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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

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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.

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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

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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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February 23, 2015

Sponsored video: Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Dan Single help reinvent Impulse for the mid-2010s

Lucire staff/23.53

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A Lucire special promotion


‘If a man suddenly gives you flowers, that’s Impulse,’ has been one of the most famous catch-phrases of the last generation, since Fabergé introduced it in South Africa in the 1970s. Variations on the theme have come and gone, and in 2015, Impulse moves to a new generation with Bambi Northwood-Blyth—one of Lucire’s newsmakers of 2013—and her husband Dan Single, formerly of Ksubi, fronting its latest campaign.
   Northwood-Blyth has been securing campaigns, including fashion label Ba&Sh, because she somehow taps into the Zeitgeist. She also has her own fashion line, B.BAM, and her sense of style and levity have made her more real and endearing to her fans. At Impulse, she joins former Lucire cover girl Zippora Seven and Erin Heatherton and was even placed in charge of the brand’s Instagram for one week.
   The new video, which broke for Valentine’s Day, is not just about the day itself, but embracing love, life and friendship every day. It’s unusual in featuring a real-life married couple who are very much in love, and Northwood-Blyth’s popularity among fashion cognoscenti, plus her social media following, bring it right into the mid-2010s. Gone is the “flowers” theme in favour of the couple on a getaway, and emphasizing that true love isn’t just about that initial “impulse” that drove the original, and perhaps dated advertising. It’s about a real partnership between a couple, in everything they do.
   Like Northwood-Blyth’s other appearances, there is a genuine feel to it, even though the Impulse campaign is more stylized than her own social media, which have shown more behind-the-scenes material. It’s bound to earn her even more fans, while helping to reinvent Impulse as less fanciful, and more part of a real, lasting, romance.


Post sponsored by Unilever

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February 11, 2015

Olga Kurylenko, Nastassja Kinski, Emma Heming-Willis, Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg celebrate divas at Berlinale

Lucire staff/12.45

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Franziska Krug/Getty Images

Bulgari’s Diva Cinema Night at the Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival, on Tuesday celebrated divas past and present with an exclusive party at the Metropolpark in the German capital.
   The event celebrated divas including Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Anita Ekberg and Grace Kelly, and their connection to the world of film. Modern actresses were also celebrated by co-sponsor Bulgari, including Carla Bruni, Jennifer Garner, Sharon Stone, Keira Knightley and Naomi Watts.
   Notable VIPs included Olga Kurylenko, Nastassja Kinski and Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, as well as Anna Maria Muehe, Julia Dietze, Emma Heming-Willis, Sonja Kerskes, Paz de la Huerta, Sanny van Heteren, Tanja Bülter, Natascha Ochsenknecht, Chiara Schoras, Nicolai Kinski, Ina Paule Klink, Kweku Mandela, Lelio Gavazza, Sandra Mohsni, Natalia Avelon, Shermine Sharivar, and Alessandra Mastronardi.
   With Bulgari, unsirprisingly Elizabeth Taylor’s starring role in Cleopatra, resplendent with jewellery, were among the memories shared during the evening. BMW was the event’s second sponsor, countering the festival’s partnership with rival Audi. DJ Nick Cohen performed at the do, while Moët & Chandon served champagne.











Franziska Krug/Getty Images

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January 12, 2015

Brian Clemens, British TV screenwriting legend, passes away at 83

Lucire staff/2.47

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Above Two series indelibly tied to Brian Clemens: The Avengers, for which he wrote and produced, and The Professionals, which he created, regularly wrote and executive produced.

British screenwriter Brian Clemens, OBE, passed away on Saturday, sources say.
   Clemens was the creator of the cult 1970s LWT show The Professionals, with a string of credits to his writing career including The Avengers, The Persuaders, The Protectors, Bergerac, Diagnosis: Murder and Bugs. He also created the German show Blaues Blut (Blue Blood) in the 1980s.
   Brian Horace Clemens was born in Croydon in 1931, and was a weapons’ training instructor during his National Service. He wanted to be a journalist but began his career at J. Walter Thompson as a messenger, before becoming a copywriter. During this time a screenplay of his that he had sent to the BBC, Valid for Single Journey Only, had been accepted and produced in 1955 and starred Ernest Clark and George Colouris.
   Clemens wrote for B-movies and half-hour serials made by the Danziger brothers in the mid- to late 1950s, including Mark Saber, White Hunter, The Man from Interpol and Richard the Lionheart. The Vise and Dial 999 were also from this period, with Clemens using the pseudonym Tony O’Grady around this time.
   In the 1960s, Clemens’ scripts were made by various ITC shows, including The Invisible Man, Man of the World, The Sentimental Agent and The Champions, and he wrote the pilot for Danger Man. He also wrote the pilot for The Avengers, where he was script editor and associate producer, and he was responsible for casting Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. He wrote for The Baron, and he penned the pilot for The Persuaders. Some of the last ITC action series such as The Protectors and The Adventurer also saw Clemens scripts.
   In the 1970s, Clemens created a sitcom, My Wife Next Door, and wrote a US TV movie, The Woman Hunter. He also wrote the anthology series Thriller for ITV, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, a 1971 Hammer horror, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad in 1973, and wrote and directed Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter in 1974.
   The Avengers was revived in 1976 was The New Avengers, earning Clemens a new generation of fans. As executive producer, he had cast Joanna Lumley as Purdey. In response to Thames’s The Sweeney, Clemens created and produced The Professionals for LWT, which proved to be the series he is most associated with. A TV movie, Escapade, was made in 1978, and meant to have been a pilot for a US version of The Avengers.
   In the 1980s, Clemens wrote for Remington Steele, Bergerac, Worlds Beyond, The Father Dowling Mysteries (where he served as executive story editor), and Perry Mason. In the 1990s, Clemens wrote for Diagnosis: Murder, Bugs, The Highlander TV series (he had also co-written Highlander II: the Quickening), and a revival of The Professionals, entitled CI5: the New Professionals. Attempts to revive The Professionals as a feature film were not realized, although The Avengers was shot as a Hollywood movie in 1996, starring Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery.
   Clemens also wrote numerous plays, beginning with a stage adaptation of The Avengers in 1971, and continued until 2012 with Murder Weapon.
   Clemens and his wife, Brenda, divorced in 1966. He was with the actress Diane Enright till she committed suicide in 1976. He married his second wife Janet in 1979, and they had two children. He was awarded the OBE in 2010.
   Brian Clemens was related to Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain.

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December 23, 2014

Auckland University Press explores New Zealand cultural identity through poetry

Eleanor Wright/13.13

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Two fantastic works exploring very different aspects of New Zealand culture and identity have come across our desks here at Lucire, from the Auckland University Press.

Puna Wai Kōrero: an Anthology of Māori Poetry in English
Earlier this year, the first anthology of Maori poetry in English was published featuring a wide collection of prominent Maori poets. Edited by two leading Māori writers and scholars, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan, who previously edited the award-winning Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English (winner of a Montana New Zealand Book Award) and Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English II (finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards), Puna Wai Kōrero offers the most diverse range of Māori voices ever published.
   The poems themselves are organized into chapters featuring short biographies about each writer, providing a richer background to the history of Māori poetry. They combine the traditional forms of oral poetry—including waiata ringaringa, waiata tangi and waiata aroha—with the influence of western poetry and the English written language to create new poetic genres, developing alongside modernist and postmodernist movements. Their assemblage of styles provides a unique perspective on numerous outlooks on life and modes of writing, laments for koro and hopes for mokopuna, celebrations of the land and anger at its abuse, retellings of myth and reclamations of history. The rich ensemble of established writers and exciting newer poets, examines political and social commentaries from early days of contact to the present, from Aotearoa and the wider world.
   This comprehensive anthology presents one hundred and twenty years of poetry written in English by Māori poets. The authentic lineage of each poet enriches the engagement with these poetic forms, Puna Wai Kōrero traces this past whakapapa and celebrates its present–day strength. This anthology strives to bring together Māori writers and editors and through language and ideas, through stories and shared experiences, this books offers an opportunity for the readers to discover or rediscover what it is to be Māori.

How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes, by Chris Tse
A début collection for New Zealand-born Chris Tse delivers a lyrical narrative, focused around the 1905 Wellington murder of Cantonese gold miner Joe Kum Yung by white supremacist Lionel Terry. Tse’s poetry has previously been featured in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies. This collection demonstrates his emotive power of language and creatively striking narrative coherence. This new addition to New Zealand literature offers an expansive collection from a unique cultural and historical perspective.
   Tse’s poetry serves as a vehicle to give a voice to the dead man, by paying respect to the many lives consumed by the crime. Tse uses ‘the year of the snake’—1905—as a symbol to focus the narrative through a moment of culture contact and to consider the time gap between then and now. Tse’s collection provides an emotionally driven occurrence of a cultural and historical event by summoning the ghost of Joe Kum Yung to question justice, empathy and tolerance and how they remain today. The poetic memorial effectively challenges the reader to ponder over who owns the stories, what can we learn from the past and what should we take forward to the future.
   The works are organized around the central narrative of the murder, intertwined with poems focused on contemplating and provoking ideas from the author’s perspective, the perspective of the characters, and the nation as a whole. Tse’s language invites the reader to explore and discover truth and meaning behind this episode and to bring focus to the significance of this tragic event within New Zealand history.—Eleanor Wright

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