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A grand Petit double bill: Royal New Zealand Ballet performs Carmen and L’Arlésienne


NEWS  by Jack Yan/March 22, 2017/13.15




Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Joseph Skelton as Don José and Natalya Kusch as Carmen in Carmen. Yuri Marques, with Shaun James Kelly as Frédêric and Madeleine Graham as Vivette in L’Arlésienne. Madeleine Graham as Vivette and Shaun James Kelly as Frédêri in L’Arlésienne.

What a treat to see two of Roland Petit’s ballets—L’Arlésienne and Carmen—performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, faithfully executing two of the late Parisian maestro’s works, staged by the Roland Petit Trust’s Luigi Bonino.
   They are particularly close to RNZB artistic director Francesco Ventriglia’s heart, having worked with Petit himself and having danced the role of the Toreador in Carmen in Milano and New York after the maestro cast him. ‘Maestro Petit was the first to trust me as an artist, and it was a turning point,’ writes Ventriglia in the notes to the season’s performances.
   Both are passionate ballets, but perhaps more so tonight as the RNZB returned home to Wellington to perform them for the first time, dedicated to their late senior costumier, Andrew Pfeiffer, who passed away March 3 after three decades’ service to the company.
   Ventriglia, accompanied by RNZB executive director Frances Turner, made the announcement on stage before the curtain went up.
   When it did, we were taken into Provence with the first ballet, L’Arlésienne. It’s the briefer of the two ballets (and receives a lower billing in RNZB publicity: it’s Carmen with L’Arlésienne) but particularly intense, exploring themes of dreams, isolation and solitude. The ballet draws from Provençal folk music and costumes—costumier Christine Laurent gives black shawls to the women and vests with a red sash to the men—and the pas de deux between Frédéri (Shaun James Kelly) and Vivette (Madeleine Graham) is tinged with intensity and tragedy. Frédéri’s descent into madness through his obsession with the unseen Girl from Arles is well portrayed by Kelly, especially his solo at the end as he tries hard to break through his mental turmoil—for a finalé it’s particularly powerful and Kelly builds to it and carries it. Graham’s Vivette tries in vain to save him with emotions showing in her light and flowing dance and her expressions. It’s a tragic end for a man who refused to conform and who allows his obsession to dominate him.
   The ballet is characterized by the small steps from folk dance, contrasting Frédéri’s wilder, grander contemporary moves as he tries to break from the rigidness of Provençal society; while simple sets by Réné Allio keep the focus on the leads, from a canvas cloth with an abstract landscape to the final window.
   That simplicity is in contrast to the rich and somewhat sinister reds in the first two scenes in Carmen: the tobacco factory exterior that opens the second ballet sees a giant wooden frame and hanging laundry as the full cast performs; the tavern scene has a touch of surrealism with the barren frames of the wooden chairs adding to the spectacle. There’s fake cigarette smoke emanating from the stage (the scene calls for dancers to light up). Here it’s the late Antoni Clavé’s costume and set design at work, the women in bodices with zig-zag lines. Among this we first meet Carmen, played to perfection tonight by RNZB’s Ukrainian-born, Wien-trained guest artist Natalya Kusch, a powerful ballerina in total control of her craft. Her Carmen oozed defiance, with her cropped hair and short black dress. It’s the company’s ability to attract international talent that adds to its world-class performances, and Kusch’s Carmen was a veritable femme fatale, her en pointe moves emphasizing her prowess.
   After Carmen and Don José (Joseph Skelton) spend the night together, their pas de deux was particularly sensual—watch for one explicit move where Skelton arches his back and Kusch lays and rubs on top of him—and hinted at the peril ahead. Skelton’s tense portrayal as he stabs the victim drew you more deeply into the ballet, while his final confrontation with Carmen is powerful and tragic.
   Carmen is the grander of the two, and a spectacular note to finish on. With the relatively short run time, it packs a great deal in, making it more concentrated than the Rio de Janeiro-set version performed by the RNZB in 2010, a full-length ballet by Didy Veldman.
   The Two Ballets by Roland Petit, Carmen with L’Arlésienne, continue till April 1, with four more performances in Wellington (from March 23 to 25) before moving to Auckland (March 29 to April 1). Further details are available at the RNZB’s website.—Jack Yan, Publisher



Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Massimo Margaria as Chief Bandit, Joseph Skelton as Don José and Natalya Kusch as Carmen in Carmen. RNZB dancers with Joseph Skelton as Don José in Carmen.

The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth and Drops of Light liquid peels: effective and perfect for sensitive skin


NEWS  by Nathalia Archila/March 20, 2017/9.42


We’ve been sampling the Body Shop’s new Drops of Youth Youth Liquid Peel and Drops of Light Pure Resurfacing Liquid Peel, coming soon to New Zealand. These products claim to deliver a smoother, healthier, more youthful and lighter skin.
   I tried out both products, and they get Lucire’s thumbs-up. The formula between them both is similar, so you’d choose which one you want based on your preference. Drops of Light features red algæ extract from the North Atlantic and vitamin C. Drops of Youth is 100 per cent vegan, enriched with edelweiss, sea holly and criste marine plant stem cells. The liquid peels help skin appear brighter, refined and more even. At first, I wasn’t sure how they worked, because they are not like a traditional exfoliant scrub. After a bit of research, I found out that a liquid peel essentially takes off the top layer of dead cells from your face. The first thing I noticed when I opened Drops of Youth was the smell: it was nice and clean, and the texture was like a really refreshing cold jelly. I applied the product on my face, massaging for around 20 seconds, and noticed that these little balls of dead skin cells were forming. After I wiped the product off my face, my skin felt amazing, and appeared soft and bright.
   I am really careful with my skin routine and not to keen to introduce new products because I’ve had a very long battle with rosacea and sensitive skin. However, with the Body Shop’s liquid peels I didn’t experience any rosacea outbreaks or reactions, which tells me they are great for those with sensitive skin. I’ve kept using the products two to three times a week and I notice my skin feels much softer and glowing now!—Nathalia Archila

Countdown to the Oscars: more beauty secrets are out at the Secret Room Red Carpet Luxury Lounge


NEWS  by Elyse Glickman/February 23, 2017/23.02




Elyse Glickman

Even with savvy Amy Boatwright surprising us every awards’ season with her magic in putting together the Secret Room Red Carpet Luxury Lounge, finding new beauty discoveries (and being treated to an amazing array of treatments ranging from Botox to hair services) never stops being exciting. As we’ve come to expect, the pampering and products for people were nicely balanced with fundraising and awareness for the Best Friends Animal Society and No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) shelters, both dedicated to ensuring cats and dogs get the medical treatments, owners and fur-ever homes they deserve.
   However, as this is part of the countdown leading up to Hollywood’s biggest night, the 2017 Academy Awards, the ladies once again pulled out all the stops with sweets and 100 per cent arabica bean coffee from Wolfgang Puck and beauty treatments (including Botox!) from Pasadena-based Parfaire Medical Æsthetics who did a fantastic job of introducing prospective clients to their services and practitioners, and topped it off with a US$50 gift certificate for VIPs. Other services that transformed the suite into a spa included Cecilia Alcala’s massage services, braids and up-dos from Toni & Guy stylists, and Celebrity Gold face masks, and décolleté and hand treatments from European Skin & Massage Studio.
   However, the best beauty surprise of all was the return of Chaz Dean to the main stage at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. A decade ago, he opened his house (that is, his Hollywood bungalow house-turned-salon) to Lucire and other outlets for pre-award show beauty lounges that are still the stuff of awards’ week legend. He introduced us to the wonders of all-purpose, all-in-one products under the Wen line. Although Chaz had been through a lot in recent years, including a fire at the salon and some controversy surrounding his products, he’s bounced back in a big way, with lavish new formulas for Wen, as well as pet grooming products, elegant fragrances, and body care in an ever-changing offering of seasonal aromas as well as year-round scents.
   Speaking of magic gardens (specifically, Chaz’s assortment of fragrances), guests learned about one of Los Angeles’ best hidden treasures, the Gottlieb Native Garden, in a stunning coffee-table book. Located a few minutes drive from the SLS, this inspired hideaway open to the public features California native vegetation as well as once-lost forms of wildlife returning to this new habitat. Other nice things ripe for the picking included skin care from Dermatologic Cosmetics Laboratories, Axia Medical Solutions, Dermis RX Skincare, EstheProLabo HerbZyme Elixir, Allomind’s 3-D movie viewing glasses, and luxury items and other incentives to visit Croatia from the Croatian Tourist Board. There had to be something special for pets, and Sally Snacks‘ Venison Dog Treats fit the bill.
   Repeat “nominees” returning to the lounge included Australia-based Auspect Skincare International with full travel kits filled with their all-purpose line, starring anti-ageing serums for fine lines and wrinkles and eye cream for dark circles to solutions for rosacea and acne-prone skin. Forever in My Heart Jewelry by Mira, whose founder was also devoted to animal welfare, returned with more chic silver statement pieces and pet-oriented baubles. We also enjoyed a second helping of Storm Rejuvenate Pro’s tidy box of perfect gel primer serum packet whose contents erase the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin, and a double dip of gourmet peanut butter from Julie’s Real Foods, Pasta Chips and Goodie Girl cookies.
   At many Secret Room events, media guests can pick up extra bonus products to try. However, this go-round, Amy gave the familiar “and wait … there’s more” sentiment a lift by sending press away with an L. L. Bean tote brimming with such desirables as make-up palettes from Anastasia Beverly Hills, a free year-long subscription to New Beauty, vitamins from Hero Nutritionals, a gift certificate for Sasaki Advanced Æsthetic Medical Center, a gift certificate for shoes from Hey Lady Shoes, and some hand-crafted home décor items. It was a grab bag worthy of being treated with kid gloves.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor





















Elyse Glickman

Allbirds releases limited-edition Wool Runner, teaming up with independent Wellington businesses


NEWS  by Nathalia Archila/February 7, 2017/23.32

Allbirds has launched an eight-day celebration in Wellington starting today to promote artisans and creators who share its brand’s philosophy of quality and independence.
   Allbirds, a sustainable footwear brand co-founded by former All Whites skipper Tim Brown, has teamed up with craft brewery Garage Project, coffee roaster Coffee Supreme, and chocolatier Wellington Chocolate Factory. Each has created an Allbirds-inspired product that ties in with the brand’s new shoe, the Wool Runner.
   The Wool Runner features a merino wool upper and a plant-based in-sole, making the shoe particularly light and keeping the wearer’s feet fresh. Time went so far as to call it ‘the world’s most comfortable shoe’.
   The Wellington businesses have limited-edition Allbirds Wool Runners, finished in black, with details that unique to each partner.
   During the eight days, Allbirds has invited travellers passing through Wellington Airport to try the Wool Runner. They also have a pop-up store at creative video agency Wrestler, 21 Jessie Street, Te Aro, where one can try on and buy the limited-edition design.
   The limited-edition design can also be found from February 8 at www.allbirds.co.nz.
   Allbirds has also collaborated with artists Andrew J. Steel and Toby Morris, who have created a mural in the Eva Street alleyway to celebrate the programme.
   Other events will be announced via Allbirds’ Instagram page.—Nathalia Archila

Special features to kick off Lucire’s 20th anniversary year


NEWS  by Lucire staff/January 5, 2017/10.31


Paula Sweet

Above: Stanley Moss heads to Punta Ala in one of his best travel pieces to date. Click here to read it.

Welcome to Lucire’s 20th anniversary year.
   Remember that if you don’t see a news update (which will come with an RSS update), you can go to the main part of the website and check out our features.
   In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had Lola Cristall’s 2017 living guide; an archive interview with Thor director Taika Waititi; one of Stanley Moss’s best travel pieces to date, on five Italian centres, and another on Flemings in London; Elyse Glickman heading to Seoul, and Jack Yan testing the Mazda 3, or Mazda Axela. We’ve also looked at a natural skin care range, Kokulu, and made our picks from the spring–summer 2017 shows from New York Fashion Week.
   And, of course, there’s our print edition: issue 36 features stories on Delikate Rayne and author–filmmaker Leslie Zemeckis, and it’s a particularly strong issue on female power. Never mind the outcome of a certain country’s election: as Bhavana Bhim writes in the opening feature in issue 36, women have been increasing their power throughout the ages.
   Expect to see more of our Golden Globes’ suites coverage with Elyse Glickman this weekend in the news section, and more fashion, beauty, travel and living features through January.

Dragonfly launches this season’s must-have cookbook at Mojo St James pop-up venue


NEWS  by Cecilia Xu/December 7, 2016/18.25



Dragonfly has been a local favourite in Wellington Central since it opened: it’s the perfect bar to chill out at after work on any day of the week, even better on a Friday. It’s the spot to hit in the weekend, whether for fine dining or distinctive cocktails. It boasts a spacious and expansive breadth of contemporary environment in its indoor, bar, and outdoor garden seating. The atmosphere is beautifully constructed and decorated, which is what makes it such a magnetic regular spot for the locals, and a gem for the newcomers. It’s subtle, too, with no brash lighting or signage cluttering up its Courtenay Place location.
   Dragonfly’s mixture of modernity, with rustic Asian influences, romanticism and relaxation matches its cuisine perfectly. This is reflected in the launch of their début cookbook, featuring the restaurant’s name on the cover—Dragonfly—Asian Dining Lounge—but referred to as the Dragonfly Cookbook. After years of successful cuisine perfectionism and experience, the book is a compilation of Dragonfly’s finest recipes, credited on the cover to brother and sister co-owners Brent Wong and Tania Siladi, with copy by Siladi and her daughter Jenna. Aided by a copious number of beautiful photographs and food imagery, by restaurant manager Ginny Maddock, who is a trained photographer, the book draws you to want to either dine at Dragonfly, or begin your own rustic Asian food adventure and exploration.
   The book has been painstakingly art-directed, and lavishly printed in Wellington, New Zealand; and priced at NZ$55. Wong explains that they won’t be making much on the book—and once time is factored in, the price will barely cover the cost. However, they see it as a way to share Dragonfly’s expertise. The Dragonfly Cookbook is available at Moore Wilson’s and online at www.orient-nz.com/dragonflycookbook.
   Due to the recent 7·8 Kaikōura earthquake that also affected Wellington, Dragonfly was one of the many businesses and stores closed for safety reasons. However, nearby Mojo in the St James Theatre just metres away has opened its doors for regular night time pop-up openings of Dragonfly. To see many of their regular customers quick to attend this as well as their book launch event on Tuesday night reflects how well Dragonfly is liked and respected by many in the capital, and perhaps a little change in operating venue may be great for the Christmas season.—Cecilia Xu; with Jack Yan, Publisher


Redken and Stolen Girlfriends’ Club team up in style for the holiday season


NEWS  by Cecilia Xu/December 1, 2016/2.50


Stolen Girlfriends’ Club and Redken have again joined forces to create something you won’t find anywhere else: the Redken × Stolen Girlfriends’ Club bathroom bag. The creative duo have worked together to bring you a limited-edition toiletry bathroom bag filled with Redken goods, Stolen Girlfriends-style.
   Co-founder of SGC, Marc Moore says, ‘We wanted to design something you could be proud of the next time you had your bag searched at customs. It’s tough, it’s understated and it’s fully functional and we dig it. We love that Redken always trust our direction and let us do what we do and we get to have a whole lot fun whilst doing it—dream partner!’
   Each pack contains a full sized shampoo and conditioner from one of the four Redken ranges: Color Extend Magnetics; High Rise Volume; All Soft; or Frizz Dismiss.
   The bags are available until December 31, 2016 at any Redken salon nationwide, including Rodney Wayne, retailing for NZ$58.—Cecilia Xu

An upward experience with Off & On beauty bar


NEWS  by Cecilia Xu/November 30, 2016/21.45



Cecilia Xu

I had the privilege to experience the new Off & On beauty bar’s exuberant services in Wellington. With newly opened doors at 22 Panama Street, Wellington, New Zealand, the salon shouts contemporaneity, style, and professionalism.
   The interior and graphic design of the space is vibrant and colourful, reflecting the advanced services the bar offers. Getting my quick tour, it was the first time I’d seen some of this high-tech equipment. I was briefed on the lash lift (what I was in for), their signature micro-blading browography, and introduced to services I was interested in such as brow extensions and eyeliner micro pigmentation. What a range!
   Off & On is a combination of the Off Wax & Laser service, and the On Browhouse. This is a great idea, combining these services in one place, and the name works perfectly. They are all about the experience, and not just getting the job done. I was sure pampered! The service and people were extremely friendly; I chatted away with the girl who did my lash-lift about the wedding I was about to attend in the weekend, and she told me about the exciting wedding she’d just been to. We shared some interesting stories and laughs together. This makes the experience extremely relaxing and laid-back, the lash-lift itself was a 45-minute session which flew by in a flash, and when I opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe the difference! My lashes looked so great, even my guy friend (and guys barely notice these differences) responded in surprise and awe.
   The lash-lift lasts around four to six weeks but I can say, so far, I love waking up with doll-like eyes, and mascara is definitely not necessary during this time. The quality, modernity and level of the service mean you’re paying a slight premium, but this is all detailed on their website.
   The location of Off & On is great—just pop in for a quick intro and take away a menu of what they can offer. They could become the next go-to salon for all your beauty needs! I’ve heard when one lady from the nearby office visits, the whole office comes through the week after.—Cecilia Xu





Cecilia Xu

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