Lucire: News


October 7, 2015

It’s fine and dandy: Rembrandt shows a classy, complete spring–summer 2015–16 menswear collection

Alex Barrow/14.07

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Rembrandt’s spring–summer 2015–16 collection boasts an array of quirky prints, fine Italian shoes, and an æsthetically pleasing mash-up of modern and traditional in the tailoring of their suits. Since their opening in Wellington in 1946, Rembrandt has cemented its fine tailoring reputation throughout Australia and New Zealand, having opened ten main stores between the two countries, as well as a number of outlet stores. A fourth Auckland store at 41 Shortland Street will open in December.
   This year’s collection puts a modern twist on the British dandy of the nineteenth century with an array of less traditional coloured suit jackets, double-buckled leather shoes (we rate the double monk, made in Italy for Rembrandt), silk ruffle lapel pins, and eccentric printed shirts, ties and pocket squares.
   The company has identified marsala as the colour of the year, with it appearing through its accessories’ range as well as its Bryan dinner jacket.
   Rembrandt’s Wayward Heir line, targeting a younger wearer, has straight lines and narrow fits for the season.
   Rembrandt’s forte lies in dressing for black tie events, making the wearer of their suits stand out. With the option to purchase off the rack, order a made-to-measure suit, or hire one for an event, Rembrandt has its customers’ suit needs covered to a high standard. Furthermore, the menswear company also offers high-quality clothing for everyday casual wear.
   With the motto ‘bespoke is in our blood’, the history of Rembrandt draws back to the world wars of the early twentieth century where immigrants from Holland came to New Zealand, specializing in tailoring. With an opportunity on the horizon the company was started and have spent almost seventy years building tailoring knowledge and expertise to create the reputation they have today of fine craftsmanship.
   With the reputable work and class of Rembrandt, the company has partnered up with the Wellington Phoenix, South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand All Whites in officially tailoring the teams. Rembrandt gives back to the fashion community by proudly co-sponsoring the Fashion and Textile award of the ECC Student Craft–Design Award for 2015.—Alex Barrow

September 25, 2015

Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show 2015 sees Nelson’s Peter Wakeman take top honours

Lucire staff/11.00

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Courtesy World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show

Top Diva’s Dreamscape, by Peter Wakeman. Above Deadly Beauty, by Xi Zhang.

Nelson, New Zealand designer Peter Wakeman has won the 2015 Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art Supreme WOW Award with his entry Diva’s Dreamscape.
   Wakeman wins $30,000 in prizes with his design, entered into the Creative Excellence Section: Architecture category. Made from stainless steel, wood and fibreglass, interpreting the art-déco era, the judges admired Wakeman’s workmanship while the founder of the World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show, Dame Suzie Moncrieff, praised its artistic integrity.
   ‘Diva’s Dreamscape really is a stunning piece of art,’ she says. ‘It has a strong simplicity that works perfectly from every angle. The use of such hard materials to create a sophisticated garment demonstrates great skill and creative ability.’
   Diva’s Dreamscape was the unanimous choice of the judges, which included Dame Suzie, sculptor Greer Twiss and fashion designer Denise l’Éstrange-Corbet.
   It is the third time Wakeman has entered WOW, and the second time he has won a prize. In 2013, he was runner-up to the Supreme Award winner for his Chica under Glass.
   Xi Zhang, a student from Donghua University, Shanghai, took the runner-up prize this year, with Deadly Beauty. Zhang entered her design, made from feathers, beads and mesh cloth, into the Wellington Airport Avant Garde section.
   There were 107 entries by 123 designers who were chosen for the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show this year.
   The American Express Open section was won by Jeff Thomson of Auckland with Tinker. Thomson also won the New Zealand Design Award with Tinker. For Annie, by Doreen Helms and Susan Thurner of Nelson, won the children’s section. Philippa Stitchbury of Melbourne, Victoria won the Aotearoa section with On Reflection; while the Man section, with the theme of Uniform this year, was won by Chris Wilson and Gary Wilson of Upper Hutt with their Piper of the Lights. The Weta Costume and Film section was won by Joanna Peacock of Colchester, England, with her design To Be or Not to Be.
   The Cirque du Soleil Performance Art Costume Award went to Tess Taverner Hanks of Sydney, NSW, for Kaleidoscope. Hanks also won the Shell Student Innovation Award with the same design. The WOW Factor Award was won by Rodney Leong with Get Behind Me Satan.
   Another Donghua University student, Qianwen Hong, won with Exotic in the Wearable Technology Award, and the Shell Sustainability Award was won by Wanganui’s Danielle Sasvari with Templa Mentis.
   The First-Time Entrant Award was won by Ewelina Kosmal of Konskie, with Brave New World.
   The Wellington International Awards are given to entrants in different parts of the globe. The overall winner was M45 Pleiades by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitri Mavinis of London; they also won for the UK and Europe category. Starship Girl, by Julian Hartzog of Tarpon Springs, Fla., won for the Americas. Mona, by Kerryta Chau, Wing Lam Yeung and Emily Lau of the Hong Kong Design Institute, won for Asia; and The Stitch Witch, by Sarah Seahorse and Luna Aquatica of Melbourne, Victoria, won for Australia and the South Pacific.
   The total prize pool of 40 awards had a combined value of NZ$165,000. Thirteen New Zealand-designed garments won 15 awards, and 24 awards were won by 18 international designs.

Above, from top Tinker, by Jeff Thomson. For Annie, by Doreen Helms and Susan Thurner. On Reflection, by Philippa Stitchbury. To Be or Not to Be, by Joanna Peacock. Kaleidoscope, by Tess Taverner Hanks. Get Behind Me Satan, by Rodney Leong. Exotic, by Qianwen Hong. Templa Mentis, by Danielle Sasvari. Brave New World, by Ewelina Kosmal. M45 Pleiades by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitri Mavinis. Starship Girl, by Julian Hartzog. Mona, by Kerryta Chau, Wing Lam Yeung and Emily Lau. The Stitch Witch, by Sarah Seahorse and Luna Aquatica.

September 24, 2015

Brancott Estate launches new vintages for 2015 in limited-edition World of Wearable Art bottles

Lucire staff/23.11

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Top Into the Blue and Rosebud with Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate chief winemaker. Above The two new limited-edition Brancott Estate bottles.

With the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art (WOW) Awards’ Show back again for 2015, the famed winemaker and naming rights’ sponsor of the event has released two limited-edition bottles along with new vintages in celebration.
   The Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 and South Island Pinot Noir 2014 will appear in bottles featuring two former World of Wearable Art entrants by New Zealand designers. The sauvignon blanc features Into the Blue: Māori Living in a Thermoplastic World, by Marie Gant Roxburgh, and the pinot noir features Rosebud, by Kate Hellyar.
   The new Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is described by the company as ‘fresh, crisp and lively’, with fruit flavours, while the South Island Pinot Noir 2014 is ‘vibrant and fruity with dark fruit and lovely textural interest.’
   ‘As winemakers, we are constantly creating new expressions of wine to enjoy and WOW is much the same through their celebration of innovative design. Together we are putting New Zealand wine and design on the world map,’ said chief winemaker Patrick Materman in a release.
   Dame Suzie Moncrieff, founder of WOW, notes, ‘The new limited-edition Brancott Estate WOW bottles are the perfect way to capture and share New Zealand wine and creativity. We’re excited to be able to bring our designers’ creations to life through these beautiful bottle designs.’
   The World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show season runs till October 11 in Wellington, New Zealand. The limited-edition WOW series for 2015 will be available for a limited time at NZ$17·29. The official hashtag for the event is #brancottestatewow.
   Lucire will have the 2015 WOW winners’ names later on Friday.

August 20, 2015

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: where talent surpasses itself

Jack Yan/16.19

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Stephen A’Court

Top Dancers Tonia Looker and MacLean Hopper in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Above Tonia Looker and Harry Skinner.

If you ever wish to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet when everyone has reached beyond what you knew was their peak, then A Midsummer Night’s Dream presents that very opportunity: a ballet where the quality is jaw-droppingly magnificent, where choreographer, designer, lighting designer, and musical director have surpassed themselves, and where the dancers have revelled in bringing a production to life.
   In tonight’s (August 20) world première, Tracy Grant Lord’s designs are the first thing you notice, a galactic image of the night sky projected on to the curtain before the action is revealed, then a set that can only be described as her best work reviewed by Lucire to date. Set in a fairy dell in the wood, Lord’s imagination takes us into a world of cabanas and fungi, with electric blue shades offsetting the dark, night sky. It is the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s largest set, complete with bridges, multiple staircases, even a pole from which Puck slides down. Lord notes that her design ‘includes particular structural, decorative and technical elements that exist only for this production, and have all been developed and manufactured in the company workshops.’ This is a unique interpretation, a master-class in ballet set design, all the more impressive when one considers that Lord had a budget to work to. She envelopes us with her world even before the dancers take their first step.
   Kendall Smith’s lighting design comes into its own with Lord’s set, keeping the cabanas’ interiors dark when unused and lighting them subtly when dancers appear. His moon, in Act II, appears as a round, fluorescent ring, emerging from behind the mesh. With Lord employing a single set for the entire ballet, Smith’s lighting gave the production a sense of variety and change throughout. We noted earlier that Smith employed 4,000 LEDs and 2,000 m of fibreoptic cable, and we can certainly say they were put to excellent use. Smith, whose résumé includes lighting for Andrea Boccelli and Luciano Pavarotti, and some of the most respected companies in the US, was flown out with the support of the US Embassy, giving another world-class aspect to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
   Lord also stretched her imagination with the costumes, giving the initial illusion that the fairies were petite; it was only when Oberon and Titania appeared that you began realizing their true scale. Oberon’s and Puck’s costumes had a more cinematic, modern bent than seen in other interpretations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the former having a plunging neckline and a science-fiction feel to it. The fairies’ wings and headgear had metallic detailing, again taking us beyond the typical dell and going past the usual, traditional elements that earlier productions tend to rely on.
   Rising star Liam Scarlett did not disappoint, either, with choreography that expresses a witty yet respectful take on the Shakespeare play. Whether it was transforming Bottom into a donkey, and his subsequent comical pas de deux with Titania, having Puck swing down à la the cinematic Tarzan to commence his antics in the second act, or the strongly romantic pas de deux between Oberon and Titania, Scarlett’s interpretation brought the Mendelssohn score to life, matching movement masterfully to music.
   The music, too, saw RNZB musical director Nigel Gaynor go further than he typically has. Mendelssohn’s score was insufficient for a full-length ballet. Gaynor and Scarlett collaborated, choosing additional Mendelssohn pieces to give the characters greater depth and the story more completeness. Various opuses have been added along with incidental music, and Mendelssohn fans will recognize them and marvel at just how well they have been incorporated, not least how fittingly the choreography has been applied. It’s this characterization which marks out Scarlett’s work. The interactions between the characters—Oberon and Puck, Titania and Bottom, Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius, and the comical pursuit by both Lysander and Demetrius toward Helena—gives the RNZB’s production exceptional entertainment value. Like its The Nutcracker of 2010, the dance techniques are rich enough for the adult ballet-goer to appreciate, while the structure and comical elements give children plenty to enjoy.
   Adding incidental music from Mendelssohn is not new—Balanchine did the same in his version—but the level of dedication is apparent.
   And all this before commenting on the dancing itself, which was exquisite.
   MacLean Hopper had the commanding nature of Oberon on opening night. Tonia Looker’s Titania had a beauty and elegance that never diminished even when dancing with a donkey, thanks to her control. However, Kohei Iwamoto arguably stole the show as Puck, with an irreverence that the audience loved. Harry Skinner’s Bottom may have had a relatively minor role but his transformation, complete with tail, ensured he was remembered. Lori Gilchrist (Hermia), Joseph Skelton (Lysander), Abigail Boyle (Helena) and Demetrius (Paul Mathews) contrasted each other’s emotions through simple movements; when both men are entranced by Helena, Boyle’s movements conveyed her shock at the energetic pursuit—accompanied by an equally energetic rejection of Hermia. Scarlett was never too clever for his own good: he kept to the story and the score, and delivered through the characters in subtle ways, a sign of a choreographer who works in close collaboration with his dancers.
   It was a privilege to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wellington as a world première; after its New Zealand tour (which runs till September 20), it will next be performed by the Queensland Ballet, with whom the RNZB co-produced, in 2016.
   The Vodafone season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs through August 23 in Wellington; Christchurch sees the ballet from August 27 to 29; it opens in Auckland on September 2, running to September 6. It reaches Rotorua for a single performance on September 10, Palmerston North on September 16, and Napier on September 19 and 20. Full details can be found at—Jack Yan, Publisher

Top Promotional image for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Above Forget retro: the sketch for Oberon’s costume.

August 13, 2015

Trilogy launches Raha perfume, benefiting So They Can to empower Tanzanian women and children

Lucire staff/12.14

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Trilogy has introduced a second perfume called Raha, following its limited-edition Jua Natural Perfume last year. The Raha Natural Perfume, again in partnership with So They Can, is another limited edition, which sees NZ$2 from every sale donated to the charity to educate and empower Kenyan and Tanzanian communities.
   Raha, developed in conjunction with perfumer Yves Dombrowsky, is a natural perfume with Tanzanian sunflower oil as its base, produced by one of So They Can’s projects. Its top notes are green galbanum, citrus, bergamot and black pepper, mid-notes are composed of blue iris, marine accord, rose and frankincense, and the basenotes are warm vanilla with subtle spice. All are natural ingredients.
   The name Raha translates to joy in Swahili, and the fragrance was inspired by the warn African rain which ‘brings joy, growth and survival. It cools the thirsty land, sharpens the crisp aromas of the bush, and brings life to plants, animals and people,’ says the company.
   The 7·5 ml roll-on applicator perfume oil retails for NZ$24·90 and hits stores on August 15 in New Zealand.
   Two hundred and fifty bottles are donated to So They Can for their own fundraising as well.
   Jua raised NZ$20,000, enough to provide an annual income for 50 women sunflower farmers and harvesters in Tanzania, according to Trilogy. The target this year is NZ$30,000, providing for 50 Tanzanian women and a full year’s education for 500 children.

Top Women farmers in Tanzania during the harvest. Above A sunflower field in Tanzania.

August 9, 2015

Footnote New Zealand Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary this August with première and events

Lucire staff/14.02

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Above Footnote at its home at 125 Cuba Street.

Footnote New Zealand Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and on August 28–9, it will première 30Forward at the Wellington Opera House to mark the anniversary.
   The première will take place in Wellington, before heading to the Christchurch Arts Festival, Auckland’s Tempo Dance Festival, then to Gisborne, the Kokomai Creative Festival in Carterton, and the Tauranga Arts Festival.
   The production features highlights from past works, as curated by founding director Deirdre Tarrant, and a new commission from choreographer Malia Johnston.
   Footnote will begin its celebrations on August 21 with The Art of Footnote, at a venue on Cuba Street to be announced during August. This exhibition shows posters, programmes and concept designs from Footnote over the last three decades, and runs till August 30.
   A Pecha Kucha event at the Wellington City Gallery, focusing on the culture of movement (covering dance, music, visual art and performance) takes place on August 27. The Tarrant Dance Studios at 125 Cuba Street, Wellington welcomes visitors on August 29 to an open house, while the August 29 performance of 30Forward will be followed by a function.
   The Christchurch dates are August 31–September 1; Auckland on October 15 and 17; Gisborne on October 21; Carterton on October 24; and Tauranga on October 30.
   Tickets are on sale now—visit for ticketing information.

Above Rehearsing in 2012.

July 23, 2015

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: a world première for the Royal New Zealand Ballet

Jack Yan/5.47

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not just a Royal New Zealand Ballet première, it’s a world première—so if you’re looking for a ballet event to attend in mid-August, this should be the one on your calendar.
   Created by Liam Scarlett, ballet’s fast-rising star who is now one of the most sought-after choreographers today, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will have its première in Wellington on August 20, before heading to Christchurch, Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North and Napier over the following weeks. As well as Scarlett’s choreography, it features the biggest set ever created by the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
   Ipswich-born Scarlett, 29, is already known for his witty, inventive approach and is one of the most passionate choreographers in ballet today.
   He was the Royal Ballet’s first Artist in Residence, creating ballets for that company including Despite and Vayamos al Diablo in 2006, through to the Jubilee pas de deux to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee.
   He has created works for Ballet Black, New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, K-Ballet, the English National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
   A Midsummer Night’s Dream is his third full-length ballet.
   ‘We are incredibly excited to showcase this sensational new ballet created for the RNZB by the talented Liam Scarlett. This magical tale will cast its spell on audiences of all ages. And as with all the best stories, true love and friendship triumph in the end,’ said RNZB artistic director Francesco Ventriglia in a release.
   Said Scarlett, ‘Shakespeare’s tale of wit, love, petty quarrels and mistaken identities has captured the hearts of audiences young and old for centuries and has secured its place in history as one of the greatest stories ever told. It is with great pleasure and responsibility that I have the opportunity to transform this magical piece of work into a ballet. Being able to create this for the RNZB is a joy, and the end result will be a testament to their talent and enthusiasm and all that this wonderful company has to offer.’
   RNZB managing director Amanda Skoog notes that the company is partnering with the Queensland Ballet to realize the production.
   Tracy Grant Lord, known for Cinderella and many of the RNZB’s other successes, will design the new production, which the company notes will have ‘thousands of lights, glitter and butterflies.’ The make-up look sees Lord working closely with MAC Cosmetics, while Kendall Smith, who worked on Giselle, is lighting the set using over 4,000 LEDs and 2,000 m of fibreoptic cable.
   The Mendelssohn score will be performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in Christchurch, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Auckland, conducted by RNZB music director Nigel Gaynor.
   Vodafone New Zealand continues its national sponsorship of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
   A Midsummer Night’s Dream begins in Wellington on August 20, and runs through August 23; Christchurch sees the ballet from August 27 to 29; it opens in Auckland on September 2, running to September 6. It reaches Rotorua for a single performance on September 10, Palmerston North on September 16, and Napier on September 19 and 20. Full details can be found at—Jack Yan, Publisher

July 21, 2015

Loxy’s brings its hair expertise to Wellington, New Zealand

Jack Yan/23.30

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Loxy’s Boutique opened its Wellington location on Tory Street earlier this month, with a pink-carpet event hosted by founder Kate Jarrett.
   Jarrett, a Wellingtonian by birth, originally opened Loxy’s in Auckland, where she and her husband had moved. After years in the corporate world, she found she had a passion for hair extensions, and learned a micro-weave technique that she trained herself to do. She swears by the technique (and was a fitting ambassador for it on the night), enough to have started her salon in Ponsonby, and always had in mind to open up in her home town.
   She was encouraged to open in Wellington after her clients began asking whether Loxy’s had a branch in the capital, and the boutique finally opened its doors with a very welcome mid-winter celebration.
   As Jarrett was expecting a baby (carrying her daughter very well), naturally guests could choose from San Pellegrino water (restocked midway through the event) but those who were more adventurous could opt for Sileni wine and Rekorderlig cider. Canapés from Jess’s Underground Kitchen were served, while visible around the boutique were products from Loxy’s suppliers, including O&M and Davines. Guests were treated to goodies from them, as well as Libertine blends, Eleven Australia, Tailor Skincare, Snackpack, and Skin Spa.
   Oliver Marchant, already well known in the Wellington hair scene, manages the new boutique, which offers both hair services—including its well known micro-weft extension technique, as well as spray-tanning. Hair extension consultations are free, and its services are very reasonably priced for the level of expertise clients will get. There’s more at—Jack Yan, Publisher

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