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October 30, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performs A Christmas Carol, the feel-good ballet of the season

Jack Yan/14.03

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Ross Brown/RNZB

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s final season for 2014, sponsored by Vodafone, sees Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol brought to life. Created for the Northern Ballet, it’s a true crowd-pleaser and the perfect family outing.
   The RNZB‚Äôs Christmas performance has often been a spectacular that audiences of all ages can enjoy, and A Christmas Carol is no exception. The familiar Yuletide tunes and original music by American-born composer Carl Davis, CBE make A Christmas Carol musically accessible. Davis‚Äôs work will be familiar to television and film audiences (he scored The French Lieutenant‚Äôs Woman, the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and, most recently, an episode of the 2012 continuation of Upstairs, Downstairs), and he brings a similar lyrical, orchestral style to the ballet.
   The familiarity of Dickens‚Äô novel also helps: the characters are well known, especially to children, and this version, created for the Northern Ballet, stays close to the original Victorian setting. The humour is distinctly English: the second act‚Äôs dance between Mr and Mrs Fezziwig (played by Rory Fairweather-Neylan and Bront√ę Kelly on opening night) is Carry on in nature, while the Ghost of Christmas Present‚Äôs (MacLean Hopper) tendency to throw glitter made him the least frightening of the trio that visit Ebenezer Scrooge.
   Paul Mathews, in the lead, exuded energy and still yielded surprises despite the well known storyline, but it was the flashback scene with a pas de deux between Young Scrooge (Shane Urton) and Belle Fezziwig (Lucy Green) that was the most touching and graceful in the ballet.
   Belle, knowing the relationship had come to an end, expressed a lifelessness as she moved en pointe away from Young Scrooge, ever focused on finance.
   The loss of love between the two was poignant, and the point at which Scrooge became the miserable character at the beginning of the story. It gave an extra element, almost a humanity, to Scrooge, that was seen in the novel.
   Bob Cratchit, played by Kohei Iwamoto, was perfectly cast.
   Each set was lovingly created, with production design by Lez Brotherston, the backdrops faithful to the emerging industrialization of the Victorian era, and the lighting by Jon Buswell (presumably following the original design by Paul Pyant) was used to eerie effect on two occasions: the emergence of Scrooge‚Äôs business partner‚Äôs ghost (light streamed up in a ghostly form before the dancer playing Marley appeared) and the Ghost of Christmas Past (who appeared to float as he visited Scrooge). Transitions between sets were cleverly handled, particularly Scrooge‚Äôs grave in the last act.
   This is the first performance Lucire attended where the company sings, and young Wilson Jack, as Tiny Tim Cratchit, performs a touching solo of ‚ÄėHow Far Is It to Bethlehem?‚Äô (and never mind that it was composed outside the Victorian era). Nigel Gaynor, conducting Orchestra Wellington, excelled handling this extra dimension.
   It was the final√© that was the most upbeat of any recent Royal New Zealand Ballet season, something that could be seen not just with the lengthy applause but the smiles on the audience‚Äôs faces as members began departing the St James Theatre.
   The Wellington performances began October 30 and run till November 8 inclusive; Dunedin is from November 15 to 16; Christchurch from November 20 to 22. A Christmas Carol then returns to the North Island, in Palmerston North on November 26, Napier on November 29 and 30, Auckland on December 3 to 7, and Takapuna from December 13 to 14. Full details of dates and venues can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet website.
   The late Christopher Gable directed the original production for the Northern Ballet, with choreography by Massimo Moricone; Daniel de Andrade serves as producer. It is the first ballet by the RNZB performed after the appointment of its new artistic director, Francesco Ventriglia, who takes up his new position during the run.‚ÄĒJack Yan, Publisher


Bill Cooper

Above An image from the Northern Ballet’s production of A Christmas Carol.

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October 28, 2014

Georgia Alice, Lucy McIntosh, Sly Guild named as Ô¨Ānalists for DHL scholarship

Lucire staff/21.09

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Above A design from the Georgia Alice look-book.

Georgia Alice, Lucy McIntosh and Sly Guild are the three finalists for this year’s DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship.
   Judges Dan Gosling (the inaugural winner, seven years ago, as co-founder of Stolen Girlfriends’ Club), John Kelly (Max Fashions), Paul Blomfield (Fashion Industry New Zealand) and Megan Wildermoth (DHL) will judge, and will announce their decision on November 12.
   The winner will receive NZ$10,000 in international freight, along with coaching in freight and logistics. The second prize is NZ$1,500, and the third valued at NZ$500. All will receive export mentoring and a membership from FINZ. For more information, visit www.dhlfashionscholarship.co.nz.

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Filed under: fashion, Lucire, New Zealand
October 27, 2014

Sponsored video: Moroccanoil wants to hear your stories that are #inspiredbywomen

Lucire staff/13.09

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A Lucire special promotion


Lucire has featured Moroccanoil for years‚ÄĒwe like to think we were one of the insiders that let readers know of this beauty range from Canada first.
   Moroccanoil is known for its luxury hair care approach, with performance-driven formulas that help nourish and restore hair to a natural, silky finish. With modern environmental factors conspiring to hurt hair, Moroccanoil‚Äôs light formula helps reverse those adverse effects.
   When Moroccanoil first started, oil treatments for hair were rare, but founder Carmen Tal persisted, and the range has caught the attention of celebrities and hair professionals around the world.
   Last month, Moroccanoil appointed its first ambassador, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who began gracing our pages at roughly the same time as the oil treatments. It‚Äôs a great campaign, because we finally get to see the real Huntington-Whiteley on a wider scale‚ÄĒshe‚Äôs far more articulate and fun than you might expect‚ÄĒand it taps in to an idea that everyone will find familiar.
   The campaign asks viewers to create a brief video, hashtagged #inspiredbywomen, telling the world which woman has inspired them, sharing their stories. There are no gimmicks or prizes: the company wants to get these stories out and begins with its own six women, chosen by Tal herself, in a video series directed by Bryce Dallas Howard.
   Huntington-Whiteley is one of the six, joined by Chrissy Beckles (who literally fights for abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico, by going into the boxing ring to raise funds through charity bouts), Rebecca Welsh (whose HALO Foundation provides underprivileged children a chance to unlock their creativity), Kavita Shukla (whose FreshPaper venture has revolutionized food storage in 35 countries), Allyson Ahlstrom (who created Threads for Teens, a free boutique serving at-risk girls), and Jessica Matthews (who invented the Soccket, a soccer ball that creates electrical energy).
   Says Tal, ‚ÄėInspiration is about feeling empowered. If we can empower women, the sky‚Äôs the limit.‚Äô




Post sponsored by Moroccanoil

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Ikea will move into fashion next, predicts Swedish author Stefan Engeseth

Lucire staff/10.50

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Swedish author and business thinker Stefan Engeseth predicts that Ikea’s next move will be into the world of fashion.
   Engeseth says that Ikea‚Äôs expertise lends itself easily to the world of apparel. ‚ÄėFashion is an expression of how to package and sell design,‚Äô he says.
   He believes that fashion is in a repetitive cycle, stuck in history and needing renewal.
   Ikea could offer both complete apparel items and composite parts that customers could assemble themselves, says Mr Engeseth. The parts could be ‚Äútailored‚ÄĚ at home in inventive ways without the need for complex sewing.
   ‚ÄėEmotionally, this connects people to how life was in the beginning,‚Äô he says. ‚ÄėCustomers can personalize and ‚Äúhack‚ÄĚ the designs.‚Äô
   Jack Yan, publisher of Lucire, and a branding expert in his own right, says Engeseth‚Äôs ideas have a great deal of merit.
   ‚ÄėThis taps in to its existing fan base, and just as importantly, Ikea can make full use of its channels, outmanŇďuvring many existing fashion labels,‚Äô says Yan. ‚ÄėIkea has an international retail base and it has distribution down to a fine art.‚Äô
   For completed clothing, Engeseth says that Ikea could offer Unisex dressing, without the divisions of male and female, but as an ‚ÄėIkea member‚Äô.
   He sees Ikea clothing as being high-tech and low-cost, harder-wearing than the apparel found in mass-market retailers.
   ‚ÄėWe‚Äôre already seeing some shoppers go to outdoor and living stores to buy longer-lasting clothing. Ikea already sells reusable Kr 4 bags that are good and cheap; their clothes could be equally practical, as strong as work clothes,‚Äô he says.
   ‚ÄėYou could even extend this hard-wearing philosophy into wedding gowns‚ÄĒafter all, there are already some people opting to get married in Ikea stores.‚Äô
   Engeseth says Ikea could offer the clothing range to its fans first, so they have a ‚Äúuniform‚ÄĚ, much like football teams.
   ‚ÄėThere are 57 million Ikea ‚Äúfamily members‚ÄĚ already, so let them be the only ones who can buy the clothes first. This would be the longest catwalk ever.‚Äô
   He goes further, saying that those wearing Ikea clothing could qualify for greater discounts at the point of sale. ‚ÄėNot only will this build their tribe, it will ‚Äúdress it up‚ÄĚ to become a worldwide community.‚Äô
   Fans who have furnished their homes could host ‚ÄėIkea days‚Äô, where dressed-up fans could invite their friends to their homes, which become pop-up fan showrooms. ‚ÄėThat could give Ikea millions of stores, and greater exposure to how homes can be designed. That would bring in sales and the company could treble its profits,‚Äô he says.

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October 24, 2014

H&M celebrates 10 years of designer collaborations with new book launching November 6

Lucire staff/13.58

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Time has flown: it has been 10 years since Hennes & Mauritz began its designer collaborations, the first with Karl Lagerfeld.
   The company will release a book, The First Ten Years, coinciding with its Alexander Wang x H&M launch on November 6.
   At the time, Lucire called it a move toward ‘attainable luxury': that even at a budget price, customers deserved to look good. It was a move toward democratization, something that had been seen en masse with technology, extended to fashion.
   The first Karl Lagerfeld for H&M collection prompted the designer to say, ‘Taste and looking chic is no longer a question of money or how you spend, but how you create a unique sense of style.’
   H&M’s collaborators have included Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Roberto Cavalli, Commes des Garcons, Matthew Williamson, Jimmy Choo, Sonia Rykiel, Lanvin, Versace, Marni, Maison Martin Margiela, Isabel Marant and Alexander Wang.
   The book features imagery from all designers, and will retail for US$34¬∑95, available through select H&M stores in the US. A quarter of the cover price will go to Unicef.
   H&M will begin its celebration with a design retrospective at its flagship 589 Fifth Avenue, New York City store on October 27, with looks from each past designer.
   The store will showcase a new look from the Alexander Wang x H&M collection each day by way of preview.

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October 21, 2014

Fashion design legend Oscar de la Renta passes away

Lucire staff/17.18

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Above The image of Oscar de la Renta used by his company today to signal his passing.

Oscar de la Renta has passed away at his home in Kent, Conn., aged 82 after a six-year battle with cancer, his family has confirmed.
   De la Renta had only appointed his successor, Peter Copping, earlier this month, with little public sign of his long fight with his condition.
   De la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic, which has announced that it will hold a day of mourning in his honour on Wednesday.
   He went to Madrid to study art but wound up in fashion, working first as an apprentice with Crist√≥bal Balenciaga, and joined Elizabeth Arden and Jane Derby, before setting up his own label in New York in 1965. Between 1993 and 2002, he designed Balmain’s haute couture collections.
   His designs showed a classic, feminine sensibility, and was a mainstay of New York Fashion Week for decades. He had dressed US first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama, and, most recently, Amal Alamuddin for her wedding to George Clooney. Former US first daughter Jenna Bush wore Oscar de la Renta on her wedding day.
   De la Renta, in this publication’s experience, never played favourites, and provided access to fashion magazines based on merit rather than circulation numbers.
   He had served as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1973 to 1976, then from 1986 to 1988, and received the Gold Medal of Bellas Artes and La Gran Cruz de la Orden del M√©rito Civil from Spain and the L√©gion d’honneur from France.
   He is survived by his wife Annette.

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Sarah Michelle Gellar to judge Specsavers’ Spectacle Wearer of the Year in New Zealand

Lucire staff/9.22

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Sarah Michelle Gellar is the New Zealand judge and ambassador for Specsavers’ Spectacle Wearer of the Year.
   Gellar, best known for her role in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and who made a notable impression in last year’s The Crazy Ones‚ÄĒLucire‚Äôs favourite US sitcom of ‚Äô13‚ÄĒalongside the late Robin Williams, joins a panel of judges including designer Alex Perry, TV host Jeremy Corbett, and Specsavers’ style ambassador Pip Edwards.
   The competition is a search for the country’s most stylish spectacle-wearer, celebrating confidence and the love of glasses.
   ‚ÄėI can‚Äôt wait to see New Zealanders stylish entries and help choose a winner,’ said Gellar in a release. ‘As an actress and a glasses-wearer myself, I know how important it is to be proud of your style and to love your frames. I like to look at glasses as an extension of individual style, a way to express a part of your personality that you can have fun with.’
   The winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Hollywood, including NZ$1,000 spending money, and a new wardrobe of designer glasses from Specsavers.
   Six finalists will each win a trip to Auckland to meet Corbett and a gift bag, including a voucher for an item from Fairley jewellery and two pairs of designer glasses from Specsavers.
   Entrants are asked to submit selfies to the 2014 Spectacle Wearer of the Year website, at loveglasses.specsavers.co.nz.
   Christina Hendricks had previously served as a Specsavers ambassador.

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October 20, 2014

Stoneleigh launches limited-edition, early-release Nature’s Collection wines

Lucire staff/22.43

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Stoneleigh has launched a new, limited-edition, early-release wine series, called Nature’s Collection, comprising 2014 vintages of sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, chardonnay and ros√©, retailing now at NZ$17¬∑99 in New Zealand.
   The Collection’s labels feature artwork with distinctive symbols, signifying flora, fauna, forest and coastline. The images within the symbols were taken by New Zealanders and uploaded to Stoneleigh via an app earlier this year.
   The Nature’s Collection name is not a marketing ploy: Stoneleigh began with fruit from the stony vineyards in Raparua in Marlborough. Winemaker Jamie Marfell (left) has used techniques that heighten the natural flavour and aroma.
   The sauvignon blanc, made from grapes from low-cropping vines, has a ‘complex flintiness’, with very little done to the wine to maintain the purity of the flavour. The pinot noir has a similar ‘natural brilliance,’ says Marfell, while large-format oak cuves have fermented the chardonnay for three months. The ros√© has also been fermented with oak.
   ‚ÄėOur stone-studded vineyards are a constant source of wonder, producing grapes for wines with incredible flavours and aromas. We wanted to celebrate not just our wonder of nature but all of the natural wonders in New Zealand,’ said Marfell.

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