Lucire: News


November 27, 2015

Op–ed: Kiribati’s waking nightmare

Lucire staff/11.22

November 27, 2015

Rt Hon John Key, MP, Prime Minister
Hon Bill English, MP, Deputy Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
New Zealand

Dear John and Bill,

I’m having a nightmare. I want to tell you guys about it—to tell you to wake me up; shake me if you have to. Scream me awake, and when I am, I want you to tell me it’s not as bad as it seems.
   I’ve landed in Tarawa, Kiribati, where news from New Zealand awaited me that John has declared his faith that climate change can be addressed with technology—scientists have told him the technology isn’t far off.
   At an official dinner, people look at me as though I have some glorious technology news to pass on. I don’t. I went to bed that evening feeling hollow; figures screaming through my head, the voice of that pesky Jim Salinger uttering the most terrifying words I’ve heard in many years: ‘The world has now entered abrupt climate change.’ You know Jim right, the guy with the Nobel Peace Prize? Gosh, I wish he would shut up with all that sense he talks.
   In the same nightmare I wake the next day to be told that 90 per cent of drinking water wells have been contaminated with E. coli, that the crops at vital plantations are no longer growing due to saltwater poisoning the ground. That lagoons which once fed villages have become infested with E. coli, killing a large bounty of marine life. That the ocean-warming and acidification has killed a majority of the coral atoll that forms the very ground I’m stood on. It’s like a really bad apocalypse video game—I’m anxious that zombies are going to duck out from behind the door. I look around at homes whose front doors the ocean now laps, at dead fruit trees once laden with produce killed by the salt seeping into the soil. I’m failing to see what Tony Abbott found so comical about this situation.
   In this nightmare I wonder what kind of technology could possibly solve this. I then remind myself of John’s track record of absolute reliability, and I feel comforted. The law can’t solve this. I mean, even if it could and there were laws to protect these people, there are no lawyers, and they’d be unaffordable for these people if there were. So, technology must be the saving grace.
   I visited the hospital to witness first-hand what an infant mortality rate 10 times that of New Zealand’s looks like. Have you ever seen such a thing? It’s completely shocking; it hit me with a force a hundred times that of any image of a child lying washed up on a shore a world away. I tried to fight back the tears, and the numbing coldness that consumed my body. I tried not to vomit—but later in the privacy of my room I did find solace in a Fiji Airways sick bag. I sat there and waited for the moment I’d be shaken awake. I desperately wanted John to ride in and tell me that the threat of climate migration is many years off and not something to be worried about. I wanted Bill to sit down and tell me that none of it was real, and the sea levels were not rising.
   John, could you go tell that mate of yours Obama to stop being a bloody alarmist; that according to Bill, there’s no proof Alaskan villages are vanishing into the ocean. That entire nations are not facing forced-extinction from the ocean swallowing them alive. You go tell that puffed-up American know-it-all that he’s alarming the masses, causing me nightmares and unwanted anxiety.
   Bill, could you go tell all those apparently credible scientists who’ve won those fancy awards, that 2015 is not the hottest year in history and they’re just plain wrong. Round them up with Malcolm across the ditch (because they give him a hard time as well) and be done with them. Bully them into submission a bit harder. Just shut them up.

Thanks in advance,



I imagined the response coming back something a little like this.

Dear Pearl,

You are far too much of a pretty wee thing to be travelling to such far-flung and irrelevant places like Kiribati in your nightmares; to spend time worrying about such things. Why don’t you pay heed to the advice I gave Keisha Castle-Hughes: try visiting the salon for a bad blow-dry instead?
   Don’t worry about other people. By the time New Zealand starts feeling the full effect of climate change we’ll have the technology available to deal with it.
   I’ve also got Malcolm under control—he’s going to share Nauru so we’ve got somewhere to put all those helpless fellow human beings in the Pacific fleeing the rising sea-levels and food shortages. The ones who think they’re right to turn to us for help. I’m going to stop the boats.
   Meanwhile, the Kardashians have a new season, vote for the fern, and use our new buzz word: technology.
   In the meantime, here’s a Live Lokai bracelet. Hold on to it, because before long the Dead Sea and Everest will be things for the history books.

Merry Christmas,



That’s kind of how this piece came about. I thought I’d write a wee letter. The problem is, the more I wrote and decried the blind buying-in of the latest spin to come out of the ninth floor, the more ridiculous it felt, and the more scared I became in turn. If I’m completely honest, the realization that many—possibly even some reading this piece—didn’t know how absurd the spin had become, worried me to the point of physical sickness. Thanks again Fiji Airways, your sick bags are truly first-class.
   I’m writing this from Kiribati. I’m fully awake. I’m awake in a nightmare. I went to the hospital. I waded through water at high-tide to cross the road infested with human fæces to get there before what they call the ‘morgue’ closed. In a bag at the other end of the room was a pile of clothes and a pair of trainers I never want to see again. I was going to turf them out, but a young woman tasked with showing me around asked if she could have them, since for her wading through the stench of death and fæces was an everyday reality.
   Don’t get me wrong, Kiribati is absolutely beautiful and if it weren’t for the damage wreaked by rising sea levels and climate change, I would focus only on its beauty, but the reality is these threats make the situation people face here far from idyllic. It’s a dire situation, it’s a nightmare.
   A real-life nightmare, there is no amount of shaking that can wake me; though shaking I am, believe me. Shaking from incredulity at the sheer scale of the situation. The problem is I’m not the who needs to be screamed awake. That’s right: if you have ever for one moment entertained the illusion that sea-levels are not rising; that climate change is not the single biggest threat facing humanity; that you can carry on shirking the responsibility to aid in the fight for human survival and dignity, you need to be screamed awake. Will the humanity in you please wake up?
   I’m not saying this with any political leaning. I believe that most of our politicians are drastically failing us all. Who knows what will happen if we leave this to them. I mean, half of those reading this may freak out at the thought of the Green Party controlling the economy, but don’t blink an eyelid at them leading on the issue defined as ‘the single greatest threat to mankind’ by every serious world leader. Why is that? How will the economy exist without our planet?
   Climate change is no longer some far-off theory or problem. It is happening right here and widely through our Pacific backyard. Right now. As you read this climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our food and water security, our energy, our infrastructure, our health, our safety. Today. Tomorrow. Some more than others but make no mistake it is happening to all of us. It is the issue. An issue that affects all issues, economic included. Everything is and will be impacted. And it becomes more damning with each passing year.
   This matter is far too important to be surrendered to the political domain. This is about humanity. If you think the devastation wreaked by ISIS is as bad as it gets, then please contemplate Mother Nature.
   If the images of parents putting their children into boats because the water was safer than the land left you reeling, then please consider that in the not-too-distant future this will become a reality for many small island states; that many nations in the Pacific will not survive the two-degree cap that Paris is gearing up to gain commitment for in the coming week. They will have to put their children into boats because the water is safer than the land. We have already signed them up for that, and every moment that each of us stands by maintaining the status quo we sign them up for worse—exponentially.
   They will have to flee their homes, forced to migrate due to the lack of food security. Rising sea-levels, along with drastic weather disturbances will make a boat safer than their homes, and these boats will head for our shores.
   Despite this cold hard reality our leaders head into Paris in support of watering a climate agreement down. There’s talk of steps to make the agreement not legally binding. Not many would agree to a marriage or business deal on such terms, I wonder why we are willing to let them negotiate humankind’s survival on such flippant terms.
   During the explosion of the refugee crisis into mainstream media we witnessed both the most hopeful and depraved responses to others’ suffering. I couldn’t help but wonder about the rationale for stopping the boats, for refusing the asylum and migration of those most in need—those least at fault in the destruction of our ecologies, but who will continue to pay the highest price. What possible excuse will we give to keep them out? Do we convince ourselves they’re all terrorists, rapists and murderers to render them exempt from the right to our sympathies, to human dignity? It’s a sad state of affairs that anyone would have to wonder such a thing.
   Leading into the sustainable development goals, New Zealand took a step towards supporting the Pacific, coming out strong and vocal on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), which focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of ocean, sea and marine resources. This focus was well warranted, and an open acknowledgement of our responsibility within the region, and our understanding of how many lives depend on the ocean ecologies. I was proud to stand in the General Assembly and hear John Key announce the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. It was an important step, but we must be clear that it was but one step in the marathon of steps we need to build a better world.
   In the words of Jim Salinger and virtually every other expert of climate science in the world, the world has entered abrupt climate change. We have already reached tipping-points we cannot mitigate. We are already signed up for things that are going to drastically change life as we know it, this is a cold hard fact. The question that remains now is whether we can summon the courage to turn around and fight for survival. Life is already going to change; but whether we tumble over yet more tipping-points points and the scale of the consequences we face from them is up to us. Sometimes we have little option but to wake ourselves up.
   We have a choice. We can surrender that choice to those who hold offices of power, or we can take that choice into our own consideration. Some say the whole endeavour to pull back from this is hopeless. I’m not willing to accept that. I simply refuse to stand by and let life go without a fight.
   John Key used very interesting rhetoric this week. He used the word ‘faith’. He is placing his faith in technology. Instead I am going to place my faith in humankind—the creators of technology. I am going to place my faith in our ability to comprehend the magnitude of what we face, and choose survival. I ask you to join not just myself, but others around the world in doing so. We still have a fighting chance to make things better. They won’t get better unless we take action and inspire others to do the same. No one is without power: everybody has the capacity to take a few steps.
   I’ve written this for those who know how to challenge the status quo intelligently. The doers, the thinkers, the problem-solvers. I’m not asking anyone to climb something or break laws, just that each person reading this ponders for a minute about how they can contribute, what steps they can take.
   So as we lead into the COP21 talks, billed as a defining moment in human history, at a time when recent events have given us ample reason to desert our faith in our own kind, I encourage every single person reading this to ask themselves what they can do to take action. This weekend millions of citizens around the world are exercising their rights, their freedoms, using their voices and taking to the streets to send world leaders an imperative to act and take meaningful action.
   Mark my words: a decade or possibly two from now it won’t be the Rugby World Cup final you remember with pride. What will be etched in your memory is whether you answered humanity’s call for survival, whether you were one of those who actually did something. Sometimes that something is simply the act of showing up to show solidarity with humankind. In Paris where world leaders have gathered there can be no march, because the worst of humanity put on a display that has left millions of innocent people terrorized. So in the coming week I will be keeping my eyes firmly on Paris, I am marching, I am lending my effort to reinforce the very best in humanity, because if there’s one thing the world needs right now, it’s more of the good.
   It’s only so big, it goes around and we are all on it—Earth. I believe it’s worth saving, do you?—Pearl Going

Disruption, excerpt: ‘Tipping Points’ from Disruption on Vimeo

Above Kiribati President Anote Tong with his TED discussion, ‘My country will be underwater soon—unless we work together’. Click above to watch.

Guest contributor Pearl Going is a global communications’ strategist who has worked broadly across entertainment, human rights and environmental issues. Her most recent work includes the Mercy Campaign, Rohingya Slavery and SIDS. She is an avid climber and has climbed five of the seven summits.

November 3, 2015

Art and fashion, fashion and art

Lucire staff/12.19

Above Designs from Olga Lomaka’s look book.

Above Olga Lomaka with Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Fashion, much like contemporary art, is often misunderstood by society. Unwearable, kitsch and simply bizarre are just some of the words used to describe that wedding dress from last month’s Jean Paul Gaultier show. A lot of fashion statements over the last few years have been causing a stir of controversy in the masses. Why has fashion become so “statemented” and why can it be hard to accept, just like it once was hard to accept Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ?
   Contemporary art has been causing a mixed reaction for nearly as long as it had existed. Is it a good idea to bring it into the everyday objects and turn it into fashion? I decided to find that out for myself through the works of Olga Lomaka, a London-based thought-provoking artist that has recently launched her own clothing line. ‘Art and fashion are so intertwined,’ says Olga. ‘They are a way of self-expression and self-identification. Fashion is the oxygen that makes me who I am, a mirror that reflects my personality and makes me unique.’ For her, taking art out of its usual framework of confined galleries and museums was the cornerstone of her project, Parasites of the Mind. Like a missionary, Lomaka tried breaking down the boundaries and turning an everyday object, such as a simple sweatshirt, into an art object, thus bringing art to the masses. Just like how fashion broke out of élitist circles into the crowds many years ago; just like Andy Warhol blurred the line between a supermarket and an art gallery with a simple Campbell’s Soup can.
   It kept me wondering whether popularizing something as precious as art would take it a step too far to losing its own value. The value of thought, the meaning. Would a consumer even pay any attention to it? Would they see the effort behind it or would they just spot a pretty bright pattern that is so “in” this season?
   ‘Transforming art on to fabric takes it to a new level, making it easier for everyone and anyone to reach. Nowadays art no longer shows privilege or relation to the upper class, which makes the artist open to a wide audience and allows him [to] create without hindrance and restrictions. If anything, the prints of Parasites of the Mind on sweatshirts add more value to the original pieces. They make the art even more sought-after and are interesting to the public, showing modern views and cultural values … Thanks to this, as an artist, my dialogue with the viewer became so much more intimate … If a person is interested in modern art, follows trends and has a basic understanding of psychology he won’t be shouting about it. Instead, his intelligence will be seen through [the] actions and objects that surround him.’—Elina Lukas

August 18, 2015

Fan Phenomena: James Bond gives 007 fans more; while Sugoi invites you to the world of Bill Murray

Jack Yan/12.09

In the year of a new James Bond movie, many books emerge. Invariably, there’ll be one on the films themselves, taking readers through the 50-plus years of the Eon Productions’ series, and, if it’s very comprehensive, the 1950s CBS TV version of Casino Royale, the 1967 spoof of the same name, and Never Say Never Again will rate more than a mention. There’ll be something about Ian Fleming, and another book on one aspect of the Bond world (gadgets, stunts, music, or something else). Seasoned Bond fans will think the circus is in town again, because the new book about the films adds little to their existing knowledge.
   Claire Hines’s Fan Phenomena: James Bond, from Intellect Books (£15·50, US$22, releasing November 15), is something different altogether: Bond from an academic and completely cultural viewpoint. Intellect is famous for its titles on popular culture and creative practice, with a rigorous academic bent, and Fan Phenomena: James Bond continues the series but takes the reader into the world of Ian Fleming’s super-spy.
   Hines serves as editor, and there are 11 very distinct contributions to her volume, dealing with everything from canonicity to 007’s appearance as ‘Ladykiller Jimmy’ in Alan Moore’s comics; Bond as a cult brand and cultural phenomenon to the clothes he wears; from the James Bond films through a feminist viewpoint to analyses of his masculinity and identity. Interspersed between these are four ‘Fan Appreciation’ sections, featuring an interview with über-fan and former Bond novel continuation author Raymond Benson, artist and collector Peter Lorenz, 007 Museum owner James Bond (who had his name legally changed by deed poll) and cross-players CousinCecily and Winter.
   Even the most seasoned Bond fan might not have considered the impact of the character, books and films, and the book fulfils a very important role: it gives them something new. William Proctor’s analysis of continuity gets the book off to a healthy start after Hines’s introduction, though typographically it suffers: the type is inexplicably small, though the layout is modern and the visuals help lift things. Getting Raymond Benson in there early on also helps position Fan Phenomena: James Bond as a book for the cognoscenti as well as those who want an academic examination, and Benson reveals a little more behind the scenes of his years as the official continuation author.
   Matthew Freeman, in considering the many media in which Bond occupies, including the gaming world, shows just how the phenomenon breaks the established rules and succeeds, while Jesús Jiménez-Varea and Antonio Pineda’s chapter on Moore’s comics is bound to take many fans into uncharted territory. Joshua Wille’s chapter on fan edits does the same: while many know about ABC-TV’s cutting of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service when it aired on US TV, but there are numerous fan edits made in the digital era that had this author hunting the forums.
   Artist Peter Lorenz’s Bond film posters are stunning and present a nice visual break before Lucy Bolton’s chapter analysing the phenomenology of Bond. Bolton’s piece is perhaps closest to those Bond “collectable” books that come out with the films as she analysed the films from Dr No to Skyfall, and fans may have their own interpretations of their cultural significance through the years. Editor Hines’s own chapter looks at Bond as cult brand, and is fascinating in her study of the 1960s Eon films. Hines reconciles how cult and mainstream come together with the Bond series, successfully. Lisa Funnell gives Bond a feminist slant and the enjoyment she derives as an assistant professor teaching women’s studies.
   Stephanie Jones looks at the Bond lifestyle but primarily through the analysis of one work, The Complete James Bond Lifestyle Seminar, which she reveals is relatively light on Bond references, leading to a less satisfying chapter—though it could hardly be blamed on Jones. Llewella Burton’s chapter on Bond and fashion, and how it became a style through the rise of merchandising as the movies became blockbusters with Goldfinger is punctuated by photos from Galeries Lafayette as it opened a James Bond boutique in 1965, again gold dust for Bond fans. Karen Brooks’s and Lisa Hill’s chapter analyses the new and old masculinities through the three Daniel Craig films of 2006, 2008 and 2012.
   Crossplayers CousinCecily and Winter talk about their love of James Bond and Q, leading neatly on the final chapter by Elizabeth J. Nielsen, which deals with Bond’s homoerotic moments and subtexts. She traces them to Fleming himself in the torture scene in Casino Royale, before covering the flirting between Bond and the new Q in Skyfall, which itself has a phenomenon, attracting both women and the LGBTQ community.
   This is a volume for the intelligent Bond fan, someone who appreciates learning about the impact of Ian Fleming’s creation. Of course the films are covered more, as it was through them that Bond became a global phenomenon. The reader walks away having been better informed: this is not a Bond book for the light reader who wants reassurance of the facts they already know, but one which gives them something more satisfying to consider.

Top A scene from What About Bob?, by Jon Boam. Centre Lost in Translation, by Grace Danico. Above Lost in Translation, by Henry Kaye.

On a briefer note, but still tied with film, Sugoi Books has released an A5 book called Cook Your Own Food: a Bill Murray Scratch and Sniff, retailing at £6. There are 20 pp., with 10 smells, with some stunning illustrations, with artists reinterpreting key moments from Murray’s films, focusing on his culinary habits. ‘Scratch the smelly pads at the top right and enter the world of Bill Murray,’ the publisher asks, and you are spoiled with scenes from Lost in Translation, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, What About Bob?, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and others. For £6, the illustrations are so good it doesn’t even matter if you have a poor sense of smell.—Jack Yan, Publisher

June 28, 2015

Lucire’s Instagram round-up, June 28

Fenella Clarke/15.00

With so much going on in the fashion world 24–7 we at Lucire thought you might need a quick Instagram update on what’s been happening in the lives of models and designers in the last week as we chronicle this world.
   With the spring–summer men’s runway shows in the last couple of weeks, most of the designers have runway shots or close-ups of details: we see that in Vivienne Westwood, Gucci and Valentino’s photos. Moschino released this beautiful illustration by Natalia Sanabria of Daphne Groeneveld in a look from their men’s show.
   The models’ Instagrams are a bit more interesting: Gigi Hadid and Liu Wen are giving us a sneak peak into their different photo shoots, the former with her sister and latter a shot of herself from Vogue. Cara Delevingne’s latest doesn’t have much to do with fashion at all: she is traveling around the world at the moment, promoting her new movie, Paper Towns. Kendall Jenner was also promoting something a little unexpected: a signature lipstick collaboration with none other than Estée Lauder, whom Jenner now represents.—Fenella Clarke

May 18, 2015

Karst is the New Zealand School of Dance’s most innovative season yet

Jack Yan/13.09

Stephen A’Court

Top New Zealand School of Dance third-year contemporary students. Above Latisha Sparks, William Keohavong and Jadyn Burt.

The New Zealand School of Dance always puts on a stellar performance, especially with its final-year class, but Karst, its Choreographic Season for 2015, adds some unexpected and welcome twists, and puts audience members into the performance, at least during the first half.
   Arriving at Te Whaea, you’re aware something is different: instead of the waiting area that you’re accustomed to, there’s blackness. The auditorium, meanwhile, has become the new waiting area, with TV screens showing the final-year students’ faces in the centre, and the tables moved within. As the show started, we were escorted to the catwalk above the plaza, where the show takes place.
   Wind over Sand (See below) gives you a different perspective as we viewed this from above, or on the stairwell, and there was some getting used to seeing a performance while standing. However, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment at all, and, as it turned out, Wind over Sand was simply a prelude to the cleverer and more entertaining numbers that were to follow. Audience members in wheelchairs were wheeled to ground level and watched from there, but would have had the same appreciation we did.
   Felix Sampson, one of the class of ’15, motioned us comically to come down from the stairs, surrounding the stage, where Jadyn Burt danced to Exhibit: J, using a single box as her prop, positioning herself on each side as she explored it.
   Seated at what would be our vantage points for the rest of the evening, Samuel Hall and Jag Popham began their number stood at different corners of the set, one motioning ever frantically while the other stood still. Without Regard contrasted movements and styles as the pair moved closer on stage.
   Another seamless segue, as bright lights shone from the end of the building, and we were into Volume, set to Planningtorock’s ‘Public Love’, with the notes asking, ‘If you could live in that place every day? Think of the possibilities.’ But, like some of the performances in Karst, those possibilities had a catch, the choreography signalling the old adage of, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ (Manifest) the Subliminal, similarly, strikes at the idea of balance, with backgrounds moving, essentially reiterating that the universe is structured the way it is for a reason. Upset that balance, and there is chaos. Loscil’s ‘Esturine’, with its repetitive rhythms and crackles contributed to an airy, almost lonely effect.
   Fragile Mortalities was the first number that blended visual effects as each dancer brought out a television screen with their face on it, looking cheerful, yet each began revealing their insecurities more and more, performing their internal collapses. In a similar world of paranoia, You Are My, set to the Harry Roy arrangement of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ saw cheer erupt each time the music started, but the despair soon strikes one dancer, then more and more, in different forms; words displayed at the back of the set disintegrated from hopeful to hopeless. At this point, one wondered if this reflected concerns students had about their lives in 2015; after all, who are better insights into the Zeitgeist, and more focused on the future than those who have settled in their careers?
   The 79 Bonnie Special brought the mood up slightly with the background video showing what appeared to be an old cassette-recorded programme. A tribute to New Zealand singer Connan Mockasin, using his song ‘Do I Make You Feel Shy?’, this was a comedic take, with Georgia Rudd donning a silk gown and shades, and lip-synching into a microphone, perhaps telling a tale of fleeting fame and the low-rent world that some inhabit, thinking they are on the A-list. Again, it seemed to be on the pulse of where popular culture is, in what might be deemed a post-reality-show world. Such shows still air, but in terms of the cycle, are they beyond maturity?
   Unfortunate Help, with Jessica Newman and Latisha Sparks in the main roles, see the dancers together with lengthy cardboard tubes, but pulled apart, others’ attempts at rejoining failing to unite the pair, who also fall into their darkness. At its end, Rowan Rossi emerges on stage, curious about the state of affairs, and we hear Sampson utter complete sentences for the first time, beckoning others to go as he and Rossi begin Only in Istanbul. Sampson narrates the piece, joking about Rossi and providing personal details about him, and the two come to dance in unison. Only in Istanbul is described as ‘A rigmarole’ in the programme notes, and the description fits: the movements are expert, but the story culminates in ‘Istanbul, Not Constantinople’ and the entire cast reemerges for Absent Ritual, a number that leaves Karst on an upbeat, positive note.
   Te Aihe Butler’s music, which is at the fore in Absent Ritual, actually comes through in many of the numbers, and is the effective, unseen uniting force behind Karst. It deserves special mention.
   Taken together, one does have to ask: where are society and culture today? Are we in times where we are leaving some of our citizens behind? What is the value of fame if it lacks fulfilment? If the students, who choreographed the works, are forcing us to ask these questions, then they have succeeded.
   The season is directed by Victoria Colombus, an NZSD graduate, and is the most innovative Lucire has reviewed at the venue. Colombus rightly used the space to great effect, and we hope that there will be future performances there. Removed from the traditional shape of the auditorium, the students made very effective use of their new stage, and the architectural structure helped give a scale beyond what the auditorium offers.
   Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School students worked on the lighting, which also showed a youthful passion combined with professionalism, while Donna Jefferis’s costumes were the icing on the cake.
   The season runs at Te Whaea in Newtown, Wellington, till May 23, with tickets from NZ$12 to NZ$23. Bookings are available at—Jack Yan, Publisher

February 23, 2015

Sponsored video: Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Dan Single help reinvent Impulse for the mid-2010s

Lucire staff/23.53

A Lucire special promotion

‘If a man suddenly gives you flowers, that’s Impulse,’ has been one of the most famous catch-phrases of the last generation, since Fabergé introduced it in South Africa in the 1970s. Variations on the theme have come and gone, and in 2015, Impulse moves to a new generation with Bambi Northwood-Blyth—one of Lucire’s newsmakers of 2013—and her husband Dan Single, formerly of Ksubi, fronting its latest campaign.
   Northwood-Blyth has been securing campaigns, including fashion label Ba&Sh, because she somehow taps into the Zeitgeist. She also has her own fashion line, B.BAM, and her sense of style and levity have made her more real and endearing to her fans. At Impulse, she joins former Lucire cover girl Zippora Seven and Erin Heatherton and was even placed in charge of the brand’s Instagram for one week.
   The new video, which broke for Valentine’s Day, is not just about the day itself, but embracing love, life and friendship every day. It’s unusual in featuring a real-life married couple who are very much in love, and Northwood-Blyth’s popularity among fashion cognoscenti, plus her social media following, bring it right into the mid-2010s. Gone is the “flowers” theme in favour of the couple on a getaway, and emphasizing that true love isn’t just about that initial “impulse” that drove the original, and perhaps dated advertising. It’s about a real partnership between a couple, in everything they do.
   Like Northwood-Blyth’s other appearances, there is a genuine feel to it, even though the Impulse campaign is more stylized than her own social media, which have shown more behind-the-scenes material. It’s bound to earn her even more fans, while helping to reinvent Impulse as less fanciful, and more part of a real, lasting, romance.

Post sponsored by Unilever

February 21, 2015

The most talked-about film of the month: Fifty Shades of Grey

Lucire staff/3.07

A week has passed since the release of the cinematic adaptation of E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey.
   If you haven’t seen the film directed by Sam Johnson-Taylor, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, you may be the small part of the population who is choosing to ignore the hype.
   In a nutshell, the movie is about Christian Grey (Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Johnson), who are from completely different worlds. He is wealthy, sophisticated and seems as though he has his life together, while Anastasia is about to finish university with an arts’ degree and hasn’t really given any thought as to what her next step is going to be. They meet by chance, and, boom, you see Mr Grey fall in love with Miss Steele instantly. It is a classic love story with a twist, in the sense that Mr Grey has ‘singular taste’ when it comes to his sexual tendencies. He introduces Miss Steele, a virgin, to a world of power, dominance and at times, cruelty, but as the movie progresses, you see a different side to Mr Grey. He genuinely seems to be falling in love with Miss Steele, but he cannot bear to bring himself to say it, or feel it. ‘I have had a rough start in life,’ he tells her and, ‘I’m not the man for you; you should stay away from me.’ But she doesn’t. She presses on, she is determined to uncover what his “issues” are and how she can help him heal, in a sense. But there are dark moments, too. You see Mr Grey falling apart because he simply doesn’t know how to respond emotionally to Miss Steele’s needs, so he responds in the only way he knows how to: through BDSM. Sure, his BDSM is a turn-on for her, and she’s willing to explore his world, but she doesn’t understand why he’s not willing to explore hers—and that’s when it gets messy. You have give Miss Steele credit: she has that fire and spark that Mr Grey loves, and yet, he has no idea how to be a ‘hearts and flowers man’ and as he plainly tells her, ‘I’m fifty shades of f***ed up.’
   Dakota Johnson was made for this role. She steals every scene with her lightness, naïveté, her interest in exploring her sexuality and for wanting to help the man she loves find his way to her world. Jamie Dornan is the brooding Grey, all dark and mysterious, but you get the sense that there is so much more to him and his story than he is willing to share, and that’s the beauty of this series. We find out why he is the way he is, and in the end, we want to be able to answer the age old question: is love enough to save someone?
   If you want a thought-provoking movie, go see it; don’t be intimidated by other people’s reviews and make your own judgements. Mr Grey will see you now.—Snjezana Bobič

January 23, 2015

Cara Delevingne poses with a lion cub as she becomes TAG Heuer’s new ambassador

Lucire staff/21.30

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Cara Delevingne’s status as one of the celebrities of our era is further confirmed with TAG Heuer selecting her to be one of its new ambassadors. Calling her ‘the most disruptive “it girl” of the moment’, TAG Heuer has tapped into the model’s social media following (9 million on Instagram, 2 million on Twitter, 1·7 million on Facebook) to promote its range to a new audience.
   She was welcomed into the TAG Heuer family at the Salle Melpomène at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, posing with a lion cub, in front of an audience of 150 VIPs and journalists. Tying in with the lion cub, the new TAG Heuer campaign will be hashtagged #Dont­Crack­UnderPressure.
   The lion is a symbol that Delevingne identifies with, and she had one tattooed on her right index finger in mid-2013.
   Delevingne wore a Karl Lagerfeld jacket at the event.
   Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and President of LVMH Watches Worldwide, presented her with a TAG Heuer Formula One Steel and Black Ceramic Chronograph set with diamonds.
   Biver said, ‘The TAG Heuer family is not just an idea, it is a team, with true team spirit. We needed someone disruptive yet elegant like Cara to open our minds to the brashness and boldness of today’s youth. TAG Heuer has set its sights on “it-ness”, and Cara is just the person to help us get there.’
   The Daily Mail reported concern from Dr Neil D’Cruze of World Animal Protection, who told the newspaper, ‘Lion cubs are not photo props. Their health and well-being should not be compromised.
   ‘They belong in the wild, not draped over a celebrity just to sell a designer watch.’

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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