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Bienvenue à nos lecteurs français: Lucire KSA now published in English and French

Filed by Jack Yan/September 16, 2021/5.41




Top and centre: Lucire KSA issue 31, in English and in French. Above: One of the articles in French inside the magazine.

I’m very grateful to the team at Lucire KSA, who have created the first Lucire in French this month. They had an opportunity to reach Francophone readers, and the first issue is now out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
   We’re currently working with the crew there on the second issue, with our translators in Antibes, France and here in Wellington, New Zealand, and the hope is we’ll eventually craft some exclusive French content. As has been the case since earlier this year, the Lucire KSA team chooses their own covers to suit their market, and inside there’s the mix of fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle and culture that readers have come to know and love.
   As a Francophone myself, I’m thoroughly impressed by the quality of translation for Lucire KSA’s September 2021 number, which has set a high standard for our team to meet for October, our anniversary month.
   My small contribution this month was that I proofed the September issue before it was completed, and contributed the French titles of a number of films. Reading Cahiers du cinéma and Première all those years ago paid off.
   What we may see from October 2021 are some of the French articles online, letting you choose which language you want to read it in. We’re having a look at the template now—after all, the current web one dates back to 2013, which is a long time in internet terms.
   It marks the fourth language for Lucire: English being the first, followed by Romanian, and two issues in Qatar in Arabic over a decade ago. We briefly experimented with a Chinese-language website, but as it had a single article, I don’t think I can count it in this tally.
   I want to thank publicly a few Francophone Wellingtonians: Carine Stewart, Sylvie Poupard-Gould, and Geneviève Rousseau Cung, all of whom have played a part in Lucire over the years, and whose actions led to us finding the translation team. As some of you know, Sylvie named Lucire in 1997—little did we know I would be writing this message 24 years later.
   It feels like another step forward for us, with our five editions: this, the original web one, our New Zealand print edition (which was our second), Lucire KSA, Lucire Rouge over in the US with Elyse Glickman and Jody Miller, and now Lucire KSA en français. I thank everyone for their support and initiative. En avant!—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


Made out of What?!: a digital magazine considers sustainability and style

Filed by Lucire staff/July 12, 2021/16.43

How to merge sustainable vision and fashion? A tough call, and many are still rushing at the answer. A few years ago the American art visionary Denise Domergue established a not-for-profit to engage the first half of that question in the context of art.
   The Made Out of What?! initiative has mounted exhibitions, sponsored artist work, and created a library of informative videos highlighting how artists have engaged and embraced the concept of circular economy. To date they’ve launched a global movement, even going so far as to build an exhibit pavilion in the centre of NYC’s Times Square, a temporary structure made from repurposed materials which attracted global attention. Now a quarterly digital magazine from MOOW tracks the project’s progress.
   The current issue addresses sustainability and style, a topic dear to the hearts of Lucire readers. You can view and download the issue here.
   More importantly, participation, a donation or membership in support of the foundation’s work will make a difference in helping to reimagine Planet Earth in the shape we all would like to see.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

 


Four faces on the rise getting noticed in social media

Filed by Lucire staff/June 4, 2021/1.31




Felix Graf


Alisia Ludwig


Saloni Agarwal


Anthony Evans

We often look to see where the emerging talent is—once upon a time we identified nascent labels that became big, and we’ve occasionally done it with models and actors, too.
   German model Alexa Breit crossed the one million mark on her Instagram, rising rapidly from 2,000 at the start of 2020, and featured five images wearing a very sheer dress from a shoot with Felix Graf to commemorate the milestone. Breit, 22, has been doing more glamour shoots of late, and it’s in the last few months that her Instagram engagement (in terms of likes and comments) has really shot up.
   Breit is one of several German models getting attention on social media, thanks to a consistent posting of pro shots. Her compatriot Alisia Ludwig, occasionally shot by the same photographers, is on 263,000, with a greater number of personal shots to engage followers. In 2019, Ludwig was named Miss Frankfurt, having netted some fans from the beauty pageant circuit.
   Also getting noticed is Tanaye White, on 38,800 at the time of writing but set to rise as one of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Rookies for this year. One of White’s most noticeable shots on her Instagram is by Saloni Agarwal, styled by Lucire’s own NY fashion director Nikko Kefalas. Agarwal and Kefalas also collaborated on several other shots that appear on Agarwal’s Instagram.
   We keep spotting Saje Nicole on more and more shoots, such as by Anthony Evans, and like White, she’s one of SI’s Rookies this year. Repped by Natural Models in LA and Wilhelmina Models in Miami (where she’s based), Nicole—actress, model and entrepreneur—is on 79,200 and rising.

 


SMoss’s Great Again charts the course of the Trump presidency

Filed by Lucire staff/April 11, 2021/2.08





Lucire travel editor Stanley Moss, writing as SMoss, has put together a limited edition volume documenting the presidency of Donald J. Trump, available in both a hardcover collectors’ edition and a smaller paperback.
   Entitled Great Again, the book begins with a cover showing a worn ‘Make America Great Again’ cap discarded on the pavement. Inside are images from the 45th presidency, including press coverage, artwork, memes and other cultural artefacts from the four-year period.
   The large-format version measures 30 cm square and retails for €102, with the price going up to €120 after April 15. The price includes international shipping. Its smaller counterpart measures 20 cm square, and is available at €51 (€60 after April 15).
   They are privately printed in Italy. Both are individually numbered hand-signed by the author.
   They are available only by special order through emailing the author at info@diganzi.com, and will not be made available on Amazon. There are some videos showing the books and their contents at the official page, www.secondguesspress.com/greatagain-book.


 


Where have the fun fashion magazine websites gone?

Filed by Jack Yan/February 6, 2021/21.45


Above: The very first site (alphabetically) linked from our Newsstand pages, Annabelle of Switzerland, complete with large lead image and smaller subsidiary ones.

I took a look at Lucire’s Newsstand reviews tonight. This section is a relic of the early dot-com days that Lucire came from (in the 1990s), when people exchanged links with each other to help with their search engine positioning, and, to make the sections look legitimate, you put your favourite websites in there as well. When it came to Lucire, naturally, we included our competitors as a resource for readers. I have to say that we were pretty choosy.
   Each time I re-examine the list, which is probably every couple of years, I’m removing sites. Many have fallen by the wayside over the last 23 years, and some that we link have content frozen in the mid-2010s. They are still good resources, so they’re staying. They might even be a good read for those countries who are still dealing with COVID-19 cases in a very real, confronting way.
   What I did remove throughout the three pages of reviews, however, were the ratings. We used to rate quite a few of the sites on content and design, because when we first started, there was a huge variety. It was a relatively new medium, so people were still experimenting. They were a guide, nothing too serious—though I still remember one New Yorker getting so upset that, if I recall correctly, he felt he had to retaliate by linking Lucire with a negative review. (The low score came in part from home page art that was only tested on certain monitors, and on higher-res ones, its elements didn’t line up, with ghastly results. Cutting up images and have them reassemble on screen was something we all did back then, to cope with slow download speeds.) I suspect all that did was send his readers intrigued about our supposed terribleness our way, who then would have found his review somewhat childish and unreliable, since we were winning awards for the online edition of Lucire. Other than that humorous blip of small-mindedness—which I suppose underlines how elements of New Yorkish Trumpism was there long before the real estate magnate ran for president—the ratings were an accepted feature of the pages for many years.
   The reason for their removal is, sadly, the lack of creativity in web design these days. I’m not saying we’re breaking new ground ourselves, though what you see here was still designed by someone on our team and not part of a template that comes with a web-page service. And don’t get me wrong on that, either: some of those templates are really, really good.
   But we’ve settled into a certain look being acceptable on the web, including mobile devices (which have limited creativity in publishing). As browsers and computers have become more powerful, publishing packages have made use of more of their capabilities. Also a good thing, because this enables more people to make websites. However, this means there is less need for someone to tinker and create something from scratch, because there are great programs that have more than half the legwork done. Then there are those developing templates for these software packages, bound somewhat by the features that form their foundation. That has led to standardization, because, like it or not, there are certain things you must do to make a site work for the range of devices that will be pointed at it nowadays.
   The ratings, then, become meaningless, if so many of the sites reviewed have a similar design concept: big lead image, smaller ones on the home page pointing to the significant articles, similarly sized text (and, in many cases, pretty big text), etc. With fonts now transmitting with web pages, it’s no longer special for a website to have bespoke typography. And with so many fonts available, many have opted to get creative on their typographic choices—which could give us some basis for separating the great from good, but outside of the design world, this seems to be an unfair criterion on which to judge.
   We could still rate for content, but to get in to the directory, the content had to be reasonably decent to begin with.
   While there’s big type on the web, the trend in print appears to be very small body type, so small that it’s uncomfortable to read. I don’t know what’s driven this, since the physiology of the human eye and what point sizes we find legible and readable haven’t changed, but needless to say it’s not one that Lucire in print has, or will, follow. Trend-wise, I hope that we might get to a more sensible balance again.


Above: A spread from Rolling Stone, November 2020, showing the small type now seen in print.

   Right now the mobile space is getting all the love, hence this standardization, even though I’ve tired of those devices for some years now. We anticipated that the tide would turn with Facebook and removed all the gadgets sourced from that site before The Observer broke the Cambridge Analytica story. I’ve tired of the privacy intrusions by some of the Big Tech websites, even though I have a Google-free Android phone; and I’ve tired of the tiny keyboards and the utterly inefficient ways of entering words on phones, and that includes voice recognition. Technology is here to serve us, not the other way round.
   Therefore, I’m not sure that pandering to the limitations of the smaller screen is the right thing to do, which I know, given the time people spend on their devices in 2021 could be an unwise decision. But maybe some of us have to take those first steps and say: there are better things to do with your day, and better ways of reading that won’t strain your eyes. Look up from your devices. Enjoy life. Find the medium where your posture’s not compromised. Even if the trend is to fixate you to your phones and strain your eyes there, and then to make life difficult for you in print with tiny type that strains your eyes even more. We want to be humane, take part in making your lives better, and not hooking you for every moment possible.
   Another reason this site doesn’t get as much mobile support as others—a reason to knock our own design score down—is that each time we create a version for handheld devices (at the turn of the century, you could download Lucire news on to PDAs like Newtons), the technology is quickly rendered obsolete: either programs are invented that distil the large images and web page layouts into something that the devices can tackle, or resolutions improve, or browsers come with a text-only mode. Worryingly, the means of having smaller devices being able to deal with traditional web pages haven’t appeared as quickly this time, which may point to a dearth of innovation in the occidental online space in the 21st century.
   That is what you get when the technology space is dominated by giants, as it leads to the suppression of innovation, something that isn’t serving humankind one bit. Standardization hasn’t just happened because we all settle: the clever inventions aren’t getting out there because the barriers to entry are high. Big Tech isn’t just about suppressing speech and getting political: it’s affecting our everyday enjoyment and appreciation of online media. YouTube and others have “exit pages” that hinder us from leaving their sites, in an attempt to keep us from departing and score themselves an extra page view that they can record (if we the people do this, the search engines penalize us). They want to keep us where they can watch us, not the other way round.
   I’d love to see that “old-fashioned” innovation return, with great websites that knock our socks off, getting 10 for content and 10 for design again. I’m sure there are clever people out there bucking the trend, and we’d love to hear from them. With all the sites out there, discovering them is as hard as ever, with search engines like Google potentially getting less reliable as their algorithms feed us content that might hook us more than help us, such as giving us political news that appeals to our own biases rather than help make us better rounded people.
   It’s really down to us to get the word out about great sites, businesses and organizations. I realize that most of us can only do this through the services Big Tech provides. You’re probably on this page because you followed a search engine result or a social media referral. But if we want to break free of them, if we want to see great sites and innovation return, then we each need to do our bit, by freeing ourselves from the dominant players that are holding things back. Get those searches from Duck Duck Go, where they’re less biased. Ask yourself whether it’s that vital to share that Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram photo, or social media comment. And, I say this without irony, let us know in the comments of some of those great online destinations that you think deserve to be linked.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


Wishing all a happy 2021!

Filed by Jack Yan/December 31, 2020/23.05

Happy 2021 to our readers and supporters!
   Twenty twenty was tough, and along with the rest of you, we felt it. But believe it or not, commercially it wasn’t our toughest year—you can look back at 2005–6 for that, and long-time readers will recall that by January 2006 there were preciously few articles being posted on the site while resources were used to prop up the print magazines as we removed certain negative elements from our business. A few good people, with whom I remain in touch, were caught in the crossfire, but we lived on.
   Fifteen years on we struck a far better balance, and it’s thanks to our team and all those who are Lucire’s creators—editors, writers, photographers, make-up artists, stylists, hairstylists, and many more—that that has been possible.
   And it wouldn’t have been worth doing without those who have blessed us with increasing readership, as we know our work is being appreciated around the globe. It’s always heartening to see Lucire being enjoyed, and recently we were given permission by Fatimah Ahmed, a wedding photographer in Al Jubail, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to show this image from her Instagram. The caption: ‘Surround yourself with the things you love.’


Fatimah Ahmed

   We thank our partners, advertisers, all those who work to print and distribute Lucire, and our supporters for coming together during a tough year and keeping everything ticking along.
   We began 2020 trying to stay positive in the wake of two deaths in the Lucire family in December 2019, and we thought our ‘2020’ graphic that adorned the January 2020 cover of Lucire KSA was a signal that things were going to be positive. It was our “keeping our chin up”. Twenty twenty, I thought, had a nice ring to it. But the superstitious would have pointed to the darkened skies from the Australian bushfires and the cancellation of lunar New Year celebrations in China as ominous, and we certainly had an unexpected year.
   Nevertheless, we count our blessings, as there still were many during 2020, and we wish everyone a happier and more prosperous 2021.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher


The cover from Lucire KSA January 2020, featuring Camille Hyde wearing House of Fluff, where we tried to keep our chin up—and the ‘2020’ motif was meant to signal a positive year!

 


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