Archive for February 2019

A life on fashion’s frontline

Diana Vreeland, the American fashion editor who became one of the most culturally influential women of the 20th century, died in New York at the age of 86 in 1989, but more than two decades on, memories of her still loom large.
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In the documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, many of those interviewed, whether former staff or successful designers such as Manolo Blahnik, refer deferentially to the fashion maven as Mrs Vreeland. Even the film’s director does so – and she married into the Vreeland family.

”Mrs Vreeland suits her, as she was definitely an imposing figure,” says Lisa Immordino Vreeland, the debut filmmaker who married Diana’s grandson, Alexander. ”I don’t know what she would have made of me. I don’t think I have enough pizazz to have impressed her.”

A belief in pizazz was just one of Diana (pronounced Dee-Anna) Vreeland’s many trademarks. She was fond of pronouncements – ”fashion is a way of life” – and presented an image that became familiar through social pages and several decades of lively television interviews: the jet-black hair framing a sharp gaze, the husky smoker’s voice, the prominent rouge and the exaggerated hand gestures.

”Her persona was better known than she was, which meant that while people recognised her, they didn’t know her story,” Immordino Vreeland explains.

”For me, it was only after doing the film that I understood who the true woman was.”

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel reveals a woman with an instinct for fashion’s tug between the aesthetic and the intellectual. As an editor, she had a natural inquisitiveness and a love of striking photography. As fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar in the 1940s and ’50s she introduced the bikini, blue jeans and Lauren Bacall, alongside timeless black-and-white imagery from Richard Avedon, among others. In the 1960s at Vogue (a previously tepid magazine whose pre-eminence she helped establish as editor) there were the vivid colours and youthful British energy of David Bailey and Twiggy.

Vreeland was a workaholic who preferred to issue memos than hold a meeting, and had a knack for leaving frazzled assistants in tears. Her toughness was in part a reaction to her socialite mother, who freely lamented having an ”ugly little monster” of a daughter.

”The life that she had with her mother really toughened her up; she developed a shell to deal with the world,” Immordino Vreeland says. It also established an ambition and emotional self-sufficiency: the concept of what was permissible for a young woman who came of age during the 1920s didn’t much matter to her.

”There’s only one really good life and that’s the life you know you want, and you make it for yourself,” Vreeland says in the film, and one of the central threads of the story is how she built a career based on doing what she was drawn to and how along the way she changed the perception American women held of themselves. Whether through the freedom conjured in fashion spreads or socially perceptive articles, Vreeland helped usher in the modern woman.

”She was just doing what she loved and along the way she brought all of us with her, whether we were readers of her magazines or people who attended her museum shows,” Immordino Vreeland says. ”She wasn’t a Gloria Steinem, out there on a soapbox. Diana Vreeland was just showing in an elegant way how a woman could have a successful career and a home life. She did it her own way.”

Immordino Vreeland, who built her own career in the fashion industry, working in marketing and public relations with major fashion houses in the US and Italy, had to show some of the same determination and independence when she set out to explore Diana’s legacy. At first her husband’s extended family thought her research was just a personal project, but after her book of the same name came out last year with a collection of essays, vintage pages and archival images, they paid more attention to the documentary.

Immordino Vreeland secured Diana’s diaries from the New York Public Library, as well as recordings of interviews between Vreeland and writer George Plimpton conducted for her 1984 autobiography, D.V. There were also interviews with Vreeland’s two sons, Timothy and Frederick, who discussed the difficulties of having a famous workaholic mother.

”I had never made a film before and I just imagined that I could get away with it,” Immordino Vreeland says. ”But after directing and producing the film I’ve realised what a massive undertaking it was.”

As the film moves from the festival circuit to international release, Immordino Vreeland says her chief satisfaction is the feedback from family friends and fashion veterans.

”A lot of them adored her, and they recognise the woman in the documentary,” she says. ”It’s the Mrs Vreeland they knew.”

■Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is at selected cinemas from Thursday.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Stocks set for flat start despite weak leads

Join the Markets Live blog from 9.30am
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Australian shares are expected to open flat despite modest falls on Wall Street on fiscal cliff concerns and European markets fell as the region slipped back into its second recession since 2009.

On the ASX24, the SPI futures contract was 3 point higher to 4353. The slide in the Aussie dollar continued. The local unit was recently buying $US1.0324, about 1.25 US cents since late Wednesday, and down from yesterday’s close of $US1.0355. It was also buying 83.81 yen, 80.86 euro cents and 65.16 pence.

What you need to knowThe SPI was 3 points higher at 4353The $A was trading at $US1.0324In late trade, the S&P500 was down 0.12% to 1353.87In Europe, the FTSE100 lost 0.77% to 5677.75China iron ore added 40 US cents to $US122.80Gold lost 0.9% to $US1713.80 an ounceWTI crude oil lost $US1.33 to $US84.99 a barrelRJ/CRB commodities index added 0.61% to 293.92

Making news today

There is no major economics news scheduled for today.

In company news:Vodafone Hutchison Australia chief executive Bill Morrow to address American Chamber of Commerce lunchThe following companies hold annual general meetings: Cash Converters, Goodman Group, Kathmandu Holdings, Wilson HTM Investment Group. Click here for a full list.

Analyst rating changes:QBE cut to ‘negative’ by A.M. BestCochlear cut to ‘underperform’ at Credit SuisseIluka cut to ‘underperform’ at MacquarieIress cut to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ at Goldman SachsCSR upgraded to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ at Goldman SachsSeven West Media raised to ‘buy at Duetsche Bank

The dollar

The Australian dollar is lower, after reports of large currency sales by the central bank and weak global market performances. At 7am AEDT, the local unit was trading at $US1.0329, down from $US1.0358.

Currency trader Stuart Ive said large sales of the Aussie dollar by the central bank plus weak performances on global markets had impacted the currency.

‘‘It’s a continuation of the trend we saw yesterday,’’ he said.

‘‘We had data from the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) showing that there’s been a significant outflow of Australian dollars.‘‘That added to a downward movement in the currency.

‘‘But we’ve also seen stock markets decline globally, as well as metal commodity markets.’’

Offshore overnight


Italian 10-year bonds rose for a third day after a report showed the nation’s economy contracted less last quarter than analysts forecast. Italy’s government securities led gains in euro-area debt even as the data indicated the nation’s fourth recession since 2001 entered its second year. Italy’s 10-year bond yield dropped six basis points to 4.90%Spain’s two-year yield climbed one basis point to 3.25%Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at 1.34%

US Treasuries fell, led by 30-year bonds, as the European Union’s endorsement of Spain’s deficit- cutting efforts boosted prospects the country will ask for a sovereign bailout, sapping demand for the safest assets.Ten-year yields climbed two basis points to 1.62%

United States

The S&P 500 was on track to fall for a third day on Thursday as Wal-Mart Stores Inc reported disappointing results and investors feared the “fiscal cliff” will harm the economy.  Stocks have struggled recently to hold onto even slight gains, dropping more than 1 percent on Wednesday after starting the session higher.

Key numbers:S&P500 lost 0.12% at 1353.80Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.23% at 12,541.88Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.34% to 2837.27


Europe’s main stock markets have retreated following news the 17-nation eurozone economy fell into recession in the third quarter as a result of the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

Key numbers:London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.77% to 5677.75 In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 lost 0.82% to 7043.42 In Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.52% to 3382.40 


Asian stocks outside Japan slid toward a two-month low amid concern a budget standoff in the U.S. may curb global growth. Japanese shares gained on speculation a change of government may result in more action to stimulate the economy.

Key numbers:Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.9% to 8829.72Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.6% to 21108.93China’s Shanghai Composite lost 1.2% to 2030.29



Oil prices diverged as traders reacted to Middle East supply concerns and digest a batch of US economic data.Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December jumped $US1.14 to $US110.75 a barrel in late London deals on Thursday.New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for December, fell 43 cents to $US85.89 a barrel.

Precious metals

Gold prices dropped 0.9 per cent on signs that demand for the precious metal is sagging. Global gold demand fell 11 per cent during the third quarter compared to the previous year, the World Gold Council said.The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, fell $US16.30, or 0.9 per cent, to settle at $US1,713.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Base metals

Base metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) closed in a mixture of positive and negative territory, but remain little changed on the day overall amid nervous trade.At the close of open-outcry trading on Thursday, LME three-month copper had drifted to close flat at $US7,639.50 a metric ton.

How we fared yesterday

The Australian stock market closed sharply lower following steep falls on Wall Street as investors fret about the US fiscal cliff.

At the close on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 39.2 points, or 0.9 per cent, at 4349.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 40.1 points, or 0.9 per cent, at 4370.6.

BusinessDay with agencies

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Campese always welcome despite spray, says Deans

LONDON: Robbie Deans says he would welcome David Campese back into the Wallabies dressing room despite being called the “worst thing that has ever happened to Australian rugby” by the legendary former outside back.
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Campese, who was invited to make the jersey presentation to the Wallabies before a Test in South Africa in 2008, has long been a critic of Deans and the current crop of Wallabies, often posting remarks on Twitter. But the former wing and fullback, who retired from Test rugby 16 years ago after scoring 64 tries in 101 games, went a step further this week with a highly personal attack on the Australian coach.

“Deans has destroyed Australian rugby and I want him to go,” he told London’s Telegraph newspaper.

“We’ve got a team at the moment that can’t catch and can’t pass. Wallaby teams in the past were never like this. Anyone who knows anything about Australian rugby knows what it’s famous for – loops, angles, switches, counter-attack, creative play. Where’s all that gone? We can’t even pass properly.”

During a media session in the Wallabies hotel on Thursday Deans was repeatedly asked if he was hurt or troubled by Campese’s comments but, for the most part, would not be drawn into the matter.

He went as far as to say he would be “happy to have [Campese] back, too, by the way” in reference to his 2008 jersey presentations, before adding: “It’s great David’s passionate about the game still and in particular the Wallabies jersey, but I really don’t want to comment any further”.

To another question he replied: “People are entitled to their opinion and as I’ve said many times before it’s part of the territory. Most importantly, [the Test against France] was a performance we weren’t proud of, we want to address it and that’s where all our time and energy is going”.

Deans admitted tomorrow’s Test was key and said the Wallabies needed to be prepared for what England would throw at them at Twickenham. He also indicated he had given the side a licence to throw the ball around.

“They’ll look to use the scrum off the back of last week, they’ll look to use [winger] Chris Ashton through the inside channels, they’ll look to use a kicking game, so that’s a good starting point for us, to accept and meet those challenges, because it won’t matter what we bring to the game if we don’t,” he said.

“From there we’ve obviously got to be a lot more effective in our own attack, the use of running the ball, we’ve got to ask more, we can’t be one dimensional.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

The boy who killed: Jordan, 13, pleads guilty to murder of carer

He’s an ordinary-looking teenager, but 13-year-old Jordan Nelson is now believed to be New Zealand’s youngest murderer.
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Nelson pleaded guilty in the High Court at New Plymouth yesterday to the murder of his caregiver, 50-year-old Rosemaree Kurth earlier this year.

Nelson was 13 years and 89 days old when he shot Ms Kurth in the back of the head with a .22 calibre rifle.

The nearest thing to a motive that the Crown could offer to the court was the fact that Ms Kurth had taken his Freeview TV receiver from him.

The boy also admitted to police that sometimes “she would get shitty with me”.

Taranaki Daily News research has been unable to uncover a younger murderer since a law change in 1977 allowed children over 10 to be charged with murder or manslaughter.

In 1991, another 13-year-old murdered 23-year-old nurse Rachel Bennett after entering her Wellington flat and stabbing her 15 times.

Nelson appeared before Justice Timothy Brewer in the High Court at New Plymouth charged with Ms Kurth’s murder.

Ms Kurth, who had three children and three grandchildren, was found dead at a rural house on Piko Road, Okoki, on April 15, with a gunshot wound to her head.

Nelson had initially denied the charge and was due to stand trial later this month, but yesterday changed his plea.

Justice Brewer lifted name suppression for Nelson and Ms Kurth, which had been in place since the shooting.

Ms Kurth’s family and Nelson’s family were seated in the public gallery for his appearance.

Nelson, who was wearing black trousers and a collared shirt, stood with his head bowed for most of his appearance.

Crown solicitor Cherie Clarke said Nelson thought of Kerry Lock, who was in a relationship with Ms Kurth, as his grandfather and the three had lived at the address since September 2010.

Mr Lock had known Nelson since he was a baby.

Nelson’s father lives in Stratford and his mother lives in Napier.

Miss Clarke said about a week before her murder, Nelson was annoyed when Ms Kurth had removed the Freeview box from his room.

Nelson seemed to enjoy the rural life and Mr Lock had taken him hunting and fishing and taught him to use a .22 calibre rifle which was kept at the property, she said.

On the morning of April 15, Nelson got the gun out of the closet and the ammunition from the drawers and placed them in the sleepout, while Mr Lock was out walking the dogs.

Miss Clarke said when Mr Lock again left the house about 3pm Nelson took the gun from the sleepout and shot Ms Kurth once in the back of the head while she worked on a jigsaw puzzle at the dining room table.

Nelson then dragged Ms Kurth into her bedroom.

After ransacking Mr Lock’s room and taking $16.10 in coins and a tusk carved necklace Nelson drove off towards Urenui in Ms Kurth’s white Ford Telstar.

Mr Lock said he saw the car leaving and believed it was Ms Kurth going to Urenui for some reason.

When he arrived home Mr Lock saw a trail of blood leading from the dining room table to Ms Kurth’s bedroom and the rifle on the floor about two metres from the table.

“The bedroom door was semi-closed. He opened the door and found Ms Kurth lying on her back,” Miss Clarke said.

Mr Lock immediately presumed Nelson was responsible and informed emergency services.

Police later found Nelson driving along Bayly St in Waitara and he was arrested.

When interviewed by police the next day with his lawyer Patrick Mooney present, Nelson claimed to have a memory blank.

“He maintained he was going to the police in Waitara because he felt like he had done something wrong but didn’t know what it was,” Miss Clarke said.

Nelson told police his relationship with Mr Lock was good and he had done a lot for him.

However, when asked about how he got on with Ms Kurth Nelson said “sometimes not that good”.

“If I do something wrong she gets shitty with me,” he said.

He gave examples of being grounded for a month, stopped from visiting his mother in the school holidays and not getting his $20 for mowing the lawns.

Nelson later admitted to police Ms Kurth had died because he had shot her, Miss Clarke said.

Justice Brewer convicted Nelson and recorded a first strike warning against him.

He remanded Nelson in custody until December 20 for sentencing and ordered that a pre-sentence report and victim impact statements be prepared.

“What is going to happen to you is going to be determined at your sentencing,” Justice Brewer said.


1991: A 13-year-old Wellington schoolboy was convicted of the murder of nurse Rachel Bennett, who was stabbed 16 times. He has permanent name suppression.

1994: Anthony Alfred Afu, 14, beat John Wahanui to death with a piece of wood in Auckland. Originally charged with murder, he was eventually convicted of manslaughter.

2001: Bailey Junior Kurariki, was just 12 when he was involved in the killing of pizza delivery man Michael Choy in 2001. He was convicted of manslaughter.

2003: Renee Kara O’Brien was convicted of the murder of Waitara truck driver Kenneth Pigott. O’Brien was 14. Her co-offenders – Puti Irene Heather Maxwell and Kararina Makere Te Tauna, both 14 – were convicted of manslaughter.

2008: Kalem Ames, 14, stabbed Tokoroa man Shayne Pita Walker, 22, to death in the town. He was charged with murder, and a jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

2008: Jahche Broughton, 14, bashed 27-year-old Scottish tourist Karen Aim to death in Taupo. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for Ms Aim’s murder.

2008: Teenage cousins Courtney Patricia Churchwood, 16, and Loi-lea Waiora Te Wini, 14, murdered retired Opotiki school teacher John Rowe.

2009: A 12-year-old East Coast boy shot an 11-year-old boy dead and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Fairfax NZ News

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

At last, good news for Melissa: axed show given reprieve by HBO

Back from the dead … Melissa George in Hunted.Melissa George’s British spy series Hunted may have endured the shortest cancellation in television history.
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Only a day after the BBC confirmed it would not proceed with a second series of the show, its US producer, HBO, has said that in the truest Hollywood tradition, the show must go on.

“We are making plans with creator and executive producer Frank Spotnitz and star Melissa George to present a new chapter in the Sam Hunter mythology,” said HBO’s Kary Antholis, in a statement issued to Fairfax overnight.

Antholis is the HBO executive in charge of the network’s miniseries, and programming for its Cinemax channel; the first season of Hunted was part of Cinema’s programming slate.

“We are very pleased with what Hunted has done for Cinemax’s brand and are very excited about what lies ahead,” Antholis said.

The move caps off what has turned into an extraordinary, and at times turbulent, chapter of George’s career, beginning with an interview in which she unleashed her frustration with a television program for focusing on her Home & Away years and ignoring her more recent work.

George was in Australia when the interview occurred, on a promotional tour for Hunted earlier this month.

Then came yesterday’s news that the BBC had cancelled the show.

Hunted, which launches on SBS in Australia on November 24, is a co-production between the BBC and HBO in the USA.

The BBC’s frustration stemmed from the fact that Hunted had shed ratings across its eight episodes in the UK. It launched in October in the UK to an audience of 4.5 million but it has since slipped to only 2.6 million.

The option for HBO/Cinemax to proceed without the BBC was always there. They can proceed on their own, or find a new broadcast partner for a new season.

Such moves are not uncommon. Later seasons of the UK hit Absolutely Fabulous, for example, were co-produced with Comedy Central in the US, and later with another cable channel Oxygen.

During interviews, George indicated a second season was in the planning stages, and that it would be set in Berlin.

In marked contrast to the BBC, Cinemax is very happy with the show’s performance in the US. It is drawing smaller numbers, but Cinemax has a significantly smaller footprint compared to the BBC’s flagship channel, BBC1.

In the US, the show drew only 250,000 viewers for its debut episode, but has become one of the channels major on-demand offerings. In the US, some key cable channels have vast on-demand libraries.

Including on-demand plays, Hunted’s US audience is around 1.7 million viewers.

As for George, her focus is, for the moment, elsewhere. She is in New York, and will attend the International Emmy Awards ceremony at the New York Hilton on Monday night, New York time, with The Slap’s producer Tony Ayres.

The series, in which George starred and for which she drew wide acclaim, has been nominated for an award in the drama category.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.