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May 30, 2015

News in brief: Chi launches Touch 2; Electra bicycles’ 1970s’ inspiration; Hair La Vie’s new video campaign

Lucire staff/7.29

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Farouk Systems’ Chi has launched a new touch-screen hair-drier, the Touch 2 (MSRP US$199·99), with more customization options. It features a 2·24-inch touch-screen control and that control the temperature, ions and speed, and allows users to tailor their blow-outs based on one’s hair texture. The drier can emit more ions for thick, coarse hair, and fewer for normal and fine hair. Chi’s ceramic technology generates moist heat and a consistent temperature.
   Electra reminds us that for summer 2015, its range of retro-styled bicycles are ideal for getting to the fun events of the season. The 1970s-inspired designs and bright colours of orange, pink and yellow, along with flower prints that some will remember were staples in period interiors, mark out the line. There are also interchangeable tassles for the handlebars, and other customization features. However, Electra’s Robin Vallaire, creative director, notes that the bicycles have the latest technology beneath all the 1970s styling.
   Hair La Vie, the natural hair-growth vitamin, has launched a video campaign which features testimonials, including celebrity hairstylist Stephanie Hobgood, who works with the likes of Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, and Rosario Dawson. Hair La Vie includes 20 natural, clinically proven ingredients, and no synthetic fillers, binders or additives. It says there are visible results after two to three weeks, priced at US$39. ‘When clients ask me for a product to help them repair and regrow their hair, I recommend Hair La Vie, because honestly, it’s the first vitamin I’ve seen that actually works. And I’ll tell you right now not a lot of them do,’ says Hobgood. Some of Hair La Vie’s profits are donated to worthy causes and to a scholarship for women.


May 12, 2015

Full Harper’s Bazaar archive joins those of Vogue and WWD, digitalized by ProQuest

Lucire staff/15.10

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With the entire Vogue US archive already available to researchers, it was a matter of time before its rival, Harper’s Bazaar, followed.
   ProQuest has announced that it is creating the first digital archive of the magazine, from 1867 to the latest issue. It joins ProQuest’s earlier digitalizations of Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily. The archives are known for their ease of search as well as their high-resolution imagery.
   ‘We know scholars and students are using more than journals and books to conduct their research,’ said ProQuest’s senior director of product management for humanities, Stephen Brooks. ‘Digitization programmes such as this one with Harper’s Bazaar unlock valuable, historical primary sources from the confines of print, making them easy to access, text mine and use within researchers’ workflows.’
   Harper’s Bazaar, originally Harper’s Bazar, was the US’s first fashion magazine. Carmel Snow, Diana Vreeland, Elizabeth Tilberis, Alexey Brodovitch, Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Andy Warhol, Daisy Fellowes, Gloria Guinness, and Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd have all featured prominently in the magazine since its inception.

May 1, 2015

It’s full circle for style.com: back to its origins in fashion retail

Jack Yan/14.17

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Top Earlier today, attempting to get into Style.com meant a virus warning—the only trace of this curiosity is in the web history. Above Style.com is back, with a note that it will be transforming into an e-tail site.

If there’s one constant in fashion, it’s change. The other one, which we notice thanks to a number of our team being well schooled on fashion history, is that trends always return, albeit in modified form. Both have come into play with Style.com, which announced earlier this week that it would become an ecommerce site.
   When Lucire started, we linked to style.com, but it wasn’t in our fashion magazines’ directory. It was, instead, in our shopping guide.
   In 2000, that all changed, and it began appearing under our fashion magazine links, where it was until today. An attempt to log in to the home page was met by a virus warning, preventing us from going further. We figured that this was part of the transformation of the website as it readied itself for the next era, discouraging people from peering. However, having had these warnings splashed across our own pages two years ago courtesy of Google’s faulty bot, when our site was in fact clean, there was a part of us taking it with a grain of salt. In either case, given the impending change, it was probably the right time to remove the link.
   This evening, Style.com is back and virus-free, with an overlay graphic announcing that the website will be changing. Plenty of our media colleagues have analysed the closure over the past week: the Murdoch Press has gossiped about how the layoffs were announced, WWD suggests editor-in-chief Dirk Standen didn’t know it was coming, based on rumours, while Fashionista puts it all into context by analysing just where ecommerce is within the fashion sector, and that content should be the answer over clothing sales.
   What is interesting is no one that we’ve spotted has mentioned how the style.com domain name (we’ve carefully noted it in lowercase there) has effectively come full circle. Perhaps we really are in the age of Wikipedia-based research, as this fact is not mentioned there at all.
   When Lucire launched in 1997, style.com was the website for Express Style, later more prominently, and simply, branded Express, a US fashion retailer. It’s not hard to imagine that had Express remained at the URL, it would have become an e-tailer; it has, after all, made the move into ecommerce at its present home, express.com. Like a fashion trend that comes back two decades later, style.com has gone back to its roots: by the autumn it’ll be e-tailing.
   The omission from the above paragraph is the sale of the style.com domain name by Express to Condé Nast in the late 1990s. We never completely understood the need to start a new brand to be the US home of Vogue and W; for many  years, typing vogue.com into the browser in the US would take one automatically to Style.com. Then, somewhere along the line, Condé Nast decided that vogue.com should be the online home of Vogue after all.
   But having made the decision to forge ahead with Style.com, Condé Nast did it with a lot of resources, and took its site to number one among print fashion magazine web presences in a remarkably short space of time. It devoted plenty of resources to it, and it’s thanks to Style.com that certain things that were once frowned upon—e.g. showing off catwalk collections after the show—became acceptable. Designers used to enjoy the fact that we and Elle US delayed online coverage, the belief being that the delay ensured that pirates could not copy their designs and beat them to the high street.
   To get itself known, Condé Nast bought advertising at fashion websites that were better known, including this one (yes, in 2000 that really was the case), at a time when online advertising cost considerably more than it does today.
   The muscle from the best known name in fashion publishing changed the way the media interacted with readers. Designers figured that if they wanted coverage, they would have to accept that their work would be shown nearly instantly. We became used to that idea, so much so that we now have to show the catwalk videos live in the 2010s.
   In some ways, the change makes sense: we’re talking about an Alexa rank in the 4,000s, which translates to plenty of traffic. The name is known, and most shoppers will make some association with Vogue. The official word is that Franck Zayan, formerly head of ecommerce for Galeries Lafayette, will helm the revised website, and he’s reporting that brands are coming on board rapidly.
   One shouldn’t mourn the loss of Style.com as a fashion news portal, since the content we’re all used to is bound to appear at Vogue. And in all the years we had it in our magazines’ directory, it was listed under our Vogue entry anyway. We await the new site to see what Condé Nast will do with it, and it may yet return to the spot where it once was in the 20th century, in the shopping guide.—Jack Yan, Publisher

April 30, 2015

BCBG Max Azria releases Magnum Belgian Chocolate Wrap, fashion with a chocolate scent

Lucire staff/11.46

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Top The BCBG Max Azria for Magnum Belgian Chocolate Wrap. Above BCBG Max Azria chief creative officer Lubov Azria modelling the wrap.

Unilever’s Magnum already established itself as a fashionable brand, teaming up years ago with Karl Lagerfeld and Rachel Bilson. This time, Magnum has teamed up with BCBG Max Azria with their BCBG Max Azria for Magnum Belgian Chocolate Wrap, a wrap that gives off a scent that is reminiscent of the experience of enjoying a Magnum ice-cream bar.
   Harvard scientist and scent inventor David Edwards and master perfumer Christope Laudamiel worked on the scent with Unilever.
   Using Onotes (styled oNotes by its makers), a scent platform created by Edwards and his team, the wrap’s scent has been called ‘decadent’ by Unilever, and marks the first time Onotes has been used in a fashion accessory.
   Unveiled Wednesday at the BCBG flagship store in New York, the wrap features a swirling brown and caramel pattern—which itself already conveys the Magnum ice-cream—and is made of suede and viscose.
   ‘In fashion, we focus so much on sight and touch,’ said Lubov Azria, chief creative officer of BCBG Max Azria, in the release. ‘The design of the wrap was inspired by the smooth feel of chocolate and the visual of a melting Magnum Double Caramel ice-cream bar. But to find a way to incorporate the aroma as well means the BCBG Max Azria for Magnum Belgian Chocolate Wrap has taken fashion beyond the realm of the visual and tactile, giving everyone a new and innovative way to experience fashion as a true feast of the senses.’

April 29, 2015

HTC taps into body art for One M9; Jourdan Dunn fronts campaign

Lucire staff/23.14

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HTC’s One M9 cellphone will get a body art-inspired design with a limited edition to be released this year, as part of its HTC Ink campaign.
   The design, by Cally-Jo Pothecary, will be engraved on the back of some of the M9s, while HTC will also release temporary, metallic body-art transfers to consumers.
   HTC said of the design in a release, ‘The open hand and eye symbolize the need for protection and strength, whilst still being open and approachable in personality and style. The natural leaf elements and patterns around the outside of each visual reflect the growth in creativity that she is feeling at this time, whilst the sun and moon together indicate balance and harmony in her character.’
   Model Jourdan Dunn is the face of the campaign, and collaborated with Pothecary on the first design.
   HTC says other celebrity-inspired body-art designs will be released.
   The company’s CEO, Cher Wang, says that modern phones should be as personalized as one’s haircut or outfit, and that tapping in to body art seemed like a natural fit for the brand.

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

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.’









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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