Minute’s silence observed in France, across Europe for Paris victims

France and other countries in Europe observed a minute’s silence at noon (1100 GMT) Monday in memory of the victims of the worst-ever terror attacks on French soil.

In Paris, President Francois Hollande was at the Sorbonne University surrounded by his cabinet, and hundreds of people gathered at the central Place de la Republique near the site of many of the attacks that killed 129 people on Friday.

Photo Credits : AFP

Paris Authorities Remove Love Locks From The Bridge

The city of Paris has finally decided that it’s had enough of soppy tourists coming over and dumping bits of metal all over its bridges.

Starting on Monday, the padlocks will be removed from the Pont Des Arts, and plexiglass panels will soon replaces the grills.

Though people have been putting love locks on bridges all over Paris, the Pont Des Arts has been the most popular one for the soppy tourists, with up to 1 million locks thought to be attached to the railings.

The tradition has now been popular across Europe for about 15 years, but how it started is quite unclear. It has, however, been often portrayed in popular culture, such as Parks & Recreation, which saw main characters Leslie and Ben put their own love lock on the Parisian bridge.

According to the council, the locks are causing ‘a lasting degradation of the heritage of Paris and also a risk to the safety of visitors, Parisians and tourists’.


Kenya’s Korir wins Paris men’s marathon

Mark Korir of Kenya won the Paris Marathon on Sunday, his first career victory in a prestigious international race.

Korir, 30, who was second in last month’s Paris Half-Marathon, came home in a time of 2hr 05min 46sec, ahead of another Kenyan, Luka Kanda.

Seboka Tola of Ethiopia was third, with yet another Kenyan, Mike Kigen, fourth.

Meseret Mengistu of Ethiopia, a surprise late entry after an invitation from the organisers, won the women’s event in 2:23:24.

Mengistu, 25, shattered her own personal best, the 2:29:22 she ran in 2013.

Her compatirot Amane Gobena was second and Kenya’s Visiline Jepkesho third.

Kigen made the decisive breakaway 10km from home but he was reeled in by Korir, who set off in pursuit and caught him up 5km out before streaking away to leave Kigen trailing in behind the first three in the Bois de Boulogne.

Korir is the fifth winner to run under 2hr 06min in the French capital.

Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele set the race record of 2:05:04 last year, beating the 2:05:10 run by Kenya’s Stanley Biwott in 2012.

Kenyans Peter (2:05.37 in 2013) and Vincent Kipruto (2:05:47 in 2009), have also broken the 2:06 barrier.

Photo Credits : AFP

Paris holds film festival — for the blind

In most movie theatres the lights go dark and the feature begins, but for an audience attending a Paris film festival under way this month, the whole world is dark and stays that way.

The Audiovision Film Festival, which began this week and runs to April 14, is unusual in that it caters to the blind and visually impaired.

Movies are screened as normal on the big screen. But in the theatre in a southern Paris district hosting the festival, the audience is wearing headphones hooked into a local network to hear blow-by-blow synchronised descriptions of the action happening before their un- or poor-seeing eyes.

“A pterodactyl swoops from the sky and pecks Edouard on the head,” narrates a voice in echo of a scene from the opening film shown on Wednesday: a new French animation comedy making light of prehistoric evolution, titled “Pourquoi j’ai pas mangé mon père” (Why I didn’t eat my father).

For the crowd of blind and partially blind school children in the theatre, the movie — and its added soundtrack — elicited laughs and giggles.

Fabio, a nine-and-a-half-year-old who lined up to get popcorn for the feature, told AFP that the Audiovision description augmented his experience of the movie.

“I imagine the film and I try to ‘see’ the description,” he said.

A blind-from-birth radio presenter who led an audience debate after the movie, Benjamin Mauro, ventured that “if there wasn’t Audiovision, it would have been impossible to follow this film”.

Many of the children agreed it helped greatly, but one or two said they had adapted to piecing together movies from the dialogue and sounds that having a narrated description wasn’t indispensable.

“I’ve always been used to ‘watching’ series and films that it (Audiovision) handicapped me, in fact,” said one adolescent, Benita, during the debate.

Mauro, too, admitted that the system wasn’t perfect, and he had to turn up the volume on his headphones to make the audio description audible above the movie’s Dolby-boosted soundtrack.

Jean-Marc Plumauzille, who helped put the Audiovision soundtrack together for the opening film, also said that animations were a challenge “because they go along at high speed and leave little space for narration”.

Other movies were taxing in different ways, he said, for instance in using the right words to evoke an atmosphere produced visually.

– Gradual progress –

For the organisers of the film festival, the process was progressively getting better.

Audio-description systems started out in the United States and spread to France in the 1990s, where government subsidies since 2012 have incited theatre networks to take take them on.

Still, said Olivier Jaud de La Jousseliniere, of the Valentin Huy association organising the film festival and promoting access to culture for visually impaired people, “unfortunately it is still not developed enough”.

In 2014, just 16 percent of films in France came with an audio-description soundtrack, and less than two percent of theatres were equipped.

In an effort to minimise the theatres’ outlay for hardware, the German audio company Sennheiser supplying the headsets for the festival on Wednesday presented a smartphone app that allows the audiodescription soundtrack to be beamed in over a wifi network.

The efforts were appreciated by the students at the opening day screening.

One young visually impaired girl, Margot, encouraged those behind the festival — and the technology — by saying: “Keep going and, again, bravo!”

Photo Credits : AFP

Paris fashion trends: big productions, peroxide and parody

Paris Fashion Week wrapped up on Wednesday, leaving fashionistas, buyers and fans taking a deep breath to mull over the big trends seen on — and off — the catwalk.

Here are a few of the after-images seared into their sunglass-shielded, mascara-framed eyes:

– Big showy productions –

Some of the labels put on such extravagant, spectacular shows that the clothes themselves were overshadowed.

That was the case with Chanel, which created a vast pop-up fantasy Paris bistro patronised by its chic models, as well as Kenzo, which programmed seven two-storey-high blocks to go scooting around in the middle of the runway in a technological ballet.

Stella McCartney took over Paris’s imperiously ornate Opera Garnier building to send her collection down a multi-room runway past the eyes of her famous father, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, and US actor Woody Harrelson.

And Vivienne Westwood, the British queen of punk, presented a high-decibel anarchic band playing over a collection that had men in womenswear and vice-versa strutting through a demented disco setting.

– Bleach unleashed –

Blond is the new black. At least it is according to reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who swapped her long dark tresses for a platinum look that divided her legion of Twitter fans.

Kardashian wasn’t the only one with blond ambition. Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto turned up to a show with his formerly long brown hair cut short and also bleached white.

Leto’s reason was professional however: his new look is to play The Joker in an upcoming movie, “Suicide Squad”, about supervillains on a dangerous mission for redemption.

– Zoolander’s back –

Hollywood also took over the Valentino show, making the fashion world go wild when two of its parody icons, Derek Zoolander and Hansel, took to the runway.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, playing the characters from their 2001 movie “Zoolander”, sparked a roar of laughter when they appeared, with Stiller flashing Zoolander’s famous “Blue Steel” model gaze at the lenses.

The surprise stunt was to promote the “Zoolander” sequel due out early next year.

– Making music –

Soundtracks are a big part of the fashion shows.

A couple of labels brought in live bands to accompany the strutting models. That was the case of Vivienne Westwood, with her raucous band, and Kenzo, which tapped British indie-pop group Saint Etienne to play.

Away from the shows, but linked to them, Kanye West — Kardashian’s rapper husband who was ubiquitous in the various front rows — performed four charity concerts.

– Oranges and yellows –

For the magazine editors and buyers, the focus was necessarily on the clothes, and there a few general tendencies could be spotted.

There was the inevitable 1970s and 1980s retro inspiration and military-style coats that have been doing the circuit the past couple of seasons.

But autumn and winter will apparently also see some strong oranges, yellows and pinks breaking up the black uniform usually deployed for that season.

Furs could also be more prominent, with real ones highlighted by Hermes, Saint Laurent and Sonia Rykiel, and convincing fake ones from vegan Stella McCartney.

And then there are overly long sleeves seen in a few of the shows, which lengthen the silhouette of the outfits but also swallow up the hands to leave cuffs trailing in the air.

Photo Credits : AFP

Lupita Nyong’o stuns on Paris Fashion Match Magazine

Hollywood Kenyan actress, LupitaNyong’o was this month featured on Paris Match Magazine and she totally looks gorgeous. Lupita who was photographed by  Alexi lubormirski is dressed in a  sea red thigh high dress showing her gorgeously toned thighs. Nyong’o who is the face of beauty brand Lancome has a rising star and seems to set a trend in the fashion world with her every shoot. Check out the photo below and the amazing caption Paris Match posted which Lupita reposted on her Instagram.

“#LupitaNyongO, Black sun #Hollywood. In the streets of #NewYork she cannot take a step without people asking for her autograph. In one year, the Oscar winner for “12 Years a Slave,” which was her first role, has become more than a star into a real phenomenon. Here on the 36th floor, in front of the huge window of a penthouse at the InterContinental, #Lupita dominates #TimesSquare. Stoic, she keeps smiling despite the vertigo.”



Paris fashion week street style

Paris fashion week marks the end of the fall global fashion week. The other big three being London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week . The schedule begins with New York, followed by London, and then Milan and ends in Paris.  Forget the runway, street style has been setting the pace as to what we shall see as the latest dress trend pretty soon.

We are back to the 70s if the fur trends and wide legged pants are anything to go by. Hang on to those ripped jeans and crop tops they are here to stay. Skirts were also big in the streets of Paris with a wide variety present from fringe, prints, lace, tulle and maxi’s.  You also need to add more colour to your closet soon. Which street styles rocked? Check out the previous here and here.

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Photos courtesy vogue

Bare breasts, face masks and one-legged pants: It’s Paris Fashion Week

Bare breasts, face masks and one-legged, sk-ants (skirt-pants) on the runway can only mean one thing: It’s Paris Fashion Week.

The fall 2015 shows kicked off Tuesday, with the early slots occupied by a new class of up-and-coming designers jockeying for attention from press, buyers–and even Paris Fashion Week mainstay, rapper/designer Kanye West. Check out the photos

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Paris fashion looks to new designers at big houses

New designers at Hermes, Nina Ricci and Adam Andrascik will be turning heads at Paris fashion this week, but all eyes will be on John Galliano, recently returned from disgrace.

Fresh from shows in New York, London and Milan, the fashion world returns to Paris on Tuesday for nine days of autumn/winter collections.

There are 92 ready-to-wear shows on the bill, with some 50 additional events on the sidelines.

Among the most hotly anticipated — the first collection for Hermes from Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski, who took over from Christophe Lemaire as the luxury brand’s new head of women’s fashion.

The 36-year-old cut her teeth at Celine and Maison Martin Margiela, and previously headed up the design studio at The Row, owned by US actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

And the flashbulbs will certainly be going when Galliano presents his first ready-to-wear collection for Maison Margiela on Friday.

The Brit designer made his comeback to the catwalk in January in London, after being shut out of the fashion world for three-and-a-half years following an anti-Semitic rant in a Paris cafe that saw him fired from Dior.

His collection in London was praised for combining his trademark wild romanticism with his new employer’s focus on white, recycling and deconstruction.

– A lower profile –

The flamboyant designer — a superstar of the fashion world who has dressed the late Princess Diana as well as many Oscar night actresses in the past — has adopted a low profile since joining Maison Margiela.

His London couture presentation “had already interested the whole world, but it’s even more special for the pret-a-porter show, which lies at the heart of Maison Margiela’s identity,” said Stephane Wargnier, executive president of the French Couture Federation which organises Paris fashion.

“It will be fascinating to see how his work pays off here.”

Another focus of curiosity will be Nina Ricci’s collection presented on Saturday by Guillaume Henry, who has recently arrived from Carven.

The young designer, in his thirties, is credited with reviving Carven’s fortunes during his six-year tenure at the label.

“Carven was a label whose name was known, but for most people, its style had been forgotten. Guillaume Henry pretty much reinvented it,” said Wargnier.

Carven has yet to name its new artistic director for its women’s collections, although industry journal Women’s Wear Daily has said that Alexis Martial, from Italy’s Iceberg, is a distinct possibility.

Another new start to look out for in Paris will be Guy Laroche, who presents his first collection for US label Adam Andrascik, after replacing artistic director Marcel Marongiu.

Four labels are also making their entry into the official calendar: Parisian duo Each x Other, Denmark’s Anne Sofie Madsen who has worked with Galliano and Alexander McQueen, Colombian Esteban Cortazar and France’s Vanessa Seward, who has launched her own brand after several years with APC.

The opening day will be dedicated to young designers, and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo will visit the Duperre School where some 500 fashion, textiles and design students are trained every year.

Photo Credits : AFP

Solange Knowles named new face of Eleven Paris

Solange was famous last year for hitting his brother in-law Jay-z in a lift after attending an event together.

Fast forward to 2015 and things are looking up for her,as a Paris based fashion line has picked her and actor Christopher Owen to be their faces.

The fashion line has previously worked with supermodel Kate Moss, rock star Lenny Kravitz among others.

The Dailymail reports, One of the founders of the fashion line Dan Cohen, was quoted saying “We are a brand that is constantly in search of new artistic trends and our collections have been inspired by the indie music since 2003. The duo Solange and Christopher is a perfect illustration.’

Adored by the fashion industry as a label-loving quirky dresser – especially renowned for clashing prints and wearing a lot of bold colour – Solange has now been selected as the new face of Eleven Paris, an affordable brand that’s available to buy online.

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Image courtesy of bet.com




Saudi prince robbed of 250,000 euros in Paris carjacking

Heavily armed robbers have attacked the motorcade of a Saudi prince in Paris, making off with 250,000 euros (Sh30 million) in cash and reportedly stealing “sensitive” documents.

Police say the spectacular robbery took place in northern Paris late on Sunday (local time) as the motorcade was making its way from a hotel on the Champs Elysees to an airport in Le Bourget.

A gang of “between five and eight” thieves in two BMW cars hijacked the first of around 10 vehicles in the convoy, driving off with the three occupants before letting them go, police say.

A police source and the publication Le Parisien reported the men were armed with Kalashnikov rifles but an official later clarified to say they were carrying hand guns.

READ MORE: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-18/saudi-prince-robbed-during-carjacking-paris/5679728