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December 7, 2016

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

Lucire staff/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 coupĂ©-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 GenĂšve 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.







November 28, 2016

Grayton announces first mechanical watch with smart features

Cecilia Xu/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

November 16, 2016

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

Lucire staff/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.

October 26, 2016

Fashion in brief: Emporio Armani launches smartwatches; Topshop opens in Wellington on November 3

Lucire staff/0.31

Emporio Armani has entered the smartwatch sector with its Connected Hybrid range, mixing the design flair of the traditional watches with the latest technology.
   The watches sync with smartphones via Bluetooth, and have features such as automatic time zone updating, notifications, activity tracking, extended use without charging, easy access to music playlists, sleep-pattern monitoring, alarms, camera, and a lost-phone locator. The watches are available in pink, black, gunmetal and silver, with stainless steel or leather straps.
   Founder Giorgio Armani said, ‘Today, technology influences our daily lives profoundly. There’s an app for everything, and I find that, in many cases, they are inventions that actually improve our lives. I am delighted to introduce the hybrid connected watch that places the Emporio Armani brand at the forefront of innovation in the connected accessories’ market. This line of watches combine sleek design, advanced technology, immediacy and ease of use.’
   The watches are now available on www.emporioarmaniconnected.com and from selected stores and resellers worldwide.
   Meanwhile, Topshop will open its second New Zealand store in Wellington, at 256 Lambton Quay, on November 3, followed by a weekend-long celebration of giveaways and activities.
   The location will have both Topshop and Topman brands. In-store weekend events include DJ performances, photo walls, food, and beauty touch-ups.
   Topshop first opened in New Zealand in Auckland two years ago.



Above: Topshop and Topman make it to Wellington, New Zealand.

August 31, 2016

Mumm showcases Grand Cordon, delivering by drone; Anna White launches; Karl Lagerfeld débuts autumn campaign

Bhavana Bhim/19.24




Karl Lagerfeld

On August 30 and 31, the new Mumm Grand Cordon champagne was exhibited at Croatia’s Hula Hula Beach Club. For each order of champagne at the Club, a bottle was flown over the sea by a drone. Music accompanied the delivery—those receiving the champagne would get a particularly special experience, emphasizing Mumm’s current ‘celebrate’ theme, and its taste for daring innovation.
   The new bottle was created by Ross Lovegrove and has no front label. The G. H. Mumm signature and emblem are printed directly on to the glass, while the Cordon Rouge sash is actually a real red ribbon indented in the glass. The new design meant changes to the traditional champagne production process.
   Karl Lagerfeld Paris has launched its autumn 2016 advertising campaign, Love from Paris, Karl ××, coinciding with the label’s launch in North America. Lagerfeld himself art-directed and photographed the campaign, which was styled by Charlotte Stockdale, and modelled by Joan Smalls and Hailey Baldwin. It’s a predominantly black-and-white collection with colour splashes, featuring prĂȘt-Ă -porter clothes and accessories.
   Also on the theme of new and luxury: a new leathergoods label, Anna White, has launched in New Zealand, with a contemporary line consisting of the AW1 tote, Liberty shoulder bag and Protagonist clutch. Right now, Anna White is also offering a limited-edition Classique tote, retailing at NZ$650. The range has simple lines with a quality look. It’s the ideal chance to own stylish bags before others jump on board—Anna White’s off to a good start.—Bhavana Bhim with Lucire staff



July 19, 2016

Beauty potion no. 43

Lucire staff/21.40




Elizabeth Zuluaga

Above: Founder Nicci Levy and VIP guests check out the services at Alchemy 43.

A dash of Botox. A sprinkle of Juvederm. A pinch of Restalyne. No, it’s not a recipe from a sorcerer’s manual. It’s a “beauty compound” that is only part of the magic at Alchemy 43 in Beverly Hills, a revolutionary new beauty lab that merges the concepts of luxury and medical sophistication. Members of the press got an up close and personal look at the future of non-invasive cosmetic medicine at their July 12 media event. Guests sipped blueberry cocktails and nibbled colourful macarons while experiencing the Alchemy 43 recipe for a lifetime of gorgeousness.
   If you think med-spas are all about attitude, think again. The only attitude here is genuine joy: endless smiles and a warm welcome greet you upon entry. The sleek storefront space boasts a well-appointed waiting area with sunny atrium, chic treatment rooms, and a VIP loft for private events. But that is just the beginning. No, this is not a “sign your name at a busy front desk and wait” med-spa. After enjoying a chilled beverage, you will have your photo taken for 3-D imaging. A licensed staff “alchemist” will then discuss your needs and goals, using the enlarged image to show precisely how each treatment will look when finished. This allows you to view countless possibilities and combinations, and to quell the anxiety that often accompanies cosmetic procedures. These skilled practitioners have mastered the art of natural enhancement. No duck lips or frozen, expressionless faces here. The desired result is a subtly enhanced, rested visage.
   Post-treatment, everyone receives a refreshing oxygen infusion for faster healing. Or you can choose from the menu of reasonably priced beauty boosters including serums, peels, and microcurrent therapy. The final stop is the make-up studio featuring Kevyn Aucoin products, where an artist will give you an expert touch-up before you head back to work, home, or a night out. No one will know where you were, only that you look amazing. It`s all included, and their introductory packages make it downright affordable. For even more benefits and savings, “wrinkle relaxing” memberships are available to keep those fine lines far, far away.—Jody Miller and Leyla Messian




















Elizabeth Zuluaga

July 12, 2016

CHI launches an European-inspired tool for ultra-smooth hair styles

Bhavana Bhim/23.37


Audrey Hepburn once said, ‘For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.’
   Farouk Systems Inc. combines European ĂŠsthetic with state-of-the-art technology, as it launches the CHI Onyx Euro Shine Ceramic Hair Styler, designed to deliver optimal, salon-quality results as well as facilitating a more efficient styling experience.
   With the introduction of the Onyx Ceramic plates, you have the opportunity to let them glide through your hair. The name Onyx is derived from the Greek word meaning fingernail, as the smooth polished surface of the styling tool resembles that of a nail. Formed beneath the Earth’s surface as a natural mineral, the four-inch ceramic plates combine to promise desired shine and smooth texture.
   The advanced ion generator works with the onyx ceramic plates to produce two times more ions for noticeably smoother and shinier results. The plates are designed with bevelled, rounded tips offering seamless rotation and ease for styling long hair. In addition, an LED neon light bar clearly displays temperature settings for a selection of hair styles and types.
   The sleek black design is convenient in size, resembling the smooth Onyx-based texture. The two-pronged styling tool has accessible buttons to suit styling needs. Now you can experience the relaxation of fingers running through your hair, with the advanced technology in the CHI Onyx Ceramic Hair Styler.—Bhavana Bhim

June 29, 2016

Oh, pretty woman!

Elyse Glickman/21.06



It’s hard to believe that it’s been 27 years since Julia Roberts’ career and her character in the film Pretty Woman were transformed in the confines of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It also speaks volumes that Julia Roberts and this storied Beverly Hills property (now under the Four Seasons umbrella) still turn heads after all these years.
   Just as Julia Roberts has kept herself up to date, so has the hotel’s spa with some new additions. It was only fitting that the crowd-pleaser movie was playing in the background as beauty bloggers and journalists made the rounds to experience sample treatments including products from just added lines ÉvoluĂ© (officially styled in all lowercase, Ă©voluĂ©) and Elemis.
   Ă‰voluĂ©, created by Beverly Hills-based Jean Seo, features products integrating nourishing and luxurious ingredients sourced from around the world that mimic what the body naturally produces and loses with age. Besides her bubbly personality, Seo’s other top selling point is that her products are tested actresses and models rather than animals. Although Elemis is one of the UK’s top spa skin care brands, the Spa at Regent Beverly Wilshire will be one of the few US spas to feature the new Elemis Biotec system into several treatments. The focal point of the spa experience is a machine combining five technologies that are scientifically proven to increase cell energy for optimum skin function.



   With the event staged from 5 to 8.30 p.m., we could not think of a better way to spend happy hour, with beauty indulgences replacing food. However, as there were so many treatments in so little time, we each had our own differing sets of treatments. As there are usually drinks during happy hour, this event did not disappoint. Invitees were offered champagne or cold pressed juices by LA Juice to stay refreshed (though water consumption was also recommended.)



Elyse: After starting the evening with a manicure where I went outside my comfort zone, colour-wise (a robin’s egg blue by Creative Nail), I signed up to have a practitioner give my face a workout with a light, effervescent Brightening Antioxidant treatment. Next, I balanced things out with an oxygen facial with Natura Bisse products from Spain, and an indulgent Time Reversal Facial using a cocktail of products from ÉvoluĂ©. Between each 15-minute facial session, I enjoyed experimenting with essential oils by DĂ”terra (officially, dĂ”TERRA) and had a blissful foot massage expertly handled by a cheery member of the spa staff. The practitioner at the DĂ”terra display claimed that the nose is a conduit to the psyche. After she guided my nose to the right scent suiting my mood and personality at the moment, she handed me a book and turned it to a page that explained how the aromatic oil could put me in a happier state of mind.

Leyla: I enjoyed the Time Reversal Facial, which uses ÉvoluĂ©’s simple, organic formulations. After removing a day’s worth of foundation, powder and eyeliner with their pure jojoba oil cleanser, they gently exfoliated my skin with a natural and less invasive alternative to microdermabrasion. The ÉvoluĂ© Resurfacing Grains, made with oat and milk powder, gently softened my skin without creating unsightly red patches. The treatment was topped off with a mask of face-plumping elastin and collagen. Next, I treated my face to the Biotech Firm-a-Lift by Elemis, which uses a combination of plant stem cells and hyaluronic acid to nourish the skin and reduce fine lines.
   The ĂŠsthetician also used an ultrasonic device to oxygenate the skin and stimulate cell growth. I appreciate the fact that Elemis’s products are steeped in scientific research. They do not make any claims without clinical trials. I followed this with a mini-version of the spa’s Elemis Amber and Orchids body wrap. The ĂŠsthetician massaged sweet orchid oil into my tired hands, and wrapped them in warm towels. The fragrance stayed with me for several days. For the final touch, I went to the Lea Journo Hair Salon adjacent to the spa for a lesson in contouring my face, “Kardashian-style”.

Jody: After already indulging in a couple of lovely mini-facials, I pondered whether I should sample another. OK, twist my arm! And lucky for me I did, because the Hydrafacial was my favourite. In a nutshell, it is a soothing hydra-dermabrasion procedure that combines deep cleansing, exfoliation, extraction (that’s right—it replaces painful extractions), hydration, and infusion of antioxidants. The result is skin that is clearer and more luminous without the discomfort or down time. It is an all-in-one facial wonder suitable for all skin types, and the cool mist topping it off is a perfect summer pick-me-up.

   Although the schedule was tight for all the guests, everybody found time to be treated to deliciously cool under-eye “gold” or “diamond” masks by Knesko. Better still, they sent everybody home with a gift bag that itself was the spa “to go”. The care package included a generous envelope with Knesco masks for face and neck, full-sized products from ÉvoluĂ© (Resurfacing Grains and Cleanser) and Elemis’s Biotech Skin Energizing Cleanser and Day Cream, featuring electrolytes and minerals our skin thirsts for. Of course, to maintain those benefits, it’s always good to provide incentive to return and leave it to the pros to work their magic.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor; Leyla Messian and Jody Miller, LA Correspondents

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