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June 5, 2015

Aston Martin Works’ customer track day sees One-77, V12 Zagato, DBRS9 at Silverstone

Lucire staff/23.26

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On June 3, Aston Martin Works hosted a customer track day at the Silverstone race track, featuring rare, exotic models (even by Aston Martin standards) such as the One-77, V12 Zagato and DBRS9.
   Aston Martin Works is celebrating its 60th year in 2015, and this anniversary event, where some customers brought their own cars, allowed fans to unleash their cars.
   Other models at the event included V8 and V12 Vantages, DB9s, one Virage, and a V12 Vanquish. More than 20 cars were present, with drivers coached by Aston Martin Performance driving instructors.
   Aston Martin Works’ commercial director Paul Spires said, ‘It’s great to see so many of our sports cars being driven so skilfully by such an enthusiastic group of owners.
   ‘When we proposed this idea at the beginning of the year we weren’t sure how many people would want to bring along their cars, but the response today has been superb.’



Filed under: history, living, Lucire
May 24, 2015

Cara Delevingne, Fernando Alonso, Poppy Delevingne, Mark Ronson on board TAG Heuer’s Monaco Grand Prix party

Lucire staff/10.38

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David M. Benett

It’s all on over in Monaco, as the Monaco Grand Prix gears up. TAG Heuer, a major sponsor whose logo has been seen for decades at the event, hosted an on-board party on Saturday, with brand ambassadors Cara Delevingne and Fernando Alonso.
   TAG Heuer, an official partner of the Automobile Club of Monaco, which originated the Grand Prix in the principality, hosted its party on board the SeaDream, moored in the harbour. Jean-Claude Biver, LVMH’s watch division boss and TAG Heuer’s CEO, held court, with Delevingne, Alonso, and the McLaren–Honda team, with which the watch brand has partnered for 30 years.
   Other guests at the event were Poppy Delevingne, James Cook, Ron Dennis, and Natalie Pinkham.
   TAG Heuer is promoting its McLaren Formula 1 watch to commemorate its three-decade-long partnership with the racing team; the Ayrton Senna Chrono special edition with the Legend steel bracelet, named for the late racing driver; the Cara Delevingne special edition; the Carrera Heuer-01 manufacture chronograph; and the Aquaracer 300M.
   TAG Heuer was the first watch-making brand to sponsor a professional driver, Jo Siffert, and it was worn by Steve McQueen on the poster of his film, Le Mans. Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Häkkinen, David Coulthard, Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have all worn TAG Heuer over the years and have taken the chequered flag at the Monaco Grand Prix. Its current campaign sees the hashtag #Dontcrackunderpressure, as part of its internal and external branding efforts.




















David M. Benett

May 22, 2015

Superb and deeply meaningful: the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute: Remembering WW1 impresses

Jack Yan/12.27

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Ross Brown

Above Dancer Joseph Skelton in the core image used for Salute: Remembering WW1.

Three years in the planning, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute: Remembering WW1 commemorated the Great War in a memorable, respectful, and meaningful way, with a mixed programme that saw two world premières tonight.
   Gareth Farr’s specially commissioned score for Andrew Simmons’ Dear Horizon opened proceedings, with what could be described as a cinematic theme with a strong melodic base as the action unfolded on stage. Tracy Grant Lord’s backdrop, of barbed wire barriers used in World War I, loomed over dancers lying on the stage, as a lone ballerino walked among them. Lighting came on gradually, Jason Morphett’s design using shadows and darkness to build tension. This sombre start gave way to a beautiful, haunting and contemporary choreography, with an underlying bleakness, as Simmons highlighted the loss suffered in war. Costumes were grey, further emphasizing the sense of despair and focusing us on the dancers’ movements. The solo cello by Rolf Gjelsten gave a sense of minimalism that contrasted other elements of the brassy, powerful Farr score. While composed for the ballet, and only complete with the action, it’s not hard to imagine the work released on its own for lovers of ballet and cinematic scores.
   An all-male cast of twelve followed in Soldiers’ Mass. The genius behind Jiří Kylián’s choreography was how it conveyed emotion: a highly energetic and graceful ballet where the dancers move in a unified way, into battle constantly, pulling each other from the front and yet, still confronting, then falling to, the enemy. The score, by Bohuslav Martinů, set to the text by Jiří Mucha, was played back, and one scene sees the men lip-synching proudly to the Czech lyrics, yet with a sense of what they knew would follow. The ballet finishes as it started, with 12 backs to us, each dancer dropping his shirt in another representation of death as well as the annexation of the Sudentenland by Hitler in World War II. Shirtless ballerinos, incidentally, seemed to elicit greater applause from the audience as they took their bows. This restaging was by Roslyn Anderson, who had helmed the 1998 RNZB production of Soldiers’ Mass, with lighting design by Kees Tjebbes.
   After the interval, Johan Kobborg’s Salute injected comedic moments into a classical ballet, set to the score by nineteenth-century composer Hans Christian Lumbye. It saw the return of live music after the recording in Soldiers’ Mass, performed by the New Zealand Army Band. These skilful musicians adapted themselves easily to the lighter atmosphere, with Sgts Riwai Hina and David Fiu, and Pvts Joseph Thomas and Tom Baker rearranging Lumbye’s music to the Band. Natalia Stewart’s costumes (jackets with epaulettes for the men, red peplums and plenty of tulle for the women) shone on stage in a very cheerful ballet involving different sets of dancers, highlighting different aspects of love, from shyness and confusion to overconfidence and partnership; as well as the inevitable farewells as men went off to war.
   The battle vignette, with the General leading the charge, was equally enjoyable, interspersed with the long waits the women endured back home, before the conclusion as the soldiers returned home. Created for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2010, Kobborg intended it to be a reflection of what happens when young people come together; the RNZB dancers showed their expressiveness in a ballet that injected a light-heartedness to the evening. Salute was staged by Florica Stanescu, with Morphett again behind the lighting design, with a brightness and cheer in contrast to his earlier work.
   While the RNZB often picks the cheery production number to end on, it chose Neil Ieremia’s Passchendaele, a world première, which gave this reviewer initial fears that the infamous battle would leave audiences on a down note. The fear was unfounded, because of the scale of Ieremia’s ballet, involving 19 dancers, and the superb execution in dance of this tragic battle, notable for being the day on which more New Zealanders had died or had been wounded than on any other day. Dwayne Bloomfield, formerly of the New Zealand Army Band, composed the score, which the band performed: the moments of martial music signalled the flawed advance by the New Zealand Division under Gen Haig. The dancers moved with great pace at times, in groups, on- and off-stage, representing the power of the soldiers and artillery, through impossible conditions. At other moments they recalled memories of home, contrasting with the loss that families suffered. Geoff Tune’s backdrops, in red and black, signified the blood on the battlefields, and his first one hinted at skulls, shifting gradually to other scenes of burned trees and desolation. The end of Passchendaele was chilling, after the soldiers each fell, their loved ones releasing them, as knocks were heard around the St James, representing the messenger bringing home to 845 New Zealand families the worst news they could receive.
   Ieremia was ingenious in how his choreography brought so much emotion and energy to the performance that the house was left in admiration. The message was indeed cautionary, telling us about the human tragedies of war, but the RNZB and the NZAB brought it to life with such conviction that Passchendaele received the greatest applause of the evening. It was a high note after all, but one that was more absorbing. Salute: Remembering WW1 is a superb programme, and a fresh way of appreciating the messages in the ongoing centenary commemorations of New Zealanders fighting ‘the war to end all wars.’—Jack Yan, Publisher

Salute has been supported by the Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Defence Force, Qantas, the Göthe-Institut, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, national sponsor Vodafone, and Pub Charity. Dates are May 22–4 in Wellington; May 28–30 in Christchurch; June 3 in Dunedin; June 10 in Hamilton; June 13 in Takapuna; June 17–20 in Auckland; and June 24–5 in Napier. The Royal Ballet will feature the UK première of Passchendaele in November. Further information can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website at rnzb.org.nz.

May 12, 2015

Full Harper’s Bazaar archive joins those of Vogue and WWD, digitalized by ProQuest

Lucire staff/15.10

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With the entire Vogue US archive already available to researchers, it was a matter of time before its rival, Harper’s Bazaar, followed.
   ProQuest has announced that it is creating the first digital archive of the magazine, from 1867 to the latest issue. It joins ProQuest’s earlier digitalizations of Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily. The archives are known for their ease of search as well as their high-resolution imagery.
   ‘We know scholars and students are using more than journals and books to conduct their research,’ said ProQuest’s senior director of product management for humanities, Stephen Brooks. ‘Digitization programmes such as this one with Harper’s Bazaar unlock valuable, historical primary sources from the confines of print, making them easy to access, text mine and use within researchers’ workflows.’
   Harper’s Bazaar, originally Harper’s Bazar, was the US’s first fashion magazine. Carmel Snow, Diana Vreeland, Elizabeth Tilberis, Alexey Brodovitch, Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Andy Warhol, Daisy Fellowes, Gloria Guinness, and Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd have all featured prominently in the magazine since its inception.

May 1, 2015

It’s full circle for style.com: back to its origins in fashion retail

Jack Yan/14.17

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Top Earlier today, attempting to get into Style.com meant a virus warning—the only trace of this curiosity is in the web history. Above Style.com is back, with a note that it will be transforming into an e-tail site.

If there’s one constant in fashion, it’s change. The other one, which we notice thanks to a number of our team being well schooled on fashion history, is that trends always return, albeit in modified form. Both have come into play with Style.com, which announced earlier this week that it would become an ecommerce site.
   When Lucire started, we linked to style.com, but it wasn’t in our fashion magazines’ directory. It was, instead, in our shopping guide.
   In 2000, that all changed, and it began appearing under our fashion magazine links, where it was until today. An attempt to log in to the home page was met by a virus warning, preventing us from going further. We figured that this was part of the transformation of the website as it readied itself for the next era, discouraging people from peering. However, having had these warnings splashed across our own pages two years ago courtesy of Google’s faulty bot, when our site was in fact clean, there was a part of us taking it with a grain of salt. In either case, given the impending change, it was probably the right time to remove the link.
   This evening, Style.com is back and virus-free, with an overlay graphic announcing that the website will be changing. Plenty of our media colleagues have analysed the closure over the past week: the Murdoch Press has gossiped about how the layoffs were announced, WWD suggests editor-in-chief Dirk Standen didn’t know it was coming, based on rumours, while Fashionista puts it all into context by analysing just where ecommerce is within the fashion sector, and that content should be the answer over clothing sales.
   What is interesting is no one that we’ve spotted has mentioned how the style.com domain name (we’ve carefully noted it in lowercase there) has effectively come full circle. Perhaps we really are in the age of Wikipedia-based research, as this fact is not mentioned there at all.
   When Lucire launched in 1997, style.com was the website for Express Style, later more prominently, and simply, branded Express, a US fashion retailer. It’s not hard to imagine that had Express remained at the URL, it would have become an e-tailer; it has, after all, made the move into ecommerce at its present home, express.com. Like a fashion trend that comes back two decades later, style.com has gone back to its roots: by the autumn it’ll be e-tailing.
   The omission from the above paragraph is the sale of the style.com domain name by Express to Condé Nast in the late 1990s. We never completely understood the need to start a new brand to be the US home of Vogue and W; for many  years, typing vogue.com into the browser in the US would take one automatically to Style.com. Then, somewhere along the line, Condé Nast decided that vogue.com should be the online home of Vogue after all.
   But having made the decision to forge ahead with Style.com, Condé Nast did it with a lot of resources, and took its site to number one among print fashion magazine web presences in a remarkably short space of time. It devoted plenty of resources to it, and it’s thanks to Style.com that certain things that were once frowned upon—e.g. showing off catwalk collections after the show—became acceptable. Designers used to enjoy the fact that we and Elle US delayed online coverage, the belief being that the delay ensured that pirates could not copy their designs and beat them to the high street.
   To get itself known, Condé Nast bought advertising at fashion websites that were better known, including this one (yes, in 2000 that really was the case), at a time when online advertising cost considerably more than it does today.
   The muscle from the best known name in fashion publishing changed the way the media interacted with readers. Designers figured that if they wanted coverage, they would have to accept that their work would be shown nearly instantly. We became used to that idea, so much so that we now have to show the catwalk videos live in the 2010s.
   In some ways, the change makes sense: we’re talking about an Alexa rank in the 4,000s, which translates to plenty of traffic. The name is known, and most shoppers will make some association with Vogue. The official word is that Franck Zayan, formerly head of ecommerce for Galeries Lafayette, will helm the revised website, and he’s reporting that brands are coming on board rapidly.
   One shouldn’t mourn the loss of Style.com as a fashion news portal, since the content we’re all used to is bound to appear at Vogue. And in all the years we had it in our magazines’ directory, it was listed under our Vogue entry anyway. We await the new site to see what Condé Nast will do with it, and it may yet return to the spot where it once was in the 20th century, in the shopping guide.—Jack Yan, Publisher

March 31, 2015

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition opens at Grand Palais in Paris

Lucire staff/10.44

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Top Andreja Pejić in a design from the Confession of a Child of the Century haute couture collection, autumn–winter 2012–13. Photograph copyright Alix Malka. Centre Barbarella body-corset from the Les actrices haute couture collection, autumn–winter 2009–10. Photograph copyright Patrice Stable for Jean Paul Gaultier. Above Kylie Minogue in the Immaculata gown, a net lace dress with large patterned embroidery and white linen cut-outs from the spring–summer 2007 Virgins (or Madonnas) collection. Photograph copyright William Baker.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk opens tomorrow in Paris at the Grand Palais, running till August 3.
   It features 300 pieces from both his couture and prêt-à-porter collections between 1976 and 2013, as well as designs, sketches, film clips, music videos, television broadcasts, audiovisual installations, animated mannequins and wigs. Even his old teddy bear is on display.
   Earlier work, from the time when Gaultier was hired by Pierre Cardin in 1970, is also included.
   Gaultier’s best known design was his cone bra for Madonna for her 1990 Blonde Ambition tour.
   At a press conference yesterday, Gaultier insisted that the exhibition is not a retrospective, but a new work.
   The exhibition is an initiative of the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (Montréal Museum of Fine Arts), under the direction of its curator Nathalie Bondil and exhibition curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot, in collaboration with the Grand Palais and the Jean Paul Gaultier house. It had previously been displayed in Montréal, New York, London, San Francisco, and Melbourne.
   Air Canada serves as the exhibition’s official carrier, and Kusmi Tea, Roche Bobois and Swarovski sponsor.

March 25, 2015

Marilyn Monroe exhibition opens at Liechtenstein’s National Museum

Lucire staff/22.18

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Sven Beham

An exhibition, Marilyn: the Strength behind the Legendary Monroe, or Marilyn: die starke Monroe, opens at the National Museum in Vaduz, Liechtenstein tomorrow and runs till November 1, 2015.
   The exhibition features 400 pieces from the private collection of Ted Stampfer, known as the largest collection of Marilyn Monroe items in the world, supplemented by those from other private collectors. Stampfer has been remembering the actress, whom he believes was underestimated during her lifetime, and the exhibition shows the private, ambitious and emancipated side of Marilyn.
   Monroe fought against the male domination of the film industry in the 1950s and negotiated better contract terms over her career, including establishing her own film production company. She also fought on behalf of minorities, battling to secure engagements for Ella Fitzgerald in a whites-only nightclub.
   The Museum says the exhibition is unique, and includes her clothing, accessories, beauty and styling products, personal documents, and photos and film footage. Most items originate from her estate.


Ben Ross



Sven Beham

March 8, 2015

A traditional tale told well

Lola Cristall/23.45

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The tale of The Legend of Mulan made its way in revitalized form to the David H. Koch Theater in March for a limited time at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York. The Hong Kong Dance Company (HKDC) brings its expertise to the stage for the first time outside Asia. The China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG) presents the flawless production, an adventurous tale of audacity and stimulating depth. The intricately detailed, traditional costumes are designed by Hong Kong-based designers, with eye-catching workmanship.
   The enticing story, derived from ancient China, was originally in the form of a poem, entitled The Ballad of Mulan, in the fifth century. Many years later, the story, about a youthful peasant girl, Fa Mulan (花木蘭), who disguises herself as a man in order to take her father’s place as a combatant in the army, lives on. There is a yin-yang effect: Mulan’s beauty and refinement unites with her inner strength and vigour. As both warrior and maiden, Mulan symbolizes a true heroine, underlining her courage and aptitude. In many ways, the protagonist’s gender is simply an unimportant factor as she proves her strength and will to fight.
   The overall performance is a beautiful creation, combining theatre and culture on an international stage.—Lola Cristall, Paris Editor





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