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August 20, 2014

Audi’s new TT is leaner and greener, with whole-life environmental impact reduced

Lucire staff/14.24

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Audi’s third-generation TT, which goes on sale later this year, is greener and lighter than its predecessor, something which Lucire readers will applaud.
   The iconic sports’ car, which came on the scene in 1998 with its Bauhaus, geometric looks, carving its own niche, continues similar themes for 2014, but looks sleeker, with Audi’s hexagonal grille, and wider. However, it is virtually the same length as the outgoing model, while having a 37 mm longer wheelbase.
   The body is stiffer by 25 per cent and the centre of gravity lower by 10 mm, aiding handling. Power is up 14 per cent, while greenhouse gas emissions are down 11 per cent. The monocoque shell is a mixture of steel and aluminium, with the weight dropping by 50 kg compared with the second-generation model which Lucire tested in 2007. The weight, in fact, is only close to that of the original TT, which is no mean feat considering how much more modern cars pack, with the front-wheel-drive 2·0 TFSI model tipping the scales at 1,230 kg. By comparison, a 1998 1·8 front-wheel-drive TT weighed 1,240 kg.
   Audi has also reduced the whole-life impact on the environment, with each car saving 5·5 tonnes of greenhouse gas (not just carbon dioxide, but methane, nitrous oxide and halogenated organic emissions) in its lifetime. The construction sees a saving of 800 kg of greenhouse gas emissions (nine per cent) compared to the earlier model.
   UK deliveries commence in December 2014.


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Lindex will open London store for spring 2015

Lucire staff/13.45

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Above An image from Lindex’s autumn 2014 campaign.

Lindex, the Swedish brand now part of the Finnish Stockmann group, will open a store in London in spring 2015.
   The company has been gradually raising its profile over the last few years, including hiring actress Penélope Cruz to model one of its collections.
   This latest move sees Lindex open at Westfield Stratford City, along with a UK distribution centre. UK customers can already purchase online at lindex.com.
   The store promises to reflect Lindex’s Scandinavian heritage with its décor and service.
   ‘This is a great day in our history. We have longed to offer our affordable and inspiring fashion in an exciting city like London, one of the world’s most attractive shopping destinations,’ said Lindex CEO Ingvar Larsson in a release.
   Lindex notes that London has more global fashion brands than any other city.

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Filed under: fashion, London, Lucire, Sweden
August 19, 2014

Essentials for a WOW of a home Emmy party

Elyse Glickman/11.40

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Elyse Glickman

Sometimes we like to play dress up, and other times, we like to celebrate to the max at home. For their 2014 Emmy suite, WOW Creations’ dynamic duo (and brothers) Mark and Matt Harris made all guests coming to the Luxe Hotel’s penthouse in Beverly Hills feel right at home.
   While the dips, wine and cheese will be up to you, set your gathering apart from the others’ with wholesome things. Forgo the chemical filled tortilla or potato chips for hearty, crackers from Cottage Kitchen, GMO-free accompaniments made without hydrogenated oils, no yeast, no sugar and a lot of flavour. HeatSweets also provided guests with a nice set of condiments balancing sweet and savoury through jams and relishes (jalapeno strawberry jelly, habanero strawberry jelly, jalapeno ginger jelly and sweet jalapeno relish) to jazz up meat and cheese canapés.
   The Maui Cookie Lady was on hand to send celebs and media home with inspired indulgences with such apt names as Da Bacon-Nator, the Dentist’s Dilemma, Kona Coffee Espresso and Nutella Raspberry Truffle, while WOW veteran Sarah’s Skinny Sweets balanced things out with biscuits that are big on flavour but low in carbs, diabetic and paleo-friendly, and free of soy, dairy and gluten.
   The Harris brothers also made sure guests would have something on hand—Rockin’ Wellness—for their visitors on a diet or cleanse. The shake mix, which works with coconut, almond or soy milk, is loaded with vitamins, minerals, Omega 3, 6 and 9 as well as being high in fibre and protein.
   The perfect accent for your guest bathroom or visible sink were liquid and hand soaps in beautiful bed-and-breakfast inn ready packaging from Ranch Organics, a line of hand-crafted, mineral-rich products produced from a real farm in America’s heartland. For post-entertaining laundry, Millstone Farm & Organics invited guests to try out their Natural Wool Dryer Balls, which can be scented with various oils and can help dry machine-washed clothes will dry in half the time. Last-minute sleepover? Beantown Bedding was there to help with their biodegradable and disposable linens.
   The pièce de résistance for this Emmy’s edition of the WOW Suite (that thing you will want to keep and use for a long time) was the innovative Koreball, an easy-to-store-and-pack medicine ball–kettleball hybrid to help you get a jump on working off those calories.
   And what to wear for your red-carpet workout (in anticipation for the following week’s festivities) or a super-comfy and casual at-home Emmyfest? Fun, ’80s-inspired cropped T-shirts from Gary Red Brand Apparel, a Los Angeles-based clothing line featuring positive messaging as ‘Touch the heart, open your mind’ to push forth the designer’s values of community and diversity. Certainly more complex than, ‘Frankie says relax’. Pair that with sandals from Pedi Princess by Laura Slipak: they’re one step ahead of those high-fashion flips from Brazil, offered in a carnival of exotic designs and toe separator gems that protect a fresh pedicure and stay on your feet rather than “flop”.
   Neo Choice was on hand with much necessary hair irons (as LA’s hottest and most humid time of year is usually around Emmy time), while Derwood Couture had ties to make men and pets more dapper than ever.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor









Elyse Glickman

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Sponsored video: Wasa uses paid parental leave to sell crisp bread

Lucire staff/10.53

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A Lucire special promotion



Wasa’s blue and yellow logo already indicates its origins—Sweden. It’s a brand that most Swedes already know, as the company has been making knäckebröd, a type of cracker or crisp bread, for decades. The company, founded by K. E. Lundström in 1919 in Skellefteå, might now be under Italian ownership, but it still has its royal warrant, probably helped by Wasa’s name’s connection to the 16th-century monarch Gustav I and the Vasa dynasty.
   The new advertising campaign, aimed at the US, doesn’t look into the name’s royal origins, but plays on its perceived Swedishness. As multinational food brands go, many of them, now absorbed into bigger players, rely on their national origins for differentiation, and Wasa is no exception. The difference is that Wasa knäckebröd remains very Swedish in its execution and is seen as quintessential.
   But what is Sweden about? It certainly makes a telling contrast to the United States. The advertisement stays away from anything controversial like health care or law enforcement, and touches on Sweden’s image of an egalitarian democracy.
   Clarissa, the American businesswoman in Sweden for work, attends a yoga class, only to find that her classmates are a group of attractive fathers with their babies.
   Sweden offers 16 months’ paid parental leave or föräldraförsäkringen. Ninety per cent of Swedish fathers take the leave. This can be contrasted to New Zealand, which offers 14 weeks, increasing to 18 in 2016, after the policy was introduced by the Alliance in the 2000s. The US, where the ad is targeted, offers none—joining Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.
   Proclaims one of the Dads in the ad, ‘This is Sweden. We have something called pappaledighet. It’s when the daddies stay at home for six months while the moms are working.’ Clarissa breaks the fourth wall, and ponders, ‘We sent a man to the moon. What a waste, when we could have sent him to the playground as our Swedish sisters do.’
   And to seal the deal, perhaps in a very obvious fashion, a baby brings her a box of Wasa crisp bread.
   It’s an unusual approach to selling a fast-moving consumer good, but it emphasizes that the Swedish national image remains a very healthy one for companies that have a connection to the Nordic nation.


Article sponsored by Wasa

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Filed under: culture, living, society, Sweden
August 18, 2014

Alarm für Cobra 11 films at the Nürburgring with Mercedes-Benz

Jack Yan/6.49

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Long-running German TV series, Alarm für Cobra 11: die Autobahnpolizei, which will return this autumn (most likely in early October), filmed at the Nürburgring over the weekend during the DTM races.
   Both star Erdoğan Atalay, who has played Semir Gerkhan since the show’s third episode in 1996, and new co-star Vinzenz Kiefer, in the role of Alex Brandt since 2014, found themselves at the historic circuit among the 80,000 spectators.
   They were joined by actress and presenter Fernanda Brandão, who will guest-star in the episode. Ralf Schumacher is also tipped to appear.
   They conducted a draw for fans of the show, giving away extras’ roles.
   Although the new season returns in the autumn on RTL, the Nürburgring episode, ‘Das letzte Rennen’ (‘The Last Race’) will not air till spring 2015. The plot line is predictable: Semir and Alex receive guest passes to a DTM race but unexpectedly find a corpse.
   The cop show features product placement from both BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and has done since one of its earliest stars, Mark Keller, drove a CLK in 1997.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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August 15, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Allegro journeys from classical to science fiction

Jack Yan/15.57

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Ross Brown

Top A classical approach for Allegro Brillante. Above Larry Keigwin’s Megalopolis.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Allegro: Five Short Ballets, was a bittersweet performance, knowing it would be the last time many in the audience would see the company’s principal guest artist, Gillian Murphy, dance.
   Murphy and her fiancé, RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel, are set to return to the US, and she kept a composed, dignified air after the performance when Lucire wished her well for her future.
   The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Andrea Tandy noted that Auckland audiences, who had seen Allegro prior to Wellington’s for a change, gave the five productions a wonderful reception.
   In the first ballet of the five, Allegro Brillante, Murphy and Kohei Iwamoto led a small cast of 10 to Tchaikovsky’s Third Piano Concerto, with choreography by the late George Balanchine. Russian-born Balanchine’s works have been staged by the RNZB from time to time, and Allegro Brillante was performed in 1999 and 2001. With a classical structure and technique, staged by Eve Lawson, it proved an endearing opening to the performances on the first night in Wellington.
   As skilful as the dancers were, Qi Huan’s presence was missed opposite Murphy—Huan moved on to the New Zealand School of Dance, teaching classical ballet, telling us earlier that he could not pass up the opportunity.
   The simple settings allowed Nigel Percy’s lighting to set a very different mood each time.
   Les Lutins, which followed, was a particularly enjoyable comedic ballet. It would be the only one with live music of the five, performed by the impressive Benjamin Baker on violin, and Michael Pansters on piano, while Rory Fairweather-Neylan, Arata Miyagawa and Lucy Green played the role of the goblins, in trousers and braces, with simple, carefree choreography by Johan Kobborg. The interaction between the dancers and Baker was cleverly staged, and the neatly executed jetés and tours en l’air from Fairweather-Neylan and Miyagawa deserve mention.
   Satellites, after the first interval, brought a scientific theme, conveying the equilibrium that satellites maintain in orbit: as dancers go off, new ones emerge. Graphically, orbits appear in the background, designed and animated by Jac Grenfell, dancers held circular mirrors, while electronic music by Jan-Bas Bollen emphasized the high-tech feel. Kinetic sculptures by Jim Murphy continued the theme (segmented planets hanging in the air), as did Donnine Harrison’s costumes (the discs worn by two ballerinas again reflecting the circular theme). Daniel Belton, who was behind the concept and choreography, was inspired by the Bauhaus movement, with its practitioners Oskar Schlemmer, Paul Klee and Moholy-Nagy, successfully blending the geometry and modernistic approach of the school with balletic expression. For once, those who are disciples of, or simply aware of, Bauhaus principles have a ballet that translates those ideas.
   Mattress Suite, choreographed by Larry Keigwin for his own company, delighted in a simple, playful setting, with a mattress as the one prop, telling the story of newlyweds who drift apart, the groom discovering he is homosexual. It is the only one with mature themes and popular songs (‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ as sung by Stevie Wonder, and ‘At Last’ by Etta James) and the mattress itself was used as everything from a wall to a trampoline in six short dances. Cheekily, the dance with a gay threesome is called ‘Straight Duet’.
   The RNZB is the first to perform Mattress Suite outside of Keigwin & Company.
   It was Keigwin again for the finalé, Megalopolis, which went beyond science and into science fiction, blending the cinematic Flash Gordon and Studio 54 into a single ballet, finding great favour with the audience. Megalopolis was certainly energetic—RNZB finalés often are, and rightly so, when presenting a series of ballets—while Fritz Mason’s costume design, in black with silver details, was a retrofuturistic delight.
   Allegro: Five Short Ballets continues in Wellington till the 17th at the St James. Invercargill follows on August 20 at the Civic, while Dunedin’s Regent Theatre plays host on the 23rd inst.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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August 14, 2014

Mana Wahine: a powerful celebration of womanhood and history

Jack Yan/4.40

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Alex Efimoff

Mana Wahine, which had its première in June in Rotorua for Matariki, arrived in Wellington last night with the first of a brief series of performances (until August 16), with a powerful celebration of womanhood by the Okareka Dance Company.
   Mana Wahine tells the story of Te Aokapurangi, who was captured in battle but returned later to save her people from slaughter.
   The production began with the image of the storyteller, Tūī Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield, a descendant of Te Aokapurangi, appearing on the curtains prior to the show, a foretaste of the clever use of lighting and imagery projected on the dance floor and walls. Her evocative waerea incantation from the first scene led to powerful, purposeful choreography performed by five dancers, Bianca Hyslop, Maria Munkowits, Nancy Wijohn, Chrissy Kokiri and Jana Castillo.
   Graceful and strong, the quintet were chosen for their experience as women and those from whom they have descended.
   Mana Wahine blends different genres of dance, captivating the audience between its sets so seamlessly, and is a beautiful tribute to Te Aokapurangi while shining a light on the proud people in our country’s past.
   Even without knowing the historical aspect one has to admire the authentic and sincere performances of the five dancers.
   The production was inspired by a conversation between cousins Tui Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield and Okarewa artistic director Taiaroa Royal, on their ancestry and the Ngāti Ohomairangi of Te Arawa, namely the matriarch Kearoa and Te Aokapurangi of Ngāti Rangiwewehi and Tapuika. Both women were responsible for saving their people, demonstrating in New Zealand’s history the power and role of women.
   Ranapiri-Ransfield researched the story, and wrote the lyrics and composed the music for the karanga, waerea and patere, and it is her voice that the audience hears. Victoria Kelly composed the rest of the score. Malia Johnston, with her extensive choreographic experience, co-authored Mana Wahine. Taane Mete directed Mana Wahine, calling it one of the ‘most rewarding experiences I have ever encountered.’ The collaboration between the talents, including technical production manager Jonny Cross, producer Rachael Penman, rehearsal director Natalie Clark and administrator Jesse Wikiriwhi, have resulted in a real, enriching production.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Mana Wahine runs till August 16, with daily performances at 7.30 p.m., and one matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m., at Te Whaea, New Zealand National Dance and Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington. Tickets are $20–$40, plus booking fees. Bookings can be made by telephone on 0800 BUY-TIX or visit www.eventfinder.co.nz.

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August 13, 2014

Wild kingdom

Elyse Glickman/2.16

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Elyse Glickman


Red Carpet Events LA

Red Carpet Events LA teamed up with the PETA2 organization to use the 2014 Teen Choice Awards as a platform for positive messages: starting the school year right and embracing a cause teens and young adults can, literally, make their own. Glitz and glamour met with common sense in mid-August in the SLS Beverly Hills’ now fabled ballroom.
   PETA2, the little sister of cause célèbre organization PETA, was born in 2002, when PETA realized there were young people as eager to support animal rights and take on a vegetarian lifestyle as their adult counterparts. PETA2’s birthplace was the 2002 Warped tour, featuring the likes of Fall Out Boy and Rise Against. Young concert attendees took on the now iconic ‘I Am Not A Nugget’ slogan (complete with cute chick graphic) as their first battle cry, and committed to steering clear of fast food giants and designers using materials sourced from non-ethical means.
   Humanely made grooming products offered to the young trend-setters in attendance (snapped here are Brendan Robinson, Hunter King and Joey King, Mia Talerico, Paris Berelc, Samantha Logan, Simonna, Lexi Noel and Kathryn Newton) included Rock Your Hair by Michael O’Rourke hair products (love the tastefully bejewelled bottles), Joy and Mario Footwear (beautiful and sturdy espadrilles crafted with colourful fabrics and styles that caused a near riot among the attendees); Worx Toys, bronzers and brushes from celebrity favourite Ofra cosmetics, the space-saving Hot Iron Holster, closet space-saving glam from the Diva Box, Artwear Designs Ts and tanks, and adjustable Hipsy Headbands for Women. Some celebrities snapped up breezy late summer fashion from Nredom Snoitome.
   Dermalogica (the Clear Start Line) and Tikkun Spa were on hand to provide young attendees with perfect skin care solutions for acne and complexion issues, while internal nourishment was offered via Zico coconut water and SoyJoy bars.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor





Red Carpet Events LA





Elyse Glickman

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