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July 9, 2014

Opel Corsa E breaks cover, as GM releases ofïŹcial details

Lucire staff/7.37

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GM has released details of its fifth-generation Opel Corsa (Vauxhall Corsa Mk IV in the UK), promising that the new model will set benchmarks for its class.
   It will have to: it joins a talented segment with cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Honda Fit, Toyota Vitz and Peugeot 208.
   The Opel Corsa E is virtually identical in length to the outgoing model, with much of the cabin space cleverly used in its 4 m.
   There is a new platform, dubbed Gamma II in GM-speak, with no carryover components from the Corsa D. The new sheetmetal has greater differentiation between three- and five-door models, with styling by Brit Mark Adams. A panoramic roof is optional. Other options include blind spot alert, lane departure warning, and a rear-view camera.
   The new interior has a redesigned instrument panel and dashboard, including Opel’s Intellilink in-car system, already seen on the Adam subcompact, which is on a shorter version of the Corsa E’s platform. Intellilink features a seven-inch colour touch-screen, which can be controlled via apps on the Apple Iphone and Google Android.
   Appealing to the Corsa’s urban drivers, there is a revised speed-sensitive power steering, with less understeer. Ride and handling have also been improved, says Opel.
   Opel has joined the trend toward three-cylinder petrol engines, with a one-litre Ecotec direct-injection turbo as the smallest unit, developing 90 or 115 PS. It is combined with a stop–start system to lower fuel consumption.
   A 1·3 turbodiesel, a 1·2 and 1·4 petrol engine, and a 1·4 turbo are also on offer, mated to new six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.
   The Corsa will not be sold in Australasia or North America, where the Korean-made Chevrolet Aveo (under various names), also on the Gamma II platform, is GM’s entry in the B-segment.



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Filed under: design, living, Lucire, technology
July 3, 2014

Luxury watch brand Christopher Ward develops its own innovative movement

Lucire staff/23.17

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British luxury watch brand Christopher Ward has announced the development of its own watch movement, the Calibre SH21.
   Mike France, one of the co-founders, explains that the brand breaks the rules and ‘to be the masters of our own destiny.
   â€˜Last year, the CEO of a major Swiss luxury watch brand heard rumours about SH21 and his—frankly, affronted—comment was, “What gives you the license to do that?”
   â€˜We give ourselves license to do this. Ten years ago we launched the world’s first pure online business model for luxury watches; a new paradigm in blending supreme quality with unprecedented value that challenged the industry norm. Today, we are advancing to a new level of independence that strengthens the future growth of the business and enables us to develop a family of movements, the first of which is the beautiful C9 Harrison 5 Day Automatic, housing the Calibre SH21, which we also launched today.’
   France expects to see Calibre SH21 being the core of a whole suite of movements.
   The development was spurred by young watchmaker Johannes Jahnke, who examined medical industry tooling and car manufacture, thinking outside the square.
   Jahnke, along with industry veteran Jorg Bader. came with Christopher Ward’s merger with Synergies HorlogĂšres.
   Chris Ward, the co-founder from whom the brand takes its name, calls the development of the new movement ‘probably the most significant watch industry development by a British brand in the past 50 years.’
   The new movement gives Christopher Ward independence from movements supplied by Swiss companies, with Swatch the largest player.

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Filed under: design, fashion, living, London, Lucire, TV
May 29, 2014

A tribute to Massimo Vignelli, a design legend

Jack Yan/10.14

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RIT

Massimo Vignelli, who passed away on May 27, was a hero of mine. When receiving the news shortly before it hit the media in a big way, from our mutual friend Stanley Moss, this title’s travel editor and CEO of the Medinge Group, I posted immediately on Facebook: ‘It is a sad duty to note the passing of Massimo Vignelli, one of my heroes in graphic design. When I was starting out in the business, Massimo was one of the greats: a proponent of modernism and simple, sharp typography. His influence is apparent in a lot of the work done by our brand consultancy and in our magazines, even in my 2013 mayoral campaign graphics. A lot of his work from half a century ago has stood the test of time. There was only one degree of separation between us, and I regret that we never connected during his lifetime. The passing of a legend.’
   This Facebook status only scratches the surface of my admiration for Vignelli. There have been more comprehensive obits already (Fast Company Design rightly called him ‘one of the greatest 20th century designers’), detailing his work notably for the New York subway map, and—curiously to me—glossing over the effect he had on corporate design, especially in the US.
   Vignelli, and his wife Lella, a designer in her own right and a qualified architect, set up the Vignelli Office of Design and Architecture in Milano in 1960, which had clients including Pirelli and Olivetti. In 1965, they moved to New York and Vignelli co-founded Unimark International (with Ralph Eckerstrom, James Fogelman, Wally Gutches, Larry Klein, and Bob Noorda), where he was design director. It was the world’s largest design and marketing firm till its closure in 1977.
   The 1960s were a great time for Vignelli and his corporate identities. He worked on American Airlines, Ford, Knoll, and J. C. Penney, and the work was strictly modernist, often employing Helvetica as the typeface family. Vignelli was known to have stuck with six families for most his work—Bodoni was another, a type family based around geometry that, on the surface, tied in to his modernist, logical approach. However, there were underlying reasons, including his belief that Helvetica had an ideal ratio between upper- and lowercase letters, with short ascenders and descenders, lending itself to what he considered classic proportions. The 1989 WTC Our Bodoni, created under Vignelli’s direction by Tom Carnase and commissioned by Bert di Pamphilis, adheres to the same proportions.
   Although my own typeface design background means that I could not adhere to six, there is something to be said for employing a logical approach to design. American corporate design went through a “cleaning up” in the 1960s, with a brighter, bolder sensibility. Detractors might accuse it of being stark, the Helveticization of American design making things too standard. Yet through the 1970s the influence remained, and to my young eyes that decade, this was how professional design should look, contrary to the low-budget work plaguing newspapers and books that I saw as I arrived in the occident.
   When the Vignellis left Unimark to set up Vignelli Associates in 1971 (and later Vignelli Designs in 1978), their stamp remained. The MTA launched Vignelli’s subway map the following year, and like the London Underground map by Harry Beck in 1931, it ignored what was above ground in favour of a logical diagram with the stops. Beck was a technical draftsman and the approach must have found favour with Vignelli, just as it did with those creating maps for the Paris MĂ©tropolitain and the Berlin U-bahn.
   New Yorkers didn’t take to the Vignelli map as well as Londoners and Parisians, and it was replaced in 1979 with one that was more geographically accurate to what was above ground.
   In 1973, Vignelli worked on the identity for Bloomingdale’s, and his work endures: the Big Brown Bag is his work, and it continues to be used by the chain today. Cinzano, Lancia and others continue with Vignelli’s designs.
   Ironically, despite a rejection of fashion in favour of timelessness, some of the work is identified with the 1960s and 1970s, notably thanks to the original cut of Helvetica, which has only recently been revived (a more modern cut is commonplace), and which is slightly less popular today. Others, benefiting from more modern layout programs and photography, look current to 2010s eyes, such as Vignelli Associates’ work for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
   The approach taken by Lucire in its print editions has a sense of modernism that has a direct Vignelli influence, including the use of related typeface families since we went to retail print editions in 2004. Our logotype itself, dating from 1997, has the sort of simplicity that I believe Vignelli would have approved of.
   Vignelli was, fortunately, fĂȘted during his lifetime. He received the Compasso d’Oro from ADI twice (1964 and 1998), the AIGA Gold Medal (1983), the Presidential Design Award (1985), the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society of Arts (1996), the National Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper–Hewitt National Museum of Design (2003), among many. He holds honorary doctorates from seven institutions, including the Rochester Institute of Technology (2002). Rochester has a Vignelli Center for Design Studies, whose website adheres to his design principles and where educational programmes espouse his modernist approach. It also houses the Vignellis’ professional archive.
   He is survived by his wife, Lella, who continues to work as CEO of Vignelli Associates and president of Vignelli Designs; their son, Luca, their daughter, Valentina Vignelli Zimmer, and three grandchildren.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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May 2, 2014

Chanel reopens at la Mistralée in Saint-Tropez for the summer

Lucire staff/11.48

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Chanel has opened its ephemeral boutique in Saint-Tropez at la MistralĂ©e (1, avenue du GĂ©nĂ©ral Leclerc, 83990 Saint-Tropez) for the fifth year, with a colourful dĂ©cor inspired by the December 2013 MĂ©tiers d’Art Paris–Dallas collection.
   On entry, Chanel shows off its prĂȘt-Ă -porter, with the ceiling featuring a millefeuille of translucent paper. Reflecting the Paris–Dallas collection, the rooms are in beige, brown, rose, garnet, sunflower, white and black. Each features a different collection: bags, jewellery, small leather goods, and shoes each occupy one; the watch space features the J12, PremiĂšre, Mademoiselle PrivĂ© and high jewellery items.
   In keeping with Saint-Tropez, La MistralĂ©e has a pool, with chairs and parasols, and gardens. Chanel has placed its beachwear, towels and high summer accessories at the pool house. Skin care, make-up and fragrance will join the rest of the collections at the boutique in coming weeks.
   It will remain open till October 2014.


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April 17, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s CoppĂ©lia expertly executed at every level

Jack Yan/13.46

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Royal New Zealand Ballet


Evan Li/Royal New Zealand Ballet

Top A publicity photograph from the Royal New Zealand Ballet for Coppélia, with Swanhilda, Franz and Coppélia. Above Kohei Iwamato as Franz and Lucy Green as Swanhilda from the premiÚre.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s CoppĂ©lia, which opened in Wellington on Thursday, is a lovingly designed and staged production that will suit family audiences.
   Set in a mountain village in Hungary, the RNZB’s production of CoppĂ©lia retains its well known storyline and period setting, with beautiful sets and costumes. The work of the late, award-winning designer Kristian Fredrikson is particularly poignant in the second act, inside Dr Coppelius’s house, where his seven very distinctive automatons, as well as CoppĂ©lia, rest. Two incomplete mannequins hung from the top. The third act, with the wedding scene, is another testament to Fredrikson’s design ability, evident through the villagers’ and Franz and Swanhilda’s wedding costumes. Jason Morphett’s lighting lifted the story, making it easy to follow—and it was the second act, too, with its moody atmosphere, where his work shone.
   Martin Vedel, ballet master on CoppĂ©lia, stayed true to the core of the story, with classical and folkloric dances playing out the plot. The energetic divertissements in the third act were perfectly performed. Vedel was, according to his notes, aware of the pre-modern, romantic period in which CoppĂ©lia was created, and sought to retain its beauty, but tightened up the storyline and more clearly portrayed Dr Coppelius—performed by Sir Jon Trimmer, who first danced it for the RNZB in 1964—as a social outcast.
   The 21st-century touches are, then, in the theatrics of the performance rather than the look and feel, although the limbless, faceless automaton, beautifully performed by Paul Mathews, could feel at home in science fiction to modern audiences.
   One cannot help but smile at the performances—after all, CoppĂ©lia is a happy, comedic ballet, and we noticed that the children on opening night enjoyed it as much as the adults. Lucy Green and Kohei Iwamoto were the well cast leads tonight, as Swanhilda and Franz respectively, dancing their roles expertly—and deservedly receiving standing ovations from some of the audience. Unsurprisingly, Sir Jon received similar acclaim, and Joseph Skelton as Zoltan, both in his emphatic solo and his dance with Katherine Grange as Ima, brought immediate reactions as well as loud applause at the end.
   Orchestra Wellington faithfully performed the LĂ©o Delibes score.
   After Wellington, CoppĂ©lia tours to to Palmerston North, Invercargill, Dunedin, Napier, Rotorua, Takapuna, and Auckland, with the season ending on May 31 inclusive. Further information on dates and venues, as well as booking, can be found at the RNZB website.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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March 11, 2014

Jameson Irish Whiskey shows limited-edition bottle for St Patrick’s Day 2014

Lucire staff/10.22

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In the spirit of St Patrick’s Day 2014, Jameson Irish Whiskey will release its fourth limited-edition design bottle, this time the work of illustrator Dermot Flynn.
   Flynn was inspired by the sights and sounds of Dublin, and his illustration features a pub, statues, monuments, and humorous Irish sayings.
   Jameson says the limited-edition bottle is a must-have for those who love Ireland and the Irish character. Says Kathryn Love, Jameson’s marketing manager in New Zealand, ‘In addition to its smooth, balanced taste, one of the things that whiskey fans around the world tell us they love about Jameson is its intrinsic Irish character. Jameson embodies the down-to-earth character of Dubliners so with this new limited edition, we wanted to bring that to life and celebrate the great city which inspired John Jameson to make his now iconic whiskey for the first time over 230 years ago.’
   The limited-edition bottle retails for NZ$64·99 from March 17, 2014 at selected outlets, while stocks last.

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January 20, 2014

Six young designers selected for Rotterdam museum, to exhibit alongside Viktor & Rolf, Martin Margiela

Lucire staff/9.29

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Iris van Herpen/Jean Baptiste Mondino


Karl Giant

Top Iris van Herpen is among the six winners of the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Awards. Above Olek of Poland, also on the winners’ list.

An exhibition, The Future of Fashion Is Now, will open on October 11, 2014 and run to January 18, 2015 at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, featuring the works of Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Coppens, Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, and others.
   Additionally, six young fashion designers will feature among the 60 who will exhibit, having just won the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Awards.
   To find the emerging designers, 20 international scouts selected two or three designers for the exhibition and the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge Award. A jury of six—made up of Viktor & Rolf, Vogue Nederland editor-in-chief Karin Swerink, Vassilis Zidianakis, Han Nefkens and JosĂ© Teunissen, selected the final six.
   The winners are Iris van Herpen (the Netherlands), Craig Green (Great Britain), Dolci & Kabana (Australia), Olek (Poland), Digest Design (China) and Lucco (Peru).
   The Award, the brainchild of Nefkens and Tenuissen, supports fashion talent, offering designers the opportunity of creating new work, then given on perpetual loan to the museum.
   Swerink notes that the winners ‘had to engage, inspire and surprise me. All six designers met these three criteria.’
   The six will not fly blind: the jury will assist them up to the opening, says the Museum. The public can follow the process online.
   â€˜The exhibition addresses the critical position young fashion designers adopt towards the fashion system and the role of clothing in today’s society. Sustainability, new technologies and the value of clothing for the identity of an individual or a community are themes with which they open the discussion about fashion of the future,’ says the Museum.


Santos RomĂĄn



Above The jury included Han Nefkens, Karin Swerink, and Viktor & Rolf.

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January 18, 2014

Behind the Lucire 2014 redesign, and a features’ round-up

Jack Yan/13.31

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Surface Too Deep

Top A promotional image from Surface Too Deep. The model on the left is reading Lucire. It’s a better photo than we could have come up with to promote ourselves. Above Lucire’s new look for the web edition’s news pages for 2014.

You may have noticed we’ve continued to do some housekeeping around the place. Our web news pages now sport a new look for 2014, following on from the facelifted home page. We’re still finding our feet a little with the image sizes, but we should settle into things by the lunar New Year.
   You’d never guess, but getting the new search button at the top of the page, as well as having DuckDuckGo handle our searches, took around an hour. (This switch means we will have no record of what you searched for. In the last 10 years, we knew which keywords were used, but we never bothered looking beyond that. With people increasingly concerned about online privacy, DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t leak anything to the NSA et al, for the simple reason that it doesn’t keep any search records.) The new footer took an hour and a half. And creating the template for these pages and making sure they worked took around 11 hours. The comment system is now driven by Disqus across the entire Lucire site, not just the features. We also switched from Feedburner for the daily email newsletters to Feedblitz, since there may have been a bug that saw Feedburner deliver the wrong news. We wanted to be safe rather than sorry.
   However, we hope you like it, although if you’re browsing on a cellphone and some mobile devices, you should be seeing a reduced version of these pages as before.
   There have also been new articles on the main part of the website. Elyse Glickman checked out DĂŒsseldorf in her ‘Volante’ feature (the first of three in Germany)—the first article to get the new look. Next up was Stanley Moss, writing as Lovejoy, with our serialization of his novel The Crimson Garter.
   It’s a departure for us to feature fiction, though readers may remember a few road tests by yours truly where I aped the style of another author—my Aston Martin V8 Vantage review was linked and even posted on a forum at the time. However, Stanley’s novel is so compelling it bears the hallmarks of many great Lucire travel stories (many of which were penned by him), and it covers subjects that are familiar to readers. Plus, you can also check out some of the places covered through the related links at the bottom of the page. The icing on the cake is that The Crimson Garter is a really good yarn. The first two chapters are up now, and we’ll add more regularly. Since many of you get into novels over summer, it seems to be an ideal time to serialize his novel. You can also order the whole thing if you want to read ahead—click through and there are links to Kobobooks and Amazon to the right of the title.
   In case you missed the features, Lola Saab has the low-down for spring 2014 from New York; Tamara Madison interviewed Alexandra von Bromssen; and Anna Deans looks at Lindex’s latest campaign with Matthew Williamson and Karlie Kloss. There were also two looks back at 2013: our news-makers, and my personal review of the year.
   Finally, though certainly not least, we have to give props to swimwear label Surface Too Deep for the great photograph above. The model on the left is reading Lucire. The model on the right has put down another title. I think it says it all: the print editions of Lucire, as we regularly hear from readers, truly engage you from cover to cover.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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