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July 11, 2014

For Every Minute débuts mid-winter merino line; Queenstown prepares for Clicquot in the Snow

Lucire staff/2.22

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Jack Yan

For Every Minute held its mid-winter VIP evening at Coco Wellington last night, with co-founder Kenzy Cheeseman holding court, and an even more lavish spread of macarons, guimauves and madeleines from French Cancan, teas from Harney & Sons, wine from Nautilus and water from Waiwera put on for guests. Ruth Armishaw performed live jazz numbers, and neighbouring Woodstock florist provided the flowers, giving the event a classier ambiance.
   As with For Every Minute’s previous event, models, and Cheeseman and Armishaw, were dressed in the company’s silk, loungewear, pyjamas and sleepwear, but there were more giveaways, including beauty treatment vouchers and silk eye masks.
   Cheeseman used the event to dĂ©but For Every Minute’s mid-winter merino line, which to our eyes looked even more comfortable than the silk designs.
   In other antipodean news, Best Western has announced that Harley–Davidson riders will have more travel perks across its 67 participating Australia and New Zealand properties.
   HOG members who sign up to Best Western Rewards will be automatically upgraded to Platinum status, with 10 per cent bonus points on each stay, a welcome gift on arrival, complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late
check-out when available, as well as extra 10 per cent off their accommodation.
   Best Western International and Harley–Davidson extended their global partnership for three years in 2013.
   Finally, Veuve Clicquot will hold its Clicquot in the Snow celebration from July 30 to August 3 in Queenstown, New Zealand.
   The event, which has been held in Tignes and Aspen, sees Queenstown host everything from the Clicquot brunches at Pier 19, Steamers’ Wharf, from July 30 to 31, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (NZ$35), with a special session with guest DJ Vincent Hanna on August 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the Clicquot Snow Bar at the Coronet Peak main deck (10 a.m.–4 p.m.), where guests can get a bespoke menu matched with a flute of Veuve Clicquot and a complimentary pair of Clicquot touch-screen gloves; the Clicquot dĂ©gustation dinner on August 1 at the Wakatipu Grill at the Hilton (NZ$150; call 64 3 450-9400 to book); an evening with Kathryn Wilson and Veuve Clicquot, where the designer will showcase her spring–summer 2014–15 shoe collection at the Heliworks Hangar on August 2 (NZ$50, see www.kathrynwilson.com for tickets); the after-party at the Bunker on July 31 from 9 p.m.; and the late-night sessions at Barmuda from on August 1 from 9 p.m.









Jack Yan

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June 7, 2014

Destination datelines: Catalina, Paris, Gurgaon, Punta Ala

Lucire staff/13.57

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©1964 Bettmann/Corbis


©1966 Hulton–Deutsch/Corbis

Top The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night, 1964. Above George Harrison marries Pattie Boyd in 1966.

Catalina Island, California
Hard to believe it’s been a half-century since the premiĂšre of A Hard Day’s Night. To commemorate the date, the Catalina Island Museum will mount a special 50th anniversary screening of the legendary movie starring the Beatles on Sunday, July 6 in Avalon’s Casino Theatre at 7 p.m. Lucire loves the vintage dĂ©co interior. On hand to take questions will be author Pattie Boyd (right), who you can surely interrogate about her life and times as wife of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and her best-selling memoir, Wonderful Tonight. Pattie exudes energy and personality, and loves to laugh. Watch for her in a famous scene which takes place on a train: she’s the blonde girl in a school uniform, who flirts with George.


Paris, France
A new website has launched this week which could simplify the task of finding lodging in this capital city: www.myboutiquehotel.paris/fr/. It looks like a pretty cleverly designed and attractive site, listing over 250 boutique hotels. You can select by price, star rating, location, nearby landmarks, areas of interest, but the kicker is the promise of a real live human being person available on the phone to assist you. We’d be interested to learn of anyone’s experiences with this site. Good luck with your launch!

Gurgaon, Haryana, India
While the city, population 20 million, stews under a layer of world-class pollution (mostly the by-product of wood fires), the problem of traffic compounds the subject. Gurgaon excels in congestion, and this week some like-minded technology companies are rolling out Folksvagn, a cheekily-named ride-sharing solution in the Palam Vihar and Sector 22–3 area. It’s also a vote of support for Gurgaon start-ups like our friends at Nagarro, one of a group deploying modern mindsets in the interest of transforming urban mobility with programmes like this. If you’re looking for a sustainable and socially responsible ride to work in Gurgaon, this may be your answer.

Punta Ala, Italy
This week, Baglioni reopens La Vela, a classic architectural monument originally known as a swinging disco in 1965. You can see its signature roofline on the very exclusive beach here. A glorious renovation transforms the space into a 160-seat restaurant and spa. Ideally situated among a cypress grove, with astounding views of the nearby islands Elba, Capraia and Pianosa, the airy infinity terrace promises to be an ideal location for sunset beverages and prime people-watching. GM Luigi Magnani promises ‘a soft club’ experience for evenings.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor


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May 24, 2014

The 2014 Prix Pictet awarded in London

Lucire staff/5.17

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Paula Sweet

Top Michael Schmidt’s winning installation. Above Stephen Barber and Kofi Annan during the award announcement.

A gala presentation ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on the night of May 21 named Berlin-based photographer Michael Schmidt as the winner of the eighth annual Prix Pictet. The award endeavours to promote the message of sustainability to a global audience via the medium of photography. This year’s theme, Consumption, had a record number of applicants and was decided from a shortlist of eleven finalists. Schmidt’s assemblage of 60 photographs arrayed in a huge grid (finalists are given 21 mÂČ of exhibition space), entitled Lebensmittel, engaged the tensions of food production and transport with a range of provocative images.
   The SFr100,000 award (US$112,000) was presented by Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the UN, and Honorary President of the Prix Pictet. Pictet Group, founded in 1805, is based in GenĂšve. The award for Mr Schmidt, unable to attend due to illness, was accepted by Tate Modern director Chris Dercon.
   The finalists remain on exhibit at the V&A through June 14.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor



Paula Sweet

Top The reception before the award announcement. Above Chris Dercon, Kofi Annan, Jacques de Saussure, Stephen Barber.

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May 2, 2014

Chanel reopens at la Mistralée in Saint-Tropez for the summer

Lucire staff/11.48

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Chanel has opened its ephemeral boutique in Saint-Tropez at la MistralĂ©e (1, avenue du GĂ©nĂ©ral Leclerc, 83990 Saint-Tropez) for the fifth year, with a colourful dĂ©cor inspired by the December 2013 MĂ©tiers d’Art Paris–Dallas collection.
   On entry, Chanel shows off its prĂȘt-Ă -porter, with the ceiling featuring a millefeuille of translucent paper. Reflecting the Paris–Dallas collection, the rooms are in beige, brown, rose, garnet, sunflower, white and black. Each features a different collection: bags, jewellery, small leather goods, and shoes each occupy one; the watch space features the J12, PremiĂšre, Mademoiselle PrivĂ© and high jewellery items.
   In keeping with Saint-Tropez, La MistralĂ©e has a pool, with chairs and parasols, and gardens. Chanel has placed its beachwear, towels and high summer accessories at the pool house. Skin care, make-up and fragrance will join the rest of the collections at the boutique in coming weeks.
   It will remain open till October 2014.


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Naomi Watts, Nicola Bulgari, Veronica Bulgari—VIPs at Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces in Houston

Lucire staff/1.38

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Michelle Watson/CatchLight Group LLC


Chinh Phan/CatchLight Group LLC

Bulgari opened its 130 Years of Masterpieces exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science with Bulgari vice-chairman Nicola Bulgari, his daughter Veronica Bulgari, and actress Naomi Watts in attendance, along with Wendi Grimes, chair of the Museum, Joel Bartsch, its president and CEO, and Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.
   The exhibition begins May 2 and runs through October 5, 2014.
   The function on Wednesday brought together 220 guests at the Museum, who enjoyed an Italian dinner in a setting evoking the Scalinata della TrinitĂ  dei Monti (the Spanish Steps). Modern pianist Elizaveta (a.k.a. Elly K.) performed live at the venue. Other guests included Lynn Wyatt, Joanne King Herring, Sima Ladjevardian, Greggory Burk, Isabel David, Becca Cason Thrash, Christina Girard, J. J. Watts, Divya Brown, Claire Cormier Thielke, Ashley Menzies, David Grimes, Valerie Sarofim, Annie Amante, Mickey Rosmarin, Alberto Festa, Linda McReynolds, Scotty and Jana Arnoldy, and Monica Hartland Blaisdell.
   The exhibition features c. 150 pieces and is said to be the most substantial Bulgari retrospective featuring the Heritage Collection. Many pieces are from the personal collection of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and others, some which have never been seen publicly before, are on loan from Wyatt, Herring and Girard. Sketches, photographs, archival materials and interactive displays provide context.
   â€˜The exhibit has came to Houston for 130 years of the company because Houston is a mirror of Bulgari values—it’s a bold, powerful, daring entrepreneur city, always forward thinking in exactly what Bulgari stands for in the world of jewellery, so it’s a great match,’ said Babin in a release.
   Naomi Watts wore a stunning one-of-a-kind Serpenti necklace from Bulgari’s high jewellery collection (a sleek double-coil diamond Serpenti in white gold with two pear shaped diamonds [1·04 ct], emeralds [48·67 ct], and pavĂ© diamonds [170·50 ct]), and carried a Bulgari cocktail evening pochette in palm embroidered silver and gold. Wyatt wore an 8 ct white gold necklace (with 29 emerald cut diamonds [57·45 ct] and 567 round brilliant cut diamonds [44·22 ct]), as well as an 18 ct white gold bracelet (12 emerald diamonds [16·95 ct] and 374 round brilliant cut diamonds [23·51 ct]), and an 18 ct white gold diamond bracelet (28·92 ct). Herring wore an 18 ct white gold necklace with sapphires (93·64 ct), peridots (161·85 ct), milky quartzes and round brilliant diamonds (21·29 ct), and matching earrings.


Michelle Watson/CatchLight Group LLC



Chinh Phan/CatchLight Group LLC





Michelle Watson/CatchLight Group LLC



Chinh Phan/CatchLight Group LLC

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April 17, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s CoppĂ©lia expertly executed at every level

Jack Yan/13.46

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Royal New Zealand Ballet


Evan Li/Royal New Zealand Ballet

Top A publicity photograph from the Royal New Zealand Ballet for Coppélia, with Swanhilda, Franz and Coppélia. Above Kohei Iwamato as Franz and Lucy Green as Swanhilda from the premiÚre.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s CoppĂ©lia, which opened in Wellington on Thursday, is a lovingly designed and staged production that will suit family audiences.
   Set in a mountain village in Hungary, the RNZB’s production of CoppĂ©lia retains its well known storyline and period setting, with beautiful sets and costumes. The work of the late, award-winning designer Kristian Fredrikson is particularly poignant in the second act, inside Dr Coppelius’s house, where his seven very distinctive automatons, as well as CoppĂ©lia, rest. Two incomplete mannequins hung from the top. The third act, with the wedding scene, is another testament to Fredrikson’s design ability, evident through the villagers’ and Franz and Swanhilda’s wedding costumes. Jason Morphett’s lighting lifted the story, making it easy to follow—and it was the second act, too, with its moody atmosphere, where his work shone.
   Martin Vedel, ballet master on CoppĂ©lia, stayed true to the core of the story, with classical and folkloric dances playing out the plot. The energetic divertissements in the third act were perfectly performed. Vedel was, according to his notes, aware of the pre-modern, romantic period in which CoppĂ©lia was created, and sought to retain its beauty, but tightened up the storyline and more clearly portrayed Dr Coppelius—performed by Sir Jon Trimmer, who first danced it for the RNZB in 1964—as a social outcast.
   The 21st-century touches are, then, in the theatrics of the performance rather than the look and feel, although the limbless, faceless automaton, beautifully performed by Paul Mathews, could feel at home in science fiction to modern audiences.
   One cannot help but smile at the performances—after all, CoppĂ©lia is a happy, comedic ballet, and we noticed that the children on opening night enjoyed it as much as the adults. Lucy Green and Kohei Iwamoto were the well cast leads tonight, as Swanhilda and Franz respectively, dancing their roles expertly—and deservedly receiving standing ovations from some of the audience. Unsurprisingly, Sir Jon received similar acclaim, and Joseph Skelton as Zoltan, both in his emphatic solo and his dance with Katherine Grange as Ima, brought immediate reactions as well as loud applause at the end.
   Orchestra Wellington faithfully performed the LĂ©o Delibes score.
   After Wellington, CoppĂ©lia tours to to Palmerston North, Invercargill, Dunedin, Napier, Rotorua, Takapuna, and Auckland, with the season ending on May 31 inclusive. Further information on dates and venues, as well as booking, can be found at the RNZB website.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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April 15, 2014

Open season on European tourists

Lucire staff/11.31

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Hugh Llewelyn/Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence

The season for extra vigilance is upon us, as tourists gear up for coming vacation travel. Already a friend was robbed in Marseille a few weeks ago, her US passport stolen from a room safe (!) in a five-star resort. Criminal gangs target older tourists, and they’re aware that local authorities can’t do much after the fact. Even a consular official said it was useless to report thefts unless a report for insurance is needed. A friend of ours, standing outside the Venezia train station, got her wallet lifted while a supposed vendor was tossing those obnoxious fluorescent plastic blob toys, brushing close to her, and said arrivederci to €150.
   Remember that train stations are fertile terrain for pickpockets. The bad guys know everybody’s passing through. Watch out for shifty types lurking among waiting crowds, and any over-familiar approaches. Ask: do I know you? Keep your bags closed, and tucked under your arm! Be suspicious of distractions, and move away from aggressive people—fast. Other danger zones: the Champs-ÉlysĂ©es in Paris and definitely the Louvre, now overrun with snatch-and-grab gangs.
   Here’s a reminder of some of the more common scams and risks to watch for.

‱ The ring trick: somebody in front of you picks up a gold ring from the ground, holds it up to you. Yours? Say no! They’ll try and get you to give them some money for it—later you’ll discover it’s worth nothing.
‱ The leather jacket guy: claims he’s a salesman on a business trip. ‘Want to buy a good quality coat really cheap since you’re such a nice person?’ Hold on to your billfold!
‱ The bird poop trick: apologetic person spills ketchup on you, maybe says it was the work of a nearby pigeon, pulls out napkin, tries to help you clean it off. While they’re doing it, they lift your wallet.
‱ Swarming gypsy kids: they surround you asking questions, gesturing, making noise. In the pandemonium, they grab for your bag.

   The season for crime starts now, and lines for replacement passports at consulates peak in June and July. Don’t carry expensive bags unless you want to risk having the bottom slashed. Definitely don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket. Consider a good money belt with a strong nylon strap, wear it under your jacket, and above all else, remember what Mom taught you: don’t talk to strangers.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

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Filed under: Lucire, Paris, society, travel, Volante
February 27, 2014

Hacienda in winter

Lucire staff/2.47

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Paula Sweet

Greetings from Desert Hot Springs, where mid-80s winter temperatures, clear skies and brilliant sun serve as antidote to the grey chill we left behind in Europe only two weeks ago. Here in California we checked into Hacienda Hot Springs, our favourite secret hideaway, for the therapeutic waters and tranquil setting our high-velocity lifestyle craved. It’s great to be back and decelerate in a zone of rejuvenation.
   Once again GM Karl Stober personally welcomed us to the property. He showed off the last of the season’s nubby Mexican lemons from Hacienda’s modest orchard. Karl, who moonlights as a screenwriter and music journalist, walked us through the grounds, lush green, floral and palm fronds on all sides, past the well where the hot water gathers at 130°F before it reaches the 94°F big pool and the 104°F hot tub. Breakfast was out on the table, hearty granola, fresh fruit, aromatic coffee, and the waffle iron at the ready. We loved room 7, last stop at the end of the passage way, with its tiny patio and beckoning hammock. This tiny gem of a property sleeps only 12 at full occupancy, so exclusivity reigns and privacy prevails.
   Hacienda offers a special rate for Facebook friends. A phone call in advance will get you a special three-night winter deal for Lucire readers through June 2014, with the third night at a 30 per cent discount.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Hacienda Hot Springs Inn
12885 Eliseo Road
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
USA
Telephone 1 760 251-2885
haciendahotsprings.com



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