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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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December 10, 2014

News in brief: Chanel’s Paris–Salzburg collection; Lady Gaga, Eva Longoria in NYC; Anja Rubik launches perfume

Lucire staff/10.59

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Karl Lagerfeld has unveiled the 13th Chanel Métiers d’Art collection in Salzburg, Austria, recognizing its historical connection with Gabrielle Chanel (she got the inspiration for the Chanel jacket there, at the Hotel Schloss Mittersill, then owned by Baron Hubert von Pantz, with whom she had a fling). Lagerfeld discusses his collection in the video clip below, which showcases the Paris–Salzburg collection, featuring Cara Delevingne, who not only closed the show, but is the face of the collection itself.
   The presentation, at the Leopoldskron château, showcased the fine work of the feather-workers, milliners, tuckers and bootmakers. Lagerfeld took inspiration from traditional Austrian clothing, revisiting the dirndls and lederhosen, using loden, tweed, felt, leather and satin cashmere mix, taffeta and lace. Evening dresses featured pin-tucked fronts, frills, pleats and voluminous sleeves.
   ‘You can take inspiration from the apron, from the sleeves, from all the little details, but you have to forget it all and we do it in a new way,’ said Lagerfeld. ‘The star of Salzburg is about the jacket, but what I like is the craftsmanship, the embroidery with all the feathers. There is an unbelievable craftsmanship in all those clothes: most of the embroidery includes stones and many feathers, it’s like fur, it’s like flying fur. If you look at them closely, it’s quite unbelievable; when you see them or you touch them. So I tried, with beautiful fake pearls, to make interesting pearl jewellery that looks like embroidery. It’s the updated version of what I think it should be, could be, and had to be today.’
   In New York celebrity sightings, Lady Gaga has been spotted wearing the Blake wide-brim hat in oyster felt with pearl trim from Eugenia Kim’s fall 2014 collection last week, while Eva Longoria wore a Ralph & Russo spring–summer 2014 white silk crêpe cap sleeve embellished jacket with structured peplum, pencil skirt and black alligator belt to the ninth annual L’Oréal Women of Worth event.
   L’Oréal Paris notes that Longoria’s look uses True Match liquid foundation in C2 Rose Vanilla, the Volume Million Lashes Excess in Extra Black, Color Riche Le Kajal in 501 Oriental Black, the Super Liner Brow Artist Plumper in medium to dark, and the Elnett Volume Excess hairspray. Blake Lively, very much this year’s L’Oréal Paris celebrity with all the attention she garnered at Cannes, was also at Women of Worth, her look accomplished with True Match in N3 Creamy Beige, the Glam Bronze Powder Duo in 101 Blonde, the Flash Lash Butterfly in Intenza, Txt Wave Creating Spray, and the Nude Rose Color Riche La Palette.

   Polish model Anja Rubik, 31, meanwhile, has released her new perfume, Original. At Colette in Paris, she discusses some of her beauty tips from her career, including using eyelash curlers and moisturizing your skin. Rubik also reveals that Brigitte Bardot is her ‘ultimate beauty’, and rates Charlotte Gainsbourg and Patty Smyth highly.
   The perfume scents are those that have followed her over the years, namely white lilies and green tea, while the black-and-white imagery was inspired by her love of black-and-white photography and the work of Robert Mapplethorpe.
   Carrera y Carrera is going from strength to strength: the Madrid-based luxury jewellery brand has opened a boutique in Macau, as a first beach-head into China. Manuel Carrera, a fourth-generation descendant of the Carrera family who founded the brand, was on hand with CEO Svetlana Kupriyanova.
   Finally, in the main part of our site, travel editor Stanley Moss fits museums and great food into 48 hours in Torino, while publisher Jack Yan tests the BMW X1 Sdrive18d—readers might like the title.


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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 Cristóbal 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 Mérito Civil from Spain and the Légion d’honneur from France.
   He is survived by his wife Annette.

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September 25, 2014

News round-up: Stella McCartney’s Jaguar XE; Ralph Lauren shifts €22,000 Rickys; Perriam launches new brand

Lucire staff/23.59

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Ralph Lauren has been shifting its €22,000 crocodile skin Ricky bags at an event at its Amsterdam store, and gifted one of them to the Netherlands Museum of Bags and Purses. The bag, says the Museum, is regarded as an icon, on a par with the Hermès Birkin and the Chanel 2.55. The company also showed a Ricky bag with a USB port and LED lighting on the inside, which will be released worldwide in December, and sold on order.
   On Monday, Stella McCartney did indeed show her version of the Jaguar XE, as part of the Feel XE campaign for the Indian-owned company’s new compact executive saloon. The McCartney XE features her spring–summer 2015 ‘Superhero’ print, and a fleet of the cars will be seen on the streets of Paris on Monday to coincide with her new collection. The next reveal of the XE will be at the Salon de Paris on October 2.
   We’ve been fans of Otago designer Christina Perriam for years, and she will unveil a new luxury lifestyle brand, Perriam, in October. The label will adorn New Zealand-made merino clothing and a summer 2015 catwalk launch will take place for the line on October 18 in Bendigo. An online shop will go live at the same time, at perriam.co.nz. Perriam will begin with Woman and Little with Sleep ranges, and Man and Home will be added in 2015.
   And don’t forget the features that appear in the main part of the Lucire website. Jack Yan has tested the BMW 435i, the car that has attracted the most attention out of anything we’ve featured in our pages; Elyse Glickman tries the NutriBulletRx; and Stanley Moss takes in the 500th anniversary commemoration of Magellan’s voyage around the world, in Vicenza. We also had webcast the Miss Universe New Zealand grand final from Sky City Theatre last week, which you can still watch as an archived stream. The best way to keep up with the latest articles is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.



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September 9, 2014

Jaguar launches XE in London, with David Gandy, Stella McCartney, Eva Herzigova, Laura Whitmore

Lucire staff/1.28

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Jaguar has launched its most important car in years with the brand-new XE, a saloon that sees the Indian-owned company tackle a segment dominated by the BMW 3er and Audi A4. The XE also marks a new generation of Jaguars powered by the company’s new series of Ingenium engines, and features a first-in-segment aluminium-intensive monocoque structure for lightness and strength.
   Jaguar Land Rover, which has seen its profits soar in recent years, spared no expense with the XE’s launch in London, bringing celebrities including Stella McCartney, David Gandy, Eva Herzigova, Sir Stirling Moss, José Mourinho, Laura Whitmore, Damian Lewis, Ruben Cortada, David Blakeley, Sam Riley, Sienna Guillory, Steve Redgrave, Brian Johnson and Gary Lineker together at an event that saw Emeli Sandé, the Kaiser Chiefs, Eliza Doolittle, the Royal Ballet, Max Milner (The Voice), and members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra perform, and John Hannah narrating.
   While many saw the helicopter delivery of the red XE into London on Monday, Jaguar formally kicked off the launch event that evening at Earls Court with its VIP audience, with the performances evoking models from the company’s past, including the SS100 of 1935.
   Sandé composed a ‘Feels Like’ track for the event that had been inspired by the public via social media and the hashtag #FeelXE. The song received its première live on a floating stage on the Thames in a 45-minute set later in the evening, with the London Eye and County Hall as a backdrop.
   The performance was complemented with a projection-mapping show on London’s County Hall, showing the public’s messages that inspired the composition. Red flares lit up the London skyline in red to match the hero colour of the new car.
   McCartney will reveal her Parisian Feel XE experience later this month, while Idris Elba will reveal his Feel XE project afterwards.
   Earlier in the day, employees at Jaguar’s Solihull plant—where 1,700 jobs are expected to be created—formed an XE shape as the Red Arrows flew past, and the car was airlifted by helicopter toward London. It was placed on a high-speed landing craft on the Thames to Chelsea Harbour.
   In another nod to its past, Jaguar then had the new XE escorted by two 1960s Mk II police cars from Battersea Bridge to Earls Court.
   The “delivery” was intentional: Jaguar wanted to signal that the XE is the spiritual successor to the Mk II, still considered by many fans to be the quintessential Jaguar close-coupled sporting saloon, and the car that arguably pioneered the segment in which the new model now competes.
   One car from Jaguar’s past that was not mentioned was the X-type, the company’s turn-of-the-century attempt to tap into the compact executive market. Younger buyers rejected that model partly because of its unadventurous styling, overseen by Jaguar’s then-parent company Ford. The X-type was also hampered by its front-wheel-drive transmission on cheaper models, something that Jaguar has avoided repeating by giving the XE rear-wheel drive. It is also the most aerodynamic Jaguar made, with a drag coefficient of 0,26.
   The cab-backward fastback look of the XE takes styling themes established by the XJ and XF, and features a short front overhang and a low driving position. The car looks more aggressive and taut than the larger models, which should appeal to buyers in the segment.
   ‘Our mission was to create an exciting and dynamic design clearly reflecting the XE’s positioning as a serious driver’s car. The cab-rearward proportions and tight packaging achieve that and give the XE the appearance of movement even when it’s standing still. It bears a strong family resemblance to the F-type and will stand apart in the crowd,’ says Jaguar’s director of design, Ian Callum.
   The aluminium components also mean more effective recycling, and in a world first for cars, Jaguar has specified RC5754, an aluminium alloy made from recycled material.
   The high-tech features extend to Jaguar’s new electric power steering, which is more efficient than a traditional hydraulic system, and what the company calls All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), which works as a low-speed cruise control that can control the brake system and powertrain for the best traction in slippery conditions. The XE also features a laser head-up display, nearly a third lighter than existing systems. Jaguar also débuts a new InControl infotainment system, which is claimed to be more intuitive, especially with a pioneering plain-speech voice control. The car is also a wifi hotspot for internet-enabled devices, and both Apple Iphone and Android users can control various functions remotely.
   Full details of the XE range will be released at the Salon de Paris on October 2. The range will be topped by a supercharged V6 delivering 340 PS, while the two-litre Ingenium diesel is claimed to deliver 75 mpg (Imperial) with carbon dioxide emissions of 99 g/km. Prices are set to begin at £27,000.















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August 14, 2014

Mana Wahine: a powerful celebration of womanhood and history

Jack Yan/4.40

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Alex Efimoff

Mana Wahine, which had its première in June in Rotorua for Matariki, arrived in Wellington last night with the first of a brief series of performances (until August 16), with a powerful celebration of womanhood by the Okareka Dance Company.
   Mana Wahine tells the story of Te Aokapurangi, who was captured in battle but returned later to save her people from slaughter.
   The production began with the image of the storyteller, Tūī Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield, a descendant of Te Aokapurangi, appearing on the curtains prior to the show, a foretaste of the clever use of lighting and imagery projected on the dance floor and walls. Her evocative waerea incantation from the first scene led to powerful, purposeful choreography performed by five dancers, Bianca Hyslop, Maria Munkowits, Nancy Wijohn, Chrissy Kokiri and Jana Castillo.
   Graceful and strong, the quintet were chosen for their experience as women and those from whom they have descended.
   Mana Wahine blends different genres of dance, captivating the audience between its sets so seamlessly, and is a beautiful tribute to Te Aokapurangi while shining a light on the proud people in our country’s past.
   Even without knowing the historical aspect one has to admire the authentic and sincere performances of the five dancers.
   The production was inspired by a conversation between cousins Tui Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield and Okarewa artistic director Taiaroa Royal, on their ancestry and the Ngāti Ohomairangi of Te Arawa, namely the matriarch Kearoa and Te Aokapurangi of Ngāti Rangiwewehi and Tapuika. Both women were responsible for saving their people, demonstrating in New Zealand’s history the power and role of women.
   Ranapiri-Ransfield researched the story, and wrote the lyrics and composed the music for the karanga, waerea and patere, and it is her voice that the audience hears. Victoria Kelly composed the rest of the score. Malia Johnston, with her extensive choreographic experience, co-authored Mana Wahine. Taane Mete directed Mana Wahine, calling it one of the ‘most rewarding experiences I have ever encountered.’ The collaboration between the talents, including technical production manager Jonny Cross, producer Rachael Penman, rehearsal director Natalie Clark and administrator Jesse Wikiriwhi, have resulted in a real, enriching production.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Mana Wahine runs till August 16, with daily performances at 7.30 p.m., and one matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m., at Te Whaea, New Zealand National Dance and Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington. Tickets are $20–$40, plus booking fees. Bookings can be made by telephone on 0800 BUY-TIX or visit www.eventfinder.co.nz.

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