JUNGLE OF THE SKY #3
Third chapter on our jungles of the sky: the Narrabri Observatory. The Narrabri Observatory is located in Australia, in New South Wales, on the banks of the Namoï River, the cradle of the region’s aboriginal people. The observatory houses the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA).
Five of the six antennae or saucers, each 22 m in diameter, are positioned on tracks so that it has been possible to direct them at will, to access almost the whole southern hemisphere, for the past 25 years, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. All six work together as a single telescope and simulate one antenna with a diameter of six kilometers. The fact that they all work together means that they can see an even higher part of the sky with great detail. ATCA is the most advanced radio telescope in the southern hemisphere.
Narrabri can be accessed from Sydney by road, air, train or by bus. A 13-room lodge has been built to accommodate visitors.
More recently, it was these famous antennae that drew the group Daft Punk from that side of the globe, for the world première launch party for the album “Random Access Memories” at the Wee Waa Festival, located in the area near the observatory!
JUNGLE OF THE SKY #2
Let's follow up on our exploration of the sky... Last March 13th, the largest observatory in the world, the Alma (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) telescope, was inaugurated in northern Chile on the Atacama plateau, which runs part way along the Andes, in one of the world’s most arid deserts.
This extremely dry air, combined with very low levels of light pollution, makes this site such an exceptional observation point.
Alma is composed of no fewer than 66 saucer-shaped antennae, each 12 meters in diameter. As in Narrabri, these antennae function together to attain a cumulative power that is equal to a telescope measuring 16 km in diameter.
After 10 years of work and joint funding from the EU, USA and Japan, Alma is at last operational and the result is an unrivalled success... First of all, because this is the only telescope that can “see” between the stars, and with the observation of this hidden and unknown matter, astronomers can dream of piercing through the enigma of the origins of life on earth. Also because Alma has such a powerful range that it has the power to go back in time and observe the first galaxies. No doubt the site will bring us answers about our place in the cosmos.
JUNGLE OF THE SKY #1
The skies are our playground for the Fall/Winter 2013 women’s pre-collection and the men’s collection, and Carol and Humberto have transposed the jungle into the clouds. This is an opportunity for us to return to inspirational places, all related to the skies…
The Griffith Observatory is the astrological observatory of Los Angeles. It was built in 1935 and is named after Colonel Griffith, who bequeathed the land on which it is built to the city in 1896, for the construction of an observatory and a planetarium, so that this place would be accessible to as many people as possible. Located on the south face of Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills, at an altitude of 300 meters, this site draws tourists as much as local city people, not only for its shows but also for its panorama overlooking the city all the way to Santa Monica Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
The edifice, in Art Deco and Egyptian style, has been renovated and in 2006, the site was reopened after four years of work. More than 70 million people have visited the observatory since its opening.
Nowadays, the building is part of the city’s mythology. It is featured in a number of films including Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Terminator (1984), Bowfinger (1999) and Terminator Salvation (2009), clips (Paula Abdul, 2Pac), and appears on the jacket cover of the album “Untitled” by the Byrds.
JUNGLE DANCE GIF
JUNGLES OF THE WORLD #6: CANOE SAFARI
Making our way from Singapore to Africa, our exploration of jungles of the world continues in the theme of our Spring/Summer 2013 collection.
For a unique vantage point on local wildlife, try canoeing down the River Zambezi.
Africa’s fourth longest river snakes along 2,750 km (1,708 miles) through Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and is famous for the Victoria Falls, among the world’s largest waterfalls, which were discovered by Scottish explorer David Livingstone and named after the then queen.
The leisurely pace of a canoe safari allows you to savor every last detail of the scenery. Although you won’t be relaxing, all your paddling efforts will likely be rewarded with glimpses of elephants, buffalo, zebras, monkeys, impalas and giraffes stopping for a drink, as well as an incredible variety of birds including herons and pelicans.
A canoe safari can’t be topped for close-range views of hippos and crocodiles, and all sorts of fish that vanish back beneath the surface of the water as quickly as they appear!
There are two recommended itineraries. The first route navigates the Upper Zambezi, following the Namibia/Zimbabwe border all the way to the dizzy heights of the Victoria Falls. The second route crosses the Lower Zambezi National Park, which lies between Lake Kariba and Lake Cahora Bassa, to take in a riverscape of islands that changes every day.
JUNGLES OF THE WORLD #5: NIGHT SAFARI IN SINGAPORE
We set sail from South America to once again drop anchor in Asia, where our globetrotting jungle expedition continues with a different kind of safari.
Rainforested Singapore Zoo pioneered the concept of the night safari. Every effort is made to respect the nocturnal rhythms of the animals, just like in the wild. The safari park officially opened in 1994 and is home to more than 120 species distributed among eight geographic regions. From the Himalayan Foothills to the Indian subcontinent, the realm of deer, lions, bears and hyenas, to the Indian region, where the tiger and elephant are king, to Equatorial Africa, where giraffes, zebras and onyx graze side by side, to the rhinos of the Nepalese River Valley… this tour has it all!
Although the park can be toured by tram, we recommend exploring on foot, along wallaby and leopard trails or on the tracks of a wild cat. You can admire the wildlife at your own pace under the veil of darkness lit only by artificial moonlight. You won’t find any cages here; the creatures are separated from the public by natural barriers. In the absence of the usual buffer zones it almost feels like we’re observing the animals in the wild.
Note that flash photography is of course prohibited to avoid disturbing the animals, so bring a good quality camera if you’re hoping to snap some souvenir shots!
JUNGLES OF THE WORLD #4: JAGUARS IN BRAZIL
We leave India for a land less familiar to our latest Kenzo collection… we’re bound for Brazil! Beaches and Carnival are far from the only treasures Brazil has to offer, as becomes obvious the second you set foot in Pantanal, the country’s tropical western region. It’s a short hop from urban jungle to Amazon jungle...
Pantanal’s claim to fame as the planet’s largest floodplain means a region endowed with spectacularly rich fauna and flora. There is no shortage of ecotourism safaris departing from the cities of Corumba, Miranda and Coxim, where explorers embark on multi-day expeditions in the hope of catching a glimpse of the largest and most handsome wildcat in the Americas, the jaguar.
Most of this jaguar-spotting happens aboard boat safaris, and whether or not you’re lucky enough to meet the yellow gaze of a big cat, the trip won’t disappoint: your consolation prize is the chance to spot a giant otter, anaconda or caiman. Alternatively, look out for howler monkeys, parrots, toucans, capuchins and tapirs as you explore on foot or on horseback with the cowboys of Pantanal. That should ensure you work up an appetite for feijoada, churrasco and moqueca!
JUNGLES OF THE WORLD #3: TIGERS OF INDIA
We continue our Indian trek and our tribute to the jungle in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling as we track down our mascot wild cat, the tiger!
Today’s destination is Uttarakhand, an Indian region that shares borders with Tibet and Nepal. Jim Corbett National Park is named after a legendary stalker-turned-conservationist who left behind the man-eating tiger hunts of his youth to devote himself to protecting the natural habitat of wild cats, creating the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and India’s first reserve. The sanctuary and national park together form the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
This haven of ecotourism is home to an impressive 168 of the world’s wild tigers, which prowl an area of more than 1,300 m2. The park is part of the Project Tiger conservation scheme launched in 1972 to protect Bengal tigers. India’s tiger population has plummeted from an estimated 40,000 - 50,000 in 1900 to less than 1,500 in 2007. Recent international mobilization suggests that the tiger is not yet an endangered species – in the face of all the evidence.
If the tigers stay out of sight on your visit, you still have a good chance of spotting elephants, peacocks, flying squirrels… or even a pangolin – don’t mistake this scaly anteater for an armadillo!
JUNGLES OF THE WORLD #2: THE ELEPHANTS OF INDIA
As you might have guessed from reading our posts since January, the jungle has been our main source of inspiration for the Kenzo Spring/Summer 2013 collection! It all began with the trip to Thailand we posted about yesterday. We thought we’d share some more globetrotting ideas that will hopefully be just as inspiring for you: today we go elephant-spotting in India with a peek at our Fall/Winter womenswear collection!
“The animal which surpasses all others in wit and mind” was, according to Aristotle, the elephant. In the Western world we marvel at a person’s "elephant memory". In India, where the elephant is considered sacred, the elephant-headed god of wisdom, Ganesh, is a symbol of power and strength.
The Asian elephant is smaller than its African cousin, with differences in its ears, tusks and trunk. Would-be elephant-spotters on safari should leave overrated elephant rides to the tourists and try to observe these creatures in their natural habitat. India is a good place to start: the subcontinent is home to an estimated 25,000 elephants, with many of these living in South India’s Nagarhole National Park. This former royal hunting ground of the Wodeyar dynasty became a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and a national park in 1988, and is soon to be named a UNESCO world heritage site.
See also: the last elephant market, which takes place every year on November 24th at the Sonepur Fair. Over four days every year, 200 to 300 elephants change hands at this enormous market, which is traditionally an occasion for festivities and dancing.
JUNGLES OF THE WORLD #1: THAILAND TREKKING
A Thai jungle trek was our inspiration for the Kenzo Spring/Summer 2013 collection. With summer around the corner, we wanted to share some wanderlust-inspiring trips to get you pumped for summer vacation season!
This surprisingly hospitable jungle bordered by lakes and mountains is a treasure trove of rare wildlife, delicately spiced dishes and Khmer temples. The trek is challenging though, so you do need to be in good physical shape! Thailand has dozens of national parks to choose from, in the mountainous North or tropical climate and rainforest of the South.
One option is Khao Yai National Park, 200 km (125 miles) north of Bangkok, which became Thailand’s first national park in 1962. It stretches over four provinces and boasts 70 mammal species, 70 reptile species and over 300 bird species. Khao Yai has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 2005. The park is home to 250 wild elephants, and visitors can also look out for roe and sambar deer, monkeys, porcupines, bears, gibbon, snakes, lizards and exotic birds. Only to be explored with an experienced guide, of course! We also recommend Erawan National Park, named after a mythological elephant and famed for its seven turquoise waterfalls. Adventurous types can climb to the top of the falls and later reward aching muscles with a fully-clothed dip. You can even walk behind some of the waterfalls. Magic!