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Twelve things I do to keep balanced while working from home

Filed by Jack Yan/March 17, 2020/23.08

When I was 13, my father became self-employed after being made redundant at his work. By choice, my mother did the same when I was in my early 20s. They both loved the lifestyle and I imagine it was inevitable I would do the same in my career, beginning at a time when I was still studying.
   As some who self-isolate because of the COVID-19 pandemic say that their mental health is affected, I thought I’d share how I’ve been based at home for over three decades—a period that saw the founding of this magazine in 1997.

1. For those working, make sure it’s not just one project. There’s nothing more wearing that having just one thing to work on the entire day. I always have a few projects on the go, and make sure I switch between them. The second project should be a lighter one or be of less importance. Even if it’s not work, make sure it’s something that gives you a bit of variety.

2. Make sure you have a decent work set-up. I find it important to have a monitor where I can read things clearly. Also I set mine on a mode that restricts blue light. If you’re working at home, it’s not a bad idea to have comfortable settings on a screen. If your monitor doesn’t have a native mode to restrict blue light, there’s always F.lux, which is an excellent tool to make screens more comfortable.
   If you’re used to standard keyboards and mice, that’s great, but for me, I have to ensure my keyboard is either at around 400 mm in width or less, and my mouse has to be larger than the standard size since I have big hands. Ergonomics are important.


Above: Westward view from the publisher’s office

3. Find that spot. Find a comfortable space to base yourself with plenty of natural light and ventilation. At-home pet cats and dogs do it, take their lead.

4. Stretch. Again, the cats and dogs do it. Get out of that chair every now and then and make sure you don’t get too stiff working from your desk. Exercise if you wish to.

5. If you relax to white noise or find it comforting, there are places that can help. One friend of mine loves his podcasts, and others might like music, but I enjoy having the sound of web video. And if it’s interesting, you can always stop to watch it. One site I recently recommended is Thought Maybe, which has plenty of useful documentaries, including Adam Curtis’s ones. These give an insight into how parts of the world work, and you might even get some theories on just what landed us in this situation in 2020.
   When Aotearoa had two network TV channels, I dreamed of a time when I could have overseas stations accessible at my fingertips. That reality is now here with plenty of news channels online. If that’s too much doom and gloom, I’m sure there are others that you can tune into to have running in the background. Radio.net has a lot of genres of music.

6. Find that hobby. No point waiting till you retire. Was there something you always wanted to learn about but thought you’d never have time? I recommend Skillshare, which has lots of online courses on different subjects. You learn at your pace so you can delve into the course whenever you want, say once a day as a treat.

7. I do some social media but generally I limit myself. Because social media are antisocial, and they’re designed to suck up your time to make their owners rich (they look at how much attention they capture and sell that to advertisers), there’s no point doing something draining if you’ve got some good stuff to do in (1). However, they might be cathartic if you want to have some human contact or express your feelings. Personally, I prefer to blog, which was my catharsis in the mid-2000s, and which I find just as good today. It’s a pity the old Vox isn’t around these days as there’s much to be said for a long-form blogging network.
   Sarb Johal started the #StayatHomeEnts hashtag on Twitter where Tweeters have been putting up some advice on what we each do to keep entertained. I just had a scroll down and they’re really good!

8. Many of us have this technology to chat to others, let’s use it. We’re luckier in 2020 that there’s Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. I had thought that if we didn’t have social media, we’d be finding this an ideal opportunity to connect with others around the planet and learning about other cultures. I remember in the early days of the web how fascinating it was to chat to people in chat rooms from places I had never visited. I realize these days there are some weirdos out there, who have spoiled the experience for the great majority. But I’m sure there are some safe places, and if they’re not around, see what friends are in the same boat and form your own virtual networks. Importantly, don’t restrict yourselves to your own country.

9. Don’t veg: do something creative. For those of us with a creative bent, draw, write, photograph, play a musical instrument—something to de-stress. I can’t get through a day without doing one creative thing.

10. Anything in the house that you said you’d always do? Now’s your chance to do it, and hopefully you’ve got your tools and equipment at home already.

11. If you’re in a relationship, don’t get on top of each other—have your own spaces. Having said that, seeing my partner helps as I used to go into town a few times a week for meetings; because I see her each day, that need to meet up with colleagues to get out of your own head space isn’t as strong.

12. Take plenty of breaks. You’d probably have to anyway, in order to cook (since you’re not heading out to a café) so structure in times to do this. It soon becomes second nature. Don’t plough through till well after your lunchtime or dinnertime: get a healthy routine. Remember that self-isolation means you can still go for walks, just not into crowded places or with someone. When we self-isolated in January over an unrelated bug, my partner and I headed to a local park that wasn’t busy during the day and we were the only ones there.

   Normally I would have a small amount of meetings during the week but as I get older, they’re actually fewer in number, so I can cope with not having them.
   Do you have any extra tips? Put them in the comments and let’s see if we can build on this together.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


My computer thinks I am a woman

Filed by Lucire staff/March 14, 2020/18.04

My computer thinks I am a woman.
   I found out quite a long time ago, but it was mostly just a funny topic for small-talk between friends.
   How did I recognize this about my computer? Sometimes via the feminine form of address though Google Translate, sometimes by ‘Merci, Mademoiselle Dmitry Kostyukov d’avoir acheté votre TGV ticket,’ sometimes by automatic redirection to the women’s section at online shops and other small businesses. Did I do something specificially for this? No. It just happened somehow.
   One day, I got an email with proposing a collaboration. After a brief conversation, I realized that it was sent to me not as a photographer, but as a model for a women’s swimsuit brand. And yes, they produce swimming suits only for women, and are a company founded by women. Of course they are very progressive, from the north of Europe, and use diverse models.
   I never hid my identity, and I decided to say ‘Yes’ to see how the algorithm would work on me. On January 22, I became a Bright Ambassador with the nickname Bright_Woman. The algorithm recommended a Bora-Bora bikini or Scarlet Cora one-piece. I decided to start with Scarlet. I received a welcome email from the CEO (obviously automated), and the possibility to share a 15 per cent discount with my friends (let me know if you need one) and, of course, a package with a swimming suit: welcome to the intersection of the online and offline worlds. Indeed, I know this is the way that brands try to sell their products—we all know it—but there is also the way that the machine see us. So what might it see? I weigh 82 kg, which probably means a plus-size (for the average height) woman, who sometimes reads feminist texts, with 10,000 followers on Instagram. Apparently, I suit their advertising.
   Is it all true? I got the message during the winter. If my computer knows me at least a little bit, it should know I never ever go to the beach on vacation. I’ve probably gone on a holiday where you need a swimming suit and head to the beach a maximum of two times in my life. I’m not even sure if I have a togs or shorts. But the algorithm assumes I do.
   Using the brand’s Instagram and iconic Dutch beach portraits as references, I went to the nearest beach—at Den Haag in February, with the crazy wind, rain and a 7°C temperature (which felt like 0°C)—to connect the algorithm and a contemporary brand’s vision with my actual reality.—Dmitry Kostyukov







Dmitry Kostyukov

 


Actress Shay Mitchell leads Cacharel’s Yes I Am Fabulous fragrance campaign

Filed by Lucire staff/February 15, 2020/8.14

Cacharel has launched Yes I Am Fabulous, the third fragrance in a range it has dubbed Yes I Am. Actress Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars) fronts the campaign.
   Mitchell currently stars in Dollface on Hulu, and had been in the Netflix series You, produced by Greg Berlanti. Thanks to her appeal to teen audiences in Pretty Little Liars, Mitchell built up a substantial social media following, which she has built on with a YouTube channel and clothing and jewellery lines. She is behind a lifestyle and travel line called Béis. Through these media, she has four million YouTube subscribers and c. 26 million Instagram followers.
   Cacharel’s Yes I Am range comprises three fragrances, three scents and three colours, aimed at ‘today’s generation of empowered young women: diverse, outspoken and determined to get what they want and deserve, all the while happily obsessing over celebs or sharing the latest trends in make-up.’
   The new fragrance is described as unveiling a personality that is ‘bolder, more sensual, more glamorous and unexpected.’ There is a common base with the already launched Yes I Am fragrances: a signature called Spicy Cremoso, which contrasts a creamy accord with a spicy cardamom.
   The scent has top notes of blackberry and rhubarb, amplified with pink pepper, a heart of jasmin sambac, ginger flower, and purple heliotrope, and base notes of santal, vanilla and hazelnut milk.
   Its packaging mirrors lipstick, with smoky glass and a gold-toned collar.
   The promotional film directed by So Me features Mitchell, Mademoiselle Gloria, Rachel Tee-Tyler, Marta Lozano, and Cajsa Wessberg. The soundtrack features Norman’s ‘Feelin’ Good’.

 


Suki Waterhouse leads DKNY’s spring 2020 lingerie campaign

Filed by Lucire staff/February 5, 2020/12.29




Sofia Malamute

One of Suki Waterhouse’s early high-profile gigs at the start of last decade was for Marks & Spencer lingerie—and for spring 2020, the 28-year-old English model and actress leads DKNY’s intimate apparel campaign.
   Hashtagged #UnderneathMyDKNY, the new campaign launches this week globally. Sofia Malamute photographed and Mariel Haenn styled the shoot, which took place in her home, posing in her shower, bedroom and staircase.
   DKNY says the shots are meant to convey strength and reality. Waterhouse also shares ‘My first’ moments in the video part of the campaign, where she talks about friendship and childhood memories. The campaign invites others to share their firsts, be they a stolen kiss or a wild taxi ride.
   Waterhouse has an ‘understated glamour, fast-paced lifestyle and daring attitude,’ said DKNY in its release, and was chosen to build a more real and personal connection with its audiences.
   The lingerie items themselves have black, grey and white tones with highlights in hot pink and sky blue, and lace, panelling and feminine cuts.

 


Instagram won’t replace the fashion magazine

Filed by Jack Yan/January 31, 2020/12.14


Lindsay Adler

Above: The cover from Lucire KSA, January 2020, modelled by Camille Hyde with fur by House of Fluff. Photographed by Lindsay Adler Photography, styled by Cannon/the Only Agency, hair by Linh Nguyen, and make-up by Joanne Gair using Danessa Myricks Beauty.

A few weeks ago, I got out of the habit of Instagramming. Since 2012, I did it initially out of fun, then as a way of keeping up with hobbies and a few friends, but when some personal changes happened, the habit left. Facebook I had departed for any personal updates in 2017, after some well documented problems—before Christopher Wylie voiced his concerns to The Observer, incidentally—while Twitter has revealed that its data-gathering doesn’t stop even when you’ve opted out of personalized advertising. Facebook does the same, and it’s public knowledge that it’s quite happy to sell these data to others.
   I thought it was a massive mistake for Facebook to remind us that it owned Instagram and Whatsapp through its latest branding efforts, because surely the parent company and its flagship product are tainted by now? It’s been further tainted by the stench of politics, the tribalism that they exhibit, and the outright lies its bosses tell.
   At some point, some government will develop the cohones to say monopoly power is bad and stifles innovation, changing Big Tech significantly. Perhaps some agency will have the guts to point out that regular deceptive comments to the public do have consequences. But till then, this first year of the decade won’t look too different from the last year of the last in terms of how the majority of people consume media, old and new.
   None of these fleeting media give you much depth, and Instagram is arguably the least tainted by politicking and negativity, showing pretty pictures (for the most part) that you can either like or scroll past.
   I was, therefore, surprised that in the last few years, I read one proclamation that the days were numbered for fashion magazines since there was Instagram. I beg to differ, and it’s not just out of a personal bias, but out of keen observations of the ebbs and flows of social media. Yes, I may have got out of the habit of Facebooking and Instagramming, but millions of others haven’t. But to say fashion magazines were a thing of the past? It’s hard to fathom.
   Instagram does give a few obvious benefits. Immediacy, for one. Users can then link the item to a smartphone-optimized shopping site. As a retail aid, it’s clever. It has video, where brand stories can be told. But, like any new medium, at best this complements what already exists. Instagram doesn’t replace long-form journalism told by an objective observer.
   At home we have a 34-year-old copy of The Australian Women’s Weekly. It’s the Christmas issue, and it’s packed with articles that entertain, with barely any sensationalism. The magazines of this era, buoyed by healthy advertising prices and editors who arguably enjoyed educating as much as entertaining, aren’t, to me, relics. Lucire has always strived to be a decent read, more so in our print editions, and while our presentation is more contemporary, our values haven’t changed. We moved past offering a magazine that was based around today’s news, with retail specials for the following month, long ago. We could see that wasn’t relevant in a digital age. But we repositioned and kept what did work. World-class photography. Interesting articles, properly subbed. You deserve a good read, where you pick up a copy and gain something from it. We also wanted to reflect (perhaps even preempt) your values about the environment and our place in this world. I think that’s why Lucire, in particular our original edition; our newest edition, Lucire KSA; and the former Twinpalms Lucire in Thailand, have reader appeal. It should last you for more than a single sitting. That December 1985 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly could even last beyond the date the February 1986 issue went on sale.


Aleksandr Mavrin


Hilde Osland, via Instagram

Top: Like travel editor Stanley Moss, Russian model Viki Odintcova headed to Canggu, Bali, and shared this image from Wapa di Ume Sidemen photographed by Aleksandr Mavrin on her Instagram. Above: Hilde Osland models Fashionnova, not far from Lucire’s HQ in Wellington, New Zealand.

   Social media have only really replaced any medium that was fleeting and shallow. You could potentially get more insight into your favourite reality TV stars on their personal ’Grams than in a gossip magazine. Glamour models and certain celebrities—Viki Odintcova of Russia, and Norwegian-born, Australian-based model and singer Hilde Osland for two—may show more on their accounts than in lads’ magazines. Cellphone cameras can rival some professional ones in resolution, and while there’s no substitute for the professionally shot photos, those surfing social media and its small, rectangular, black-mirror format of all of seven inches are quite happy with “near enough”. And, indeed, for those professional images, especially editorials, a beautifully printed page has a totally different effect to something seen on screen.
   Digital is here to stay—and being one of the earliest proponents of that, we should know. Social will also stay, maybe offered by other firms, but we won’t break our addictions easily. Admittedly, as a company, we never expected social to play as big a part as it ultimately did. But print, and the long-form articles that appear in it, are going to stick around for a long time to come, too.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Hailey Bieber, Miriam Leone, Emilia Schüle, Danny Lomas celebrate Calvin Klein at Berlin bash

Filed by Lucire staff/November 21, 2019/9.47





Matthias Nareyek; Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images

Hailey Bieber, née Baldwin, was the best known international celebrity attending Calvin Klein’s A Night of Music, Discovery and Celebration event on Wednesday, held at the iconic Musikbrauerei in the Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin.
   The label created a multi-room installation to showcase its autumn–winter 2019–20 Jeans and Underwear collections. Each room had a different mood, including performance artists, and attendees were encouraged to explore and share from the spaces. Customization stations, AR face filters, and a custom Giphy pack made it a technologically rich experience to get word out about the two lines. The hashtag #mycalvins was used on the night.
   Bieber, face of the campaign, wore a bodysuit from the CK50 capsule collection (which she and husband Justin Bieber had modelled in September) and jeans from Calvin Klein Jeans’ autumn–winter 2019–20 range, with tuxedo stripe embroidery.
   Among the 600 guests were Danny Lomas, Elias and Noah Becker, Emilia Schüle, Italian celeb and former Miss Italia Miriam Leone, Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Manu Rios, Eugen Bauder, Leo Mandella, Daniel Sträßer, Lary, Ace Tee, Erik Scholz, Anuthida Ployptech and Richy Koll, Gia Escobar, and Alyssa Cor. DJs DeadHype and RSS Disco performed, with Honey Dijon and Jayda G providing live music, and ending the night with a dance party commemorating Calvin Klein’s 50th anniversary.
   The collections are now available at calvinklein.com and retail stores in major European centres.























Matthias Nareyek; Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images

 


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