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April 17, 2014

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

Jack Yan/13.46


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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March 23, 2014

Former Miss Universe New Zealand titleholders feature in upcoming Lucire editorial

Lucire staff/23.20



Two former Miss Universe New Zealand titleholders will appear in an upcoming feature in the printed edition of Lucire, with New York-based photographer Jon Moe travelling to Los Angeles to capture the pair for the magazine.
   Laural Barrett (2007) and Samantha Lochhead (nĂ©e Powell, 2008) both live in the LA area, with Barrett pursuing her musical career and Lochhead recently arriving with her husband, footballer Tony Lochhead.
   In addition to Moe, the crew consisted of Jamie Dorman on make-up, Carina Tafulu stepping in at the eleventh hour for hair, Lei Phillips on styling (assisted by Janice Gonzalez). The venue, Riviera 31, is a cocktail lounge at the Sofitel luxury hotel in West Hollywood, arranged through Pivotal PR.
   Lucire publisher Jack Yan and fashion editor Sopheak Seng guided and coordinated from head office in New Zealand, with the aid of US west coast editor Elyse Glickman.
   The current issue, no. 32, is on sale now and features a cover shot by Claire Harrison in the UK.
   Entries are open, meanwhile, for Miss Universe New Zealand 2014, after the new consortium put the event back on television in New Zealand after two decades.




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March 16, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet prepares a unique, 21st-century Coppélia

Lucire staff/2.47


Above Sir Jon Trimmer and Lucy Green in Coppélia.

The comic ballet CoppĂ©lia is next on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s programme, opening in Wellington on April 17.
   This 21st century version, staged by RNZB ballet master Martin Vedel, is unique, with the presentation sharpened up while retaining its core messages of love, devotion and friendship.
   Vedel said, ‘When RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel asked me to stage CoppĂ©lia I was instantly intrigued—it is a ballet in which I have performed many times both as a student of the Royal Danish Ballet School and later with the Royal Danish Ballet. It is a wonderful ballet for all audiences with exhilarating character dances, including the show-stopping CsĂĄrdĂĄs [Hungarian folk dance], wonderful classical solos and pas de deux, to a memorable score.’
   Production design is by the late Kristian Fredrikson, whose work featured in the RNZB’s recent production of Swan Lake. The original score is by LĂ©o Delibes.
   The story revolves around a life-sized automaton who is mistaken for a real girl.
   Also noteworthy is Sir Jon Trimmer reprising the role of Dr CoppĂ©lius, the inventor. Sir Jon first performed the role for the RNZB in 1964, and danced it again in 1983.
   After Wellington, CoppĂ©lia tours to to Palmerston North, Invercargill, Dunedin, Napier, Rotorua, Takapuna, and Auckland.

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March 14, 2014

Max Fashions’ Lambton Quay store a more inviting space

Lucire staff/23.53



Top Lighter woods and brass give the revamped Max store a more retreat-like feel. Above Max’s Emma Tate, down from Auckland for the event.

Max Fashions’ Lambton Quay store is looking refreshed in Wellington, as Lucire checked out the new space earlier in March at its press opening.
   The logo may be familiar, and the façade isn’t that different to what customers are used to, but inside, the store has a far more welcoming feel.
   Thanks to a canny use of materials (maple and brass) and the available space, the store now feels more homely. Max’s description of a ‘relaxed retreat’ is not far off: when you get inside, especially further down the back of the store, there is a sense of private spaces and a less “commercial” atmosphere to what existed before. Max has also been careful to divide the clothes into themes, helping customers interact based around lifestyle rather than types of garments.
   Cheshire Architects’ Nat Cheshire and Emily Priest were behind the redesign. The new store reopened on February 25.

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Filed under: fashion, Lucire, New Zealand
March 4, 2014

Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director Ethan Stiefel to leave September 1

Lucire staff/9.13


Bill Cooper

In a surprise announcement, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s artistic director, Ethan Stiefel, has said he will leave the company on September 1.
   Stiefel has been with the RNZB since 2011. Under his artistic leadership, the RNZB has enjoyed record-breaking seasons, including 38,000 tickets sold for the Vodafone season of Swan Lake in 2013. His production of Giselle, created in collaboration with Johan Kobborg, was the subject of a feature film. The company also toured China in its 60th anniversary year in 2013, and the US last month, receiving very positive reviews. Under Stiefel, the RNZB increased its number to 36 full-time members (up from 32), while the standards have also risen. During his tenure, Nigel Gaynor was appointed musical director.
   In a release, Stiefel said, ‘Since 2011, I have enjoyed growing alongside the RNZB, and I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to live and work in New Zealand. Despite how rewarding the experience has been, it has proved difficult on a personal level to be so far away from family and friends. Furthermore, the distance has also made it challenging to explore other professional projects that have been presented to me, without taking too much time away from the company. For these reasons, I will be leaving the RNZB on September 1st. I cannot thank everyone in the organization enough for their support, and I look forward to seeing the company continue to evolve and achieve great things.’
   RNZB chair, Candis Craven, said, ‘Ethan has made an incredible contribution to the RNZB. It was his vision and energy that most impressed us when we interviewed him for the role in 2011 and he has delivered that in spades, and so much more.’
   Programming is in place through to the end of 2015, including two world premiĂšres.
   Stiefel’s last season will feature Allegro: Five Short Ballets, which opens in Auckland on July 30. Stiefel’s fiancĂ©e, Gillian Murphy, who is the RNZB’s principal guest artist, will dance in Allegro. The RNZB says it hopes to continue its association with her in the future.
   CoppĂ©lia, now in rehearsal, will premiĂšre in Wellington on April 17.
   A new artistic director is expected to be appointed by September 1.

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Rembrandt and Wayward Heir release autumn–winter 2014 menswear looks

Lucire staff/1.56



Top Rembrandt is in a blue mood for winter. Above Wayward Heir takes on a indie musical inspiration for the season.

Rembrandt and Wayward Heir have launched their autumn–winter 2014 collections, available on- and offline.
   Rembrandt has a blue mood, with refined tailoring, including a blue dinner jacket to help men stand out this season. Designer Jonathon Hall says the blue ties in with the season’s key fashion colours of burgundy and earthy brown.
   The label says its other key pieces are the Cooper jacket and Lotus trousers, in blue Reda Italian merino, and the navy and red Caxton jacket. The emphasis is on warm, soft looks for the season, with a slimmer fit in the Lewis and Cornwall jackets, and the Astor trouser.
   Wayward Heir, meanwhile, has a musical inspiration from indie, garage, punk and contemporary music in its An Heirful collection.
   Its press kit included a cool electric guitar lapel pin from the range, and an LP with a Beatles-like logo—although playing the LP we were entertained to the sounds of Strauss waltzes for the afternoon.
   But it’s the fashion that speaks greater volumes and designer Suzanne Roff says there’s a Pete Doherty moodiness to her winter ’14 vision.
   There are vintage tweed checks in the Proto jacket and blue flannel for the peak-lapelled Milano-Punk skinny suit. Wayward Heir also has a slim-fit double-breasted jacket which it dubs Carnaby, and narrow is the order of the day with the Punk trouser and Garage jean. Prints feature images of cassettes and ghetto-blasters, and there’s under-collar guitar embroidery on jackets and suits.




Above Looks from Rembrandt’s autumn–winter 2014. Below Wayward Heir has a modern, youthful style.


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January 24, 2014

Lucire’s Instagram round-up, January 24

Lucire staff/11.13

Kicking off this week’s most interesting and stylish Instagrams is Australian blogger Sara Donaldson of Harper & Harley, photographed by Ana Suntay-Tañedo. Finding the ideal outfit for summer work and socializing is a toughie, especially with the longer days—so to solve this, Donaldson has chosen an ensemble of a Zimmermann dress, Windsor Smith sandles and a Givenchy bag, encapsulating the season’s look well.
   But it’s not summer everywhere. Kristina Bazan of Swiss blog Kayture headed to Paris to shoot a fine jewellery video for Love Gold, and she is snapped outside Chanel at the Place de la VendĂŽme. The look’s spot on, with the Chanel umbrella, but it’s the pairing of a black coat with stonewashed skinny jeans that’s particularly chic for the cool, zero-degree temperatures in the French capital. (You can see more of the Love Gold shoot on Bazan’s blog.)
   On the subject of black coats, our own Instagram shows the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s principal guest artist Gillian Murphy trying on a Tamsin Cooper coat, especially designed for her. Murphy liked the elegance and practicality of the coat and picked it over two others that Cooper had brought up. Cut at knee length, it’s ideal for this winter.
   The black-and-white trend is really emerging this week. Judged the most influential blogger of the year, Kenza Zouiten has shown off her outfit for the Elle-galan (the Swedish edition of Elle had a gala earlier this month). You can see Zouiten’s own photos in a larger format—she wears a stunning dress by Ida Sjöstedt with a clutch by Malene Birger, and pulls the look off immaculately.
   And coming back to summer, our own fashion editor Sopheak Seng successfully styles with black and white stripes for the races, as he dressed models for the Wellington Cup’s barrier announcement on Wednesday. Taken behind the scenes is one of his models, from Kirsty Bunny Management, wearing Deryn Schmidt, available at Kirkcaldie & Stains.
   While our own Anna Deans is away today, we thought we’d cheekily check in to her ’Gram to see her latest hairstyle, which she posted during the week. It’s inspired by Brigitte Bardot—and she means the youthful French icon rather than the right-wing activist. Australian model Miranda Kerr, meanwhile, has shown off her make-up by Lisa Storey and hair by David Keough, both of Los Angeles, with bright lips and the apples of her cheeks highlighted—skilfully. Both these images, and some of the others that are coming through from cosmetics’ companies, are indicative of a more purposeful make-up look in the Zeitgeist over the natural face.
   Doutzen Kroes, meanwhile, has gone on her Instagram to promote the Victoria’s Secret Sport line, which she also promoted in person last week in Florida. It’s a bit of fitspo this week to get you pumped for the weekend!

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January 23, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet heads on US tour, accompanied by Tamsin Cooper’s fashion

Jack Yan/10.59


Jack Yan

Above Gillian Murphy and Tamsin Cooper, with Murphy donning her choice of coat for her tour, created especially for her. The pattern is an adaptation of the one Cooper created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 60th anniversary.

From January 31, the Royal New Zealand Ballet will go on tour in the US, performing in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Minneapolis, and New York. The Californians will get to see the company perform its acclaimed production of Giselle, with Angelinos enjoying it with a live orchestra; while Minneapolitans and New Yorkers have a mixed programme: 28 Variations on a Theme of Paganini by Benjamin Millepied, Little Improvisations by Antony Tudor, Banderillero by Javier de Frutos, and Bier Halle pas de deux by Ethan Stiefel, in the midwest; and 28 Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Of Days by Andrew Simmons, and Banderillero, in the Big Apple.
   Designer Tamsin Cooper, who has collaborated with the Royal New Zealand Ballet over the last several years, has created limited editions commemorating the tour, which she showed at the company’s premises today. It builds on one that celebrated the RNZB’s 60th anniversary last year.
   Gifted to some of the dancers were a mixture of bags, some from her regular range, while the fancier, beaded designs were from her 60th anniversary one, though in different colours to those at last year’s ID Dunedin Fashion Show. Only black and white ones were shown then, to tie in with the Black Swan and White Swan in the RNZB’s 60th anniversary presentation of Swan Lake.
   Her piĂšces de rĂ©sistance, however, were limited-edition designs created especially for the RNZB’s principal guest artist, Gillian Murphy. Three Tamsin Cooper coats were especially made for Murphy, and the dancer modelled each before deciding on the one she would take to the US.
   South Carolina-born Murphy was looking forward to her tour, to ‘sharing a great company with an American audience. Everyone is curious about the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and is excited to see it,’ she says.
   The Royal New Zealand Ballet is ‘off-the-radar and the tour will elevate the profile. I feel they are going to be impressed.’
   Murphy is no stranger to Los Angeles or New York, having danced in both cities, and having lived in New York for half her lifetime—she had moved there when she was 17.
   She stresses that this is the first time the RNZB version of Giselle has been performed Stateside, so Californians will be in for a treat.
   Her family will attend, with her parents flying from Virginia to Los Angeles for Giselle, while her sister will see her in New York.
   Ethan Stiefel, artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Murphy’s fiancĂ©, has family from Wisconsin who will attend the Minneapolis performance.
   The tour begins January 31 and concludes February 16.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Los Angeles
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA Music Center
January 31–February 2

Santa Barbara
Granada Theater, University of California
February 5

Minneapolis
Orpheum Theater
February 8

New York
The Joyce Theater
February 12–16

Publisher’s note: If you want to enjoy more ballet-related content, head over to our serialization of Stanley Moss’s novel, The Crimson Garter.—JY


Jack Yan


Christine Min

Top Gillian Murphy checks out Tamsin Cooper’s bags. Above Tamsin Cooper.






Christine Min

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