We all want to look good whether we’re behind the wheel or above the stilettos. When it comes to cars and fashion, style and desirability bring the two together for a natural unison but in fact the two worlds rarely meet face to face. Inspirations abound and intermingle in the designers’ worlds, sure, and it’s normal for designers to keep an eye on other industries, yet it’s still an event every time a fashion icon collaborates with a car brand. Here, we look through the history of fashion meeting cars to bring our 10 of the best…
1. Bugatti Hermès: Let’s start in descending order for a change, at least, if you list by price. The stunning Bugatti Hermès edition was commissioned as a one-off creation by a Californian collector, who was insistent on getting the French Maison to create a vat of Hermès Craie off-white paint, and trim the interior in cashmere. As a special touch, Bugatti’s traditional handmade grille was created featuring the famous ‘H’ motif.
2. Fiat 500 Gucci: Gucci is no stranger to deals with automotive brands having collaborated with various companies in the past, but the most fitting collaboration came with Fiat when the two brands premiered the 500 by Gucci. Naturally, the combination wasn’t cheap and the little supermini ended up costing more than many bigger cars, but few if any looked better on a crowded, cobbled street in Rome.
3. Virgil Abloh Maybach: What do you get when you combine the head of design at Mercedes-Benz with the head of design at Louis Vuitton? You get an out-of-this-world one-off electric car, created by Gordon Wagner and the late Virgil Abloh to represent the idea for the most luxurious off-road vehicle ever made.
4. Vespa Dior: We absolutely had to include this adorable Vespa by Dior, a limited edition model uniting two iconic names in the world of style. The Parisian couture house and the Italian scooter companies were actually founded in the same year, 1964, and this Vespa 946 Christian Dioramas were designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, complete with a Dior Oblique motif top case and a matching helmet.
5. Lamborghini Versace: The Paris motor show of 2006 was memorable for the supercars like the Alfa Romeo 8C Competition and the Audi R8, but no one made as big a splash as Lamborghini with its audacious Versace edition Murcielago. The official collaboration between the two Italian brands was limited to just 20 examples worldwide, each featuring the Versace meander pattern all over the interior and exterior as well as a complete set of custom Versace luggage.
6. Peugeot 205 Lacoste: On the lower end of the price scale, in the 1980s Lacoste saw the potential of striking up a partnership with Peugeot for the French company’s hottest seller, the Peugeot 205. Along with some decals and pinstripes to adorn the bodywork, the all-white cars came with bright green carpets and unique Lacoste trim for the seats. It was a hit back in the day but very few remain on the roads today.
7. Land Rover Defender by Paul Smith: British fashion designer Paul Smith is well known for his work on little Mini Coopers, but this Land Rover Defender with Smith’s signature on it is our favourite. The vehicle features 27 different colours in total picked by Smith, as well as a hand-painted bee on the roof to reference the Land Rover’s natural habitat…
8. Cadillac Gucci: In the late 1970s, Cadillac got together with Gucci to come up with the limited edition Cadillac Seville by Gucci, a swanky club on wheels full of Gucci patterns and logos. Lots of logos… You had Gs on the front, Gs at the back, Gs on the wheels, Gs on the steering wheel, on the fitted luggage… You get the point.
9. Lincoln Continental by Givenchy: Cadillac’s great rival Lincoln couldn’t let this one slide, so at the same time as the Gucci Seville, Lincoln released the new Continental by Givenchy. The collaboration offered buyers a choice of curated exterior colours and finishes for trim pieces and the interior upholstery, as well as a 22-karat gold-plated plaque on the dashboard. Less than 1,000 examples were ever made making it an exceedingly rare car today.
10. Honourable mention: Ferrari: Before they invented ‘safety’, Ernest Hemingway had a point when he said, “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” Racing was dangerous and any bit of safety helped, which is why drivers preferred a grippy fabric for their seats so as not to slide around in the cockpits too much. In its earliest days, Ferrari had tried corduroy, but settled on bright blue denim from the Mediterranean city of Genoa which was esteemed for the quality of its denim industry. Even earlier, as the sturdy and tough (and affordable) fabric made it further west as far as America, the Genoese denim became spoken of as ‘jeans’. So yes, Ferrari racing cars used to have denim seats, and the trend has returned as the company’s bespoke department offers denim trim to buyers today.