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Opinions: what we need from media beyond ‘fake news’; looking to the stars


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 15, 2017/21.47

We need independent media


Paul Clarke/CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37435469

Above: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Earlier this month, Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote an open letter expressing his concerns about the evolution of his invention, the World Wide Web. (Interestingly, he writes the term all in lowercase.)
   It wasn’t just about ‘fake news’, which is how the media have reported it. His first concern was, in fact, about our losing control over our personal data, and determining when and with whom we share them. It’s something I’ve touched on regularly since 2011, when Google breached its own stated policies over user-preference collection for advertising purposes, something that Facebook appears to be following suit with mid-decade. This was long before Edward Snowden blew the lid on his government’s monitoring, something that’s happening to citizens of other occidental nations, too.
   Sir Tim writes, ‘Through collaboration with—or coercion of—companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online, and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy. In repressive regimes, it’s easy to see the harm that can be caused—bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, like sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.’
   But the one that struck me as very pertinent to publishing is Sir Tim’s second point. It’s the one that most news outlets seized on, linking it back to ‘fake news’, a term now corrupted by the executive branch of the US Government when attacking coverage that it doesn’t like. However, Sir Tim’s points were far broader than that. And it’s evident how his first point links to his second.
   It’s not hard to see that there is biased coverage on both the right and right wings of US politics (interestingly, they call it left and right), although Sir Tim points to how ‘a handful of social media sites or search engines’ show us the things that appeal to our own biases through their algorithms. ‘Fake news’ then spreads through these algorithms because they play to our prejudices. He writes, ‘those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.’ These sites are able to determine what we see based on the data we’ve given them, willingly or unwillingly.
   It’s so far from the ideals of the World Wide Web that it’s sad that the medium, which was once so expansive and inspirational as we surfed from one site to the next to read and absorb information, has come to this: a tool for becoming more insular, the first path to the idiocracy.
   Google, as I wrote last year, biases itself toward larger sites, no longer rewarding the media outlet that breaks a news item. The incentive to be that maverick medium is, therefore, lessened greatly online, because the web isn’t being ranked on merit by the largest player in the search-engine business. It’s why Duck Duck Go, which doesn’t collect user data, gives search results that are generally fairer. We think it’s important to learn alternative viewpoints, especially in politics, otherwise the division that we already see in some countries will only deepen—and at worst this can lead to war. In peacetime countries, a compatriot with opposing political thoughts is not our enemy.
   Facebook’s continued data collection of user preferences is also dangerous. Even after users opt out, Facebook’s ad preferences’ page demonstrates that it will keep collecting. Whether or not Facebook then uses these preferences is unknown—certainly Facebook itself clams up—but since the site reports journalists who alert them to kiddie porn, kicks off drag queens after saying they wouldn’t, and forces people to download software in the guise of malware detection, who knows if any of Facebook’s positions are real or merely ‘fake news’? Knowing the misdeeds of sites like Facebook—and Google which itself has been found guilty of hacking—do they actually deserve our ongoing support?
   Of course I have an interest in getting people to look beyond the same-again players, because I run one media outlet that isn’t among them. But we have an interest to seek information from the independents, and to support a fair and neutral internet. We may learn an angle we hadn’t explored before, or we may find news and features others aren’t covering. Better yet, we may learn alternative viewpoints that break us out of our prejudices. Surely we can’t be that scared of learning about alternatives (maybe one that is better than what we believe), or having a reasoned debate based on fact rather than emotion or hatred? And if you are sharing on social media, do you want to be one of the sheep who uses the same click-bait as everyone else, or show that you’re someone who’s capable of independent thought?
   It shouldn’t be that difficult to distinguish fake-news sites from legitimate media (even though the line gets blurred) by looking at how well something is subedited and how many spelling mistakes there are. Perhaps the headlines are less emotive. There is a tier of independent media that deserves your support, whether it is this site or many competing ones that we’ve linked ourselves. Going beyond the same-again sources can only benefit us all.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Stars in their eyes


Chanel

Above: Chanel continues its long-running Comète collection.

Coco Chanel is known for embracing astrology. Her inspiration is reflected in many of her jewellery creations and designs years later. The star motif is highlighted within the Comète collection and while the lion, representative of the brand, is reminiscent of the city of Venezia and symbolic of her astrological sign. The designer’s influential vision comes to life within many of the intricately detailed pieces.
   To this day, astrology serves as a tool that could provide one with knowledge and even supposed explanatory perceptions. Fashion-focused entities and individuals have contemplated to what extent one’s rising sign or ascendant, representing the door to one’s identity, is correlated to one’s wardrobe and personal style. Some inquisitive individuals ponder about personalities, style and even probable futuristic outcomes in the financial field. The AstroTwins, Tali and Ophira Edut, who have been featured in a number of outlets, have given advice to a slew of celebrities. While they focus mainly on various predictions according to the stars, some have used astrology to tap in to the financial market. The Merriman Market Analyst is one of the many prominent sites that discuss and explain transformations and changes in planets that could serve in financial as well as everyday astrology. Other than the website, they have published books for international audiences, divulging and examining the planets and geocosmic aspects. According to the website’s disclaimer, ‘The hope is … it will help the reader understand the psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events …’ For decades, the founder continues to ponder on certain circumstances, whether on a weekly or yearly basis, leading a team of apprentices that follow in his footsteps.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor

Range Rover Velar launched at the Design Museum: Jaguar Land Rover bets on a future design classic


NEWS  by Lucire staff/March 1, 2017/21.42

Jaguar Land Rover is betting on its Range Rover Velar becoming a design classic, launching it today with the Design Museum playing host to the new SUV in its first car exhibit.
   Velar is a name from Range Rover’s archives: the name was originally a fictional one that adorned prototypes of the original 1970 Range Rover. JLR has dusted the name off and applied to the fourth member of the Range Rover range, slotting in between the Evoque and Sport, with a wheelbase of 2,874 mm.
   The Range Rover Velar (called Blade during development) is a sleeker, more avant-garde model, with the idea of simplicity driving each stage of its development. The drag coefficient is a low 0,32, a figure seldom seen in this class.
   The interior is an exercise in simplicity and calmness, with a sustainable seat material developed with Kvadrat, in place of leather. The Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, with two 10-inch high-definition touch screens, is said to be state of the art, with controls not appearing till they are lit up. The exterior features clean surfaces, slim LED headlights, flush door handles and a sleek tailgate. The Velar’s 22-inch wheels give it a show-car presence, but they help to give it Land Rover’s all-terrain capability, something Range Rover customers expect. A locking rear differential is optional. It will also have outstanding ride, says JLR, with standard air suspension on six-cylinder models, and Adaptive Dynamics for all models. The Velar uses plenty of aluminium in its structure, contributing to its lightness.
   The launch at the Design Museum, which drew guests including Poppy Delevingne, Damien Lewis, Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr, Kostja Ullmann, and Rag ’n’ Bone Man, saw a capacity audience, who checked out both the new car and a photo exhibition featuring it, shot by Gary Bryan.
   There was a simultaneous unveiling at a pop-up display on Kensington High Street, West London.
   JLR also announced a partnership with the Design Museum, with events over the next three years.
   The Velar goes on sale in mid-July priced from £44,830. Engines range from a four-cylinder Ingenium diesel to a supercharged 3·0-litre V6 petrol engine delivering 380 PS.

A 2017 Academy Awards suite that’s all heart


NEWS  by Leyla Messian//9.00




Above, from top: Dancing with the Stars (the US version) Karina Smirnoff with Footmate. Title sponsor Buywine.com with Allen Maldanado (Black-ish, 2017 Golden Globe-nominated series). Jewellery from Twisted Silver.

Who says you need Valentine’s Day to show a little love? As event planner Doris Bergman sees it, every day should be Valentine’s Day—with the flair of a blockbuster movie première!
   In other hands, an event like this would be just another free-for-all. However, after nine years of helming the annual Valentine Romance Oscar Style Lounge & Party and Post-Holiday Gift Drive, Doris is one of the undisputed masters of the pre-award party. From her selection of an always-reliable venue (West Hollywood gathering place Fig & Olive) to her stable of interesting sponsors and vendors offering products that have a story to tell, she appeals to a broad audience.
   As every celebration requires a few toasts to those being honoured, it was fitting that the lead sponsor was Buywine.com, which shared an incredible array of fine wines from Napa, California boutique wineries. Bryan David Scott and LA mixologist Flairin’ Farron were back to fuel up guests with velvety iced espresso drinks brewed with his top grade, ethically sourced coffee beans. Rekorderlig Cider and Spa Girl Cocktails rounded out the refreshing afternoon with bright, refreshing blasts of fruit flavour. Spa Girl Cocktails, founded by Karen Haines in 2012, is offered in two vodka-based flavours—cucumber Martini and pear—that weigh in at 48 calories per drink.
   Art Lewin Bespoke Suits & Tuxedos and Sue Wong made sure that talent attending events and ceremonies were perfectly attired. Lewin even gave silk ties to the diligent Fig & Olive staff working the event. Wong’s latest collection of vintage-inspired gowns reflected the trend toward muted tones and subtle sparkle. Timmy Woods, meanwhile, showcased her one-of-a-kind pop culture themed handbags available for loan. Imagine walking down the red carpet with a Swarovski crystal-encrusted bag of popcorn.
   Single and Kaya di Koko were also back by popular demand, with a selection of casual and cocktail dresses in a flattering array of cuts and sizes. Be ready for jewel tones and lace overlays that go from day to dinner. Samiah, one of our favourite regulars, had more fabulous coats for purchase as well as tote bags crafted in regal fabrics. However, there’s more to the bags than what meets the eye: they hold contents in so well that they could be a portable-yet-luxurious file cabinet as nothing shuffles around in these well-designed bags.
   My Saint, My Hero returned with a few new additions to their range of faith-oriented bracelets and bangles, including grown-up friendship bracelets sold by the pair.
   Twisted Silver strutted their stuff with a dazzling display of favourite and new designs in their eco-friendly, found-object-inspired necklaces, cuffs, bracelets and statement pieces for men and women. This year, the designer is reaching out to Lucire readers with a 15 per cent off plus free shipping code, OSCARS2017. The offer excludes gift certificates, subscription club, and outlet items. The code will be good through April 30, 2017.
   While day spas and med spas have been de rigueur sponsors at pre-Academy Awards events from the early days on, Doris’s team raised the bar with an impressive display from Dr Perricone MD, topped with an appearance of Dr Nicholas Perricone himself! Guests were among the first to try his new Cold Plasma lifting and firming line for face, eyes and décolletage. They also received some of his classic skin care staples and his new Essential Multivitamin, packets of water-soluble Super Greens, and H2 Elemental Energy water. We were also impressed with Dr Sal Nadkarni, the rare cosmetic surgeon who makes calls through his Rejuvenation in Motion Mobile Med-Spa. His candour and consummate knowledge of the latest fillers and procedures for face and body were refreshing.
   There were also fun items that appealed to the kid in everybody. Fibrum Mobile Virtual Reality headsets take the smartphone gaming experience to the next level. Game players use a visual mouse (their own eyes) to kill zombies, monsters and other menaces. Illinois-based Sassy Locks Custom Baby Clothing introduced new and expectant parents to their adorable, custom-made infant apparel.
   Attendees included Oscar nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who penned the Best Song for La La Land), David Greathouse and David Permut (producers on Best Picture nominee Hacksaw Ridge), Saniyya Sidney (appearing in nominated films Fences and Hidden Figures), Oscar winner Bruce Dern, Allen Maldanado (Golden Globe nominee for Black-ish), Dale Goldboldo (The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story), Rénée Olstead (Grammy-nominated for ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret?’), Frank Stallone, Matt Walsh (Veep), Patrika Darbo (Acting Dead), Dancing with the Stars US beauties Karina Smirnoff and Edyta Sliwinska, Sam Trammell (True Blood), Steven Bauer (Ray Donovan), Lauren Makk (Fablife), Dr Nicholas Perricone, Michael Campion (Fuller House) and Tony Denison (Major Crimes). Along with the VIPs, two lucky teens in foster care benefiting from Wednesday’s Child were in attendance, as was celebrity charity spokesperson–presenter Christine Devine of KTTV FOX 11 News, Los Angeles.—Leyla Messian, LA Correspondent




Above, from top: Fuller House’s Michael Campion with Dr Perricone Hydrogen Water. Multiple Oscar nominee Bruce Dern with Hearts by Hillel. Sam Trammell with Fibrum Virtual Reality.








Gifts and services were provided by:
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Dr Perricone Hydrogen Water, Vida Emanuel European Day Spa, Isdinceutics, USA, Photo Tee-Shirts, Buywine.com, True Love Skin Care, the Footmate System by Gordon Brush, Rejuvenation in Motion Mobile Med-Spa, Timmy Woods Handbags, Twisted Silver, My Saint, My Hero, Sassy Locks Custom Baby Clothing, the Coffee Chef, Samiah Hinton Designs, Fibrum Virtual Reality, Sue Wong Couture Gowns & Fragrance, Single Dress, Kaya di Koko, Single Underwear for Men, Rekorderlig Cider, Handmade Hearts By Hillel, Hint Water, Art Lewin Bespoke Suits & Tuxedos, Spa Girl Vodka, M&R Photo Gallery, Pura d’Or Hair Care, Spongelle, Zozo Bean Bakery, Zenful Water and Dr Perricone Gift Boxes (containing Cold Plasma, Cold Plasma Eye, Cold Plasma Sun-D, the Essential Multivitamin, Super Greens and H2 Elemental Energy. VIP gift bags were also provided by Dr Perricone.

Suite to go: Madison & Mulholland fashions “it” bag LA’s A-list and fashionistas seek out in honour of Academy Awards


NEWS  by Elyse Glickman/February 23, 2017/11.34

Hollywood-based journalists, bloggers, publicists and celebrities have spent the last two months canvassing the city to report on new products and services in beauty, fashion, lifestyle and travel getting rolled out, red carpet style. Oscar week, of course, is the grand finalé of a social season filled with teas, luncheons, ceremonies, and impromptu fashion happenings. Madison & Mulholland, anchored by founder Jane Ubell Meyer, has been a part of this evolving tradition since 2002.
   When we first crossed paths with Jane, during the 2006 season, she and her wondrous satchel of treasures was a part of the Haven House suite that occupied a West Hollywood Hills mansion. Today, she is flying solo and flying high in her 11th year on the scene with a particularly coveted awards’ season gift bag, valued at over US$25,000. The self-contained suite is filled with a mix of home, beauty and fashion essentials from high-profile and independent entrepreneurs. There is also a luxury getaway and edibles suited for home Oscar parties for good measure.
   Confirmed nominees receiving the bag delivered directly to them include Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman, Viola Davis, Ruth Negga, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Natalie Portman and Octavia Spencer.

Some of the highlights
   All the better to see you with: Madison & Mulholland starts with a pair of optical quality Swiss-designed readers and as well as a pair of Madison & Mulholland sunglasses.
   The ultimate statement accessory: Liberti USA’s Refugee Coordinates cuff, the Embrace ring and Classic cuff are not only designed, sourced and made in the USA. Every purchase made has a direct impact toward supporting resettled refugees here.
   Rediscovering Sex and the City’s impact on fashion: Lizzie Scheck Jewelry, which Sarah Jessica Parker put on the map during the Carrie years (that horseshoe necklace, and the stacked necklace trend) is still turning heads on celebs such as Kristen Bell, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner and Tyra Banks. Other trend-setting baubles in the bag include a piece from the B5LineNYC’s Rock-n-Roll Grit line, the Convertible Collection’s bracelet and statement necklaces, and an item from Caterina Jewelry’s Kiss Kiss collection.
   Brushing up: Brushopolis’s Monroe USA Glamour (an hourglass round styling and finishing brush) and Teasedale (engineered to create maximum volume with minimum breakage) bringing professional flair to any vanity table and head of hair.
   In good taste: Kiklos Greek extra virgin olive oil and Michelle’s Maccs (revolutionary coconut macarons covered in élite Belgian chocolate) accessorize any home-Oscar party table, especially if they are served alongside pieces from the hand-crafted Julia Knight Collection nesting bowls, trays and spreading knife forged in sand-cast aluminium.
   Hair for all: Culture Hair Products’ hair care system designed for multicultural, curly, unmanageable, multi textured hair types.
   The eyes have it: One Two Cosmetics’ Magnetic Eyelashes, named Best of Beauty Breakthrough by Allure in 2016, takes some drama out of creating a dramatic eye for evening.
   Coffee clatch: Bio Miracle Skincare heats up with its new line of coffee-based body wash and scrubs.
   Haute Hamptons: top-tier recipients receive a three-night getaway at the posh Baron’s Cove Sag Harbor in Sag Harbor, NY, the heart of the legendary Hamptons. Activities at the Four Diamond AAA resort include massages, yoga classes, and gourmet cuisine.
   Picture this: the A-1 Array by Super A OK multi-camera ensures perfect 3-D red carpet shots, vacation shots at Baron’s Cove, or any special occasion. It’s the state-of-the-art trend in digital 3-D photography.
   That’s a stretch: made-in-Miami yoga gear from OM Shanti Clothing (handy for the Baron Cove yoga classes) and Tinsley Radix’s Becca tank with black sequins. Finish off the look with Isabella Hearst New York’s cheeky ‘No Paparazzi’ Italian leather luxe designer handbag.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor

Margot Robbie shows you can in a Nissan, with BladeGlider electric sports car


NEWS  by Nathalia Archila/February 20, 2017/23.19



Patrick Gosling

Margot Robbie (Focus, The Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad) has become a spokeswoman for Nissan, showing off the Japanese brand’s electric car credentials with its BladeGlider sports car around the streets of Monaco, and into Casino Square.
   The Australian actress tested one of the two BladeGliders on closed roads in the principality, racing against its twin. She drifts around Fairmont Hairpin, and slid sideways around the Massenet corner.
   The petite sports car has a very Japanese appearance with its origami-like folds and detail-rich surfaces, and seats three, with the driver in the central position. It’s not for sale—it’s a prototype that will be unveiled at the Salon de Genève later this year.
   It’s in direct contrast to the bulky Nissan Leaf, the world’s best selling electric vehicle.
   The Renault–Nissan Alliance has invested heavily in electric cars, staking its future on the growth of the sector.
   In a release, Robbie said, ‘It’s a really exciting time for electric vehicles. More people are choosing to go electric, leading the way to a more sustainable future and the Nissan BladeGlider hints at the future of smarter performance cars,’ said Margot Robbie.
   Nissan chose Monaco as it has a sustainability programme that aims to reduce carbon emissions by up to 50 per cent by 2030. ‘We want to inspire people to take small steps towards cleaner, safer cities, and working with Margot is the perfect way to do just that,’ said Gareth Dunsmore, Director of Electric Vehicles for Nissan Europe.
   The advertisement forms part of a campaign, hashtagged #ElectrifytheWorld, to get people talking about sustainability and zero emissions living.—Nathalia Archila and Lucire staff

Opel previews Insignia B, with clues to next Holden Commodore and Buick Regal


NEWS  by Lucire staff/December 7, 2016/1.07



GM has shown official photographs of the Opel Insignia B, which will be sold in the UK as a Vauxhall and Australasia as the Holden Commodore. Opel has focused on making the new Insignia more efficient, and it has completely reinterpreted how a sporty, large car should look. The new large car boasts a Cd figure of 0,26, yet lightweight materials have shaved up to 175 kg off the weight.
   Length is roughly the same as before, but it’s 29 mm lower, and the wheelbase has been increased by 92 mm (aiding rear passenger space), and the track by 11 mm. In isolation, it appears larger compared with the outgoing Insignia, something which will help its prospects internationally, where a version of the Insignia has to compete in China as the upscale Buick Regal, and in the former E-segment in Australia as the Holden Commodore. There is an increasing commonality between Opel and Buick design languages, too, with GM saying the Insignia B has a ‘sweepspear’ line that begins at the front door—a term that was first used at Buick in the 1940s. A coupé-like fastback roofline and an upper chrome strip—the latter is also tipped for the estate—give the Insignia B a more distinctive appearance. The driver also sits 30 mm lower than before.
   Opel’s design vice-president for Europe, Mark Adams, says that the Insignia B is meant to look more upscale than its predecessor, saying it has ‘the aura of a car from the premium, upper class.’ Inspiration came from the Opel Monza Concept of 2013.
   There is a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and a wide range of engines, though Opel has not yet revealed specifics before the Insignia B’s official launch in Genève next year. The big news under the skin is all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, aiding stability: this feature is expected on the top models worldwide. FlexRide adapts dampers, steering and throttle response to suit a driver’s style.
   Its LED headlights adapt to the traffic conditions, and there are other premium features, including a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane assist with lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. GM’s Onstar service is also standard, with automatic crash response and stolen vehicle assistance, with a concierge service allowing occupants to book hotels, launching with the car next year.







Grayton announces first mechanical watch with smart features


NEWS  by Cecilia Xu/November 28, 2016/23.18


‘Technology evolves but style is timeless’ is a value in which boutique watch designer brand Grayton strongly stand by. This is exactly what the brand has produced, raising the bar in what a classic watch can do with the release of their Origin mechanical watch, available for pre-sale beginning today on Indiegogo, with a commercial release slated for May 2017.
   The unique selling-point of the Origin is its smart strap, which is interchangeable and connected to your smart phone. The Origin is crafted in a brushed 316L stainless steel case with polished accents, with a see-through back cover that gives a glimpse of the watch’s self-winding mechanism. Its power reserve is 41 hours.
   The well hidden, built-in electronics make the strap indistinguishable from the best traditional leather straps. The accompanying app is compatible with both Iphone and Android platforms, and is ideal for receiving notification alerts in the office or recording workout fitness data at the gym, activity tracking, phone notifications, music control and more.—Cecilia Xu

Ralph & Russo, Charlotte Tilbury, Anya Hindmarch among Walpole winners; Lucy Hale named ambassador for Casetify


NEWS  by Lucire staff/November 16, 2016/12.50

Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale has been named as a spokeswoman and creative director for Casetify, a company retailing cellphone cases, Apple Watch bands, Macbook sleeves and clutches.
   The capsule collection of 34 pieces has been launched in time for the new Apple Iphone 7, based around the idea of ‘delicate but daring,’ a motto credited to the actress. The designs reflect Hale’s tastes, including one with the quotation, ‘I like big brows and I cannot lie,’ as well as cheetah, floral and cacti prints, and one featuring her own dog, Elvis.
   Prices begin at US$40, and the range can be found at www.casetify.com/lucy-hale.
   The 15th annual Walpole Awards, presented in London on Wednesday, saw numerous fashion and beauty brands honoured for their contribution to luxury. Ralph & Russo won Outstanding Achievement in British Luxury, presented by Nadja Swarovski (right).
   Other winners included make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury, who won British Luxury Brand of the Year, and accessories’ designer Anya Hindmarch won the prize for Digital Innovation in British Luxury. Burberry and House of St Barnabas jointly won the Champion of British Luxury Sustainability award.

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