which they open the discussion about fashion of the future,’ says the Museum.


Santos Román



Above The jury included Han Nefkens, Karin Swerink, and Viktor & Rolf.

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January 12, 2014

Bugatti shows menswear and accessories for autumn–winter 2014–15 at exclusive event

Lucire staff/12.56

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Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Bugatti, Volkswagen AG’s most exclusive brand with its heritage in Alsace, has extended into menswear at the autumn–winter 2014–15 Milano shows, as part of what it calls its Lifestyle Brand project.
   The “blue carpet” event on Friday was held at Casa Manzoni, the home of the nineteenth-century poet Alessandro Manzoni, in association with L’Uomo Vogue, hosted by editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani and Bugatti Automobiles SAS president Wolfgang Schreiber. Guests included Gaia Trussardi, Stephen Dorff, Anna Dello Russo, Gaia Trussardi, Dean and Dan Caten, Leonardo Ferragamo, Moncler chairman Remo Ruffini, the President of the Italian National Chamber of Fashion Mario Boselli, Cecilia Capriotti and Andrea Perone, Carlo Mazzoni, Leonardo Ferragamo and his sons Pietro and Riccardo, Luca Calvani, Elke Palmaers, Carlo Borromeo, Marta Ferri, and André van Noord.
   The capsule collection, made in Italy, is meant to highlight the same values as Bugatti itself, namely ‘art, form, technique’. The clothing débuts along with an exclusive Bugatti bag.
   Fabrics for the EB (Ettore Bugatti) tailored clothing lines (Flamboyant, Formal Wear and Blue Carpet Soirée) have come from Biella, while the Bugatti Extreme Performance outdoor line uses high-tech treatments and processes. Both follow the philosophy of the cars: über-luxury through some of the highest and most exclusive technology. The company also says the collection blends ‘Italian creativity, French savoir-vivre and German engineering’.
   The collection will be sold through exclusive Bugatti boutiques, the first of which will open in Hong Kong and Beijing, highlighting where the brand’s growth markets are.









Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images










Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

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