Friday, February 23, 2007

The London Fashion Week: Hungarian Fashion Takes Its First Steps On The International Stage

By Andrea Mihok

2007 could be considered as one of the most successful years for Hungarian fashion because Katti Zoób, one of the leading designers and brand names in Hungarian fashion, got an invitation to present her new collection at this year's London Fashion Show, held between 15 and 19 February.

Zoób’s presence alone means a lot to Hungary. That her fashion house’s haute-couture outfits on display created a great impression came as an added bonus to Hungarian fashion watchers. Zoób brought only a small crew, including two models, who demonstrated some of the clothes of the collection. The remaining personnel were responsible for the stand and acted as PR agents who talked with the buyers and the press.

The annual London fashion week is one of the most popular fashion shows in the world. More than 100 of the most famous designers from different countries, together with the newly graduated students from the London St. Martin School, were invited to present their new seasonal collections in the building of the London Natural Science Museum. The entire fashion world was focused on this event, as it has become the normative show for next seasonal cloth style.
The British Fashion Council gives the best designer award after checking and matching all the clothes seen during the week and the ceremony is held at the end of the fashion week. Invitations to the show were hard to come by, and those lucky enough to attend were subject to surprise visits by members of the Council, who would ask invitees to build sample stands, in order to decide who really deserved to take a part in the show.

“It was not an easy job,” said David Valker, a creative assistant at Katti Zoób, “to set up a stand among the famous designers and at the same time to create something special and unique, which equally represents the brand and the collection, and with which we could stand out from the crowd.”

To increase pressure even further, the place they were given to set up their stand was near a Danish designer who was working in the same manner regarding the design, though the style and the materials used were worlds apart – the British Fashion Council is conscious at every level.

In the end, thanks to the creativity of the team and the quality of the fabrics they used, the Hungarian stand became one the most wanted stands at the show. As one satisfied customer reported, “The Hungarian stand was among the four stands for which it was worthwhile to come and see the show”.

Movie Review: The Pursuit of Happyness

By Herman Lugaro

Movie's Grade: A-

Throughout most of Will Smith’s career the characters he has portrayed have been lighthearted and comical. In The Pursuit of Happyness Smith shows his real acting skills by truly expressing one man’s struggle to survive.

The movie title is taken from a phrase in the declaration of independence, and it is misspelled on purpose. The main theme of this film is that out of all of the rights given to a U.S. citizen, the pursuit of happiness is the hardest to attain.

The Pursuit of Happyness is based on the true story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith), who made the unbelievable jump from homelessness to prosperity by gaining an internship at Dean Witter. There, with his hard work and perseverance he wins the job as a stockbroker.

Gardner’s misfortunes begin with his life in San Francisco where he invests his entire savings on a portable, but unpopular machine called a bone-density scanner, which he then tries selling to doctors. Alas, Gardner has no luck selling these machines, and moves deeply into debt owing everyone from the landlord to the I.R.S. His family’s only source of stable income comes from his wife (Thandie Newton) who is working two jobs. As finances get worse, Gardner’s wife get so fed up with the situation that she decides to leave, but Chris doesn’t allow her to take their 5-year-old son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith).

As the movie goes on, things do not get any better for Gardner. He can’t afford to pay the rent and becomes homeless. This forces him and his son to spend the night sleeping on a BART train. When Gardner is turned away from a homeless shelter he and his son sleep in a subway station restroom. In the restroom, as Gardener sits on the floor hugging his sleeping son, we witness Smith deliver an emotional display that this is the lowest point in Gardner’s life.

Through the course of the film, the bone-density scanner gets stolen twice: first by a guitar playing hippie woman, and then by a mentally disturbed homeless man. In both instances there’s a chase scene where Gardner notices them and stops what he is doing to chase them through the streets of San Francisco. Director Gabriele Muccino overdoes this scenario in trying to shed some comedic glimmer on Gardner’s woes.

All in all, I like Smith’s portrayal of Gardner, which was straightforward and solid. His performance as a loving father comes across as natural, it demonstrates the father-son bond as being the foundation for Gardner’s eventual success.

If you decide to watch this enjoyable film, pay close attention in the final moments where a man wearing a suit walks across the screen. That’s the real Chris Gardner after reaching happiness.

Upgrade to Windows Vista?

By Ugo Eriobuna

The technology sector is of particular interest because of how new technology is changing our world on an almost daily basis. Windows Vista, the new operating system released towards the end of 2006 by Microsoft, is a prime example. Early users report that it is relatively uncomplicated and has easy an easy to use interface. Moreover, Vista offers substantial new capabilities in security, performance, reliability, and manageability. According to the Microsoft website, Windows Vista is built from the scratch up with a focus on secure development, an enhanced user experience, and optimization around hardware advancements.

It should be noted, however, that there have been problems arising in terms of security. Microsoft has touted Vista as a more secure version of Windows, but on the day of Vista’s official launch, a security company identified mailware already in circulation that can infect computers running the OS version of Vista. It is as yet unknown what Microsoft is doing to improve security for Vista.

A forthcoming article will explore the benefits and disadvantages of Windows Vista as a platform for the applications PC-users most often use.

Praha: It's Like Candy

By Meredith Degyansky

Cobblestone streets, baroque and gothic architecture, museums, restaurants, and sausage stands line the city center of Prague (actually referred to as Praha by local Europeans). One winding river – the Vltava - divides the city and more than a dozen bridges link it together, including the famous pedestrian walkway, the Charles Bridge.

On the left bank of the Vltava atop a hill sits the most well known landmark in the city, the Prague Castle. Down from the castle is the “old town”; a hilly cobble stoned neighborhood swathed with beautiful buildings and pricey Czech restaurants. Across the river is “new town” housing the rest of the museums, cathedrals, five old synagogues and other attractions. The city of Praha is indeed pleasing to the eye; it is no wonder it has become a surreal conurbation overwhelmed with fanny packs and digital cameras.

The town itself is impeccably clean. There is no graffiti on the buildings, no trash stuffed along the curbs, no cigarette butts on the ground, and no gum stuck on the sidewalks. I immediately wondered how they kept it so clean. Whose job is it to maintain Prague’s flawless beauty? When do they do it and how? It seemed as if there was a continuous flow of pedestrians on the streets at every hour. But I still felt as if I could eat off the sparkling cobblestones. Now the water closets on the other hand better be in tiptop shape since it is necessary to pay to use any of the facilities about the town. (Tip: Keep some pocket change for when you must…) After utilizing these services multiple times, I decided the twenty or so koruns was money well spent.

Tourists certainly seem to make up the vast majority of people in Prague. The only place I saw Czech natives were working in the restaurants. The rest of the time I had no trouble speaking English and finding people to speak English to. I even met about five people from my home state of Maryland. Hearing so much English made me feel like I was in the United States again rather than central Europe. The crowds of people were overwhelming. All of my pictures contain other persons taking pictures in the background. The Charles Bridge was nearly impossible to walk across in the middle of the day. Then it dawned on me that that is why the books always say to walk across it at dawn. It isn’t any more beautiful at dawn; you can just actually see something rather than the huge winter parka in front of you.

I did not meet many locals in Praha; I am sure they are hibernating in the outskirts. Do not get me wrong; it is a lovely place to visit for a long weekend. The sites are captivating and something everyone should experience, but for everyday life, it is not ideal. It did not feel real. In the words of Professor Pedro Lange, “It’s like candy.” We could lick the ground if we wanted to. And so when I returned to Budapest, I felt a sense of relief to see dog poo on the ground and graffiti on the buildings. I could walk down the street, flailing my arms without hitting anyone. Ahh, Budapest… home, sweet, home.