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Buckle up — bold belts are back

Jacob Scott

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(From left) Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon all wearing belts in the ‘Sex and the City’ follow-up ‘And Just Like That . .. ’ © GC Images

In the hierarchy of accessories, belts are often overlooked in favour of bags, jewellery and shoes. But statement belts are making their way back into wardrobes, part of a revival of 90s and Y2K styles that have proved popular with Gen Z. On runways, designers have shown belts that border on jewellery, such as the slim rhinestone and gold chains slung over almost every look in Saint Laurent’s autumn/winter 2021 collection, chain belts with mystical-looking crystals at Marine Serre and blinged-up cowboy belts at Isabel Marant. At Chanel’s recent Métiers d’Art show, chatelaine belts dripped with pearls and chains.

Eighteen-year-old American singer Olivia Rodrigo paired a ’90s Chanel tweed suit with a chain belt when she went to the White House to encourage young people to get vaccinated. Phoebe Hadley, founder of vintage rental and styling service Hadley London, reports high demand for vintage Chanel and Versace chain belts; she’s also seen people create DIY mini purse belts by looping logo wallets by Chanel and other designers on to chains.

Suddenly, I’m looking at outfits and mentally superimposing a belt on to them. But what’s the appeal now? Perhaps it’s locating my waist again after giving up loungewear. Belts also hold the promise of upgrading an old outfit without buying something new. And it’s a much easier styling hack than the trend for leather harnesses, with their dungeon mistress meets trapeze artist vibe.

Rhinestone and gold chain belts from Saint Laurent autumn/winter 2021

But there’s an art to it. Adding the wrong style could have disturbing echoes of mid 2000s makeover shows, in which an overzealous TV stylist adding a belt to a clashing dress and declaring it a wardrobe overhaul passed for entertainment.

At Matches Fashion, head of womenswear Cassie Smart says, “I do think we are seeing our clients experimenting with bolder styles, as they find joy in fashion following times of uncertainty. We have some incredible silk cord belts with heart-shaped, or cabochon-embellished gold buckles from Sonia Petroff and gold plated belts — including one with an ancient Egypt-inspired crystal scarab — from Begum Khan. With neutral basics, a statement belt adds a real point of focus to an outfit and can be really flattering.” I’d suggest layering over a plain dark jumpsuit, midi dress or even a plain cashmere jumper.

Adding momentum to the purely decorative belt is the new Sex and the City spin-off And Just Like That, screening this week. In the original series few outfits escaped having a belt lashed over the top as part of the show’s maximal aesthetic.

Whether the belt styling this time round hits the spot is debatable, even if Carrie and co do help bring the accessory back into popular culture. Images from the show include Carrie in a wide black studded belt over a hot pink dress — a twist on an outfit from the original show — which looks somewhat clunky and contrived.

Stylist Alexandra Fullerton, who has worked with celebrities such as Awkwafina and Naomie Harris, and is fashion director at large of Glamour, says she wears a belt “every single day”. I still remember seeing Fullerton at London Fashion Week in Balenciaga jeans and navy jumper worn with a gold-link waist belt that gave her uniform look a dash of glamour. “Make-up artists cite lipstick as a punctuation mark to the face and it’s similar with belts,” she says.

Having worn both the chain belts of the 90s (over velvet flares from Morgan, then the sixth former’s answer to Gucci) and low-slung, wide leather belts à la Sienna Miller circa 2004, I’m keen to go for a modern take on styling rather than replicate belts of times past. Although I might dig out my silver chain.

A model wears a cowboy belt over a sheer dress at the Isabel Marant autumn/winter 2021 show © Filippo Fior / Gorunway.com

Fullerton suggests a thin belt, which can cinch an oversized blazer, or a diamanté belt that would add a finishing touch to a silky slip dress in the evening. “This winter, for going out, I’ll be wearing a vintage-look gold chain link belt over black guipure lace with sharp kitten heels,” she says.

Although Fullerton prefers a narrow style, she adds that “extra-wide belts that have a mix of traditional obi combined with corsetry — from Alaïa, McQueen and Loewe — are also noticeable right now. With a more structured, tailored feel they work excellently at balancing out a strong shouldered silhouette.”

For a small drinks party around Christmas (or Downing Street inspired “cheese and wine”) my dream accessory would be something like the vintage Chanel gold mesh belt with flower buckle as worn on the catwalk in 1996 by Carla Bruni (£2,100, 1stdibs.com), which I would wear over a black cashmere dress. I also like Isabel Marant’s Joia crystal embellished silver tone belt, (£385, net-a-porter.com) or Paco Rabanne’s gold Eight belt with oval links (£530, pacorabanne.com), to team with high waisted jeans. It’s a cinch.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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