Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car

Coinciding with the start of Milan Fashion Week, Mercedes-Benz and Giorgio Armani announce the start of a new joint cooperative venture, the first initiative being the creation of the Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car.

The idea for the collaboration has arisen following on from the successful start of Mercedes-Benz’s sponsorship of the five-city world tour of the Solomon R. Guggenheim’s Giorgio Armani – A Retrospective exhibition. The tour began at Berlin’s Neue Nationale Galerie in May, 2003 and will open next at London’s Royal Academy of Arts (New Burlington Gardens) on October 18, following which the exhibition will visit museum venues in Rome, Tokyo and Los Angeles.

With regard to the new joint cooperative venture Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President, Mercedes Car Group, says, "The contact we have had with Giorgio Armani through our sponsorship of Salomon R. Guggenheim’s exhibition has revealed that we have much in common. Giorgio Armani’s philosophy of style, elegance, innovation and quality resonate strongly with our own brand strategy.

Design and style clearly dominate both our worlds, which, in our opinion, provides a fundamental and inspiring basis for promising collaborative initiatives.” Dr. Schmidt continues, "We are happy to be able to share our ’Passion for Design & Style’ with one of the most important fashion designers of our time."

Giorgio Armani, President and Chief Executive of the Armani Group, says, "Mercedes-Benz has justifiably achieved an outstanding reputation for the quality, style and elegance of its cars. It has been very interesting for me to see the great similarities between our design philosophies and our approaches to work. This leads me to believe that there will be opportunities in the future for joint projects capitalizing on our respective strengths.”

The idea behind the joint cooperative venture is the joint development of international communications platforms as well as the expansion of both corporations' customer bases. In this context, the unmistakable design philosophies – a crossover of automotive and fashion design – are to be brought to life within the framework of trend-setting projects on a worldwide basis. "Today, individual design worlds overlap more than ever. Once-disparate areas-art, architecture or fashion-now flow into one another and interact. And the automobile design world is no exception," comments Peter Pfeiffer, Senior Vice President Design, DaimlerChrysler AG. An example of this approach is the Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car, which is being premiered during Milan Fashion Week.

The Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car brings to life Mercedes-Benz’s legendary automotive design and Giorgio Armani's distinctive approach to style in a way that uniquely demonstrates the synergy in philosophies. The development of the car took place in Como and Milan over a four month period with the DaimlerChrysler Advanced Design Studio Como overseeing the implementation of Giorgio Armani’s design direction.

Giorgio Armani’s concept in designing the color and material for the Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car was to bring back that sense of handcraftsmanship that one associates with vintage cars, thereby creating a modern, timeless and ultra-elegant feeling, which ultimately reflects the spirit of both brands. Giorgio Armani incorporated surprising effects by removing materials from their accustomed context, combining them in unusual ways and thereby creating something new. The result is an exciting combination of leather (called "Cuoio"), which was fashionable in the 1940s and 1950s and is today used for only few articles, with high-technology fabrics adopted from present-day sportswear.

The entire car is held in matching nuances of a shade of sand, called "Sabbia", that is typical of Giorgio Armani’s color palette. Exciting contrasts are created by juxtaposed matt/high-sheen surfaces of the car’s interior and bodywork. The Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car derives its striking appearance from this color scheme, deliberately dispensing with superficial effects.

Following the presentation of the Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car during Milan Fashion Week, the car will be presented in other important cities around the world. A limited edition production version will be made available for special order in the Mercedes-Benz Designo Program.

Text & Photos: DaimlerChrysler