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Ralph & Russo put Dubai on the fashion map

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Ralph & Russo is an international luxury fashion brand known for its designs that are described as both contemporary and timelessly elegant. The brand was created in London in 2010 by Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo. In 2014, it became the first British guest member in almost 100 years to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show their first runway collection as part of the Spring/Summer season.

In an inclusive interview with founders, Tamara and Michael, Euronews’ Jane Witherspoon got the lowdown on the iconic brand.

How did the brand come about, what did you want that brand to stand for?

Tamara Ralph: It really grew out of a passion for luxury and craftsmanship and design. I come from four generations of fashion and haute couture in my family. And when we had a chance meeting, it was something that we talked about, setting up a luxury brand. And we always had a vision to have a global luxury brand.

You were invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, the first British brand to showcase a Fashion Week in almost 100 years.

Tamara Ralph: It was really quite a big milestone and the first Australians ever to be invited. And you know it was always something that was very important for the brand. To be recognised by the Chambless Syndicale was an incredibly important achievement.

We had obviously, the support of Didier Grumbach, at the time who was the president and was actually responsible for discovering a lot of the big names in fashion and nurturing their careers. So it was wonderful to have the support.

How do you personally define couture?

Tamara Ralph: Couture is an art. You know, all of our clients that purchase couture, they purchase it for generations. It’s really something that’s an investment. It’s like a piece of jewellery. It’s something that you’ll pass down and keep forever. And for us, that’s really special.

How have dressmaking techniques changed over the years? How have you adopted the changes? Have you stayed traditional?

Tamara Ralph: So we have a really big atelier, actually, that specialises in the couture side. And then we have obviously craftsmen in the house that specialise in other product categories, such as ready to wear and things like that. But in the couture atelier, there’s forty-five languages spoken. There’s ages ranging from 16 all the way up until the 60s. And it’s really nice to have that mix of the old techniques get more modern applications and things like that. We like to push and constantly innovate. We run apprentice programmes in-house where we can train and develop and innovate as well. So that’s really important.

You’ve dressed many wonderful clients, like Meghan Markle. Is that a challenge? How exciting or daunting is it?

Tamara Ralph: No, I think it was very it was very exciting, obviously, you know.

I think it was such an iconic moment because obviously not just because of the two of them, but also because of her choice of piece for the day, which was, you know, a little bit different to what I think, you know, some people were expecting. And I think that’s nice. It showed her personality. It pushed the boundaries.

Do your clients have much input if you’re designing something specific and special for them, or do you come up with the idea and see it through to completion?

Tamara Ralph: Both

Michael Russo: We’ve had some really diverse celebrity moments from stage outfits for Beyonce to the costume outfits for Angelina Jolie, for Maleficent. It’s been so diverse. So the challenge is always there.

Tamara Ralph: Yeah but also I think with clients, all of our private clients, it’s a very personal experience, you know, no matter if they’re a celebrity or a private client. And, you know, we love to guide them and be part of the process and be very involved.

How hard has it been to showcase virtually?

Tamara Ralph: It was an evolution, that’s for sure. I think that it’s difficult to create the connection that you have with the physical show. I think that was something that was the hardest part to kind of keep, alive. But I loved the innovations and things.

I thought it was very interesting just to push the boundaries with digital, to play with new ideas. But, you know, I think that the traditional fashion shows are still very important and are important to get that sense of what the collection is about, So, you know, a balance of both going forward. I think one is just as important as the other.

Why did you choose to launch in Dubai?

Michael Russo: Well, I think Dubai has got such a multicultural following, and I think for us as well, it’s a product that’s well suited for the market.

It’s got a customer base that’s very akin to Ralph & Russo and well known to Ralph & Russo. For us in this region, it was definitely our first flagship in the region.

Would you say you have a different clientele in Dubai?

Michael Russo: I think in Dubai we find that there’s a lot of tourists here and those tourists are typically Ralph Russo clients already. So the products that we’re offering here are still akin to the ones that we use worldwide and I think relevant to our worldwide customer as well as the local market. So I think it’s a nice little mix of local and international clients.

Do you think that the fashion scene in Dubai is growing? How does it compare to known fashion cities like New York, Milan, London and Paris.

Tamara Ralph: Well, I think it’s definitely, you know, integral to the Gulf region. Yeah, you know, it’s really the hub of the region. It’s so incredibly international. And I think, you know, it’s a huge destination for fashion for the region. So, yeah, I think it’s incredibly important.

You’re about to become a mum for the first time, how is that going to change your work-life balance?

Tamara Ralph: Yeah, of course. I mean, it teaches you definitely to kind of find that balance, which I think I probably didn’t have before. And so, you know, I have a great team.

You know, we have an amazing support structure internally in the company. And we’ll find a way, you know, and plus it might be a chance to kind of venture into a full fledged childrenswear line. You know, well, I’m having a girl, so now we have our first model.

You’re expanding into accessories, are there beauty lines down the line?

Tamara Ralph: What’s been amazing actually through, just before Covid and also through Covid is, you know, a few different things. We were able to kind of reset our thinking, focus on what we’d like to achieve in the next couple of years. And so, you know, cosmetics and beauty is something we’re very interested in. Home and furnishings and everything connected to that sector is actually something that we’ve been slowly putting in the works for a little bit of time.

 

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/21/ralph-russo-put-dubai-on-the-fashion-map\

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Bryan Adams dedicates Pirelli’s 2022 calendar to ‘the great stars of music’

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cnn– Pirelli has unveiled “On the Road,” its 2022 calendar starring some of the music industry’s biggest names, including Iggy Pop, Cher, Grimes and Jennifer Hudson. This edition of the renowned calendar, which was put on pause last year due to the coronavirus, was shot by Canadian singer-turned-photographer Bryan Adams and is dedicated to the “greatest talents in the world of music,” according to a news release.

“On the road is where I have been for the last 45 years,” Adams said in the statement, “because the life of a musician is made up of roads, travel, waiting in hotels, hours backstage.”
Since 1964, the Pirelli Calendar has been interpreted by a total of 37 photographers — including Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino and Herb Ritts — and has featured an impressive roster of talent, such as models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell and actors Sophia Loren and Maggie Cheung. For the 2017 calendar, Peter Lindbergh captured a throng of Hollywood actors, including Uma Thurman and Kate Winslet, in a series of stripped-back, black-and-white portraits.
The 2022 version, which is the Italian tire company’s 48th edition, is a curated glimpse into the life of a touring artist. From the glamorous multi-story billboards that tower above street level to the remnants of room service: silver cloches strewn aside, half-eaten salads and empty water tumblers. The photographs follow a playful narrative arc: each month, Adams introduces not only a new star but a new scene.
For May, the phrase “entering backstage” introduces three images of Cher strutting through an unnamed venue’s labyrinthine hallways like a stage manager. In November, only the word “aftershow” accompanies several photos of Rita Ora posing inside a bathtub, absentmindedly pouring liquor over the edge. Each month is timestamped, too, meaning Adams’ story of life on the road is neatly packaged to represent the span of a single day: beginning in January at 7:45 a.m. and stretching into the small hours of a December morning at 4:12 a.m.
It’s rockstar iconography at it’s finest, drawing on the beloved — if not slightly clichéd — imagery of smashed lipsticks, abandoned microphones and stars perched atop pianos. The entire calendar was shot in just three days, with most celebrities photographed in Los Angeles at the Chateau Marmont or the Palace Theatre, while photos of Saweetie were taken from Hotel La Scalinatella in Capri, Italy.
Adams’ himself closes the calendar, with an aviator-clad self-portrait and the wistful kicker: “On the way to the next show.”

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The Great British Bake Off crowns its 2021 winner

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bbc– Spoiler alert! If you do not want to know the result of the Great British Bake Off final, please look away now…

Giuseppe celebrated victory on Tuesday after what judges on the Channel 4 show described as the closest finale yet.

The 45-year-old Bristol resident pipped this year’s fellow finalists Chigs and Crystelle, who all had to make food for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

“There are no words, I am speechless for once,” said the show’s first Italian winner.

In the final episode, he made dough filled with chocolate and hazelnuts, shaped in the form of a giant mushroom. He also produced mango and passion fruit panna cottas, orange and fig heart-shaped muffins, and asparagus and pea-filled choux pastries shaped like a caterpillar.

Series 12 of the show saw a dozen bakers initially enter the Bake Off bubble at the start of the competition in September, before judges Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith turned the heat up on them with a series of knock-out challenges over 10 episodes.

They set the final three bakers three tasks: to make carrot cake, produce Belgian buns and recreate a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, while showing four different baking disciplines.

The victorious Giuseppe dedicated his win to his parents. “All I can think of is the reaction from my mum and dad,” he continued.

“The fact is that everything I have done to deserve this comes from his [my dad’s] heritage, it’s the best thank you note I can possibly send him.

“He is going through a very bad time health-wise, so I think this is going to be a great boost.

“I don’t say often or lightly that I am proud of what I do, but in this case I am really proud of what I have done. It’s unbelievable!”

Italian job

Giuseppe’s achievement arrives in the same year that his compatriots won Euro 2020 and Eurovision. “I feel it’s been a great year for Italy,” he noted on the show.

“I truly can’t believe it or take it in, this has made me so incredibly happy to be a Britalian. Dell’Anno is my surname which translates in English to ‘of the year’ – and I feel this has certainly been my year.”

Hollywood said he had “done an incredible job”.

“The first time I walked into the tent and in the first signature I saw his mini rolls, I thought that looks like our winner, you could see the heart and soul going into his baking,” declared the judge.

Fellow judge, the recently-honoured Dame Prue added: “He is such a classic beautiful baker and he represents a long tradition of classic Italian baking. He has done it brilliantly all the way through.

“I am going home to make much more Italian cakes because they really are good.”

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Provocative art exhibition opens in Italy amid Chinese embassy protests

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cnn– At a museum in Brescia, northern Italy, Shanghai-born artist Badiucao is making final adjustments to an exhibition that has enraged Chinese officials.
Images of President Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh — a tongue-in-cheek comparison now widely censored on Chinese social media — hang alongside a tribute to Wuhan whistleblower Li Wenliang and a depiction of riot police pursuing a protestor. Mock posters for the forthcoming Winter Olympics show a snowboarder sliding across a CCTV camera and a biathlete pointing a rifle towards a blindfolded Uighur prisoner.
Badiucao’s provocative new works will be unveiled to the public on Saturday, despite protests from Chinese diplomats. In a letter to Brescia’s mayor, the country’s embassy in Rome said the artworks are “full of anti-Chinese lies,” and that they “distort the facts, spread false information, mislead the understanding of the Italian people and seriously injure the feelings of the Chinese people,” according to local newspaper Giornale di Brescia.
For the dissident artist, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Australia since 2009, the spat comes as little surprise.
“It’s almost impossible (to) avoid offending the Chinese government these days,” he says, showing CNN around the exhibition ahead of its opening. “Anything could be sensitive; anything could be problematic.”
Since the embassy lodged its complaint last month, museum officials and local politicians have framed the show — titled “La Cina (non) è Vicina,” or “China is (not) near” — as a symbol of free speech.
“I have to say, I had to read the letter twice because it surprised me,” Brescia’s deputy mayor, Laura Castelletti, recounts, calling it “an intrusion on a city’s artistic, cultural decision.” The request to cancel the show, she adds, has only “attracted more attention.”
The Brescia Museum Foundation’s president, Francesca Bazoli, meanwhile says that going ahead with the exhibition “was a matter of freedom of artistic expression.”
The Chinese embassy in Rome has not responded to CNN’s repeated requests for comment.

Ongoing censorship

A thorn in the Chinese Communist Party’s side for more than a decade, Badiucao has established a reputation for poking fun at politicians and prodding at sensitive topics, from the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre to the treatment of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Last month, outspoken basketball star Enes Kanter — who has called out the Chinese government for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet — was pictured wearing several pairs of custom sneakers designed by the artist. The shoes, controversially worn on court during various NBA games, carried messages including “Free Tibet” and “Made with Slave Labor.”
The once-anonymous Badiucao came to prominence in 2011, when he began posting cartoons about China’s handling of Wenzhou high-speed train crash to the microblogging site Sina Weibo. The images were repeatedly censored, and even though he is now an Australian citizen, the country’s authorities have clamped down on his work ever since.
In 2018, a planned exhibition of his art in Hong Kong was canceled due to “safety concerns.” Organizers attributed the decision to “threats made by the Chinese authorities,” and the artist later revealed that members of his family in China had been contacted by officials ahead of the show. Admitting that his cover “had been compromised,” he unveiled his identity in 2019 after years of anonymity,
Badiucao says he is regularly harassed — and occasionally threatened — online, where he posts a regular stream of searing cartoons to Twitter and Instagram. “It’s like a battleground and that’s how you can use visual language and internet memes and that’s how you can dissolve the authority of censorship,” he says.
Given the political and commercial pressures facing his collaborators, the decision to proceed with the show makes Brescia “a role model for the rest of the world,” he adds.
“As an artist I have experienced censorship so many times, for so many years and in so many places — not just in China or Hong Kong, but also in Australia and in many other countries,” he says. “I rarely have an opportunity like this, to show (my work at an exhibition), because all the galleries, curators and museums worry that if they showcase my art … then they’re jeopardizing their Chinese market.
“China is very good at using its capital and money to control, manipulate and silence people’s criticism — and this is how it’s reflected in our world, the art market.”

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