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This year's Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week for Fall/Winter 2013-2014 saw a range of designers from a diverse range of backgrounds presenting their creations on the runway. Among them were China-born emerging designers Laurence Xu and Yiqing Yin, both of whom utilize traditional Chinese elements in their couture lines to create their own distinct aesthetics.
Making his mark on the French fashion world, Xu held his first ever haute couture fashion show at Pavillon Cambon. Themed Xiuqiu, which literally means 'embroidered ball' in Chinese, the show seamlessly integrated Chinese style and Western elements. As Women's Wear Daily reported, Xu paraded highly embellished, vividly colored gowns on the runway in an opulent melding of Western cuts and traditional Chinese symbolism and techniques. The show's highlights also included a performance of Chinese artist Li Yugang, as well as Taiwanese actress Pace Wu, who modeled the designer's finale gown.
A graduate of the Central Academy of Craft Art with additional French fashion education, Xu is best known for designing the gown worn by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing during her stunning appearance on the red carpet at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010. The dress featured two embroidered leaping dragons and a number of rolling waves, which are traditionally thought in Chinese culture to bring eternal peace and prosperity. Check out some of his designs below, and scroll further to learn more about Yin:
Yiqing Yin was the week's other China-born, Paris-based designer whose designs graced the runway. Younger than Xu, Yin had previously been invited as a special member to participate in Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week in 2012.
Unlike Xu, who tends to adopt a more purely 'oriental' style, Yin focuses more on Western modernism. Her design is characterized by detailed handicraft and audacious cuts, featuring innovative fabrics and treatments such as liquid organza and resinated embroidery. Yin has become a celebrity favorite after Amélie star Audrey Tautou wore the designer's clothes on the Cannes red carpet.
After emigrating from China to France at the age of four, Yin later studied at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs. She first presented her creations at the prestigious Hyères International Fashion Festival, and in 2011, her dreamlike creations won her the prestigious Association Nationale pour le Développement des Arts prize. She was most recently selected by French Vogue as one of the eight young designers to follow.
There were two people at this event, held at The Grand, Vasant Kunj, everyone queued up to meet. But we will come to that part in a bit. For, more interesting than this was the triumphant, finally-it's-happening look on Fashion One International MD Vijay Singh's face, as he announced the Delhi edition of Aamby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week 2013. 'It is the most opulent fashion week in the country, with some of the top designers participating,' he said. Col SK Sinha, chief general manager, HR, Golf and Administration, Aamby Valley City, said, 'It is a pleasure to be associated with this event,' and gave way to Vipin Sharma, director, Jewellery, World Gold Council, who said, 'Our Azva bridal jewellery is inspired by the seven vows of the wedding ritual.' Kapil Agrawal, MD, AMR Infrastructure, was the last to speak. 'Our association is special, as this event is being held in Delhi for the first time,' he said. Post this, the models and stars came on stage, and each designer showed one outfit. And now, for those two people - one of them was the face of the AVIBFW - Jacqueline Fernandez. The other, surprisingly, was Raghavendra Rathore. Well, he had vanished from the scene altogether, and it was after a long time one saw him at a fashion event in Delhi, so no wonder he was surrounded!
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San Diego is banning the sale of cats and dogs in an effort to curb puppy mills.
U-T San Diego ( http://bit.ly/11A4IID) says the City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance prohibiting retail stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits. Los Angeles and dozens of other cities already have such bans.
Violators could face fines of $250 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for repeat offenses.
Only two pet stores in town will be affected. They have six months to comply. The stores can still offer animal adoptions in partnership with a shelter or rescue group.
Animal rights-activists backed the measure, saying some large-scale breeders raise unhealthy animals in crowded conditions.
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Heads up, mobile gamers. Tiny Thief, the latest title backed by Angry Birds maker Rovio, is out now for iOS and Android devices.
Developed by the Barcelona-based studio 5 Ants, Tiny Thief is the second game released under the new Rovio Stars third-party publishing initiative. Set in medieval times, the game is described as 'an atmospheric, beautiful stealth based adventure featuring point-and-click style gameplay, off-beat humor, mind-bending puzzles, and memorable characters.'
Players assume the role of the Tiny Thief, a blond hooded hero who must use his kleptomaniac ways to outsmart opponents across six 'epic quests' and save a princess and kingdom in danger. Along the way, players will square off against enemies like the Dark Knight, rogue pirates, dragons, evil sheriffs, and even a giant robot.
'The game throws some seriously mind-boggling puzzles at you, with tons of surprising interactive gameplay elements along the way,' according to the App Store description.
The release comes after Rovio back in May announced plans to boost its game lineup with selections from third-party developers. The effort, dubbed Rovio Stars, is the Finnish game maker's first foray into publishing games that were not developed in-house.
The first Rovio Stars game Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage launched in early June for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. That game has not yet landed on Android.
Meanwhile, Angry Birds fans continue to wait it out for Rovio's new top-secret addition to the franchise. Without revealing too much (or anything at all, really), the gaming company last month teased its 'most thrilling and action-packed game yet!'
In the meantime, gamers can pick up Tiny Thief in the App Store or Google Play for $2.99. For more, check out the video below.
The smartphone industry is beginning to look a lot like 'The Lion King.' Two key players - Android and iOS, in this case - are fighting to control a kingdom while a pack of rabid competitors, like BlackBerry and Windows Phone, are simply fighting to survive. (It's up to you to decide which company represents Simba and which embodies Scar, his murderous uncle.) Now Mozilla is hoping to join the hyenas... er, upstarts, and fight for the right to the royal family's scraps through Firefox OS, its Web-based operating system. Or, at least, that's how it would appear.
Kantar reported yesterday that Android accounted for 52 percent of smartphone sales in the US during the three-month period ending in May; iOS represented 41.9 percent, leaving just 7 percent of the market for the hyenas to fight over. If that's all Firefox OS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry are able to consume they'll likely starve. And Mozilla is just fine with that.
Mozilla, like the hyenas of this long-extended metaphor, is growing used to being an also-ran. The company's Firefox browser accounted for just 27.7 percent of the browser market in May, according to W3Schools. Google's Chrome browser, by comparison, holds 52.9 percent. It overcame Firefox in March 2012 and hasn't ceded control of the market since. The company stopped developing Thunderbird, its cross-platform email application, in July 2012. (Thunderbird still receives security updates but has been otherwise abandoned.) It doesn't expect Firefox OS to suddenly leap to third place or - and this would be one hell of a stretch - displace iOS or Android at the top.
Firefox OS has been developed to improve the mobile Web. Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich said during the announcement of the first FirefoxOS-powered devices' retail launch that he doesn't believe anyone, including BlackBerry or Microsoft, has the market share to develop a viable 'third platform.' Anyone intending to compete with iOS or Android ends up relying on Web technologies, he said, and that depends on the improvement of open standards. Companies like Apple and Google try to create 'walled gardens' to lock their customers into their ecosystems; Mozilla is trying to create an open field in which Web developers can frolic without fear of being tied to one operating system or another.
Mozilla has been working on these standards, including several that allow Web-based applications to access your location, or utilize your camera, or display the level to which your smartphone's battery is charged. The company pushed for these standards to be embraced by the W3C, the standards maker that decides on which Web technologies should be made an official aspect of HTML.
'The Web is a rising tide around the world that everyone benefits from, and Firefox OS is just an instance of this category of Web-based device,' Eich said. Because of Mozilla's mission to further Web standards, he added later, the company does 'not want anything to be unique to [Firefox OS.]' Applications developed for the operating system should run on any other device, whether it's built upon the Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, or Firefox OS platform. Other operating system -makers are constantly trying to improve their offerings and encourage developers to build applications for the platform. Mozilla is trying to improve every platform and encourage developers to build applications that can be run on any device with a Web browser.
Firefox OS, like the browser it's named after, is simply a vehicle for Mozilla's mission. It might attract attention in emerging markets, where it has the benefit of being cheaper than its competitors, which the Guardian argues is the operating system's main selling point for consumers. Perhaps it could grow to a respectable size in the US as well by offering an open platform that is easier to develop for than BlackBerry or Windows Phone. But in the end it doesn't particularly matter how many smartphones Mozilla's partners sell, or how many people develop products for mobile devices specifically because of the operating system. Mozilla wants to improve the Web. Full stop.
BlackBerry and Windows Phone are in a constant struggle for the scraps left behind by iOS and Android. Firefox OS is fighting simply to make sure the entire kingdom is improved, no matter who ends up being the king.
COMMENTARY - A San Diego pet store ban is making waves after the San Diego City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits, effective in 30 days.
KPBS reported that the San Diego pet store ban will represent an amendment to the city code that makes it illegal 'for any person to display, offer for sale, deliver, barter, auction, give away, transfer or sell any live dog, cat or rabbit in any pet shop, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the city of San Diego, unless the dog, cat or rabbit was obtained from a city or county animal shelter or animal control agency, a humane society or a nonprofit rescue organization.'
Los Angeles already has such a ban, which means that San Diego will become the second largest city in California to ban the legal sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits.
According to NBC San Diego, the bill was introduced by Council Member Lori Zapf and written in partnership with the same animal welfare groups that will now control the sale of live dogs, cats, and rabbits in San Diego.
Does nobody in California see a problem with this?
And did they really mean to also make it illegal to give away an animal?
KPBS said that the largest pet store affected is owned by David Salinas of San Diego Puppy. I know nothing about Salinas, but he has spoken out in multiple media sources and is understandably upset about legislation that seems at least somewhat targeted to put him out of business.
He's widely quoted as saying: 'This has got to stop. This movement of accusing every single breeder having pet store [sales] as puppy mills is absolutely ridiculous.'
I tend to agree. Zapf said that she loves animals and wants to see them treated well.
However, I believe that her actions say something else. The wording in the ordinance quoted by KPBS doesn't say that breeders should be licensed and inspected to be allowed to raise, breed, and sell animals.
It said that the whole activity is illegal, not just factory breeding.
How do you assume that someone who loves animals enough to spend their time and life energy breeding them is always a bad guy who should be put out of business?
I have an idea. Shut down the puppy mills, and let the responsible breeders alone. If you're worried about cage-breeding, inspect regularly to make sure it doesn't happen. Problem solved.
But I'm not from California. Maybe there's some deeper issue here that has resulted in these bans.
I appreciate comments from all sides. What are your thoughts on the San Diego pet store ban?
[puppy photo by photo credit: emarquetti via photopin cc]
British Vogue reports that September's fashion week, from Friday, September 13 to Tuesday, September 17, will show the spring/summer 2014 collections for many designers. The biggest day may be Monday, with Burberry, Erdem, Christopher Kane, Tom Ford and Nicole Farhi all showing their latest collections.
Luxury leather goods label Smythson will join London Fashion Week for the first time, making its debut with a top-secret event celebrating its key bag, the Panama, while Emma Hill will show her final collection as creative director of Mulberry.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Hill is leaving the brand over 'disagreements with management over creative and operational strategy.' Her next move has not yet been announced.
Fashion Week is sure to be star-studded. The last London Fashion Week, in February 2013, saw a huge turnout of celebrities sitting in the front row and rubbing elbows with the fashion elite while showing off their own best looks.
Rita Ora, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kate Beckinsale, Daisy Lowe, Olivia Palermo, Demi Lovato, Alexa Chung, Lana Del Rey and Victoria Beckham were among the stars to make appearances of the last London Fashion Week, and we can be sure to see many of them again.
See the full schedule here and read about other Fashion Weeks below.
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Our story so far: Last September, Apple decided to dump the Google Maps app that had been on the iPhone for years. Apple replaced it with its own Maps app - software with so many problems that Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, apologized and even recommended that people use other apps until Apple could fix its own one.
In December - incredibly quickly - Google responded by introducing its own Maps app for iPhone. It's a spectacular app, among the best apps ever written. It's fast, beautiful and so good at guessing what you mean when you start typing a destination, it's almost mind reading. You can read the details here.
Today, that delightful news gets even better. Not only has Google improved Google Maps for iPhone, it's also brought that same free app to three machines that never had it: the iPad, Android phones and Android tablets. (The Android versions are available for download today; it requires the Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean version of Android - recent versions, in other words. The iOS versions will be available shortly.)
For Androidians, the biggest news is the design of the app itself. It's modeled on the iPhone app, the one that's simple and fast and elegant. It's also uncluttered by the morass of menus that have always plagued the existing Maps app for Android.
But for practitioners of all religions - tablet, phone, iOS, Android - the other news is the new features that today's new version brings. They include:
* Greater speed. All app versions are faster than before.
* Better place information. Half the time, you don't even need navigation instructions; you just use Google Maps as the world's smartest Yellow Pages, to find a nearby restaurant, movie theater, drugstore or whatever.
The details for found places now include a one-line description ('Chinese restaurant famous for dim sum'); a five-star rating system (including a decimal - '4.3,' for example - because, let's face it, almost everything these days winds up with a four-star rating); the ability to upload your own photos of a place; and a more complete integration of the Zagat guides, which Google bought.
* Greater emphasis on exploration. Google Maps has always excelled at getting you to a known destination. But Google now wants the app to help you choose a restaurant, bar, store, recreation center or hotel, at least in major United States and European cities.
If you tap in the Search box without typing anything, new, photographic buttons appear: Eat, Drink, Shop, Play, Sleep. Each opens lists of corresponding facilities, sorted by criteria like Local Favorites, Popular with Tourists and so on. (Google says that these recommendations are never paid placement.)
* Traffic incidents and auto-rerouting. At last: Google Maps shows more than colored lines indicating current traffic speeds on major roads. Now it also displays tiny icons that represent accidents and construction. Tap one to read the details: 'Right lane blocked on 680,' for example. (In case you were wondering, the information on traffic incidents doesn't come from Waze, the traffic-incident app that Google recently bought. That data has yet to be incorporated into Maps.)
Better yet: Maps now looks ahead for traffic jams on your route, and interrupts your drive with a dialog box that offers to route you around it (if the new path would be quicker, of course). On its own.
* Offline maps. This feature is something of an Easter egg. It's undocumented, a feature inserted by Google engineers simply because they wanted it. You can access it only if you know the secret. But wow, is it worth it.
This feature memorizes the map data for whatever area is displayed on your screen right now (up to a whole city in size). That way, you can use Google Maps even when you're overseas and don't want to turn on data roaming (because that's insanely expensive), or when you're in an area where there's no cell reception. It's very handy.
To capture a map snapshot like this, tap in the Search box. Use the speech-recognition button and say, 'OK Maps.' (It's a riff on the command 'OK Glass' that prepares Google Glass, the company's 'smart headband,' for voice commands.)
A message quietly lets you know you've successfully stored the displayed area.
*Nice tablet layouts. On a tablet, Maps really shines. The app smartly reformats itself to take best advantage of whatever screen shape you have: two or three columns of place listings, for example, and luxuriously displayed photos and reviews for each business.
This new, improved Maps app works identically on both major flavors of phone and tablet. You know what? I don't care how much you distrust Google and its motives. This is crazy good software, some of the best work Google has ever done.
Fashion's Christmas is creeping up on us once again - we're talking about London Fashion Week of course. Thanks to the delayed Great British Summer we've only just started to try out Summer 2013 trends, but fashion folk move fast. We're now looking towards Summer 2014.
LFW will take place between Friday 13 September and Tuesday 17 September with all the usual suspects such as House of Holland, Peter Pilotto and Erdem back for another spin at Somerset House. The five day fash fest will kick off with Felder Felder who are pencilled in for 9am on Friday. Then on the Saturday the fash pack will be watching J.W Anderson, David Koma and it girl magnet, House of Holland.
Sunday will be a hectic day for team Grazia as Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, L'Wren Scott, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Paul Smith, Mulberry, Mary Katrantzou, Matthew Williamson, Unique AND Jonathan Saunders will all show on that day. We're guessing Diet Coke will be our best friend on Sunday.
On Monday we have Peter Pilotto, Burberry Prorsum, Erdem and Christopher Kane. Tuesday will be all about fresh talent, with upcoming designers Simone Rocha, Lucas Nascimento, Thomas Tait and the Fashion East show.
So what are we looking forward to most here at Grazia HQ? We've already circled the Mulberry show on our schedule, as this is Emma Hill's very last show as creative director. Tom Ford is also back once again at LFW, showing on Monday evening. Fingers crossed Justin Timberlake returns to the front row. We're also hoping for more catch ups with Kate Bosworth at Topshop Unique.
While we wait for more Fashion Week news, why not take a look at who was FROW-ing last season at London Fashion Week in the gallery below?
New Delhi, Thu, 11 Jul 2013 NI Wire
The official announcement of India Bridal Fashion Week 2013 to be held from July 23 to 28 was done in a spectacular show in the presence of leading fashion designers, corporate personalities, sizzling models and the brand ambassador of the show bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez.
This is the first time Delhi will host the Amby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week (AVIBFW) in which 12 eminent fashion designers of the country will showcase their collections of fashion and lifestyle brands including apparel, jewelry & accessories and other services in the luxury wedding segment.
On the opening ceremony, models walked in ramp to display the collection of 12 fashion designers taking part in the event which included Adarsh Gill, Ashima Leena, Falguni & Shane Peacock, JJ Valaya, Jyotsana Tiwari, Meera Muzaffar Ali, Raghavendra Rathore, Rina Dhaka, Rohit Bal, Shantanu Nikhil, Suneet Varma and Tarun Tahiliani.
Moreover, all the designers looked quite excited about the event as it is being organized for the first time in the Capital and expressed their excitement in their own way.
The Amby Valley India Bridal Week is a brilliant platform for fashion designers, it is an innovative way to showcase trends and capture the biggest influences and also reach a larger audience. I am happy to be a part of this wonderful event and I must add that it is heartening to see, that the organizers are maintaining international standards.
It gives us great pleasure to be a part of the first edition of India Bridal Week in New Delhi, we're sure that Fashion One International will soon be synonymous with Indian bridal luxury and deliver a stellar event in the coming weeks.
Falguni and Shane:
Since we are known for our contemporary couture lines for the modern Indian bride, Aamby valley India Fashion Week automatically becomes an appropriate platform to show case our Fall Winter 2013 collection.
J J Valaya:
Our association started in the year 2012 with ours being the Grand Finale show at the Mumbai Edition of IBFW. It was an exceptional experience and we are glad to take forward the association this year as well, as we open the first edition of IBFW, Delhi. I find IBFW focused and with a definitive vision for the future of the Bridal fashion industry in India. India being one of the few places in the world where Couture is still created and cherished, IBFW successfully showcases the coming together of the best and biggest couturiers of the country on a single unified platform. I cannot imagine IBFW not being the first and last stop for a prospective Bride and/or Groom!
IBFW focuses to provide the best in the category of bridal luxury. Being part of IBFW gives an Indian designer the opportunity to showcase their collection to a wide range of audience. Also it is a great platform to promote trade and connect with consumers and buyers.
The India Bridal Fashion Week is a unique platform discreetly providing all the needs for an ideal wedding and also giving direction to couture trends for the season. The exclusiveness of the event only enhances the business approach the entire concept has, in both the B2B and online presence. It is a pleasure to be part of the IBW Platform and we look forward to a long term association.
The India Bridal Fashion Week provides a great platform for us Designers to showcase the couture collection and this grand scale event is the best occasion for an interaction and understanding of the buyers.
Shantanu & Nikhil:
Since we are known for our contemporary couture lines for the modern Indian bride, Aamby valley India Fashion Week automatically becomes an appropriate platform to show case our Fall Winter 2013 collection.
I am pleased to be associated with the India Bridal Fashion Week and very excited to showcase my Fall'13 collection. We are a nation of people who have had the tradition of having things ' made to measure' or ' personally customized', so couture and its benefits are not lost on us. The Bridal Couture week in Delhi and Mumbai are well planned and provide the designers with an interesting platform to showcase the collection well before the season begins and so it's good for business. I am happy to be part of this robust partnership and look forward to many more years of success.
Glimpses of shimmering gold, hues of soft pastels and a whimsical frothiness are reminiscent of an era of charm and elegance. 'Creating couture which keeps distinctive Indian crafts alive, while exploring visions in sparkling crystal and carat, reflects emotions that give shape to sensuous, elegant and bespoke luxury for brides, grooms and their families as well as for other occasions. This collection will be living, breathing heritage, married with the fresh vibrancy and essence of modern India.