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January 5, 2017

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

Lucire staff/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.

December 12, 2016

British glamour meets Moroccan tradition

Lucire staff/13.34



Marrakech, an historic crossroads, always surprises when east meets west, and today the city finds itself in a time of rediscovery. The recent COP convention drew global attention to the issues of climate change, the annual film festival is in full force, and all eyes turn toward the 2017 Biennale which begins next December. The breaking news that British style icon and design legend Jasper Conran has opened his first boutique hotel property here adds gloss to the blossoming Moroccan rose. L’Hôtel Marrakech is small by any standards, only five spacious luxuriously-appointed suites overlooking a courtyard garden, and can be booked in its entirety. Objects of décor selected from Conran’s personal collection artfully counterpoint the whitewashed walls and tile surfaces, garlanded by flowing voile curtains and opulent plantings. A heated lap pool hidden by banana trees nestles next to a classic burbling fountain. There’s a roof terrace with views of the Atlas Mountains, yet a sense of privacy and exclusivity prevails. This property delivers a fusion of rest and comfort, a nostalgic memory of a classic palace. A full-service kitchen is on hand to serve the finest local delicacies or a ‘perfect steak and chips’. Welcome to the medina, Jasper. It’s lovely to see your vision merge with these ancient walls!—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Editor’s note: Jasper Conran is quoted in the upcoming fourth edition of my book, What Is a Brand?, available spring 2017 from Ronzani Editori.











December 10, 2016

NGV and Dior announce House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture exhibition, starting August ’17

Lucire staff/1.57



Wayne Taylor

Top: National Gallery of Victoria and House of Dior announce House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at NGV International, opening August 2017. At the media announcement on Friday, Sandra Sundelin, Alejandra Zuluaga, Ella Bond, Maddison Lukes, and Bela Pelacio Hazewinkel model various Dior designs. Above: Ella Bond models the Dior bar suit from the spring–summer 1947 haute couture collection, Maddison Lukes wears the Francis Poulenc dress from the spring–summer 1950 haute couture collection, and Bela Pelacio Hazewinkel the Abandon dress from the autumn–winter 1948–9 collection.

The National Gallery of Victoria kept media in suspense as it led up to its unveiling of its major exhibition for 2017, The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture.
   Beginning August 27, 2017, and running through November 7, the exhibition is a collaboration between the NGV and the House of Dior, and will feature over 140 garments from the company.
   The exhibition covers everything from Dior’s New Look spring 1947 collection to contemporary designs from its first female head designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri (see Lucire issue 36). Iconic designs from the intervening years will also be shown, including work by Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, and Raf Simons. It will also feature original sketches, photographs, toiles, archival material, and multimedia displays, says the Gallery.
   The Christian Dior spring 1948 fashion parade at David Jones Sydney, which featured house models in 50 designs, is also explored. David Jones serves as the exhibition’s principal partner.
   ‘It is a great pleasure and honour for the House of Dior to be celebrating its anniversary in 2017 in Melbourne. This exhibition will be the biggest Dior retrospective ever held in Australia. It will cover 70 years of creation, presenting the emblematic work of Christian Dior and his successors, including Maria Grazia Chiuri, who arrived last July and is the first woman at the head of the couture house,’ said Sidney Toledano, president and CEO of Christian Dior Couture.
   A black-tie gala will take place on August 26, 2017, with proceeds supporting the NGV fashion and textiles’ collection.
   Tickets for the exhibition are now available from the NGV online, retailing at A$26 for adults, concession A$23·50, A$10 for children aged 5 to 15, and families (two adults and three children) for A$65.

Interview clips

With subtitles

Promotional video

The Christian Dior story (archival video)


Copyright ©1954 Mark Shaw/mptvimages.com


Christian Dior





Wayne Taylor

Above, from top: Christian Dior adjusts the accessories to the Zaire dress, on his star model Victoire, during rehearsal for the autumn–winter 1954–5 haute couture show. Christian Dior and model, c. 1950. From the media announcement, Ella Bond in the Dior bar suit from the spring–summer 1947 haute couture collection. Sandra Sundelin models the Dior Embuscade suit from the autumn–winter 1950–1 haute couture collection and Alejandra Zuluaga the Gruau gown from the autumn–winter 1949–50 haute couture collection. Alejandra Zuluaga in the Gruau gown from the autumn–winter 1949–50 haute couture collection and Maddison Lukes in the Francis Poulenc dress from the spring–summer 1950 haute couture collection. Maddison Lukes wears Dior’s Francis Poulenc dress from his spring–summer 1950 haute couture collection.

December 7, 2016

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

Cecilia Xu/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


November 21, 2016

News in brief: Chris Scott, the Rees Hotel win international awards; Barceló announces new brands

Lucire staff/11.18




Above, from top: The Rees Hotel Queenstown’s Executive Lake View Penthouse. The Barceló Bavaro Grand Resort. Church Road Winery winemaker Chris Scott.

Church Road Winery winemaker Chris Scott, whom Lucire had the pleasure to meet earlier this year as he introduced his Tom vintages, has been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Winestate magazine. Scott also won the title in 2013. Winestate also awarded Scott’s Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2014 with the Syrah/Shiraz of the Year trophy and New Zealand Wine of the Year trophy.
   The Winestate New Zealand Winemaker of the Year award is given to the individual who achieves the highest score from the top 10 different wines judged throughout the year.
   Another international win was scored by the Rees Hotel Queenstown, which was judged Best New Zealand Ski Hotel at the 2016 World Ski Awards in Kitzbühel, Tirol, Austria. The awards are considered ski tourism’s most coveted prizes. The Rees Hotel is within easy reach of Coronet Peak, the Remarkables, Treble Cone and Cardona, while its complimentary ski concierge services cater to the most demanding of skiers. The Rees team can help with arranging skiing or snowboarding packages, gear hire, lessons and heli-skiing.
   Barceló Hotel Group will create new brands to complement the parent one: Royal Hideaway Luxury Hotels & Resorts, Occidental Hotels & Resorts, and Allegro Hotels. After acquiring Occidental, which brought the Spanish-HQed company into Aruba and Colombia, Barceló has had to rethink its structure. Royal Hideaway (seven per cent of its portfolio) is the top brand, with luxury resorts; Barceló Hotels and Resorts represents affordable but upscale resorts, with U-Spa Health and Wellness Centres, and includes its flagship Barceló Emperatriz; Occidental Hotels & Resorts is for families, friends and couples with adventure inclusions; and Allegro Hotels (five per cent) is aimed at budget travellers.

November 16, 2016

Skilful execution by tomorrow’s stars at New Zealand School of Dance’s 2016 Graduation Season

Jack Yan/11.39




Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Meistens Mozart. An excerpt from Political Mother. Pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty.

The New Zealand School of Dance’s Graduation Season once again brings an expertly executed programme, mixing genres from classical to modern to experimental. Among the programme tonight were three premières: Helgi Tomasson’s Meistens Mozart was performed for the first time in New Zealand, while Amber Haines’s Incant and Jiři Bubeniček’s Dance Gallantries received their world premières on opening night of the season at Te Whaea.
   Meistens Mozart started the evening and showed that, with the right arrangement and choreography, the German language could be made cheerful. Songs by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Bernhard Flies and Jakob Haibel, sung by the Tölzer Boys’ Choir, accompanied the six dancers, the standout of whom was George Liang. Liang had previously been at Canada’s National Ballet School, and we had seen him perform last month at the Republic of China’s National Day celebration. There were no opening-night jitters from any of the six, who instantly transported us to an alpine society, celebrating springtime love, courtship and playfulness.
   The all-male He Taonga—a Gift was an energetic and intense performance where drumbeats from Whirimako Black’s ‘Torete te Kiore’ soundtrack sparked sudden moves, a demonstration of control and strength from the 14 dancers. Choreographed by Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete, He Taonga was created for the School in 2009 and reprised tonight.
   Opening the second section, Laura Crawford and Yuri Marques were like delicate dolls in their pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, Act III, with the choreography after Marius Petipa. Marilyn Rowe, OBE staged and coached, while Qi Huan was répétiteur. This was a tough ballet piece to get right and the pair got stronger as they performed, gaining confidence and drawing us into their romance.
   Taking a complete tangent into modern dance was the solo performance of Glitch, a new work from NZSD tutor Victoria Columbus, whose talents we most recently saw at the World of Wearable Art, where she serves as director of choreography. The movements themselves were created by graduate Connor Masseurs, who performed the dance, playing the part of a “glitching” robotic man short-circuiting on stage with skilful, shuddering movements. Masseurs completely absorbed us with his solo: it wasn’t just his limbs that Masseurs controlled, he extended the idea to facial movements, inventively finding new ways to glitch. Masseurs first performed the dance at the Grand Théâtre at the Maison de la Culture de Tahiti as part of a gala at the Académie de Danse Annie Fayn.
   Incant was mysterious, brooding, and ethereal: this all-female work saw dancers come together to generate new shapes, conveying to us notions of clouds, trees in a forest, or tunnels, at times passing a lit sphere between them. Haines’s choreography was meant to question traditional notions of beauty and got us successfully focusing on the collective moves of the dancers. ‘This world,’ she notes in the programme, ‘invokes a mesmerizing state of collective consciousness and celebrates the power and luminous beauty of shared intention.’ A captivating work, it ended the second set of dances.
   Dance Gallantries was another more traditional work, with 10 dancers telling more playful stories of romance, complemented by Otto Bubeniček’s colourful costume design and solo violin music by J. S. Bach.
   A group of 12 performed an extract from Political Mother, the evening’s one political work with jarring music and clever choreography by Hofesh Shechter. A couple merrily folk-dances in a town square, happy to be part of their society, but are they genuinely happy or manipulated by the state? Their expressions seem to suggest the latter, fooled into believing that all is well and happy in their naïveté. The action moves on to a prison, where the music is muffled and dancers ape being restrained by either arms or ankles. The final scene, with a large group of dancers back in the town, show that the entire society has succumbed to the illusion, raising their arms in acceptance. It makes you question about the times we live in, and whether intellectual discourse is suppressed in favour of simpler ideas, a population told to be happy without really knowing why.
   Finally, Tchaikovsky’s music from The Nutcracker was excerpted for the upbeat Tempo di Valse, with the NZSD returning to a ballet to finish the evening. The ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ was instantly recognizable, the 15 dancers showing classical movements. Nadine Tyson choreographed, while the colourful traditional costumes were designed by Donna Jefferis.
   Depending on the show, the pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty may be replaced by Jack Carter’s Pas de deux romantique, with music by Rossini; while Glitch may give way to The Wanderer, choreographed by Columbus and perforned by Liang.
   The season runs from November 16 to 26 at Te Whaea in Wellington, New Zealand, with prices ranging from NZ$18 to NZ$33. Tickets can be booked at the New Zealand School of Dance, or online at nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/book-tickets. We’d rate it another must-see, especially to catch some rising stars—we understand that some are off overseas, already snatched up by dance companies.—Jack Yan, Publisher

October 24, 2016

Travel editor’s diary: a day at the recolta

Lucire staff/22.34




Paula Sweet

Yesterday, 10.15 a.m., reading on my tablet online the latest insult to democracy from the Republican nominee, words uttered hours earlier across the sea, and the phone rings. It’s the Principessa Zaramella asking if we can be ready in ten minutes to drive out to the country for the recolta, the annual olive-picking at a friend’s estate. I cannot refuse. The harvest happens at the last minute every year on a date which can’t be predicted, when family and friends are summoned to the orchards for a decidedly ancient experience rendered in real time. It’s a one-hour ride into a forgotten age, leaving the industrial neighbourhoods which surround Vicenza, venturing into the rolling landscapes and alluvial valleys nestled between extinct volcanoes, rambling through mediæval villages and vineyards of orange and purple leaves, into the zone of two-lane roads and ill-marked switchbacks until all we see are storybook vistas punctuated by red roofs and the occasional lofty campanile. A hard left onto a gravel road, up a wooded hill and we find ourselves surrounded by terraces of olive trees thick with ripe black fruit, an excellent harvest this year.
   Nets have been spread below the trees and people of all ages are releasing the olives from the trees, picking by hand, or raking the boughs, green and yellow and black projectiles raining down on us, the pleasurable thud-thud-thud. The Italian language surrounds us—there’s no rushing the process, and people take the time to converse, opine, joke as bins are filled.
   Unlike berry-picking, you can’t eat what you retrieve. One is made to wait: the olives won’t be pressed today, though in a month the principessa will call us (no doubt at the last minute) to say that a litre of the production is waiting for us when we can come fetch it. For the moment we exist in the present, outside the bounds of our hand-held devices, breathing the fresh air, communing with the branches, listening to the children singing folk songs among the trees.
   At no particular moment comes the call ‘A mangiare!’ Everyone drops what they are doing and trudges up the hill, where a table has been set with everything delectable in the world: local cheeses, breads, pomegranates and mandarins and apples in baskets, sausages, bottles of Nero d’Avola and Cannonau di Sardegna and wine I dare not touch from the local production in unlabelled bottles which will surely deliver the Hangover of the Century to the uninitiated. This followed by huge plates of food, pasta fagioli garlanded with fresh olive oil, an enormous salad of garden greens, pepperoncinis, radicchio di Terviso tarte, fritelli of Mozzarella, penne al sugo. The children retire to the chairs on the lawn, while the adults repair to impromptu seating under the arbor, which delivers a view of the pristine valley below. Cross-talk, teasing, the constant discussion of food, familiar faces coming and going, the casual discovery that some of these people actually speak English, at least a tolerable version of it peppered with como-se-dices and the occasional attempt at French. There is no attendant traffic noise, no recorded music, no phone sounds, no sirens, no voices of madness or conflict, only the murmur of conversation, mostly about food. Thence the dessert. Local rosegota, a hard hand-made flat cake, rum-laced crema di mascarpone, apricot tart, local thick cakes with fluffy insides, chocolate biscotti, after which a tray of espresso appears. A kind of drunken dizziness surrounds us, visions of shepherds napping under trees or vague trysts among the vines. But our host knows the rhythms need to return and with a sharp ‘A lavoro!’ we are back to the trees, back to our rakes and bins, for more time with the harvest. The light fades, we decelerate, and a languid pace for the last hours among the trees.
   Paulina, who chauffeured us out to the recolta, mentions that Arqua is not far away, a perfectly preserved mediæval village where Petrarch lived out his last days. Would we like to visit on our way home, see his house? A half-hour later we find ourselves wandering the ancient hillside streets, happening upon the Casa del Petrarca, then taking coffees at a typical enoteca. It is night when we exit the cafe and climb the old lanes back to the car. A night ride to Vicenza, back to the flat.
   As I close my eyes at home last night, I dream of the Greeks and their amphoræ, of the Romans at the harvest, and of Petrarch. I dream of compelling Donald Trump to pick olives for an afternoon, away from his Twitter feed and the screaming masses. I make him listen to other people’s conversations, rake the boughs and collect the olives and I tell him he must wait a month for his litre of olive oil.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor












Paula Sweet

October 17, 2016

Royal New Zealand Ballet’s ’17 line-up: triple Academy Award winner James Acheson designs for Romeo and Juliet

Lucire staff/0.01



Ross Brown

Top: The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Carmen, premièring on February 16, 2017. Above: A new version of Romeo and Juliet, premièring on August 16.

Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director Francesco Ventriglia has announced his second full season for the company, kicking off 2017 with Two Ballets by Roland Petit: Carmen with L’Arlésienne, premièring in Christchurch. Both have scores by Georges Bizet: Carmen was composed for the opéra comique in 1875 before Petit adapted it into a ballet in 1949; Petit created the ballet for L’Arlésienne in 1974, using the score originally composed for the play. They have been performed internationally, though not in New Zealand till the RNZB performances running from February 16 to April 1 in eight centres.
   The RNZB will perform three of Alexander Ekman’s works—Cacti, Tuplet and Episode 31—in a full programme from May 17 to June 15, in Wellington, Auckland, Napier, Christchurch, and Dunedin. For Cacti, the RNZB will be joined by the New Zealand String Quartet.
   The pièce de résistance for 2017 will be the Ryman Healthcare Season of Romeo and Juliet, in a new version by Ventriglia. Using the score by Sergei Prokofiev from 1935, the new work features set and costume design by three-time Academy Award winner James Acheson (The Last Emperor, Dangerous Liaisons, Restoration) working on his first ballet. Working with Auckland Live, the RNZB will offer a live audio description of this ballet for blind and visually impaired patrons on September 3. The season kicks off August 16 and runs till September 24, reaching nine centres.
   Ventriglia said in a release, ‘Not only does this bold programme celebrate international talents like France’s greatest-ever choreographer Roland Petit and the contemporary genius of Alexander Ekman, it’s also about creating great art here in New Zealand with a new version of Romeo and Juliet. The talented dancers of the RNZB and I look forward to bringing you another year of world class productions. See you at the theatre.’
   Executive director Frances Turner added, ‘It’s a big and beautiful year which will take the incredible artists of the RNZB around New Zealand for 70 performances in 16 cities and towns. We are proud to be taking the highest quality art to the widest possible audience.’
   The RNZB will help the New Zealand School of Dance, its official school, celebrate its 50th anniversary with a season in Wellington on November 24–5, while Tutus on Tour with Ballet in a Box return to the regions through the year.
   More information can be found at the RNZB website.

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