Auto focus

From the driveway into your closet

Elizabeth Mathew | Updated on January 23, 2018

Auto inspiration: The Bentley Suite at the St. Regis Istanbul is said to beinspired by the curvaceous Continental GT

For luxury automakers, fashion and lifestyle are easy avenues to woo buyers

In November last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne was outspoken about Ferrari’s stance as a luxury brand more than an automaker. “I actually think cars are almost incidental to Ferrari,” Marchionne said when announcing plans to spin off Ferrari from its mass-market parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. “It sounds sacrilegious. But it is truly a luxury brand.”

Obvious picks

For those who follow the scene, luxury automakers have long sought other avenues to woo buyers, and fashion and lifestyle are easy picks for those looking to sell a carmaker’s brand as a luxurious way of life. Fashion has many muses, but the four-wheeled kind is not a new one. Mercedes-Benz has hosted Fashion Week in New York since 2009 and Victoria Beckham designed the Range Rover Evoque Special Edition in 2012, followed by other fashion names such as John Varvatos (and his special edition Chrysler 300) and Ermengildo Zegna (who lent his brand to the Maserati Quattroporte).

Porsche Design, a spinoff of the German car brand, was started by same man who designed the iconic Porsche 911, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. Since as early as 1972, which probably makes it a pioneer in the auto-meets-fashion field, the brand has designed everything from watches to its most recent Spring-Summer 2015 ready to wear fashion line. All inspired by the brand’s “unique and purist design philosophy”, the mantra seemed to work equally well for its spinoff brand.

Alsatian automaker Bugatti has expanded its repertoire to now include two lines of exclusive apparel and accessories, retailing under the names “Ettore Bugatti”, named after the brand’s founder, and an “Extreme Performance” line. While the EB line will highlight Italian tailoring and sophisticated dressing,

For all segments

For women, the brand has designed a blue crocodile skin bag inspired by the Bugatti’s front grille. Does this mean we’ll soon see a waiting list for the Bugatti bag to rival the Hermés Birkin? Well that’s sure to be a long race, but there are a few things women love as much as coordinating outfits, and a bag to match your car isn’t a bad idea at all.

And why leave the kids behind? Iconic British sports car brand Aston Martin teamed up with Italian brand Arav to create a capsule collection of fashion for boys up to the age of 16. Blazers, bow ties, smart jackets and wool coats, for the “little gentleman”, all inspired by classic British style, are sure to appeal to anyone who would like their children to look as smart as their car. The latest from Ferrari is the Prima collection, a line of exclusively designed clothes and accessories as high-end as the cars from this famed Italian brand. Essentially, the clothes will make you look as good as the Ferrari you’re stepping out of — and possible match their luxurious interiors as well. Italian raging bull Lamborghini has a ‘Tonino Lamborghini Style and Accessories” company that creates and designs everything from watches and mobile phones to leather goods and furniture.

The brand brings the same Italian love for great design and aesthetics that goes into their automobiles to their accessories, making it a sought after brand on its own.

Additionally, the Lamborghini brand is also into hospitality, starting with a range of boutique hotels in China, lounge cafes in Bangkok and much more on the cards.

So the recent opening of a Bentley Suite at the St. Regis Istanbul is simply the icing on the cake that auto brands are creating to woo their customers.

What better way to win brand loyalists than to treat them to an experience that is fully curated by the brand itself? The suite, overlooking the Bosphorus, is said to be inspired by the curvaceous Continental GT and features “bespoke details derived from signature Bentley design cues”. For example, a sofa made of leather used in Bentley’s interiors, light installations inspired by the Continental’s headlights and a bar designed after the Bentley’s dashboard.

There’s little that auto brands aren’t making inroads into, covering everything from fashion to hospitality — and clearly the road ahead has customers wanting to wear, live and breathe their favourite auto brand.

Published on May 14, 2015

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