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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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October 11, 2014

The Healthy Harlequin, masked culinary superheroine, débuts at Comic-Con

Lucire staff/11.02

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Cosplay is very much part of the 2010s lexicon and culture, and what better way to get reminders about staying fit and healthy than to bring the message right to the media people use today?
   The Healthy Harlequin, who officially launched at Comic-Con at New York this week, will present short videos and images via Instagram and other media with recipes, tips and techniques about healthy eating.
   And she hasn’t just emerged on the scene. We’ve been following Healthy Harlequin, the new masked superheroine, over the many months leading up to this launch, and there’s an entire a comic book origin story to how she came into being.
   The Healthy Harlequin told Lucire that ‘putting on a mask can make you more bold, more outgoing,’ and her aim is ‘empowering people (mainly women) to get back in the kitchen … but to take health in their own hands.’
   She added in a release, ‘I’m fighting bad health’s lies with truth, body positivity, and tasty treats.’
   â€˜She’s like your smart, sassy older sister teaching you what’s up in the kitchen—she just happens to be a superhero,’ according to Faith Kates, owner of Next Models, which represents Healthy Harlequin.
   â€˜She’s not afraid to make a mess in the kitchen, and that’s fun to watch,’ says Scott Feldman, founder of chefs’ agency Two-Twelve Management, which represents Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and The Kitchen’s Geoffrey Zakarian.
   What we love: she’s body-positive and unapologetically flawed so we can relate to her—and her advice is good for our health.
   Her lessons include how to remove the beans from a vanilla pod to making creamy nut milks, and each episode builds on the last.
   Follow HealthyHarlequin on Instagram, HarlequinHealth on Twitter, her Tumblr site (where you can watch her first episode), or visit the website at www.healthyharlequin.com.

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September 2, 2014

Land Rover Discovery Sport revealed—claimed to be most versatile, capable premium compact SUV

Jack Yan/23.22

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Tata’s Jaguar Land Rover unit has released the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the successor to the Freelander.
   Land Rover has abandoned the Freelander name, which mainly had support from the UK market, but was less known elsewhere. By using the Discovery name, the new model can trade off the larger, more established SUV’s goodwill in more international markets.
   The compact SUV sector continues to be strong, especially in markets such as China, which has seen many launches over recent years.
   The Discovery Sport is the company’s most versatile entry in the compact sector, rivalling the Audi Q5—yet is shorter than that model while managing to have three rows of seats as standard (in the UK).
   BMW’s X3 and Volvo’s XC60 will also be in the Discovery Sport’s crosshairs.
   The styling combines elements of the existing Freelander’s design language with its clamshell bonnet—which can trace its origins to the Range Rover—and the thick C-pillar, but expressed in sleeker terms. Land Rover’s exterior design challenge was to give the Discovery Sport its sporting appearance—putting the S into SUV—while maximizing interior space.
   Land Rover says it has tried hard to ensure that the Discovery Sport is comfortable for urban use, while maintaining the sort of off-road abilities people have come to expect from its brand. It claims that the vehicle is more suited off-road than its immediate rivals in the compact premium SUV sector, aided by improvements in its Terrain Response software. The Discovery Sport has approach, departure, and breakover angles of 25, 31 and 21 degrees respectively, says the company, and can wade to 600 mm.
   Revised multi-link suspension at the rear has allowed greater space, while making the third row a reality.
   The bodyshell uses steel and aluminium, the latter to reduce weight.
   The interior features high-quality materials, an eight-inch touch-screen system, four 12 V power points, and the option of six USB charging ports for all three rows.
   The launch engine is Land Rover’s 2·2-litre turbodiesel with stop–start, developing 190 PS, with both nine-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions. A two-wheel-drive turbodiesel with carbon dioxide emissions of a targeted 119 g/km will be released in 2015.
   The digital reveal of the Sport was at Spaceport America, alongside a Galactic Discovery competition, which will see four winners head to space with Virgin Galactic.—Jack Yan, Publisher










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August 26, 2014

Volvo releases details of second-generation XC90

Jack Yan/15.03

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Volvo has released official information on the second-generation XC90, replacing the original SUV that first caught the public’s attention in 2002.
   The new XC90 is aimed at a more affluent audience while preserving traditional Volvo values, as the Swedish brand aims to increase its international sales as a prestige marque, especially in China.
   The XC90 is the first car from the Swedish brand, now a subsidiary of China’s Geely, developed after its sale by the Ford Motor Company.
   The engine line-up features D4 and D5 diesels, producing 190 and 225 PS respectively, and T5 and T6 petrol units, developing 225 and 320 PS. A Twin Engine T8 is the flagship of the range, with 400 PS and a hybrid driveline (petrol engine driving the front wheels, an electric motor driving the rear), in line with Volvo’s loftier ambitions for its big SUV, while showing its social commitment. Volvo says a three-cylinder unit is in the XC90’s future.
   Size has increased, too: length is up to 4,950 mm (compared with 4,807 mm), with a wheelbase up from 2,857 mm to 2,984 mm, ensuring the new car is more commodious. Width is 2,008 mm, an increase from the current model’s 1,936 mm, helping distance it from the mid-sized XC60. Height is now 1,775 mm, the only measure which has decreased from its predecessor, by a mere 9 mm. The tracks are also wider, front and rear, by 3–4 inches.
   Volvo’s new design language, already previewed on the Concept Coupé, Concept XC Coupé and Concept Estate, is a sportier, simpler expression of many of its traditional cues, but shakes off Swedish restraint for a more expressive, aspirational feel. The iron logo has been reinterpreted to appear more solid, with the ribbon at a lower angle. The sides are straighter, with the waistline more parallel with the ground.
   The SUV is on Volvo’s new SPA scalable architecture, which will form the basis of future Volvo models.
   The interior has also been rethought with a new design language, with a large Sensus screen in the middle of the dashboard, divided into GPS at the top, media and phone in the middle, and climate control settings at the bottom. Cloud-based services can also be accessed through the Sensus system, with compatibility with Android and Apple, including Google Maps and Spotify through those OSs. A head-up display is also available. The interior is also more luxurious, with more sumptuous, redesigned seats. Volvo claims the third row of seats provides class-leading room. The Bowers & Wilkins sound system is unique to the XC90, and features an air-vented subwoofer.
   In safety terms, Volvo débuts two features. The first is automatic braking when turning left (turning right for RHD models) into oncoming vehicles. Secondly, Volvo launches an active safety feature in cases where, should the car begin to depart from the road, it will tighten the front seat belts to hold the passengers in place. Meanwhile, its engineers have developed an energy-absorbing function between the chair and chair frame to dampen the vertical forces, helping to prevent back injuries.
   Volvo Car Group CEO Hakan Samuelsson says, ‘This is one of the most important days in our history. We are launching not only a car, but we are also relaunching our brand. Today begins a new era in our company.’
   The first-generation model continues in China as the XC90 Classic.—Jack Yan, Publisher

















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GBK’s garden party: primping for the 2014 Emmy Awards

Elyse Glickman/2.34

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On two hot, sunny afternoons at Beverly Hills’ L’Ermitage Hotel, Gavin Keilly and his intrepid team were blending pre-Emmy Awards’ primping and wellness, exotic post-awards escapes and down-to-earth charity fundraising, transforming a small ballroom and courtyard into a colourful canvas of food for thought.
   In the spotlight were the GO Campaign, a grant-making organization addressing problems faced by orphans and vulnerable children around the world by partnering with local celebrities and role models to deliver local solutions; Cops 4 Causes, the first non-profit organization to be created to collectively highlight the philanthropic efforts of law enforcement; the Environmental Media Association, a non-profit dedicated to harnessing the power of the entertainment industry and the media to educate the global public on environmental issues and motivate sustainable lifestyles; Mutt Match LA K-9 Rescue Ranch & Sanctuary, which rescues neglected and discarded dogs from LA’s high kill shelters to rehabilitate and place in loving homes; and StarPower, providing fans backstage access and one-on-one engagement straight from their favorite celebrities via social media while supporting the causes they care about.
   In terms of featured wellness products, the star of the show was featured sponsor Michael Todd True Organics, which introduced their new Soniclear Antimicrobal Cleansing System, the world’s first antimicrobial sonic skin cleansing system. What sets this product and its skin care line apart from the competitors is the care put into the rotary and sonic systems, according to company president Lewis Hendler. He added that the dermatological team at Michael Todd set out to create an effective cleaning system without the worry of bacteria that can affect the performance of the tool and the products. After extensive research, the result was a revolutionary sonic cleansing brush that thoroughly cleanses the skin and then protects itself against microbial contamination leaving the brushes cleaner, fresher for longer.
   The strong supporting cast in the wellness act of the show included the Kind soap company, serving up bath and body care products in gorgeous earthy packaging; Brow Art 23, offering press an overview of their product line and make-up touch-ups; and Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil Company, providing their skinny coconut oil, 100 per cent raw and hand-pressed, and poised to be the next great super-food.
   There were also stylish and affordable sunglass frames from Foster Grant, LG’s Tone Infinim bluetooth headset, developed in collaboration with Harman/Kardon to deliver amazing sound quality and comfort in a range of pretty metallic pastels and an Intuition Blueprint Reading from Joanna Garzilli as well as a copy of her second edition of Unleash the Psychic in You.
   As most GBK parties would not be complete without a goody bag of surprises, the Artisan Group was on hand with their welcome surprise packages full of original costume and semi-precious jewellery, photography, stationery, soaps and other eye-catching and crafty accessories. Certainly, the stylists from top nominee shows and ratings hits such as The Voice, Scandal, Parenthood and The Vampire Diaries think so! My bag was particularly delightful this go round with beautiful jewellery from Benee Rubin, Rock and Hardware, Designs by Diane (Sowers), ImagiNature Art Glass, Nineteen Seventy-Four by Pamela Roskin, BkdSignature, Jewelry by Lucinda de Castro, Nan Gates Designs cosmetic bags, Specifically Random head wraps. Charities the Artisan Group supports includes the Animal Rescue Fund and Let’s Move Together–the Arthritis Foundation.
   Celebrities snapped at the event included Alicia Witt, Angela Bassett, R. J. Mitte, Sam Trammell, Selenis Leyva, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Viola Davis, Edie Falco, Vanessa Marcil, Madeline Brewer, Corbin Bleu, Dascha Polanco, Gary Cole, Joey King, Mariel Hemingway, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Bob Eubanks, Teyonah Parris, and Shanola Hampton.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor
















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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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