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Catching our eye: stand-outs at the 2017 ID Emerging Designer Awards


NEWS  by Chris Park/March 26, 2017/11.52

Thirty finalists were selected to showcase their capsule collections at the 2017 ID Emerging Designer Awards’ runway show. Hosted on a crisp autumn evening in the iconic Dunedin Railway Station, the finalists were chosen by a panel of judges from over 150 different entrants, with designers coming from all over the world.
   Head judge Tanya Carlson said that, although it might sound cliché and make her sound like a broken record, she truly believes that the standard of the submissions continues to rise and we were fortunate to see some of the talent.
   Here were some of the designers which particularly caught our attention.

Marina, Talia Jimenez, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW
Winner of the Golden Centre Prize for the Most Commercial Collection




Chris Park/The Park Brothers

   First off the runway, the collection featured playful digital prints of overlapping marine animals. Jimenez balanced the vibrant imagery by using mostly pastel colours for the prints and keeping the overall colour palette minimal.
   The collection was inspired by a trip to the Sydney Fish Markets in Piermont, where she experienced an overwhelming cacophony of marine-themed advertisements, overfilled crates of prawns, and mud crabs tied up in string everywhere.
   The prints were featured on PVC overalls faced with cotton worn with merino turtleneck knits, and oversized raincoats, referencing clothing traditionally worn by fishermen. The prints might be fun but the imposition of the prints on top of “fishermen” alludes to the over-exploitation of the marine ecosystem, and our excess indulgence in the spoils of the sea.




Chris Park/The Park Brothers

Above: Close-ups from Talia Jimenez’s Marina collection.

The Daily Show, Megan Stewart, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
NZME and ‘Viva’ Editorial Prize for Best New Zealand Collection







Chris Park/The Park Brothers

   This collection is a sharp critique on the distortionary effect that electronic communication and mass media have on our perception of reality. The distortionary effect is expressed in a very literal sense by the use of distorted imagery from television shows and twisted knits.
   She references digital media and the pixels of a screen by incorporating 90-degree angles and rectangles in her patterns, which further add to the warping when the square clothing twists around the human form.
   The television imagery was selected and distorted by Stewart herself, before being printed onto hessian-like material. The shoulder construction hangs by the elbows, adding to the warping effect on our perception of the clothing.
   The bright playful colours and mesmerizing patterns belie the warning messages that Stewart transmits to the viewer, of how being absorbed into media will warp one’s perception of reality.

XXX, Nehma Vitols, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW
H&J First Prize








Chris Park/The Park Brothers

   Vitols’s collection was ethereal. The pieces looked like they were hovering in front and behind the models rather than being worn by them, and yet it the composite fabric used by Vitols that gave it a stiffness belying the translucency of the wraith-like materials.
   Nehma created this material by taking silk organza and bonding it with stiff cotton organdy, then applying laser-cut Tyvek detailing in white to add visual depth. As the models walked down the runway, the fabric would shimmer and float, as if it had a mind of its own.
   The pieces were cleverly constructed from scraps of fabric left over from creating archetypal garments, held together using a combination of ties made out of leftover strips of fabric, contrast top-stitching and golden zips, which provided some weight and textural contrast to the sheer fabric.
   The complexity of the construction, the innovative materials and the brilliant execution led to Vitols taking out the grand prize at ID for 2017. Congratulations!—Chris Park, Special Correspondent




Chris Park/The Park Brothers

Above: Detail from Nehma Vitols’s collection, XXX, which took first prize at the ID Emerging Designer Awards.

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

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


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

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


NEWS  by Jack Yan/November 16, 2016/11.39




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

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