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Halle Berry fronts Finishing Touch Flawless campaign

Filed by Lucire staff/January 5, 2021/11.28



Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry leads the campaign for Finishing Touch Flawless, the brand of beauty devices from Church & Dwight, with two commercials, Define and F-Words.
   Both commercials centre around the message of being yourself, embracing who you are, and bringing out the skin’s natural beauty.
   The first commercial promotes Finishing Touch Flawless’s Cleanse facial cleanser and massager; the second its 18 ct gold plated facial hair remover.
   ‘We have always viewed our tribe, the Flawless customer as diverse, savvy, and fearless, as well as independent and adventurous,’ said Hayley Parisi, Finishing Touch Flawless brand manager. ‘We work to bring these women creative solutions to common hair removal, skin, and beauty problems, and have developed high-quality, easy, and painless beauty devices designed to help every girl be her best version of herself. Our new campaign takes this position head-on and Ms Berry personifies the simplicity of real beauty.’
   The campaign will run through 2021. The Flawless line can be found at www.flawlessbeauty.com. US retailers include Ulta Beauty, Bed, Bath and Beyond, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, and Walmart.
   Berry won the Academy Award for best actress for her role in the 2001 film Monster’s Ball. She began her career as a model and was the first runner-up in the Miss USA 1986 pageant.

 


Future imperfect

Filed by Jack Yan/December 15, 2020/10.59




Adi Constantin/Unsplash

Above, from top: The real 2015 and one photo that summarizes the decade: Kendall and Kylie Jenner go shopping for Ugg shoes in New York, and take a selfie. The 2015 of fiction: Michael J. Fox outside a cinema in Back to the Future Part II (1989). Still from Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner, set in a Los Angeles of 2019, in some ways mirrored more by the metropolises of China. Unpredictable to most: few in the 20th century, with perhaps the exception of Norman Macrae, foresaw the rise of China to this extent—Shanghai’s cityscape could have been the stuff of science fiction 30 years ago. Below right: Twins Alan and Alex Stokes with another TikTok video.

Travel editor Stanley Moss sent me a news item on twin brothers who staged a mock bank robbery on public streets for their social media accounts. The brothers, Alan and Alex Stokes, have nearly 28 million followers on TikTok, and over 5½ million on YouTube. One prank saw an Über driver, not involved with them, held at gunpoint by police. Now, Orange County, California district attorney Todd Spitzer says the brothers could face criminal charges for putting the public and the police in danger.
   While social media have done a lot of good, there are those who take things to an unhealthy extreme for the sake of an audience. Once upon a time, there would be a controlled set and paid actors, but the Stokes brothers decided to do their stunts in the real world.
   They’re not alone in doing outrageous things for an audience, and this isn’t a piece about the decline or the dangers of social media influencers, a topic that Lucire has covered for some time. It’s whether this environment—the incident took place in 2019—could have been something that any of us foresaw in earlier times.
   People are notoriously bad at predicting decades into the future. This magazine has attempted to look a few months forward, such as our recent story about what a post-COVID world might look like, with China as an example (Lucire issue 42; Lucire KSA September 2020). However, once we begin looking at years and decades things look fuzzier.
   The twins’ pranks could have been foreseen mid-decade: people have been seeking attention for social media since they became the norm, and those who potentially make a living from it—with 28 million followers it’s likely that they do—might wish to see just how far boundaries could be pushed. In societies which are less outwardly focused, it is possible that they did not consider the consequences or the harm to others.
   But could this world have been foreseen in, say, 2010? Or 2000? A glance back through our culture shows predictions of our time looking very different the further back you go.
   In Blade Runner (1982), Ridley Scott foresaw a crowded technological world where androids (‘replicants’) walk among humans. Set in 2019, Scott’s vision is dystopian, with human colonies on other planets, flying cars, and overcrowding. The last point is probably accurate in terms of our global population; Scott envisaged skyscrapers and street scenes devoid of natural light. Down on the streets of his 2019 Los Angeles is a mixture of cultures, with English used alongside other languages. Blade Runner’s Los Angeles is a dirty place, with lots of old stuff that lacks the sheen of the latest signage and advertisements, just as our urban world is today. Science fiction films often make the mistake of giving everything a modern, new sheen, but "blanket newness" doesn’t ever exist in real life: visual futurist and conceptual artist Syd Mead understood this well.
   The protagonist in the film, Deckard, is disenchanted with the technologist society that places little emphasis on human emotion; in some ways it illustrates how humans have become slaves to technology rather than having technology improve their lives. Memories can be implanted into replicants; today one supposes that editing photos on social media paint an idealistic and not always real story about our humanity. Once upon a time a photo album was private, with stories attached to them; today social media and online photos are often offered without explanation, to show one side of life—no wonder studies reveal that social media can make some people more depressed as they gaze at their friends’ seemingly perfect existences.
   Blade Runner might not look like 2019, nor was it right on androids and planetary colonization, but in many ways Scott identified the themes that make humans lonely because of technology.
   Later in the 1980s, Back to the Future Part II (1989) also had flying cars in its world of 2015. Robert Zemeckis, the director and co-writer of the film, said that the future could not be predicted so he and Bob Gale, who co-wrote, decided to have fun with it. Their 2015 is an intentional parody: an antagonist with microchip implants in his brain, hover boards, which are wheel-less skateboards that defy gravity, and a nostalgic hangout for young people called Café ’80s. In the cinema yet another Jaws sequel played, with a holographic projection coming out into the street as part of its promotion. Light switches at home are voice-activated, while what was once a posh neighbourhood was, in 2015, considered a lower-class area. Faxes hung on walls while videophones and multiple tv screens on a wall were part of the 2015 household.
   There’s less cerebral thinking here as it’s played for laughs, though video calls and voice activation are reasonably on the mark, as is the theme of urban decay. It’s not unusual to see a society nostalgic for the past—in fashion we saw our share of 1980s, even 1990s, revivals during the 2010s. An obsession with screens, as the teenage Marty McFly, Jr has in 2015, is accurate, even if those screens weren’t all on the wall, but hand-held.
   Wim Wenders’ 1991 film Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World) only had to go as far as 1999, and is more accurate what it predicted: a highly digital society, with hand-held assistants, search engines, and consumer GPS. Wenders foresaw a commercialized East Berlin—a reasonable prediction given the Wall had recently come down—and a San Francisco with a massive income disparity. However, the new invention where brainwaves can be read and dreams can be turned into digital images remains the realm of science fiction. Its main character, Claire, lives an empty life of endless parties before she decides to return to Europe to spend time with friends.
   The films are correct in some respects, illustrating that the human condition hasn’t changed much: it’s always possible to feel lonely and outcast from the world, and it is up to the filmmaker to identify causes. A designer must make similar predictions if a collection or a product is to be a hit: what is it about the human condition in the coming year that we expect to be highlighted? As we stand on the verge of 2021, is it a sense of optimism, that things will get better now that two companies have announced COVID-19 vaccines? Or is it a sense of caution? And how are these expressed? Those that somehow address human feelings, no matter how they are expressed, tend to do better than high concepts that are divorced from what people are going through.
   Some of it will come down to instinct—what are termed intuitive predictions. The more experience one has, the better the prediction one might make. Students of history are often well equipped to look into the future based on their knowledge of the past; our older citizens may well have witnessed phenomena similar to what they see today.
   Statistical predictions, meanwhile, rely on data and algorithms, and the more data one has, and the more reliable they are, the better the prediction. Factor in external events and their impact. Meteorologists rely on these for their forecasts, and designers might be in a position to do the same.
   One individual who had a better record than most was the former deputy chief editor of The Economist, Norman Macrae. He foresaw the rise of China, the ubiquity of the internet, and growing income inequality decades before they hit, all through hard, economic analysis.
   Norman Macrae is an anomaly in how accurate he was, as it is rare to allow for those external events accurately. The further out your prediction is going to be, the more external events you face, with increasing potential to render them inaccurate—just as we had with Blade Runner. Its sequel, naturally, had to take place in 2049 for the world it created to remain just out of reach of us.
   And while some events are cyclical, it can be tricky predicting just how long that cycle is. Economics is one field where smarter practitioners could work it out, but lay people might not see the cycles when they are living it.
   The 1980s were regarded by marketers as a "me decade": in the west this was fuelled by consumerism and free-market ideologies, but more than one author then predicted that the 1990s would be more a "we decade", more caring and more collective. It didn’t happen: the cycle was far longer than any of them expected, to the point where we have just been through a selfie decade aided by cellphones whose forward-facing cameras are often better than the backward-facing ones.
   The decade we have left behind was one that might be remembered for the Kardashians, who shot to fame precisely because the sight of self-indulgent celebrities caught the Zeitgeist. Many a successful Instagram account, especially in the modelling and glamour modelling fields, are founded on selfies, as everyone wants to be seen to be living their glamorous best. The Stokes twins took this to the next, dangerous, and selfish level, in a country that seems to encourage it.
   In 2021, it might be fair to ask if “weism” has finally arrived. Countries that have managed to push the COVID-19 curve down—e.g. China, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia—have done so with an eye on the collective good, demonstrating that we are stronger together. Have we tired of selfies? Certainly Facebook and Instagram engagement continues to fall each year. TikTok may be on the rise because of its novelty, but are enough of us now beginning to enjoy what nature has for us that we can put down the phones?
   In earlier issues (see Lucire KSA June 2020) we covered how some of nature has returned because of our lockdowns, and it seems the countries that respect nature more are the ones who have come out the other side more quickly.
   That’s perhaps an easy one to forecast. But it will still depend on how we see the human experience—just what mood will we, as people, possess in the year ahead.
   Additionally, Simon Sinek, in his book The Infinite Game, believes that having a just cause can overcome those unexpected external factors. It isn’t about having a finite position in the future, or some defined endgame; instead, it’s about understanding what you stand for and nurturing that for the long term. Here at Lucire, for instance, we have never stopped looking to the whole world for our stories, in the belief that the world can come together if we are exposed to more of it. We believe our readers are intelligent, hence we run stories like this: we are not in the business of dumbing down, and never have been. The quest for knowledge—the human thirst for it, and to gain an advantage as evolution would have us do—is part of the condition that doesn’t go away. And in the 2020s, we’re hoping people might want to pursue depth again, coming out of the selfie and Kardashian decade.
   Those that remained sure of their purpose through COVID-19 in 2020 have probably endured without facing some crisis over what they stand for. That’s ultimately what we have to create: a sense of purpose within us. We can look to the future as much as we like, and we can make an educated guess about what people will be going through, but the most sure thing is what we can do about ourselves.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


Gemma Chan announced as L’Oréal Paris’s newest international ambassador

Filed by Lucire staff/November 17, 2020/20.35

English actress Gemma Chan (陳靜) has been announced as L’Oréal Paris’s newest spokeswoman. Already a familiar face to many readers, from an extensive résumé dating back to the mid-2000s—Doctor Who, Sherlock, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and Humans among her TV work—Chan was probably noticed more by US audiences when she appeared in Crazy Rich Asians in 2018, followed by Captain Marvel in 2019. Her role in the anthology series I Am, which she co-developed and where she played Hannah in the third entry (‘I Am Hannah’), was highly acclaimed. In December, Chan will star alongside Meryl Streep in Steven Soderbergh’s Let Them All Talk, and next year, in Eternals, another Marvel entry. She also founded her own production company, with the aim of promoting more minority voices.
   An Oxford University and Drama Centre London alumna, Chan has worked as an advocate for or supporter of numerous causes, including UNICEF, the Time’s Up movement, the Justice and Equality Fund, and Cook-19 supporting London health care workers.
   It is her rising international profile that seems to have L’Oréal Paris interested, especially with Chan venturing into blockbuster hits. Says its global brand president, Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, ‘Gemma Chan is proof of the success that happens when you have the confidence to follow your own dreams, and speak up for others to be able to follow theirs. Committed to her causes with innate female strength, she’s a source of inspiration beyond the screen, for young women to be the change. We’re delighted to welcome Gemma to the family.’
   Chan added, ‘I’ve always believed that we should embrace our difference as our strength. So I’m thrilled to join L’Oréal Paris, a family of empowered women of all origins standing together to show the power and beauty of diversity. The L’Oréal Paris message to every woman, “Believe in your self-worth,” is as needed today as ever.’

 


Movado holds Shanghai event with singer Li Ronghao and actor Jerry Chengjie Yuan

Filed by Lucire staff/November 5, 2020/10.25




Movado’s Shanghai event saw actor Jerry Chengjie Yuan, singer Li Ronghao, and Movado China general manager Danni Hammer.

Movado held its Music Time Journey event in Shanghai on October 29, with an interview format featuring its spokesman, singer–songwriter Li Ronghao (李榮浩) and host, actor Jerry Chengjie Yuan (袁成傑).
   Movado China general manager Danni Hammer, discussed the philosophy behind the brand, and how it used simple design to convey the attributes of independence and confidence. He noted that beneath the design, Movado used superior watchmaking technology.
   Movado sees Li as a good match for the brand, as an artist with a unique style, and creativity that follows his heart. The event linked Li’s latest album to Movado’s Museum Dial Modern 47 watch, featuring the company’s iconic design created by Nathan George Horwitt in 1947.
   The watch design is an example of Bauhaus simplicity, with no markers on the dials, and a single circle at the top signifying the sun—a piece of functional art. Movado had been producing the Horwitt design without permission originally, and only settled with him in 1975 for a minor sum.
   The Museum name came from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), to which Horwitt had sold one of three watches he had privately commissioned in the mid-1950s. MoMA produced wall-clock versions of the design, originating the term ‘Museum Dial’.
   Li says this is his favourite design: ‘This dial reminds me that music and time have their own melody and rhythm, so I don’t forget to stick to my original aspirations and find the origin of life.’
   The event also promoted Movado’s 1881 series, targeted at older customers, linking it to Li’s new album Sparrow.

 


Personal thoughts on the passing of Sir Sean Connery, 1930–2020

Filed by Jack Yan/October 31, 2020/20.52


Danjaq SA/United Artists

The iconic image of Sean Connery and the Aston Martin DB5 in a publicity still from Goldfinger.

Many movie fans were greeted with sad news with the passing of Sir Sean Connery at 90 in the Bahamas.
   Sir Sean had been unwell for some time, according to his son Jason, and died in his sleep.
   Most moviegoers will remember him for his role as the first big-screen James Bond, but it was decades later in The Untouchables where he received his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
   Talking to other movie fans today, his work in The Hunt for Red October, Highlander and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was highlighted.
   One fan, in particular, relayed to me that Connery’s work played a part in her growing up, and despite his distasteful public comments about spousal abuse and violence toward women—both in the 1960s and 1980s—it was still with a tinge of sadness to note his passing.
   His first wife, Diane Cilento, confirmed Connery’s behaviour.
   It is perhaps only fair to mention it; some find it unforgiveable to do so in the wake of a person’s passing, while others who feel that violence needs to be called out ask: if not now, then when?
   His professional life was less open to criticism, an actor who became a superstar while still able to do solid character work.
   I often joked that Connery’s career could be summed up in four lines: ‘My name is Bond, James Bond’; ‘There can be only one’; ‘We sail into history’; and ‘You’re the man now, dog!’, the last from Finding Forrester.
   As someone who missed out on the 1960s, my introduction to Connery was still through Bond—in 1983 he returned to star in a remake of Thunderball, the unofficial Never Say Never Again. I opted to pay to see Octopussy though during the “battle of the Bonds” that year, and it would be a few years later, on a rented video cassette, that I caught up. The rest I caught out of order, also on cassette: Diamonds Are Forever was next, followed by Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.
   It was my parents’ insistence initially that Connery was the best actor to play the role of James Bond that made me want to see the rest of them. They courted by going to the Bonds, including double-bills that combined two earlier films.
   Eventually, I saw the rest of the Bonds starring Connery, then saw them again in order to observe his career progress.
   It was natural for James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to release a statement today—after all, they might not be in the Bond movie business if this rough diamond of an actor hadn’t originated the role as Ian Fleming’s super-spy, and paved the way for all the actors who followed.
   ‘We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words—“The name’s Bond … James Bond”—he revolutionized the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent. He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him,’ they said.
   Never mind Connery never actually said, ‘The name’s Bond, James Bond’ (look back—Roger Moore was the first to say these exact words in A View to a Kill; Connery said the simpler ‘Bond, James Bond’ in Dr No, and ‘My name is Bond, James Bond’ in Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever), their quote is otherwise on the money. It would be hard to imagine Cary Grant, James Mason or Richard Burton in the role.
   And it was because of this role that I wanted to see Connery in others, from pre-Bond outings in The Longest Day and Darby O’Gill and the Little People, to post-Bond work in Meteor, Outland, Highlander and The Presidio.
   What I saw was an actor who matured in his confidence and capability, and I don’t think at any time he “phoned in” a performance.
   It didn’t matter that the Spaniard in Highlander or the Irishman in The Untouchables had a Scots accent: Connery’s presence made you forget such details.
   He was a delight in the big-screen adaptation of The Avengers, as Sir August de Wynter, and I would say that his presence made the film. (I’m also in the minority when I say I rather enjoyed it, with Connery being a big reason.)
   In Jon Amiel’s Entrapment, made just before the millennium—and using Y2K as a plot device—Connery showed that he could still lead an actioner.
   It was a shame that his last big on-screen role was in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a filming experience he was not thrilled about. His last role that I caught was another disappointment for me: a voice role in the animated Sir Billi.
   But that is the life of an actor: you can’t choose great films all the time. And when someone is part of your cinemagoing for three decades, you think of the joy he brought.
   He was a proud Scot, and donated his entire US$1·2 million fee (a record in the early 1970s) from Diamonds Are Forever to kick off the Scottish International Educational Trust, which he founded, to help young Scots of exceptional ability.
   He knew what it was like to come from humble beginnings and saw the value of education, hence his interest in the Trust. He also believed in a Scottish parliament, and pushed for it, addressing the first session after its reconvening in 1999. He was knighted in 2000.
   It was a few years after that, at a conference where he was used as an example, that a colleague brought up his record about his private life, something that was disappointing.
   We did find ourselves in the same city once—Sir Sean had holdings in radio in New Zealand—and I learned I visited one station hours after he did. My mischievous side was tempted to make a crank call in his voice—I was asked to do an impersonation for the local Scottish Association, for their automated phone service, so I imagine it wasn’t too awful—but thought better of it. Despite all the celebrity interviews over the years, Sir Sean was retired by the time I could have interviewed him, and we never crossed paths. Like most of you, I was an admirer who saw the man on the silver screen, and what a career he had there.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


Marion Cotillard stars in Chanel’s No. 5 campaign for 2020, to the tune of Lorde’s ‘Team’

Filed by Lucire staff/October 29, 2020/22.59



Chanel has launched a new communications’ campaign for its iconic No. 5 fragrance, with actress Marion Cotillard as its new face.
   ‘Marion was the obvious choice. Returning to a French actress meant returning to a subconscious image of French femininity dear to the spirit of the House,’ said Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur, Chanel’s head of global creative resources for fragrance and beauty.
   ‘What I like about Marion Cotillard is that when she acts, she has this sort of reserve that is simultaneously ultra-powerful. She seems to know what is right and lively, she is fully committed. Like the Chanel woman, who doesn’t escape herself, but faces herself.’
   Said Cotillard, ‘I felt an instant connection with No. 5 which, more than a fragrance, is a work of art. Something I always dreamed of.’
   Cotillard follows in the footsteps of numerous women who have promoted No. 5, from Marilyn Monroe, albeit in an unofficial capacity, to Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tautou, even Brad Pitt as an unlikely male choice in 2012.
   Swedish director Johan Renck (Chernobyl, as well as recent campaigns for Coco Mademoiselle and No. 5 l’Eau) helms the new film promoting No. 5.
   The moon plays heavily in the promotion as a romantic symbol and one that represents renewal. The romantic dance between Cotillard and Étoile dancer Jérémie Bélingard was conceived and choreographed by Ryan Heffington. Cotillard spent five days training for the dance.
   For the wardrobe choice, Virginie Viard, Chanel’s artistic director, said she began with a dress worn by Gabrielle Chanel, photographed by Cecil Beaton in 1937. Cotillard’s embroidered lace dress was based on this, but adjusted to fit the actress. Sixteen Lesage embroiders worked on the dress, with 900 hours spent between Chanel and Lesage workshops.
   The soundtrack is the song ‘Team’ by Lorde, covered by Cotillard and recorded by Flavien Berger.


 


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