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April 16, 2015

The Body Shop’s Fuji Green Tea range: satisfying at every level, from bath tea to cologne

Lucire staff/12.55

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Top The Body Shop’s Fuji Green Tea range. Above The pièce de résistance of the range: the bath tea. Below left The huge bargain of them all: an eau de cologne that’s comparable to something twice the price.

The Body Shop’s latest Fuji Green Tea range, on sale in New Zealand from Monday, April 20, is one of the best the company has offered, and we’re not exaggerating. For starters, the full, fruity smells that we’ve become accustomed to with its earlier special editions is gone, replaced by a pure, healthy, subtler green tea scent. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the fruity and even chocolatey approaches of the Body Shop, but it’s great to see they have more secrets up their sleeves that they are gradually showing off to the public. Secondly, the methods the Body Shop has taken with the Fuji Green Tea range are very different: it has taken a uniquely eastern approach, combining tradition and authenticity with the Body Shop’s socially responsible aims.
   Green tea has antioxidant qualities, and we’re used to drinking it for its health benefits, but the Body Shop takes this idea further. Going into Japanese tradition, it found that women even bathed in it, and it’s believed to tighten pores help skin retain moisture, and have anti-ageing qualities.
   Sourcing authentic green tea from Mt Fuji, the Body Shop has developed an entire range featuring just what its customers expect: body scrub (250 ml, NZ$44·95); body butter (200 ml, NZ$36·95); body lotion (250 ml, NZ$24·95); body wash (250 ml, NZ$16·50); eau de cologne (100 ml, NZ$39·95); and exfoliating soap (100 g, NZ$19). However, the pièce de résistance has to be the bath tea, 300 g of goodness for detoxing and cleansing for NZ$64, allowing you soak those stresses away in Japanese fashion.
   With a metal container evoking a traditional tea tin, the bath tea comes with an infuser. Pour in the mixture of crystals and tea leaves, and let the water run over it. The water turns a nice green hue, and it smells great. A soak is indeed calming and soothing, leaving skin feeling healthy. You know the ritual—as fun as it is going through it—has a practical side, too.
   We sampled the body scrub as well, which is particularly effective, and only requires small quantities to work its magic.
   That feeling continues afterwards with the body butter for 24-hour hydration—the Body Shop suggests that the body lotion would be ideal for lighter hydration, and the Body Sorbet (200 ml, NZ$26) is a fresh alternative.
   The bath tea may be the pièce de résistance, but the surprises don’t stop: the eau de cologne is the icing on the proverbial cake. It’s actually a light, fruity floral, although you can detect the green tea mixed in among the top notes; the floral heart is very memorable and fresh. The Body Shop says it’s bergamot, lemon and mandarin that we detect there, and camellia, jasmine and violet in the middle. It’s actually a very elegant scent, something you would expect wearing a far more expensive label, and, like the rest of the Green Tea line, it’s a bargain. It’s not often a $40 scent smells like something that’s commonly twice or thrice the price.
   As a range, it’s one of the most complete and satisfying the Body Shop has offered.
   The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea range will be available online and at New Zealand retail outlets from next week.

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April 14, 2015

Goodness and Noa Noa welcome the winter blues

Lucire staff/5.56

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Nikita Brown Photography

When the scene gets quiet, you can always trust our own fashion and beauty editor, Sopheak Seng, to helm a show to get things buzzing again. In collaboration with Goodness, which was the first out of the gate at a two-label show at Caffè l’Affaré last Thursday, Wellington fashionistas and guests escaped the first wintry blasts for one of the more memorable social events on the calendar.
   Goodness’s Chris Hales, whose boutiques have been selling fashionable and sometimes harder-to-find independent designers for some time, launched her own range to complement the likes of Loobie’s Story, Kowtow, Nyne and Deborah Sweeney some time ago, but this was the first catwalk outing that Lucire witnessed. And she understands her customer well: casual separates, paired in unexpected ways, tapping in to the floral trend that’s been forecast for autumn–winter 2015. Taupe and olive similarly conveyed the winter vibe, right on time for the colder months Down Under.
   The second half of the show, styled by Lucire’s Sopheak Seng, showcased Danish label Noa Noa, with a winter collection ‘inspired by the tapestry of life,’ says Seng. Trawling through the markets in France to the bazaars in Marrakech—not unlike our last few print editions, then—the eclectic collection saw masculine lines meeting feminine fabrications, tied with the first half of the show through floral motifs in forest green, Moroccan blue, and tawny red. Sunglasses were donned by each of the models, resplendent in jackets and coats, looking cool as they wandered down the catwalk, much as the designers would have wandered through those bazaars.
   Live music from Ophelia, the indie folk–dubstep duo of Patrick Shanahan and Alex Louise, served as the unique soundtrack to both shows, cranking up the non-mainstream vibe of the show, while in the café, itself one of the trendy spots of the capital, sponsors served up Triple Rock vodka (the jaffa and liquorice varieties were very memorable), Colombo wines, Moa cider, and l’Affarè coffee itself. Clinique did the make-up, Chop created the hair looks using Kevin Murphy, and Rydges were credited with their support for the band. Shoes were from Shoe Connection. Finally, Gazley’s support was very evident with four stylish Alfa Romeo Giuliettas parked outside and a MiTo on the catwalk, upping the Euro credentials with Italian chic. The blue lights shining on the walls surrounding the catwalk served to remind us that one can, indeed, stay warm with the winter blues!






Nikita Brown Photography

Backstage



Nikita Brown Photography

The Scene











Nikita Brown Photography

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Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute, commemorating the centenary of World War I, to première May 22

Lucire staff/0.45

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Ross Brown

Above Dancer Joseph Skelton.

One of the most anticipated ballets from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, since news of it was announced in 2014, will première in Wellington on May 22. Salute, which comprises four dance works to mark the centenary of World War I, will tour Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Takapuna, Auckland and Napier after its performances in the capital.
   â€˜This powerful programme themed around war, loss and hope is our tribute to those men and women who sacrificed so much, many of whom were the same ages as our young dancers,’ said RNZB artistic director Francesco Ventriglia.
   The company will be joined for three of the four works by the New Zealand Army Band, which will perform, among others, a new commission by composer Gareth Farr. The Band will tour with the RNZB to every venue.
   â€˜This dynamic mixed bill includes: a twentieth century masterpiece by legendary Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián; two world premières created for the company by NZ choreographers Andrew Simmons and Neil Ieremia; and the NZ première of a work by Johan Kobborg,’ said Ventriglia.
   â€˜Watching the four works taking shape is very exciting, and profoundly moving. I really believe this programme will resonate with all New Zealanders,’ said RNZB managing director Amanda Skoog.
   Soldiers’ Mass, by Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián with music by Bohuslav Martinů, is a commentary on the destructiveness of war, and is performed by 12 male dancers. It was originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1980 and was first performed by the RNZB in 1998.
   New Zealand-born Andrew Simmons’ Dear Horizon is a new commission and his fifth for the company, and features a specially commissioned score by Farr, written for the New Zealand Army Band and cellist Rolf Gjelsten of the New Zealand String Quartet. Simmons’ Of Days was highly regarded by Lucire, and he had earlier created Through to You and A Song in the Dark. Now based in Dresden, he was formerly a dancer with the RNZB.
   Neil Ieremia, founder of Black Grace, has created Passchendaele for the RNZB, named for the battle in which more New Zealanders were killed and wounded than in any other. This World War I battle claimed the lives of some 600,000 on both sides of the conflict. This second première in Salute was inspired by music composed by former New Zealand Army Band member Dwayne Bloomfield.
   Finally, Johan Kobborg’s Salute, with music by Hans Christian Lumbye specially arranged for the New Zealand Army Band, should end the evening on a more light-hearted note, dealing with cadets who have not experienced war. Kobborg collaborated with Ethan Stiefel on the RNZB’s highly acclaimed Giselle, and created the comedic ballet Les Lutins.
   Salute has been supported by the Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Defence Force, Qantas, the Göthe-Institut, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, national sponsor Vodafone, and Pub Charity.
   Dates for Salute are May 22–4 in Wellington; May 28–30 in Christchurch; June 3 in Dunedin; June 10 in Hamilton; June 13 in Takapuna; June 17–20 in Auckland; and June 24–5 in Napier.
   Further information can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website at rnzb.org.nz.

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March 16, 2015

Jerry Hall leads L’Oréal Professionnel’s It Looks for autumn–winter 2015

Lucire staff/0.12

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L’Oréal Professionnel has released its looks for autumn–winter 2015 in New Zealand, with Jerry Hall leading the campaign, alongside model Helena Bordon and actress Loan Chabanol.
   They are adapted from the company’s It Looks for autumn–winter 2014–15 in the northern hemisphere.
   Hall’s signature long blonde locks are gone as she adopts the Golden Lob look, which remains ‘chic and yet playful like Jerry Hall herself,’ says L’Oréal Professionnel’s stylist Seb Bascle. Meanwhile, Bordon sports tousled waves and bangs and ash blonde tones, and Chabonol wears a new take on the pixie cut, with a copper shade which L’Oréal Professionnel says enhances bone structure and features.
   The Golden Lob works with naturally wavy hair and the blonde hue can be adapted to different skin tones. Bordon’s style helps refresh a blonde look, while the copper pixie is low-maintenance and highly adaptable.
   Stylist Rebecca Brent of Willis York says, ‘The nice thing about this season’s It Looks is they are different but not too different from the spring–summer collection. ‘If a client wants to reinvent her pixie cut to the longer fringe and two tone block colour, it’s super-easy to update.
   â€˜The long bob is such a versatile hairstyle it suits everyone. You can transform it to suit your mood—wavy, sleek, side part, ponytail—the styles are endless.’
   To find the nearest L’Oréal Professionnel salon, visit www.lorealprofessionnel.co.nz.

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March 4, 2015

Royal New Zealand Ballet stages an entertaining, memorable Don Quixote

Jack Yan/12.40

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Evan Li


Royal New Zealand Ballet

Top Mayu Tanigaito and Kohei Iwamoto as Kitri and Basilio. Above A Barcelona town square scene as pictured in the programme.

It’s always a pleasure to kick off a Royal New Zealand Ballet season on a high. Don Quixote, which opened at the St James in Wellington tonight, takes the well known ballet, set to the music of Ludwig Minkus, and tweaks it for modern audiences.
   It is a restaging of the 2008 production of Don Quixote by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The choreography by Adrian Burnett, after Marius Petipa, is intact, as are the concept, sets and costumes as conceived by former artistic director Gary Harris, with tiny tweaks to keep audiences entertained (watch for the sailors’ selfie in the third act). Sharon the mechanical dog is still there to delight younger audience members, and the story is particularly easy to follow; while ballet veterans can enjoy the talent of the new dancers, particularly Kohei Iwamoto and Mayu Tanigaito as Basilio and Kitri respectively.
   The design brings the seventeenth-century story, and the nineteenth-century ballet, more firmly into the twentieth century, with Don Quixote donning an aviator’s cap and jacket, bringing his mop with him, taking the place of Rocinante, the horse. There are plenty of Iberian references in the bright costumes and the hairstyles, as well as the choreography, with flourishes in the movement and fans recalling flamenco dances, even if the structure of the ballet remains very Russian.
   The Don’s bedroom and the Barcelona town square contrast each other: the former is packed with books, darkening the set, while the latter is bright and airy, suggesting a seaside location. Nigel Gaynor conducted a faultless Orchestra Wellington.
   John Hull makes for an entertaining Don Quixote, with big shoes to fill—Sir Jon Trimmer delighted audiences in 2008—but it is the remaining roles which confirm a few accepted ideas about performance. The first is that it’s often more delicious playing a villain, as Paul Mathews steps back into the role of Gamache, complete with his pet dog, while Abigail Boyle tonight played Mercedes. This pair gave captivating performances, especially Mathews in each of the three acts; he and Boyle almost upstaged the others in the first scene of the third act, as they returned to Barcelona after robbing the Don. As Gamache gets drunk, Mathews dances accordingly—and it’s often harder to pull that off than performing traditional moves.
   Dulcinea appears briefly in the dream sequence after the robbery takes place, and less is made of her role.
   The second idea is that if you get the subsidiary characters right, the production will feel more fulfilled, and Shane Urton’s performance as the Don’s nephew, Sancho, had a wonderful and intentional naïveté as he accompanies his uncle on the adventure. Urton stayed in character till the end, and enriched the ballet no end.
   The third idea is that audiences will always welcome a happy-ending love story. Tanigaito already received applause in the first act for a series of fouettés, but it was her pas de deux with Iwamoto in the third act, and his dramatic catch, where the attention rested firmly again on Basilio and Kitri. With increasing energy on stage from the courting couple, Don Quixote finished on an expected high.
   Don Quixote will continue in Wellington till March 7, before moving to Christchurch for March 11–14, Invercargill for March 18, Dunedin for March 21, Auckland for March 26–9, and Palmerston North for its final performance on April 1. Further information can be found at the RNZB’s website at www.rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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February 3, 2015

Don Quixote opens the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2015 season

Lucire staff/2.35

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Ross Brown

The Royal New Zealand Ballet opens its 2015 season in March with Don Quixote, marking its first production under the company’s new artistic director Francesco Ventriglia.
   The sets and costumes have been conceived by former artistic director and designer Gary Harris, whose prior work for the RNZB included The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty, with choreography by Adrian Burnett after Marius Petipa.
   This version of the classic ballet, set in Barcelona, was first seen at the end of 2008 and is known as a vibrant, effervescent take, set to the music of Ludwig Minkus, conducted by Nigel Gaynor. Sir Jon Trimmer had the lead role in the earlier production.
   Ventriglia said in a release, ‘I’m very happy that in my first season I can push our young talented dancers to rise to the challenge that this ballet presents to combine brilliant balletic technique with the great acting ability. The dancers have a superb story to tell and they will give it their all.’
   The story follows the ageing Don Quixote and his young nephew Sancho, as they aid the two lovers, the beautiful Kitri and the penniless Basilio, while dealing with the villainous Gamache, and Kitri’s pretentious father.
   Don Quixote opens at the St James Theatre in Wellington on March 4, touring until April 1 to Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Auckland and Palmerston North. More details can be found at www.rnzb.org.nz.
   The following season sees Salute, a collaboration between the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Army Band, and Dwayne Bloomfield, Gareth Farr, Neil Ieremia and Andrew Simmons, commemorating the centenary of World War I.

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December 6, 2014

Have jacket, will travel: Jonathon Hall gives his holiday menswear tips

Lucire staff/12.08

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New Zealand menswear tailors Rembrandt Suits and Wayward Heir have revealed their summer 2014–15 collections, paying homage to the coveted summer holiday. Designer Jonathon Hall puts the loyal jacket front and centre in the Rembrandt collection, with the pièce de résistance being the crease resistant ultimate travel jacket, the Halcyon.
   To prove their confidence in the jacket, professional footballer Paul Ifill tested the Halcyon (captured in the video below), and Hall recently took the jacket on a 15-day tour of Europe’s fabric fairs (search Instagram for the hashtag #halcyonontour, and see some of the photographs at the bottom of this article).

   With the holiday season fast approaching, Hall takes us through Rembrandt and Wayward Heir’s top ten must-haves for a summer escape.

   1. Rembrandt’s wool–mohair Halcyon, the definitive travel jacket. This unlined lightweight jacket, available in navy and silver-grey, is strong and durable with an exceptional resistance to wrinkles, making it the ultimate fabric for travelling across town, or around the world.

   2. Rembrandt cotton-stretch Beck trousers: narrow fit with plenty of stretch, perfect dressed up or down and exceptionally comfortable to wear on long-haul flights.

   3. An unlined cotton or linen jacket; for a more relaxed look choose between Wayward Heir’s Rimini and Rembrandt’s double-breasted Cornwall jacket.

   4. Blue Hoxton cotton-stretch jeans: they perfectly fill the gap between a jean and a chino.

   5. Wayward Heir Japanese selvedge Garage jeans: a great pair of jeans can take you anywhere.

   6. At least one slim white shirt, a classic that you can wear with anything, for any event.

   7. A Rembrandt Liberty print shirt: dress it up, dress it down, enjoy.

   8. Good shoes. Ones that you’ve worn in. Don’t travel with a brand new pair of shoes, you’ll regret it.

   9. A Rembrandt reversible belt: it can do double-duty with either black or brown shoes.

   10. Pocket squares: even if you’re not wearing a tie, a pocket square in your jacket completes any look. Just make sure one of them is white linen.

Travel tip

When flying, the best way to keep creases out of your jacket (even the crease-resistant Halcyon) is to hang it. A seat-back hook is better than folding, but ideally you could request it gets hung in the cabin wardrobe.









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November 20, 2014

Expertly executed: the New Zealand School of Dance’s 2014 Graduation Season

Jack Yan/14.23

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Stephen A’Court

Top Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood in Double Stop. Centre Wessel Oostrum’s The Speech, danced to the words of Charlie Chaplin. Here, Jeremy Beck dances. Above The challenge of dancing the Balanchine Ballet, Concerto Barocco, here with Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood. Choreography by George Balanchine, and copyrighted to the George Balanchine Trust.

The New Zealand School of Dance’s Graduation Season for 2014, at Te Whaea Theatre in Wellington from November 19 to 29, is a must for anyone who appreciates dance and wants a glimpse of the next generation of performers.
   The six performances show vitality and variety, from the challenging Balanchine Ballet, Concerto Barocco, to the modern and energetic Trigger II: One Thing Leads to Another, created by the students themselves. While every dancer was on the money with their expertise, technique and stamina, we noted in particular Law Lok Huen in Concerto Barocco, William Keohavong in his solo in The Speech, Amanda Mitrevski in three of the pieces in the final Purcell Pieces, and Mason Kelly, who elicited spontaneous applause after his dance to Purcell’s ‘The Frost Scene’ from the opera King Arthur.
   Balanchine ballets are tough and are especially demanding with their technique, and the Graduation Season opened with one: Concerto Barocco, performed to Bach’s Concerto for two violins, strings and continuo in D minor, BWV 1043. We hadn’t expected to see a ballet but the principal dancers—in tonight’s case, Law Lok Huen, Megan Wright and Jack Bannerman—acquitted themselves expertly, especially as one of the techniques is to move “against” the music.
   In the first set, it was The Speech that captivated us, danced by William Keohavong. Choreographed by Dutch choreographer Wessel Oostrum, Keohavong’s movements were poignant, against the words from Charlie Chaplin’s finishing monologue from The Great Dictator. They were negative when Chaplin’s speech dwelled on negative subjects; more optimistic as they reflected on liberty and freedom. The words, too, seem very fitting for our times, when we question whether corporate greed is driving supposedly free societies. While Oostrom intended The Speech as a tribute to those who lost their lives in World War I, the contemporary choreography coupled with the Tramp’s monologue made it the most socially relevant performance of the night.
   Trigger II: One Thing Leads to Another got the second set off to an energetic start, with 18 dancers (from all years at the School) involved. Students appeared in dull greys and blues initially, and the costumes became more colourful and vibrant as the dance went on. This was an entertaining piece that any lover of modern dance will enjoy, thanks in good part to the direction of Malia Johnston, artistic director of the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art award show. However, it was Val Caniparoli’s romantic Double Stop, where Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood gave a poetic duet. We were spellbound with their dance, and it was not surprising to see Qi Huan’s credit as répétiteur. Formerly with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Huan took up a teaching role earlier this year, after having appeared in some of our favourite lead roles over the years. Caniparoli had already created a beautiful ballet to Philip Glass’s ‘Song II’ that had premièred in 2011, but Vottari and Wood danced this with such passion that belied their status as students of the School of Dance.
   Excerpts from Rapt, which closed the second set, saw alumnus Craig Bary, who was in the original cast in 2011, return to teach the chosen sections to the NZSD dancers, before Douglas Wright, who created the original dance–theatre performance, and his assistant Megan Adams (an NZSD alumna) added the nuances. Being excerpts rather than the full 80-minute work, we focused more on the nine dancers’ considered and precise execution. Once again, we were impressed.
   With two sets having gone extremely well, the third, entitled Purcell Pieces, had to be of a very high quality to keep the audience happy. The School did not disappoint. Choreographed by Nils Christie, and a collaboration between the New Zealand School of Dance, the Queensland Ballet and Singapore Dance Theatre, Purcell Pieces is set to the music of Henry Purcell, but giving each piece a modern interpretation in dance. Loose, colourful costumes designed by Annegien Sneep and Noelene Hill and flowing movements characterized these final dances, with Amanda Mitrevski’s two appearances notable for her expressiveness, and Mason Kelly conveying the sense of solitude and coldness in his performance to ‘The Frost Scene’. Kelly was the stand-out for nearly the entire audience in the third set, judging by the applause. Purcell Pieces ended with rose petals coming down onto the stage, finishing the night on a high.
   The Graduation Season runs at Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand, till November 29, with performances nightly at 7.30 p.m., excepting Sunday and Monday. Matinees will take place on Sunday, November 23 and Saturday, November 29, at 2 p.m. Tickets are NZ$29 for adults, NZ$24 for students and seniors, and NZ$16 for children under 13. Tickets can be booked at www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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