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April 17, 2015

John Varvatos opens in Detroit with black-carpet party, with Alice Cooper rocking his best

Lucire staff/13.00

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Loreen Sarkis



Tasos Katopodis

Detroit is undergoing a renaissance, at least in terms of its reputation across the US. A few years ago, Eminem promoted Chrysler as being proudly from Detroit, a city that has been through it all, and John Varvatos now celebrates the place with a new store, opening with a VIP party featuring a live performance by Alice Cooper.
   It’s no surprise, then, to learn that Chrysler had a hand in this party, too, and both Varvatos and Cooper are Detroit natives, proud that their city is emerging out of some of its toughest years.
   The 600-strong ‘black carpet’ party, at which Cooper belted out ‘Nice Guy’, ‘Wheels’, ‘Billion Dollar Babies’, ‘Be My Lover’, ‘Lost in America’, ‘Dirty Diamond’, ‘Bite Your Face Off’, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Break on Thru’, ‘Foxy’, ‘My Generation’, ‘18’, ‘Poison’, and ‘School’s Out’, was hosted in association with Dan Gilbert and Bedrock Real Estate.
   Other VIPs included model Kate Upton, Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers), Michael Bolton, Nicole Curtis, Eric Ebron (Detroit Lions), Chris Chelios (NHL Hall of Famer), R&B and soul singer Dwele, Fiat–Chrysler top brass such as Al Gardner and Olivier François, Nate Forbes, Jim Ketai, Dan Mullen, Devin Gardner (NFL prospect) and Mojo in the Morning hosts Thomas ‘Mojo’ Carballo, Shannon Murphy, and Spike.
   Varvatos introduced the evening in his home town, saying, ‘For me, this is more than a store opening celebration. It’s a kick-off celebration of things to come to the city of Detroit. The future is bright and it’s just the beginning!’
   Cooper noted afterwards, ‘It’s great to be back in Detroit rocking out with John Varvatos.’
   Gardner said in a release, ‘The Chrysler brand has a long-standing partnership with John Varvatos that has evolved over the years, so when he asked us to be a part of this event taking place in our own backyard, we immediately said, “Yes.”’ Chrysler showed off its rebodied 300 on the black carpet, helping cement its position as a Detroit icon.
   Gilbert said, ‘The immeasurable energy felt in the store solidified that the arrival of J. V.’s iconic fashion and rock ’n’ roll brand in downtown Detroit is truly destined for success. With construction well underway for the M-1 Rail along the Woodward Corridor, combined with the rapid growth of retail, restaurants and tech companies opening in downtown Detroit, a grand celebration such as this one is the first of many more to come to Detroiters.’
   The new 4,600 ft², two-storey store is located at a brownstone at 1500 Woodward Avenue, and is owned and managed by Bedrock Real Estate Services. John Varvatos’ full line of menswear is represented, including John Varvatos Collection, John Varvatos Star USA and Converse by John Varvatos.



Loreen Sarkis



Tasos Katopodis



Loreen Sarkis


Duane Prokop








Loreen Sarkis



Tasos Katopodis

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April 16, 2015

News in brief: Christina Perriam returns to ID; Preciosa, Johny Dar collaborate; Nana Judy’s pre-Coachella do

Lucire staff/14.26

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Camilla Rutherford

Perriam, the luxury merino label from Christina Perriam, will show at ID Dunedin Fashion Week next week. The event begins on April 18 and runs to April 26. The last time she showed was under the Christina Perriam label in 2002.
   Her autumn–winter 2015 collection is structured and edgy, using New Zealand-sourced merino wool mixed with other fabrics and textiles, including merino leather. ‘It’s an amazing texture that you simply don’t find in deer pelts. When you look at a merino sheep, their skin is so wrinkly and that’s why the texture of the leather is really interesting,’ says Perriam.
   Preciosa, the Czech crystal brand HQed in the famed town of Jablonec nad Nisou, has collaborated with Ohio-born designer Johny Dar, known for his extravagant art, on a work called The Queen of Pearls. The sculpture features Preciosa crystals and took Dar 300 hours to complete. The company says it has been valued at €927,000.
   Finally, we learn that one of the “pre-parties” for Coachella, on April 9, was hosted by Australian streetwear label Nana Judy, partnering with One Oak nightclub, Tinder, and Up and Down, at the Château at Lake La Quinta. Celebrity names attending included Joe Jonas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Josh Henderson, Kendall Jenner, skateboarder Corbin Harris and model–blogger Mimi Elashiry.











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April 14, 2015

Goodness and Noa Noa welcome the winter blues

Lucire staff/5.56

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Nikita Brown Photography

When the scene gets quiet, you can always trust our own fashion and beauty editor, Sopheak Seng, to helm a show to get things buzzing again. In collaboration with Goodness, which was the first out of the gate at a two-label show at Caffè l’Affaré last Thursday, Wellington fashionistas and guests escaped the first wintry blasts for one of the more memorable social events on the calendar.
   Goodness’s Chris Hales, whose boutiques have been selling fashionable and sometimes harder-to-find independent designers for some time, launched her own range to complement the likes of Loobie’s Story, Kowtow, Nyne and Deborah Sweeney some time ago, but this was the first catwalk outing that Lucire witnessed. And she understands her customer well: casual separates, paired in unexpected ways, tapping in to the floral trend that’s been forecast for autumn–winter 2015. Taupe and olive similarly conveyed the winter vibe, right on time for the colder months Down Under.
   The second half of the show, styled by Lucire’s Sopheak Seng, showcased Danish label Noa Noa, with a winter collection ‘inspired by the tapestry of life,’ says Seng. Trawling through the markets in France to the bazaars in Marrakech—not unlike our last few print editions, then—the eclectic collection saw masculine lines meeting feminine fabrications, tied with the first half of the show through floral motifs in forest green, Moroccan blue, and tawny red. Sunglasses were donned by each of the models, resplendent in jackets and coats, looking cool as they wandered down the catwalk, much as the designers would have wandered through those bazaars.
   Live music from Ophelia, the indie folk–dubstep duo of Patrick Shanahan and Alex Louise, served as the unique soundtrack to both shows, cranking up the non-mainstream vibe of the show, while in the café, itself one of the trendy spots of the capital, sponsors served up Triple Rock vodka (the jaffa and liquorice varieties were very memorable), Colombo wines, Moa cider, and l’Affarè coffee itself. Clinique did the make-up, Chop created the hair looks using Kevin Murphy, and Rydges were credited with their support for the band. Shoes were from Shoe Connection. Finally, Gazley’s support was very evident with four stylish Alfa Romeo Giuliettas parked outside and a MiTo on the catwalk, upping the Euro credentials with Italian chic. The blue lights shining on the walls surrounding the catwalk served to remind us that one can, indeed, stay warm with the winter blues!






Nikita Brown Photography

Backstage



Nikita Brown Photography

The Scene











Nikita Brown Photography

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Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute, commemorating the centenary of World War I, to première May 22

Lucire staff/0.45

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Ross Brown

Above Dancer Joseph Skelton.

One of the most anticipated ballets from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, since news of it was announced in 2014, will première in Wellington on May 22. Salute, which comprises four dance works to mark the centenary of World War I, will tour Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Takapuna, Auckland and Napier after its performances in the capital.
   â€˜This powerful programme themed around war, loss and hope is our tribute to those men and women who sacrificed so much, many of whom were the same ages as our young dancers,’ said RNZB artistic director Francesco Ventriglia.
   The company will be joined for three of the four works by the New Zealand Army Band, which will perform, among others, a new commission by composer Gareth Farr. The Band will tour with the RNZB to every venue.
   â€˜This dynamic mixed bill includes: a twentieth century masterpiece by legendary Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián; two world premières created for the company by NZ choreographers Andrew Simmons and Neil Ieremia; and the NZ première of a work by Johan Kobborg,’ said Ventriglia.
   â€˜Watching the four works taking shape is very exciting, and profoundly moving. I really believe this programme will resonate with all New Zealanders,’ said RNZB managing director Amanda Skoog.
   Soldiers’ Mass, by Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián with music by Bohuslav Martinů, is a commentary on the destructiveness of war, and is performed by 12 male dancers. It was originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1980 and was first performed by the RNZB in 1998.
   New Zealand-born Andrew Simmons’ Dear Horizon is a new commission and his fifth for the company, and features a specially commissioned score by Farr, written for the New Zealand Army Band and cellist Rolf Gjelsten of the New Zealand String Quartet. Simmons’ Of Days was highly regarded by Lucire, and he had earlier created Through to You and A Song in the Dark. Now based in Dresden, he was formerly a dancer with the RNZB.
   Neil Ieremia, founder of Black Grace, has created Passchendaele for the RNZB, named for the battle in which more New Zealanders were killed and wounded than in any other. This World War I battle claimed the lives of some 600,000 on both sides of the conflict. This second première in Salute was inspired by music composed by former New Zealand Army Band member Dwayne Bloomfield.
   Finally, Johan Kobborg’s Salute, with music by Hans Christian Lumbye specially arranged for the New Zealand Army Band, should end the evening on a more light-hearted note, dealing with cadets who have not experienced war. Kobborg collaborated with Ethan Stiefel on the RNZB’s highly acclaimed Giselle, and created the comedic ballet Les Lutins.
   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 for Salute 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.
   Further information can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website at rnzb.org.nz.

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April 1, 2015

Jaguar launches second-generation XF saloon: lighter, roomier, more class-leading tech

Lucire staff/13.10

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A week after previewing the new XF in a high-wire stunt over Victoria Docks in London, Jaguar has released images and details of the car as it enjoyed its official début at the New York Auto Show.
   The second-generation XF is recognizably Jaguar, stylistically an evolution of the 2007 X250 model that brought the company’s saloon car range into the 21st century. Prior to the XF, Jaguar saloons had been stuck in a sort of time warp, reminding customers regularly of the 1968 XJ6. The original XF changed that, with its fresh, fastback styling and, in the interior, the rotary dial gear selector, which helped give the cabin a feeling of airiness.
   But underneath the svelte styling, the XF did not share the aluminium-intensive construction methods of the larger XJ, something which the second-generation model remedies. Now up to 190 kg lighter than the outgoing model, the use of aluminium has allowed Jaguar to create a more rigid, refined car that’s also more fuel-efficient, according to the company’s figures. Jaguar cites carbon dioxide emissions of 104 g/km and the new four-cylinder Ingenium diesel gets 71·7 mpg (Imperial) in fuel economy, though it remains to be seen just how well it will fare in the real world.
   The weight saving means that the new XF is cleaner, and Jaguar claims it is 80 kg lighter than the competition, using the base model for comparison. In terms of environmental impact, Jaguar Land Rover uses a form of aluminium alloy called RC5754, which is predominantly made from recycled material, for its pressings.
   The body is also more slippery, helping with efficiency, with the drag coefficient dropping from 0,29 to 0,26 on the new model.
   The company is emphasizing its leadership in aluminium usage, especially extending it from the large XJ saloon down to its entry-level XE, launched last year.
   By increasing the wheelbase by 51 mm while cutting overall length, Jaguar has increased the interior room, and with the sixth light added in the design, the car now appears lighter and roomier inside.
   The cockpit is dominated by a configurable 10·2-inch touch-screen, while the maps for the sat-nav are stored on a 60 Gbyte solid-state hard drive.
   The front suspension is modelled after the F-type sports car’s, with the company claiming segment-leading handling for the new model.
   Other goodies include parking assist for bay and parallel parking, adaptive cruise control, and even reverse traffic detection, to warn drivers of fast-approaching traffic. The laser head-up display is also sharper than comparable TFT systems, with higher contrast; the unit is also a third lighter, which helps the XF save weight.




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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 6, 2015

Travel news in brief: a special offer for Lucire readers in India; Olivia Richli moves on; Beolit 15 launched

Lucire staff/14.05

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Lucire readers can get a special offer at both Shanti Home (New Delhi) and Shanti Morada (Goa, pictured above) for all months from April to September 2015. Mention Lucire and get a free one-hour massage at either property.
   We are saddened to learn that GM Olivia Richli has left her post at Aman Canal Grande at the end of February. A world-class hospitality pro and former GM of Amangalla in Sri Lanka, Olivia moved to Venezia, where she presided over the property’s launch and scored the high-profile Clooney nuptials last September. After such a stellar record she will be greatly missed. But hearty congratulations to whomever scores her next.
   Ideal for travelling, Bang & Olufsen has released the Beolit 15 this week, a portable Bluetooth 4·0 speaker with 24 hours’ play time from a single charge. The design—with its aluminium grille, polymer body and leather strap—is inspired by the Beolit radios of the 20th century, and follows on from the company’s earlier Bluetooth players, the Beolit 12 of 2012 and the extra-compact Beoplay A2. B&O promises 360-degree sound with a redesigned acoustic structure, with B&O Play chief Henrik Taudorf Lorensen saying, ‘We believe it is the best music system of its kind in the market.’ Retail price is €499, or kr. 3.699 in its home market.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor, with Lucire staff



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March 4, 2015

Royal New Zealand Ballet stages an entertaining, memorable Don Quixote

Jack Yan/12.40

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Evan Li


Royal New Zealand Ballet

Top Mayu Tanigaito and Kohei Iwamoto as Kitri and Basilio. Above A Barcelona town square scene as pictured in the programme.

It’s always a pleasure to kick off a Royal New Zealand Ballet season on a high. Don Quixote, which opened at the St James in Wellington tonight, takes the well known ballet, set to the music of Ludwig Minkus, and tweaks it for modern audiences.
   It is a restaging of the 2008 production of Don Quixote by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The choreography by Adrian Burnett, after Marius Petipa, is intact, as are the concept, sets and costumes as conceived by former artistic director Gary Harris, with tiny tweaks to keep audiences entertained (watch for the sailors’ selfie in the third act). Sharon the mechanical dog is still there to delight younger audience members, and the story is particularly easy to follow; while ballet veterans can enjoy the talent of the new dancers, particularly Kohei Iwamoto and Mayu Tanigaito as Basilio and Kitri respectively.
   The design brings the seventeenth-century story, and the nineteenth-century ballet, more firmly into the twentieth century, with Don Quixote donning an aviator’s cap and jacket, bringing his mop with him, taking the place of Rocinante, the horse. There are plenty of Iberian references in the bright costumes and the hairstyles, as well as the choreography, with flourishes in the movement and fans recalling flamenco dances, even if the structure of the ballet remains very Russian.
   The Don’s bedroom and the Barcelona town square contrast each other: the former is packed with books, darkening the set, while the latter is bright and airy, suggesting a seaside location. Nigel Gaynor conducted a faultless Orchestra Wellington.
   John Hull makes for an entertaining Don Quixote, with big shoes to fill—Sir Jon Trimmer delighted audiences in 2008—but it is the remaining roles which confirm a few accepted ideas about performance. The first is that it’s often more delicious playing a villain, as Paul Mathews steps back into the role of Gamache, complete with his pet dog, while Abigail Boyle tonight played Mercedes. This pair gave captivating performances, especially Mathews in each of the three acts; he and Boyle almost upstaged the others in the first scene of the third act, as they returned to Barcelona after robbing the Don. As Gamache gets drunk, Mathews dances accordingly—and it’s often harder to pull that off than performing traditional moves.
   Dulcinea appears briefly in the dream sequence after the robbery takes place, and less is made of her role.
   The second idea is that if you get the subsidiary characters right, the production will feel more fulfilled, and Shane Urton’s performance as the Don’s nephew, Sancho, had a wonderful and intentional naïveté as he accompanies his uncle on the adventure. Urton stayed in character till the end, and enriched the ballet no end.
   The third idea is that audiences will always welcome a happy-ending love story. Tanigaito already received applause in the first act for a series of fouettés, but it was her pas de deux with Iwamoto in the third act, and his dramatic catch, where the attention rested firmly again on Basilio and Kitri. With increasing energy on stage from the courting couple, Don Quixote finished on an expected high.
   Don Quixote will continue in Wellington till March 7, before moving to Christchurch for March 11–14, Invercargill for March 18, Dunedin for March 21, Auckland for March 26–9, and Palmerston North for its final performance on April 1. Further information can be found at the RNZB’s website at www.rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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