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Kristen Stewart wears spring 1988 Chanel haute couture re-creation on Spencer poster

Filed by Lucire staff/August 31, 2021/23.11

There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in Diana, Princess of Wales of late—especially around the time of what would have been her 40th wedding anniversary to HRH Prince Charles. The Crown has added to interest in the People’s Princess, and the latest encroachment on her memory is Pablo Larraín’s Spencer, a biopic with Kristen Stewart in the role of Diana. Larraín had made Jackie (with Natalie Portman) and Neruda, both released in 2016.
   In Spencer’s poster, Stewart, a Chanel ambassador, wears a beige organza evening gown embellished with gold and silver round, oval or leaf-shaped sequins forming floral branches from the Chanel spring–summer 1988 haute couture collection. It was re-created entirely by hand for the movie by Chanel, requiring 1,034 hours of work (700 hours for embroideries) by five full-time seamstresses.
   Chanel notes: ‘This strapless, boned dress has a straight neckline trimmed with a delicate pleated tulle ruffle and a frieze composed of ovum and florets, an appliquéd satin belt with a bow at the front, a skirt fitted down to the hips then gathered and longer at the back, as well as multiple tulle flounces mounted on an organza petticoat. Embroidery by Lesage and Pleating by Lognon.’
   Spencer premières in competition at the Biennale di Venezia, the Venice Film Festival, on September 3.


 


Is the sun setting on Alarm für Cobra 11: die Autobahnpolizei?

Filed by Jack Yan/August 3, 2021/12.10

It does seem the sun is setting, after 25 years, on Alarm für Cobra 11: die Autobahnpolizei on RTL.
   Last Thursday, the network released three episodes from 8.15 p.m., and to heck with the low ratings of the last episode which would be far too late for younger viewers. They’re doing the same this week, and finishing up the season next week with the two last ones made.
   It’s no secret that the viewer numbers have been falling year after year, especially after the departure of Tom Beck, and the long-running actioner costs a lot to make—too much for a show that now nets around the 2 million mark each week, with increased competition from other networks and forms of entertainment.
   Last year, the show was revamped again, but unlike previous efforts, this was a very bumpy and massive reset. Shows don’t always do well after this, especially a revamp that was bigger than Martial Law abandoning most of its original cast in season 2 as well as not resolving the season 1 cliffhanger. Or each of the incarnations of Blackadder.
   Cobra 11 survived most earlier revamps, such as the seasons with Vinzenz Kiefer, because it maintained some continuity. We didn’t mind the anachronisms and the inconsistencies as long as the heart of the show was there. Over the first two decades, there was a humanity to the show, regardless of how much haters think it was a shallow actioner, and by that I refer to the home life of the main character, Semir Gerkhan, portrayed by Erdoğan Atalay.
   Viewers invested a lot into Semir and Andrea, and even with the 2014–15 seasons, we could count on that behind the emotional core of the series. It didn’t matter that the bright, cheerful years of Beck had become a sombre-keyed drama, with the happy couple’s marriage on the rocks, Semir sporting a full beard and not his goatee, and a major story arc.
   It was a return to the action–comedy tradition in 2016 with Daniel Roesner taking over from Kiefer, who I was surprised to see later in Bulletproof.



Semir and Andrea: the emotional heart of Alarm für Cobra 11.

   With Roesner’s departure, producers sought to get rid of everyone else on the show, wrapping up their storylines, so that 2020 would begin with only Atalay and Gizem Emre, who joined the cast in 2014, reprising their roles. We can deal with Semir pairing up with a female partner for the first time in 24 years (Vicky Reisinger, played by Pia Stutzenstein), having a new boss (a disabled character played by an able-bodied actor, Patrick Kalupa; and since we never had an episode about how the character became disabled, it seems a slap in the face to not cast a disabled actor), and an irritatingly dark set. But Andrea and the kids have been written out, not mentioned again; enter Semir’s estranged mother, who only became estranged a couple of seasons ago, since the character said previously that he called her every Christmas. To all intents and purposes, this was a new show with little connection to the old. And I think they may have gone one step too far in their efforts to present something new to viewers.
   There is a slight return to the structures of the older scripts in this second block of season 25, with an emphasis on the stories over the action (as there had been at the start). There are moments where you even recognize the show. But if the first half of the season had put you off, you never would have found out, especially since RTL hasn’t even bothered to show the action scenes in many of the press photos.
   The scheduling is exactly what you’d expect a network to do in order to kill a show, to say that the average viewer numbers had dropped again, too far to be viable. It’s the sort of show that might have a TV movie or two later on, but for now, I’m not that surprised there are statements that this 25th season (28th, if you believe the network) is the last ‘sein wird’ (for now). Another retooling for the 26th so it could return? Or time to wrap it all up?
   I don’t think it bodes well for us fans, unless they can tap into the Zeitgeist again for something that modern viewers are going to love.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


MoEa launches sustainable sneakers made from fruits and plants

Filed by Lucire staff/August 1, 2021/13.16



We can see MoEa’s bio-based sustainable sneakers, made from fruits and plants, being the next big thing in footwear. Fully vegan, fully recyclable, PETA-audited and approved, and handcrafted in Porto, Portugal, each MoEa pair is made from one fruit and one plant that have been turned into wearable materials.
   The first batch comprises designs where the colour is based on the buyer’s choice of fruit and plant. You can select from pairs made from apple or grape fibre (from waste juice), pineapple fibre (from waste pineapple leaves), or cactus and corn fibre (from skins).
   The lining is made from 70 per cent recycled bamboo, the soles from 40 per cent recycled rubber, and the insoles from recycled wood fibres.
   To stabilize the waste, the fruits and plants are blended with organic cotton, bio-PU or recycled plastic, depending on the plant. On average, 49 per cent of MoEa’s bio-materials are composed of plants or fruit, and emit 89 per cent less carbon dioxide than leather. The recycled materials have been tested to ensure they have the same comfort and durability as leather.
   Wearers can even send back their old pair to be recycled into up to 40 per cent of a new sole.
   The producers are certified, with the materials either USDA bio-preferred or comply with global recycled standards. MoEa donates 1 per cent of its gross sales to WWF and its forest protection programme.
   The shoes can be pre-ordered via MoEa’s Kickstarter, with deliveries commencing September 2021. Prices begin at €89.


 


The Firebird a triumph for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Loughlin Prior

Filed by Jack Yan/July 29, 2021/14.49







Stephen A’Court

Every element came together for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s The Firebird

Loughlan Prior’s The Firebird is a triumph for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, one that raises Prior’s own high standards, perfectly suited to the strengths of the company and its regular collaborators.
   Its première at the Opera House in Wellington last night was paired with the classic Paquita, which opened the show. Each ballet is roughly an hour long, with a 20-minute interval in between.
   With the hour’s run time, this is the version of Paquita that’s more regularly seen today, comprising a single act, and letting the dancers shine. It has been staged by Michael Auer and RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker, with Laura McQueen Schultz as ballet master. The costumes by Donna Jeffris and Barker are sumptuous and in the Russian tradition, with a bright set designed by Howard C. Jones and lit by Jon Buswell. Because it has been reduced to the final act, the traditional narrative is gone, but it remains a ballet that demonstrates the skills of the dancers, and there is plenty of energy, thanks to Marcus Petipa’s choreography keeping audiences enthralled.
   Mayu Tanigaito, in the pas de trois on opening night, is one of the RNZB’s greatest assets today as her performance and skill continue to rise, while we also have to note Kirby Selchow’s solo, showing her control and strength. But it was over to Kate Kadow and Laurynas Véjalis to do the most complex moves in the ballet: Kadow spent large parts of the grand pas de deux en pointe, and she executed an impressive series of pirouettes as part of the grand pas variations in the finalé. Véjalis, meanwhile, is a powerful, graceful dancer whose made some impressive and technically difficult leaps.

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Stephen A’Court

   As enjoyable as Paquita was, we weren’t prepared for the dramatic impact and choreographic quality of The Firebird. This is the fourth version of the Stravinsky ballet performed by the company, reimagined completely for the 2020s, and with a message that is directly relevant to audiences today.
   Prior has set his version of The Firebird in a dystopian wasteland, led by the tyrannical Burnt Mask (Paul Mathews, in an excellent turn as the antagonist). The Scavengers from the settlement head out in search of food and water, and it’s on the search that Arrow (Harrison James), left behind by the pack, encounters the Firebird (Ana Gallardo Lobaina).
   It’s a direct contrast to Paquita, with extensive use of animation and graphics by POW Studios’ Marie Silberstein and Tim Hamilton, while Tracy Grant Lord’s costumes and set design place audiences right into the desert of the wasteland. The Firebird’s flames are cleverly projected on her, bringing her powers to life; they have a natural, organic effect. The image of a burning orb is a motif here, signalling both fire and rebirth; NASA imagery of the sun served as an early inspiration. Buswell, here, too works his lighting magic to great effect, taking the colours from the animations and letting both performers and animations do their work. Every aspect came together perfectly with Igor Stravinsky’s score.
   The Firebird is great storytelling at its heart, an intense drama that held us spellbound, that the precise techniques and movements of the dancers served to enhance. Lobaina’s Firebird was largely en pointe as the mythical creature whose feathers could draw water; and with James’s Arrow there are romantic pas de deux moments that, with classical movements at the core, highlighted innovative approaches in Prior’s choreography.
   When the Firebird is brought by the Burnt Mask and his scavengers back to the settlement, there are suggestions of violence danced out on stage. Neve (Sara Garbowski), Arrow’s partner, and Elizaveta (Kirby Selchow), the Burnt Mask’s second in command, play their roles convincingly, especially the final confrontation between the Firebird and the principal antagonists. Here, Lobaina has a chance to shine as the Firebird regains her strength, portrayed by the addition of four ballerinos who add volume to her wings.
   Buswell very cleverly turns off the lights at The Firebird’s final moment, leaving things on a powerful high, and we were left breath-taken with the intensity of the one hour’s drama that had just unfolded.
   Prior wants to remind us that we are fortunate to live in the conditions on Earth that we currently do, and The Firebird is a warning of a world where things have gone drastically wrong for all life on the planet. We have a symbiosis with all earthly life, in which climate action and conservation must be at the fore of what we do. In the uncertain vacuum of a post-pandemic era, The Firebird suggests what could happen if no action is taken.
   No wonder there were members of the audience standing at the end, and numerous curtain calls for the dancers and the team. There is no exaggeration when we say, ‘If you can only see one ballet this year, make it The Firebird’—if we gave star ratings, this was a deserved 10 out of 10.—Jack Yan, Publisher

The Firebird with Paquita tours New Zealand from July 29 to September 2. It runs in Wellington till July 31 inclusive; then heads to Napier (August 6–7), Auckland (August 12–14), Dunedin (August 21), Christchurch (August 26–8), and Palmerston North (September 2). Tickets are available here.

 


Are these the trends we’ll remember the 2020s by?

Filed by Jack Yan/May 12, 2021/23.35

A fashion magazine seems to have a few roles. The first is to create a record of trends, not just reporting on them but preempting them, as a snapshot of where society is at any given moment. The second is arguably to chart culture itself, and just what the Zeitgeist is.
   If the articles in this May 2021 number of Lucire KSA is any indication, there is a complexity in design right now. Perfume bottles, jewellery and watches in our ‘Luxury Line’ pages at the back of the magazine are an indication: we seem to marvel at the intricacies of complex jewellery right now, and the “in” watch is the skeleton type, where the inner workings are exposed for all to see.
   But it’s not just in these accessories and beauty products; Meg Hamilton’s Paris Fashion Week report reveals layered clothing, tweed coats with knitted patterns, Norwegian sweaters, floral prints and padding. Even Stella McCartney, who delivered punchier colours without as much complexity in the patterns, told of volume with bell-bottom trousers.
   Volume is in, and a fashion historian might point to other times when that has been the case. I won’t explore that in this editorial, but I am intrigued about the reasons. Are they reflections of how we view our lives as being complex? Is the volume something we demand because we need protection from such an uncertain world? Meg’s thesis is quite the opposite: we are emerging from our cocoons, and it’s end of the hibernation forced upon us by COVID-19.
   The reality is that we won’t know for sure till some time has passed and we reflect on the times we live in, and each decade falls into a caricature of its one outstanding trend. It’s why westerners think of miniskirts for the 1960s and Laura Ashley for the 1970s, and the 1980s were the decade of power dressing. The 1990s might be summarized by grunge, and logomania might well dominate the 2000s. These are not accurate constructs: they are shortcuts that we give periods of time to convey a sense of nostalgia or, when it comes to film, to purposely set something in a certain era that audiences can collectively reminisce about. And in so many cases, they are ex post facto justifications of those eras, allied with social and political trends.
   If we were to take a punt on how this era will be remembered, we need to keep those non-fashion trends in mind. And maybe these times will be remembered for their complexity, even if every generation thinks they are living through the most complex period in history. The items you see in this issue might well come to represent this decade, more than the necklines of dresses that revealed instead of concealed that we saw out the 2010s on. Ultimately, however, only time will tell.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher


Above: From the Stella McCartney autumn–winter 2021–2 collection.

 


Lancôme and Muséum national d’histoire naturelle to preserve endangered plant species

Filed by Lucire staff/April 22, 2021/12.29


F.-G. Grandin/MNHN; top photo by Agnès Iatzoura/MNHN

Lancôme has partnered with the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) with the aim of preserving endangered plant species, in a new conservation project.
   In a statement, its global brand president Françoise Lehmann said, ‘We are proud to participate in the conservation of endangered plant species like the Rose of France (Rosa gallica), as part of a global partnership with the National Museum of Natural History, whose international influence is recognized. The museum is a leading organization when it comes to research and expertise in the field of biodiversity protection and we are proud to take part in this important mission which meets France’s commitments for the Convention on Biological Diversity.
   ‘Protecting biodiversity is major component of Lancôme’s sustainability programme [dubbed Caring Together for a Happier Tomorrow]. The brand is already spearheading this mission in Grasse and Valensole, in the south of France, where we are growing roses and other plant species in an organic and sustainable way across 25 acres of land.’
   The project is being implemented by the museum’s Conservatoire botanique national du Bassin parisien (the CBNBP, or the National Botanical Conservatory of the Paris Basin), which sees the reintroduction of endangered plant species. Seeds had been collected and banked earlier in the CBNBP’s regions and will be planted in experimental gardens.
   Among those species is Rosa gallica, which ties in with Lancôme’s own symbol, as well as Arnica montana, campanula cervicaria, inula hirta, ranunculus hederaceus and viscaria vulgaris.

 


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