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Time Oak Hotel & Suites in Dubai offers Ramadan specials, including authentic Iftar

Filed by Lucire staff/April 4, 2021/22.13


The Time Oak Hotel & Suites at Barsha Heights, Dubai, are running a Ramadan special, with both food and accommodation specials.
   At the Pranzo and Al Bal restaurants, start with dates and fresh fruit juices, then hot and cold mezzeh and assorted soups and salads from the salad bar.
   For the main course, lamb ouzi with oriental rice, mixed grills, including beef, chicken and seafood, and pasta dishes.
   For dessert, dried fruits, traditional Arabic desserts, and Um Ali and French pastries.
   The chef will host a live cooking station with specials including kunafa and koshari, served from a Ramadan cart, and an action food station with saj, pizza and homemade breads. In addition, Al Bal will feature a live mint tea service and sahlab drinks’ station.
   Prices begin at Dhs.139 for the buffet, to Dhs.165 for buffet and shisha. These are available from sunset to 9 p.m. There is a 30 per cent discount for bookings made before April 13, 2021.
   There is also a Ramadan Iftar family meal for four to six at Dhs.299, available daily.
   For Ramadan, suites are priced at Dhs.259 for single occupancy and Dhs.319 for double for those who wish to get away. Find out more at www.timehotels.ae.

 


Van Cleef & Arpels releases six new Perlée designs in Middle East ahead of global launch

Filed by Lucire staff/April 3, 2021/10.41


Van Cleef & Arpels has released six Perlée creations, exclusively for the Middle East first, coinciding with the holy season of Ramadan. They are available now in the region, two months ahead of their official global release.
   The new Perlée additions comprise three bracelets and three rings in gold hues. These feature the sweet clover motif, which are Van Cleef & Arpels’ symbol of luck. They also feature a border of gold beads, characteristic of other jewellery in the Perlée range.
   As the jewellery can be mixed and matched, they can suit a wearer’s every mood.
   The Perlée collection débuted in 2008 and draws on the maison’s history. Accented stones and motifs appeared in the 1920s, and it was also during this decade that Van Cleef & Arpels used the round bead setting in the collection. Golden beads became more ample in 1948. From 1963, in the Twist collection, golden beads appeared in more permutations, accentuating ornamental stones such as lapis lazuli and carnelian, and pearls. Bordering golden beads also appeared in Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra collection in 1968. The designs have a direct link to these earlier collections.






 


Wishing all a happy 2021!

Filed by Jack Yan/December 31, 2020/23.05

Happy 2021 to our readers and supporters!
   Twenty twenty was tough, and along with the rest of you, we felt it. But believe it or not, commercially it wasn’t our toughest year—you can look back at 2005–6 for that, and long-time readers will recall that by January 2006 there were preciously few articles being posted on the site while resources were used to prop up the print magazines as we removed certain negative elements from our business. A few good people, with whom I remain in touch, were caught in the crossfire, but we lived on.
   Fifteen years on we struck a far better balance, and it’s thanks to our team and all those who are Lucire’s creators—editors, writers, photographers, make-up artists, stylists, hairstylists, and many more—that that has been possible.
   And it wouldn’t have been worth doing without those who have blessed us with increasing readership, as we know our work is being appreciated around the globe. It’s always heartening to see Lucire being enjoyed, and recently we were given permission by Fatimah Ahmed, a wedding photographer in Al Jubail, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to show this image from her Instagram. The caption: ‘Surround yourself with the things you love.’


Fatimah Ahmed

   We thank our partners, advertisers, all those who work to print and distribute Lucire, and our supporters for coming together during a tough year and keeping everything ticking along.
   We began 2020 trying to stay positive in the wake of two deaths in the Lucire family in December 2019, and we thought our ‘2020’ graphic that adorned the January 2020 cover of Lucire KSA was a signal that things were going to be positive. It was our “keeping our chin up”. Twenty twenty, I thought, had a nice ring to it. But the superstitious would have pointed to the darkened skies from the Australian bushfires and the cancellation of lunar New Year celebrations in China as ominous, and we certainly had an unexpected year.
   Nevertheless, we count our blessings, as there still were many during 2020, and we wish everyone a happier and more prosperous 2021.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher


The cover from Lucire KSA January 2020, featuring Camille Hyde wearing House of Fluff, where we tried to keep our chin up—and the ‘2020’ motif was meant to signal a positive year!

 


Cover design notes on our 23rd birthday

Filed by Jack Yan/October 20, 2020/10.25

We’ve happily been able to add a few more covers to the montage we published last year on the occasion of our 22nd anniversary. Now 23, we thought an update was in order, and we’ve included our latest issue, which you can order now.
   The story of Lucire’s founding has been covered elsewhere, during more appropriate anniversary numbers.
   Here we’ll just remark at how much has changed design-wise since we went into print seven years after our founding. Some of the early issues have dated; and even if we look at the turn of the decade, heading into the mid-2010s, our layout ideas have aged. This is despite a very earnest effort to make a magazine look “timeless”, an impossible task because one is always affected unconsciously by the trends and moods around us. The photography from this period, interestingly, has stood the test of time far better, which makes us wonder if there has really been that much progress out there.
   Right now, with bandwidth so readily available, we are getting more images than ever to accompany fairly innocent stories, making it tempting to use as much of them as possible. More cramped, less airy layouts are the result, and even though we observe a grid, we’ve definitely been trying to give more bang for the buck on every page. Technology so often drives changes in approach and in design.
   Maybe the new decade will force us to rethink this as people want calmer, more relaxed existences to counter the added stresses of work; whatever the case, we’ll continue to strive to present the best and most informative fashion magazine that we can. We thank our amazing team for creating so much beauty on every level, and we thank our readers for over two decades’ worth of support.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher


Jon Moe

Claudia Goetzelmann

Sixteen years separate these two. The commitment to quality and providing an intelligent read has not changed. Coincidentally, both were shot in California, and the older issue has that state’s current First Lady on the cover

 


A sense of belonging

Filed by Jack Yan/June 17, 2020/11.16


Jack Yan

Above: Wellington, New Zealand’s Lambton Quay, normally a main thoroughfare, during that country’s lockdown.

Over the last two issues of Lucire KSA, we ran a story each on COVID-19. The first examined how companies fared after previous economic crises, looking at the past for answers. Last month, we examined what companies were doing in response to the pandemic, a report from the present. This month, it may be prudent to take some punts about the future.
   Even before the COVID-19 crisis, China was selling cars with air filtration and purification systems, such as the Oshan X7 and the Geely Icon. These two SUVs were responding to the pollution that plagues Chinese cities, and when the Icon was launched in February, its system was turned into a positive selling point as fears about COVID-19 mounted. When the X7 was revised in March 2020, its system received an upgrade, to allay fears about the novel coronavirus. But these are minor product enhancements, for what is the point of these SUVs during a lockdown when driving is curtailed?
   We often refer to the automotive sector in Lucire because it’s one of the most evident places where brands and trends emerge, and with fewer players than in fashion, it’s often easier to see what those might be. Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice-president for global car design, pointed out to Forbes that after each major crisis—he uses World War II as an example—there is a creative surge, and that the US car industry of the 1950s picked up on it, with ‘a promise of the future.’ He says, ‘Many times, this whole “vision of tomorrow” comes from the difficulties of today. So I think we as people will express our emotions physically and you’ll see this in all the arts.’


GM

Oshan

Above, from top: Oldsmobile Golden Rocket, a 1956 show car from GM that pointed to an optimistic, jet-age future. The Oshan X7 SUV, with a standard air purifier.

   Other emotions that have emerged during this time include loneliness, in those countries or communities that are facing a lockdown, and the desire for human contact, alleviated somewhat by the knowledge that many are in the same boat, and by the ease of digital contact in developed countries, with VR, Skype and Zoom, the latter entering the vernacular and enjoying a massive rise in popularity, despite privacy concerns. But on the flip side are emotions of appreciation, in countries where governments have acted and people have been unified.
   Travel editor Stanley Moss, based in Italy, chatted last month to the general manager of the Baglioni Hotel Luna in Venezia, Gianmatteo Zampieri. Stanley reported in our web edition that the conversation was ‘lively’, rather than pessimistic, when at the time Italy had one of the most troubling COVID-19 numbers on record. He writes, ‘The Rialto Bridge is deserted, and uncrowded phantom vaporetti lazily float by. The St Mark’s Basin stands empty, with only stray small craft passing.’
   Mr Zampieri remarked, ‘The Lagoon is like a mirror. There’s not a boat to be seen, the water is crystal clear, and schools of little fish are swimming in the canals. We have a gondola landing at our entrance, and we are seeing little crabs crawling up the gondola poles. Ducks are nesting on the vaporetto docks, and laying eggs there.’
   Stanley continues, ‘Mr Zampieri has an optimistic perspective on all this. He says that following these difficult times we’ll be given a chance to return to a Venezia renewed, where the air and water are clean, landmarks uncrowded and Baglioni’s teams rested and ready to welcome back guests.’
   Many will have seen the photos of Venezia’s clean waterways, or how the Himalayas are now visible from the state of Punjab, India, where they had been hidden due to air pollution. At Lucire’s HQ in Wellington, New Zealand, native kererū pigeons can be seen flying in flocks and close to homes, whereas before they would be seen individually or in pairs, seldom venturing quite so closely into neighbourhoods.
   Lockdowns saw an appreciation of the quietness and the absence of noise pollution, a silver lining for those who were forced to stay home.
   In economies that are opening up, the hum of traffic has returned, along with rush hours, immediately rendering the rural-like quietness nostalgic.
   It may well accelerate certain emerging movements. It’s not difficult to link this love of nature to better air quality, less pollution, and the desire for improved public transport or alternative fuels. With fashion such a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions—Quantis estimates c. 8 per cent can be attributed to apparel and footwear, while 114,000 million items of clothing were sold in 2019—fast fashion has become more exposed during the crisis. A shocking 70 per cent of the product winds up in landfills or is incinerated, and inventory is currently growing in warehouses around the world. The Business of Fashion estimates that fashion is an industry that will need between US$20,000 million and US$30,000 million per annum to meet global climate and development goals in the coming decade.
   With several of my colleagues at Medinge Group, the Swedish think-tank dealing with brands with a conscience, we summarized in one session how we have become more acutely aware of how natural resources should be used sustainably, how many indigenous populations have been appropriate guardians of them and of global biodiversity, and how it has been possible to opt for self-sufficiency and sourcing a lot of our food locally, potentially boosting a localization movement.
   Somewhere in between these truths is an understanding that collaboration and co-creation are potential ways forward for the industry: to both consume more mindfully and produce more responsibly. Climate activists like Greta Thunberg rightly point out that earlier generations could have done better, and COVID-19 may have woken more up to the idea that change can happen, and we can create a better way.
   It would seem more important, then, to look at brands and responsibility, both of which are beginning to be the ways out for many sectors.
   In the 2020s, it is becoming more evident that brands should promote a sense of belonging, because people agree with its values and wish to be seen to be connected with them. Perhaps the analogy of a desirable club is not inaccurate. The top–down approach of the generation before, mass marketing products through mass media, is history: it does not build brands, and is better left to low-cost retailers keen to push short-lived product over quality. In 2020, in the midst of COVID-19, there is no stigma to having less tidy hair or older clothes, because neither signals a lack of standing; and a brand pursuing a profit strategy over one centred around purpose may find such an approach off-putting to its audiences.
   Improving the pay of workers, for instance—something our fashion feature interviewee in this issue, Johan Graffner of the Swedish label Dedicated, does with its suppliers—has been shown to make them more productive. Essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis have been praised as people have come to appreciate the value of their work in providing our necessities. Reworking and reframing the relationship workers have over their work could be a way forward: that those who invest their labour have the same voice as those who invest their capital, something pushed for by a group that counts Profs Nancy Fraser, Thomas Piketty and thousands of scholars from around the planet. They note that a strategy centred purely on profit has led us astray. Providing dignity, however, may be more in line with how people have come to feel over their work.
   Fair Trade impacts the workers living in places where work has been outsourced. Simon Anholt, in his book Brand New Justice, goes further with suggesting a shared equity model. Building environmental and social strategies into the brand is yet another step that could be taken, with measurable outcomes—many metrics for this already exist. Kering (the parent to Gucci, YSL and others), for instance, has an Environmental Profit & Loss Account, which assigns a financial value to environmental impact.
   The other reset must come with our use of resources. If collaboration with one’s own workers is possible, then it must equally be possible to work with those who understand biodiversity best. My colleague at Medinge Dr Nicholas Ind writes, ‘Indigenous people represent 5% of the world population, but manage 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity.’ Yet this traditional knowledge is often overlooked, though it would be fair to say that people appreciate its value far more in the midst of this crisis.
   These greater goals are more appealing to the consumers who will emerge in a post-COVID-19 landscape. However, shifting to it, and giving it more than lip service, will require governmental support, the third limb in making this model work. Many territories have shown that working together with government and governmental agencies can defeat the virus: Taiwan, Hong Kong and New Zealand are among those that have experienced a largely unified approach and brought new daily infections close to zero. We can work on the same side. Intervention may be justified when it comes to wages, to prevent the temptation to force them down in order to maximize profits. Without governmental input, that US$20,000 million to US$30,000 million per annum target cannot be easily achieved.
   In such a context, it has made the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 particularly prescient as it sought to insulate the country from precisely such shocks by diversifying the economy and the labour force. The brands that have emerged now need to visibly demonstrate that they have desire, as well as the means, to be part of a better world—and make us want to belong.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Fashion with feeling: Panos Emporio’s Panos Papadopoulos keeps it real

Filed by Jack Yan/February 12, 2019/21.05




Panos Papadopoulos

There’s a newfound energy at Panos Emporio as we begin 2019, and those following founder Panos Papadopoulos’s Instagram account will have noticed a series of photos taken in the desert in Dubai with a young Colombian woman named Daniela, a fan of the label modelling both Panos Emporio’s swimwear and its perfume range.
   These shots have vibrancy, depth and feeling to them, and were shot by Panos himself. While Panos Emporio still engages a crew to shoot its look books and catalogues, going to exotic locales in Greece or elsewhere, the Dubai series marks the first time in recent memory where the founder and designer of the label has released images himself.
   I spoke to Panos about them, noting they had a real quality to them where the model seemed more relaxed and less posed. I’ve looked at photos professionally for a long time, and Lucire has been around for 21 years, and I felt they were virtually publication-ready, save for some retouching with the light and contrast, to put them on a par with the official photos that his company shot.
   Having formally studied sociology, something that informed his swimwear designs over the last 33 years, he understands his subject, where society is heading, what consumers’ needs are, and how best to present his work. After all, I noted, Karl Lagerfeld shoots his own stuff for Chanel, so why not Panos Papadopoulos?


Panos Emporio’s founder and designer Panos Papadopoulos.

   Panos looks at the wider historical context. ‘We left the communist uniforms behind and now we are strangled with capitalist uniforms. No variation, no passion, no handcraft, no human values, over-consumption, over-production, too much of everything but zero reality. Karl Marx called it alienation!’
   He was blunt about where fashion is in the 2010s. ‘It’s bullshit what we produce today in fashion, because everything is produced without any feeling, it’s mechanical.’ He called the effects of what he saw ‘totally zero’.
   He continued, ‘In the past, people were proud of what they did and tried to be professional. Professional means for me: use the passion and a big engagement to do the best. These days, everyone is talking about big money before they start working on an idea.’ In other words, money has become the driver rather than the passion or the spark of an idea.
   ‘Fashion all over the world is facing a big crisis; I’ll say it’s only the beginning. In 2010, I gave many interviews about the crisis I could feel in the air, and it came, but it needed some years to see the real results. Now at least 50 per cent of today’s companies will not exist any more.’
   This all resonated with my own work not just here at Lucire but with Medinge Group, a Sweden-based think-tank specializing in humanistic branding. Since the early 2000s we’ve talked about authenticity and transparency, and it’s not hard to feel cynical when you read that certain labels have chosen someone because of their social media numbers and not for who they are. This has been covered in several print editions of Lucire and online, too. How do you know this person is a good fit with your brand and its values? Did you just both choose the same buzzwords but not explore things more deeply than that? Sometimes, that really is the sense I get, even if some of the influencers out there are trying very hard to do a good job. It feels a little “surface” to me.
   ‘The truth is that all humans want to be treated by humans as humans,’ said Panos, ‘with feelings, respect, passion: all these must be real and nothing else. Now most of the brands are trying to tell a story, but it will be artificial. I used to say it’s like how the politicians talk.
   ‘I’ve always been real: that’s why my brand is so strong and touched the heart of so many consumers, regardless of social status and age.
   ‘Passion and reality are things you already said and this is hard for many to understand now. But they will soon: the crisis is here.’—Jack Yan, Publisher







Panos Papadopoulos

 


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