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April 21, 2016

Beyoncé partners with three charities as part of the Formation World Tour

Lucire staff/2.41

As part of her Formation World Tour, Beyoncé has announced three charitable organizations that will partner with her own initiative, BeyGood.
   The singer wants to encourage fans to give to the three organizations, and demonstrates how easy it is to “pay it forward”.
   She proposes using one of three ways: online through CrowdRise, in partnership with United Way, to support the Flint, Michigan water crisis (where fans can qualify for winning VIP tickets to her tour); through their communities with United Way, with issues specific to each tour market; or on-site, after signing up with Global Citizen and Chime for Change, with opportunities to win tickets and upgrades on the tour.
   United Way will be present at very stop beginning with the North American leg. The first venue is Marlins Park, Miami, Fla. on April 27. Gucci’s Chime for Change, which Beyoncé co-founded, and Global Citizen will have their programme in select tour locations, including Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and London. There are charity events in Houston, Compton (Calif.), and Detroit.
   Fans in Houston can give and support Rudy Rasmus and his Bread of Life initiative, combatting hunger in the city, and TurnAround Houston, to help create jobs. In Compton, the event will help Urban Education Institute, which works with youth through music and the arts. In Detroit, the event will celebrate the resourcefulness of the people of Flint and Detroit.
   Since the announcement of BeyGood, the initiative has claimed to have helped millions of people with employment, shelter and more. Tour dates are available at beyonce.com.

April 18, 2016

Fashion Cities Africa gives a snapshot of four cities on a varied, rich continent

Jack Yan/3.51

The second largest continent on the planet is, logically, home to a massive number of fashion designers and movements, although out of Africa, there hasn’t been as much recognition of them till recently. Fashion Cities Africa, the book, inspired by the exhibition of the same name at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery that opens at the end of April, is one high-profile development which seeks to shine a light on the variety present on the continent, while on a similar note, next month’s Africa Fashion Festival in Wellington will do the same for its designers.
   Hannah Azieb Pool, who edits the new book, is a Eritrean-born, London-based journalist, who, along with Helen Jennings, has co-writing duties, resulting in a cohesive, beautifully presented book that examines contemporary fashion in Nairobi, Casablanca, Lagos and Johannesburg. It doesn’t pretend to be a fully comprehensive guide, stating from the outset it is meant to provide mere glimpses on a continent that is incredibly diverse. The foreword by Binyavanga Wainaina, a flâneur, reminds us that there are clusters scattered throughout the land that have their own tendencies, and that her favourite designer is Nigerian, Chioma Chukwulozie.
   The reader is thrown in to the colour of Nairobi, where sibling bloggers Velma Rossa and Papa Petit (a.k.a. Oliver) take one half of the first spread with their über-stylish and proudly urban Kenyan clothes, and stylists, musicians, designers, bloggers and artists profiled on following pages give slices of their lives that shake occidental sensibilities with their own palettes and ensembles. Nairobi, for the most part, emphasizes comfort, and the clothing shot on these pages by Sarah Marie Waiswa demonstrate that the city’s fashion could easily translate to other places, spanning everything from casual to luxury. Adèle Dejak has shown in Milano, for instance, and appeared in Vogue Italia with her collaboration with Salvatore Ferragamo, while John Kaveke and Nick Ondu show the sort of sartorial elegance that could easily influence menswear in other fashion capitals.
   Profiles of some of the personalities from the city follow, reminding us that Nairobi is a crossroads: Ami Doshi Shah is of Indian descent, her family brought there by the British when both countries were under Crown rule, while Ann McCreath is a Scots émigrée who fell in love with the fashion there. There’s a dose of youthful energy, too, with Anthony Mulli, a jewellery designer who started when he was 16, pointing the way forward.
   The book follows a similar structure for subsequent cities, moving on to Casablanca next.
   Lucire readers will be familiar with Morocco thanks to travel editor Stanley Moss’s writings, and Jennings’ chapter, with photographs by Deborah Benzaquen, takes us on a similar journey through the country’s largest city. It was, of course, a home for Yves Saint Laurent at one point, as well as a drawcard for many western celebrities, when a first wave of Moroccan designers became known outside of the region. A second wave, Jennings explains, emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, with Zineb Joundy a graduate of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. A greater sense of artistic freedom and Casablanca’s position that blends Arabic, European and indigenous cultures has resulted in some looks that may seem familiar—perhaps thanks to the likes of Saint Laurent and his influence. Again the profiles are well selected, a cross-section of the highly varied cultures in the city: Amine Bendriouich, Amina Agueznay, Yassine Morabite, Saïd Mahrouf, and Zhor, Chadia and Aida Raïs each cover a very different parts of the fashion spectrum, from T-shirts to traditional caftans.
   Once the book gets to Lagos, it’s apparent that there’s a sense of “bubbling under”, with Lakin Ogunbanwo’s photographs, paired with Jennings’ words again, showing slightly more subdued looks for men, but prouder, more flamboyant looks for women. Jennings notes that civil war and Nigeria’s military juntas stalled its fashion scene for some years, before a revival when democracy returned in 1999. Foreign labels were seen as cool till recently, with the country discovering its confidence in its own æsthetic, to the point where one of her interviewees, stylist Bolaji Anumashaun, says that fashion can be one of Nigeria’s ‘greatest exports’. Anumashaun founded thestylehq.com with a pan-African fashion focus, and Arise magazine, founded in 2008, also stepped up the promotion for Nigerian designers. With Nigeria’s GDP now greater than South Africa’s, that confidence is bound to increase, and Jennings looks at Nike Davis Okundaye, who owns the biggest gallery in West Africa in Lagos, and happy to promote young talent. Others, such as Yegwa Ukpo and Amaka Osakwe, both were schooled in the UK before returning to Lagos to found their brands, while PR consultant Zara Okpara and luxury concept store owner Reni Folawiyo complete their city’s picture.
   Johannesburg completes Fashion Cities Africa, and it’s perhaps fair that Pool chose to put it last. Many mistakenly think of South African fashion when they refer to ‘African fashion’, spurred in part by the Republic’s sporting ties to many other countries in the Commonwealth. Victor Dlamini has the photographic duties here, and Pool pens the words, and she goes through the various Jo’burg neighbourhoods, noting that its fashion is more established than Nairobi’s but less self-conscious than Lagos’s. There is a western infusion here in some parts, she notes, but on closer examination there are accessories that reference Soweto streets or Zulu culture. The city even has two fashion weeks: South Africa Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, making the city spoiled for choice when it comes to giving its designers a platform. David Tlale, whom Lucire readers will have heard of, and who has shown at New York Fashion Week, hails from here, and Jo’burg designs have a greater sense of familiarity thanks to western media exposure. It oozes colour and vibrancy, much like the photos chosen for Pool’s first chapter on Nairobi, and in similar fashion (pun unintended) there are profiles from across the spectrum: designer Thula Sindi, creative collective, the Sartists, accessories’ and shoe designer Maria McCloy, and womenswear designers Marianne Fassler and Anisa Mpungwe.
   It’s our hope that we can cease talking about ‘African’ fashion and instead replace the dialogue with specific cities or countries, just as we do for smaller continents such as Europe. Just as there is no such thing to fashion observers as ‘European’ fashion, there is equally no such thing as ‘African’ fashion: it is impossible to generalize at a continental level. Both as an informative volume and a coffee-table flick-through (as it is softcover), Fashion Cities Africa succeeds, and it’s exceptionally good value with full-colour photographs (needed for its story, over 196 pp.) at £20 (available via Amazon UK here, or Book Depository here) or US$28·50, (Amazon link here). It is published this month by Intellect Books, as part of its Street Styles series.—Jack Yan, Publisher

April 11, 2016

Rebecca Ferguson on the attraction of dual roles in Despite the Falling Snow

Lucire staff/13.20

Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson talked to the media recently about her dual roles in writer–director Shamim Sarif’s Despite the Falling Snow.
   Sarif wrote the 2004 novel, set in two different times: 1950s Cold War Moskva, and 1992 in the same city and in London following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2013, the film adaptation, which she directed, was announced.
   The film also stars Charles Dance, Antje Traue, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Anthony Head.
   Ferguson plays both Katya, a KGB spy in the 1950s, and Lauren, Katya’s niece and a New York artist in 1992, in the film. The film sees Katya fall in love with a politician whom she has been ordered to spy on.
   The dual roles were ‘one of the reasons to why I did it,’ says Ferguson. ‘I met Shamim. She told me this incredible story. I hadn’t read the book yet. I remember thinking, “You’re going to play two characters, I’m going to walk away, I could never do that.”’ The challenge eventually drew Ferguson in to the film.
   Ferguson, who is fluent in Swedish and English without a trace of an accent in either, is best known for her role in Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation.


Celebritywire

H&M launches M.I.A.’s ‘Rewear It’ to mark World Recycle Week; Olivia Wilde supports Conscious Collection

Lucire staff/10.27



Max Larsson

Olivia Wilde is the face of H&M’s Conscious Collection, and promoted it in New York last week alongside her friend Barbara Burchfield.
   She wore a lace skirt and matching blouse from the range, complemented by a Balenciaga leather jacket.
   Wilde and Burchfield co-founded Conscious Commerce, which she discusses in our video below. Her venture encourages companies to work in sustainability into their day-to-day operations, and says that H&M is a good ally, a company that proves that one does not need to sacrifice style for nobler aims.
   On a related note, H&M today (April 11) launches its campaign for World Recycle Week 2016, with a video entitled ‘Rewear It’, featuring British performer M.I.A., who also composed the song exclusively for the company.
   The video encourages people to recycle old or unwanted clothes. The Swedish giant says M.I.A. ‘personifies the conscious consumer with a social awareness.’
   Aaron Sillis choreographed the video, which runs for 3 minutes, 37 seconds and features a cast of music and dance artists and allies in sustainability, shot all over the world.
   H&M aims to collect 1,000 tonnes of unwanted or worn-out garments from its customers worldwide, through its 3,600 stores. It is part of the company’s goal to close the loop in fashion, recycling unwanted garments to create textile fibres for new products.
   ‘World Recycle Week is about embracing important environmental issues such as the landfills, and highlighting a global movement,’ she says.

April 7, 2016

Gal Gadot talks Wonder Woman, Criminal—video interview

Lucire staff/23.47

Former Lucire cover girl Gal Gadot arrived in London as the actress of the moment, coming off the high of Warner Bros.–DC Comics’ Batman v. Superman, in which she plays Wonder Woman.
   Gadot spoke of her ‘interesting first day of shooting’ Criminal with Kevin Costner, who has both acting and directorial duties on the new film.
   She called her co-star a ‘talented, good-hearted man’, noting that it was a different experience working with an actor who is also a director. ‘There’s something more into it,’ she says.
   She notes that she is ‘really busy’ after Batman v. Superman, coming off an international press tour to promote the film, and then getting straight into the stand-alone Wonder Woman movie for Warners.
   Fortunately, her family life remains relatively normal and she is still enjoying everything. As to London, she says she loves everything about the city ‘except the weather’.
   Costner, meanwhile, calls Gadot a ‘wonderful woman’ and a ‘great screen partner’, and tells ITN that their first scene saw him sporting long hair and a beard—both of which were fake, although he had that very look just before he began filming.

Kathryn Sargent breaks the gender barrier: first female brand on Savile Row

Lucire staff/2.09


Kathryn Sargent has become the first woman to set up shop with her name “above the door” on Savile Row.
   Sargent is a trained cutter and tailor, but till now the customer-facing part of the business has been done by a man.
   She notes that women have always played a part in Savile Row, but usually behind the scenes in the sewing rooms doing buttonholing and edge-stitching. Sargent has broken the mould in having her own brand and representing her company, located at 37 Savile Row.
   Her bespoke suits start at £4,200 and her made-to-measure ones from £1,500. Thirty per cent of her customers are expected to be women.
   Philip Parker, vice-chairman of Henry Poole & Co., also on Savile Row, says that ‘it is absolutely right’ to see a woman’s name on Savile Row.
   Henry Poole & Co. had considered employing Sargent as an assistant cutter, although that job ultimately went to a man.
   Sargent is trialling the tenancy through the summer, till the end of August.
   She had already made history before: in 2009, she was the first female master tailor on Savile Row while working for Gieves & Hawkes. She already has an impressive résumé, having dressed royalty, politicians and celebrities, including David Beckham and Robbie Williams.

March 17, 2016

Lily Cole shines a light on social enterprise at Chivas Regal’s the Venture panel discussion

Lucire staff/22.46



John Phillips

In line with the movement that began in the early 2000s for more responsible brands—something this title, along with organizations such as Medinge Group in Sweden, have promoted—Chivas Regal’s the Venture search seeks to find and support the most promising social entrepreneurs creating profitable businesses that also makes a positive impact on people. Lily Cole added credibility as well as celebrity power to the panel discussion in London’s Natural History Museum on Thursday, and debated whether social enterprise would ever grow to a point to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, and whether big business, government and investors should do more.
   Cole herself is a social entrepreneur, having founded Impossible, a social giving network that enables people to share their time, skills and objects. She was joined by Sonal Shah of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University, Rajeeb Day, CEO of Enternships, and Thomas Davies, CIO of investment platform Seedrs.
   Alexandre Ricard, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard‏, hosted the event.
   Also in attendance were 27 start-ups who had been chosen to compete for a share of the Venture’s $1 million fund. The finalists were taking part in a programme created by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University. The public can vote for their favourite finalist between May 9 and June 13, and determine how the first $250,000 in funding is split among the finalists. They already feature at the Venture’s website at www.theventure.com.
   The remaining $750,000 will be awarded at the Venture’s final in July.







John Phillips

March 9, 2016

London calling: Henry London lands in New York

Lola Cristall/11.01

A timepiece is just as enticing as jewellery. Henry London landed at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York to stir some British flair with a range of stunning, affordable watches, from modern and colourful to sophisticated and exquisite. Each collection pays homage to iconic locations named after London subway stations: Chiswick, Edgware, Finchley, Hammersmith, Hampstead, Harrow, Highgate, Holborn, Knightsbridge, Pimlico, Richmond, Stratford and Westminster.
   Founded by a duo, one of whom came across a 1960s watch at the Portobello Road Market, Henry London quickly obtained global success as it expanded to more than 20 countries. The watches themselves echo that found item, each with a 1960s sensibility, but they still look modern today. To provide a personalized touch, the wearer can add a custom engraving to the case with a choice of typeface. The line includes high-tech, stainless steel models and different calibres to choose from, for instance, three hands, with or without a date window. Many pieces have cambered crystal with domed glass, for a stylish, complex look. Chronographs are also an option, with elongated dauphine hands and dazzling sub-dials. The watches can be had with Milanese mesh bracelets, or pliable soft leather straps of varying colours with elegant buckles.—Lola Cristall, Paris editor









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