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April 16, 2015

A spring in their steps: Secret Room’s pre-MTV Movie Awards’ suite

Lucire staff/10.22

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Leyla Messian

As usual, Rita Branch and Amy Boatright’s Secret Room Events lined up a docket of product talent filled with delights for girls and boys of all ages. However, young Reef Carneson was the true VIP of the day. At age six, he is a cancer survivor as well as the first pediatric bonemarrow recipient in his native South Africa. Unfortunately, he developed Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) after his procedure. When a diagnosis of skin cancer made matters worse, his family came to the United States for further treatment. To help offset the costs for his family, Rock It 4 Reef has been established to keep Reef and his family going strong in his quest to beat his illness. This year, generous Style Lounge attendees have enabled the Secret Room to collect for little Reef’s health care.
   As befitting any pre-awards show fête, a red carpet led into one of the brightly lit ballrooms of the elegant SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. But this was no ordinary trade show. A sparkling hall showcased a hit parade of new products, accompanied by high-energy pop blasting out of a small device that looked like a coffee pot. In spite of its appearance, the Archt One 360-degree sound system did not dispense Lavazza or Starbucks. Instead, a pulsating brew of multi-directional sound poured straight from the Singapore-based inventor’s Iphone, through the device and to the farthest corners of the ballroom. Information for this percolating Kickstarter invention can be found at archtaudio.com.
   Another impressive device we discovered is Cheero’s Ingress Power Cube, offering 12,000 MHz of juice that allows the user to charge two devices while flying, camping, mountain biking or surviving on a deserted island. Even castaways and hermits need their music and games. Cheero has several models of chargers available, including one that comes with a flexible toy “transformer” whose eyes light up when the gadget is fully charged. Speck was on hand with a colourful array of Ipad, tablet and phone covers with mid-century modern patterns in vivid turquoise, teal, yellow and vermilion.
   One literal highlight of the day is best used at night-time, and not only by children. Total Dreamz by Aloka Designs USA offers a variety of hypnotic, colour-changing nightlights. Little girls will fall asleep alongside a rainbow-tinted horse, puppy, or fairy, while little boys will ride a train or spaceship to Dreamland. Children over 18 will be mesmerized by the psychedelic heart and butterfly designs that bring an aurora borealis effect to their bedroom. Sleepyheads can program these night lights to turn off automatically when the fun is over.
   After splitting a surprisingly tasty, probiotic-packed Effi Bar made of raw dates, cashews, and goji berries, we moved on to the clothing and accessories. Wiley X Eyewear outfitted attendees with the same sleek model of shades worn by Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. Although designed for men, these are quite flattering on women. Lightweight yet durable, they cool off the eyes by cutting the glare effectively. It is interesting to note that this brand also provides eye protection for the Australian military.
   No style lounge is complete without introducing designers who turn trash into fashion. Protecting the earth while making us look good: we’ve all seen or worn recycled denim, restructured vintage clothing, and jewellery created from old glass. Made from recycled plastic bottles harvested in the US, Underground Chic has a collection of stylish handbags, clutches, and totes in a variety of fun, crayon-coloured hues. One style looks and feels like genuine, soft brown suede. It’s easy to forget that these cute accessories were once bottles that could have ended up clogging our oceans.
   Anje, also based in New York, has created a line of luxurious yet minimalist cashmere garments in multiple shades of grey, charcoal and black. Although expensive, the generous, flowing silhouettes flatter all figure types. They are true and timeless investment pieces for one’s wardrobe.
   So, what about colour? After all, it is spring here in North America, and not only the Ipads should be attired in teal and vermilion. When choosing the most flattering gowns, celebrities the world over reach out to color consultant Jill Kirsh. She provides one-on-one as well as online consultations for international clients to determine the best colour palette based on the individual’s hair colour. She also customizes make-up to complement each client’s hair colour, skin tone, and wardrobe, thereby ensuring a uniform look.
   We had already shared our second better-for-you-than-yoghurt Effi Bar (this time it was coconut and cacao) when we started to explore the multitude of beauty products and services. Joey New York introduced their newest skin care product, This N That, a multi-use liquid to shrink pores and exfoliate; their Keep It Up, described as an instant natural facelift, is one of their best-selling products. Coconut water and ginseng, used in some Joey New York products, lift and tighten sagging skin and pesky jowls. The new Cellusanaskin care line rejuvenates the skin with the same stem cell technology used for burn victims. Cellusana looks forward to the launch of injectable stem cells, which eliminate wrinkles and other imperfections, without the use of paralysing toxins.
   EMK presented attendees with a gift of plant placental anti-ageing face serum with firming kelp and clarifying tea tree oil. Used together with their Supra night cream and their firming eye gel, we can look forward to waking up with brighter, more refreshed skin. The line has a devoted following in Malaysia and Dubai, where hot climates wreak havoc upon delicate skin. Our first whiff of Kuumba Made botanically infused organic body care and first-aid products brought back memories of the late 1960s and early 1970s, of bell-bottomed jeans, incense and free love. We were particularly drawn to the jasmine, white ginger and black coconut scents. The all-natural scented coconut oil relieves feminine dryness, and the vanilla-infused variety improves intimacy. And speaking of which, Matt Titus is the first nationally recognized male matchmaker to develop a fragrance collection. The YOU collection (also known as the Scent of a Woman collection) consists of three distinctive fragrances sold together, each with notes of fresh green tea, warm musk or feminine florals.
   Korean bath houses are becoming increasingly popular outside the Korean community. Men and women enjoy a variety of saunas, hot and cold plunge pools, and body treatments au naturel. Tikkun Holistic Spa is one of the better known, high-end Korean spas with heat therapy and infrared rooms that help soothe tired muscles and tense moods. The ladies of Tikkun are delighted to introduce Lucire readers to an indulgent cleansing ritual designed for our “lady bits”. One just sits on the specially designed ‘V’ treatment chair (‘A’ treatment for the boys), and allow the steam to do its thing. Afterwards, one retires to either the clay or the salt room at the spa to further detoxify and relax. A day at Tikkun is an all-day affair. Karen’s Skincare is the secret behind the effectiveness of Tikkun’s facials. In particular, the Advanced C and E Infusion Complex diffuses highly concentrated vitamins to combat wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin. Made in the US without animal testing, Tikkun’s products are paraben-free and customized for various skin types.
   Of course, time is ultimately a thief, and steals our youthful appearances no matter how carefully we take care of ourselves. Dr Jason Emer offers facial contouring with fillers as well as surgical and non-invasive procedures. Boasting clients like Sofia Vergara and Cara Delevingne, Dr Emer offers the Venus Treatment, guaranteed to lift and tighten one’s face, neck or body.—Leyla Messian, LA correspondent, with Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor









Leyla Messian

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April 13, 2015

Mini’s augmented reality glasses include X-ray vision

Lucire staff/11.49

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Augmented reality for drivers may be here sooner than some might think, as BMW’s Mini brand reveals its prototype eyewear at Auto Shanghai.
   The Mini Augmented Vision eyewear links the car and the driver, transmitting basic information such as speed and speed limits, but adds other practical features for the 2010s lifestyle.
   Mini foresees that one can enter the destination when outside the car, and have the data sent there for use in the eyewear. There will be a navigation display from one’s current location to the car, or from the car to the final destination. If a message has been received, an icon will appear, and the SMS can be read out by the car. Points of interest and navigation arrows can also appear in the eyewear; the latter can show highlight available parking spaces.
   The science-fiction-sounding features, which BMW believes can be realized, include “X-ray vision”, a virtual view through parts of the car, such as A-pillars and doors, rendering items that may be hidden from the driver’s seat.
   Finally, the company’s augmented parking feature projects images from a camera in the passenger’s side door mirror so the driver knows how far the car is from the kerb.
   All of this is in line with the BMW Group’s research, which forecast increasing urbanization and the need for associated services.
   BMW cooperated with Qualcomm on the technology, while the design and colour concept of the eyewear was created by Designworks.
   Project manager for Mini Augmented Vision, Dr Jörg Preißinger, said in a release, ‘This prototype with its customised, interactive functions succeeds in fusing augmented reality with the brand’s trademark sense of lifestyle.’
   ‘We are proud to have helped develop a breakthrough augmented reality interface between eyewear and the automobile,’ said Jay Wright, vice-president of Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc. ‘Mini Augmented Vision offers a compelling example of what’s possible today, and what we can expect in the future.’









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April 1, 2015

Jaguar launches second-generation XF saloon: lighter, roomier, more class-leading tech

Lucire staff/13.10

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A week after previewing the new XF in a high-wire stunt over Victoria Docks in London, Jaguar has released images and details of the car as it enjoyed its official début at the New York Auto Show.
   The second-generation XF is recognizably Jaguar, stylistically an evolution of the 2007 X250 model that brought the company’s saloon car range into the 21st century. Prior to the XF, Jaguar saloons had been stuck in a sort of time warp, reminding customers regularly of the 1968 XJ6. The original XF changed that, with its fresh, fastback styling and, in the interior, the rotary dial gear selector, which helped give the cabin a feeling of airiness.
   But underneath the svelte styling, the XF did not share the aluminium-intensive construction methods of the larger XJ, something which the second-generation model remedies. Now up to 190 kg lighter than the outgoing model, the use of aluminium has allowed Jaguar to create a more rigid, refined car that’s also more fuel-efficient, according to the company’s figures. Jaguar cites carbon dioxide emissions of 104 g/km and the new four-cylinder Ingenium diesel gets 71·7 mpg (Imperial) in fuel economy, though it remains to be seen just how well it will fare in the real world.
   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.
   The body is also more slippery, helping with efficiency, with the drag coefficient dropping from 0,29 to 0,26 on the new model.
   The company is emphasizing its leadership in aluminium usage, especially extending it from the large XJ saloon down to its entry-level XE, launched last year.
   By increasing the wheelbase by 51 mm while cutting overall length, Jaguar has increased the interior room, and with the sixth light added in the design, the car now appears lighter and roomier inside.
   The cockpit is dominated by a configurable 10·2-inch touch-screen, while the maps for the sat-nav are stored on a 60 Gbyte solid-state hard drive.
   The front suspension is modelled after the F-type sports car’s, with the company claiming segment-leading handling for the new model.
   Other goodies include parking assist for bay and parallel parking, adaptive cruise control, and even reverse traffic detection, to warn drivers of fast-approaching traffic. The laser head-up display is also sharper than comparable TFT systems, with higher contrast; the unit is also a third lighter, which helps the XF save weight.




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March 26, 2015

Kenneth Cole Connect watches see fashion brand join the wearable tech trend

Lucire staff/22.14

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Kenneth Cole has joined other brands in announcing an entry into the wearable technology market at Baselworld, with his new Kenneth Cole Connect Smart Watch collection, hitting stories on April 1 at a base price of US$135.
   The watches are being produced by Geneva Watch Group, which also creates timepieces for other fashion brands in addition to Kenneth Cole.
   The new watches feature Bluetooth and functions for incoming calls, texts and calendar events. They also have music functions and a camera, which allow users to take selfies.
   Other features include a stopwatch and alerts when users are about to lose their Bluetooth connection, as the watches require a device to connect with.
   The watches operate on a standard watch battery and do not require a charger, says the company.

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March 20, 2015

Will.i.am, Gucci collaborate on wearable technology: a new, stand-alone smart watch

Lucire staff/22.59

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The Image Gate

Will.i.am’s star power saw him create I.am+, a brand for consumer products that link fashion and technology. A camera accessory for the Apple Iphone was introduced several years ago, and now Will.i.am can add a Gucci timepiece to its credits.
   The new watch has been described as a a stand-alone ‘smartband’, untethered from a smartphone, by Gucci. So far only a concept has been shown at Baselworld, and planned functions include telephone, SMS, emails, music, maps, calendar, a fitness app, and a voice-activated personal assistant.
   The musician noted, ‘I.am+ and Gucci Timepieces are setting the pace with our vision for a untethered wearable. In creating a device that is both fashionable and technologically advanced, we aim to define this category. I coined the term “fashionology”, a merging of the worlds of fashion and technology, and that is exactly what this collaboration with Gucci represents.’
   Stéphane Linder, president and CEO of Gucci Timepieces, said, ‘Today, through this innovative collaboration with I.am+ and Will.i.am, Gucci Timepieces is fully embracing the future of wearable technology that is now ahead of us, with the objective of launching a wearable device concept that is a fashion accessory, incorporating the most comprehensive and advanced technological functionalities.’

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March 6, 2015

Travel news in brief: a special offer for Lucire readers in India; Olivia Richli moves on; Beolit 15 launched

Lucire staff/14.05

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Lucire readers can get a special offer at both Shanti Home (New Delhi) and Shanti Morada (Goa, pictured above) for all months from April to September 2015. Mention Lucire and get a free one-hour massage at either property.
   We are saddened to learn that GM Olivia Richli has left her post at Aman Canal Grande at the end of February. A world-class hospitality pro and former GM of Amangalla in Sri Lanka, Olivia moved to Venezia, where she presided over the property’s launch and scored the high-profile Clooney nuptials last September. After such a stellar record she will be greatly missed. But hearty congratulations to whomever scores her next.
   Ideal for travelling, Bang & Olufsen has released the Beolit 15 this week, a portable Bluetooth 4·0 speaker with 24 hours’ play time from a single charge. The design—with its aluminium grille, polymer body and leather strap—is inspired by the Beolit radios of the 20th century, and follows on from the company’s earlier Bluetooth players, the Beolit 12 of 2012 and the extra-compact Beoplay A2. B&O promises 360-degree sound with a redesigned acoustic structure, with B&O Play chief Henrik Taudorf Lorensen saying, ‘We believe it is the best music system of its kind in the market.’ Retail price is €499, or kr. 3.699 in its home market.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor, with Lucire staff



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January 30, 2015

Kari Feinstein’s Sundance Style Lounge shines from Park City

Lola Cristall/20.37

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Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Park City, Utah is where all the action takes place in January as the Sundance Film Festival vibe takes over. While film is the main topic of interest during the week, discreet places allow invited guests to relax as they discover innovative products in the midst of a cozy and warm atmosphere. Kari Feinstein’s Sundance Style Lounge presented by Aruba last weekend was the highlight on the prominent Main Street. Celebrities including Nikki Reed, Gina Rodriguez, Hailee Steinfeld, Toni Collette, Sarah Silverman, Amy Willerton, Emile Hirsch, Avan Jogia, Kiersey Clemons, Molly Shannon, and many more indulged in electronics, clothing and cosmetics. Netgear featured their chic Smart Home Security Camera, stylishly discreet and useful for home safety. Innergie featured their portable charging stations. Eb5 had their skin and body treatment on display; the Third Piece revealed their fashionable hand-knit winter accessories, while Coolway added to the stylish feel with their utmost classy shoes.
   Many other hotspots stole the spotlight during the much-awaited time of year. We will shortly bring to you other events that made their way to the Sundance Film Festival before we turn our attention to Paris where the elegant haute couture fashion week has been unveiled in the French capital.—Lola Cristall, Paris editor







Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

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January 6, 2015

Wearable technology from Misfit and Mercedes-Benz’s lounge on wheels are visions of the future

Lucire staff/11.36

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Wearable technology is all the rage as we head into the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.
   Misfit has announced its Swarovski Shine line. The company, which makes trackers that can sync with your phone so you can measure your walking, running, swimming, cycling and other activities, including sleep quality and calories burned through its wireless technology, will show two new products. The clear Swarovski Shine, with a crystal face, is the first, while a violet Swarovski Shine has an “energy crystal” technology that allows solar charging, eliminating the need for charging or batteries. Both are waterproof.
   The collection is available for pre-order in the US at misfit.com, and will go on sale in the spring at Swarovski retailers in the US, China (including Hong Kong) and online at swarovski.com.
   Meanwhile, the Robotic Spider Dress, designed by Anouk Wipprecht, is 3-D printed, and reacts to motion through proximity sensors. Wipprecht told Motherboard that the dress will react to aggression by getting into an attack position, but if one approached the wearer more calmly, it would have more ‘suggestive gestures’.


Robotic Spider Dress (Intel Edison-based) from Anouk Wipprecht on Vimeo.


   Another vision of the future at CES is the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car, which is a self-driving saloon. Mercedes-Benz says that the ‘car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a private retreating space. This new way of travelling gives passengers the freedom to use their valuable time on the road in manifold ways.’ Mercedes-Benz sees people retreating to their cars in a more urbanized future, where time and space are the real luxuries.
   Its interior adopts the theme of a lounge, with open-pore walnut wood, soft white nappa leather, and metal and glass surfaces. It features four rotating lounge chairs in polished aluminium, which can swing outwards for easier egress, and the front seats can face forward if the driver opts for manual driving. The steering wheel then extends from the dashboard. Six screens are incorporated into the instrument panel and rear and side panels, which respond to gestures, eye-tracking and touch.
   Outside, the car glows blue if it is driving autonomously, or white if its driver is in control. The body structure uses carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, aluminium and high-strength steel, making the bodyshell 40 per cent lighter than today’s production cars’. Rear suicide doors allow easier access, and the B-pillars have been eliminated. The front and rear doors are interconnected with an interlocking system.




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