Monthly Archives: April 2010

La danse – Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris

There are times when you wished you’d bought popcorn. The press screening of La Danse: Le ballet de l’Opera de Paris was one of them.  Eschewing captions, voiceovers and backing music US documentary director Frederick Wiseman takes us on a single camera peek at the rehearsals, classes and preparation leading up to the opening night.

The film is almost two hours long and without the nurturing of a narrative voice, captions or soundtrack even the most ardent ballet fans will be twitching in their seats dreaming of a sugar hit to get them through to the final credits. The agility, variety and musicality of the Company are undeniably awe inspiring. If only Wiseman had teased us with a bit of personal information on the dancers – my interest in the art is genuine but I was really craving some human insight. Perhaps that is why one of the true stars of the piece turns out to be artistic director Brigitte Lefevre. Feisty, funny, maternal yet firm her presence gives a unique insight into the tensions at the creative epicenter of the Company, that of commercial sensibility versus creative integrity.

The film looks dated; yellow, beige and brown seem to dominate the stock. In reality this isn’t the stock, but an unadulterated representation of the battered and struggling facilities The Paris Opera Ballet ballet must endure. This realistic vision gives a rather dreary tone to the film, but only serves to heighten the ability of the dancers who shine in these fading surroundings

‘Le danse’ is worth watching if you’re a ballet fan, but make sure you take popcorn and don’t feel guilty if you turn it off half way through.  I would liken it to a ballet class; at points it is uplifting, at points exhausting and at times you just wish you could eat some food. But inevitably you leave feeling like you’ve learnt something worthwhile and been allowed a precious glimpse into a world you will never be athletically or artistically worthy of being a part of.

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Model Behaviour

Good luck to anyone who is running the Paris Marathon this weekend (Sunday 11 April). I’ve always thought that women look at their best when doing exercise – the natural glow of skin, sense of determination and bright eyes that come with pushing yourself physically, and it would seem ASICS share my view. ASICS will be at the Paris Marathon scouting for the new face of its new women’s running line AYAMi.

And they won’t be hunting before the race starts, so any non runners thinking they can nip down and look lithe and beautiful in Lycra and scoop the role, think again. ASICS will be on the 12k mark, papping women with ‘raw emotions, an air of purpose and stamina’. Now that’s a proper face for a sports brand. You need to sign up prior to the event so that they know who to look out for, so any interested ladies should pop down to the AYAMi stand at the ASICS expo in Paris either tomorrow (10 April) or on the morning of the race. On your marks, get set, go!

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Hello Budget

It might be a bit obvious to say it, but I can’t get enough of the Adidas Originals ‘The Street Where Originality Lives’ advert. I keep playing it over each time catching something new. Aside from the celeb fest that is Aggy, Becks, Noel Gallagher, Ivana Ivanovic, Mr Hudson, Ian Brown Jeremy Scott, the list goes on…check, check, check! The vibe looks electric and it makes me want to get up and twirl around and acheive a bottom like the girl in the red, hot pants! The ad makes the apparel look like worthy club/street wear without losing the sports essence. Energy is the name of the game, oh and beautiful people, urban lighting and a good groove. All I have to say is, Adidas, for this advert I salute you. But my goodness, how much money did you spend on this advert?? I think it’s worth it though, if you haven’t seen it, watch for yourself…

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Flower Power!

Martha Grace single speed cruiser

US store Target and Liberty’s of London have teamed up to create a rather delicious array of homewares and fashion. From cake stands to flip flops, via gardening tools and teapots all items have been polished off with an explosion of Liberty’s heritage floral prints. These prints have become synonymous with pretty, feminine Englishness. Kate Moss utilised them in her 2009 collection for Topshop (her poppy print tulip dress is pictured) and they’ve been immortalised in Nike’s Liberty Dunks, and Hermes’ beautiful and breezy silk scarves last year  so it’s hardly unusual that Liberty for Target would return to the archives and plant petals all over their latest collection.

While bone china adorned with forget-me-nots is hardly new – Liberty’s iconic prints were first used as part of the Art Noveau movement in the late 19 Century – the reality is, overused or not, us Brits love the quintessential Englishness they encapsulate and I guess that American’s enjoy the touch of British class they lend. While Daisy couldn’t help but coo over the Egyptian cotton underwear, unsurprisingly for a lover of wheels, it was actually the collections’ bicycle that was the real head turner.

This sturdy single speed cruiser called ‘Martha Grace’ comes in one of two prints ‘Darnley Paisley’ which is pictured right and ‘Garla’ florals which is pictured above. The tan grips and saddle compliment the paisley and the chain guard will ensure precious threads remain oil free. Natty mud guards should protect against spray from April showers. With a 26inch frame it should be a comfortable ride for anyone between 5ft 1 and about 5ft 8 with a little bit of saddle adjusting.

Being a single speed you can’t vary the gears which can make it less versatile for hills as it can be less efficient going up, and going down you can’t increase cadence. But let’s face it, london isn’t very hilly and this is a bike that is made for Liberty’s of London – the clue is in the title. If you do come across a hill on it, the extra muscle power to get up is good for you and on the way down – just free wheel! I can imagine spinning through Columbia Road on this bike, not racing the London to Paris charity ride. It’s for cruising, as the name suggests, I only wish it had a basket. It’s available in store now along with select pieces from the wider Liberty for Target collection. Priced at £175.

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