LONDON — It’s a marriage of motors — and puffers.
Mercedes-Benz has partnered with Moncler on a silvery four-wheel work of art meant to showcase two of Europe’s best-known luxury brands, and how they spark each other’s creativity.
This collaboration was revealed on Monday at Moncler’s “The Art of Genius” show during London Fashion Week, and is an example of a strategy rethink by Mercedes-Benz.
Known as Project Mondo G, the artwork was more than a year in the making and features a mix of high-gloss reflective surfaces, a massive zipper detail, and weighs two-and-a-half tons.
Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Mercedes-Benz Group AG, said the work showcases “the strong geometry of the G-Class merged with the organic forms of Moncler puffer jackets.”
Britta Seeger, board member at Mercedes-Benz Group AG, added the collaboration “opens new horizons, and the potential for opportunities, with more news to come soon.”
In an interview, Seeger said that Mercedes is looking for opportunities to mingle its DNA with that of interesting design partners, and to engage in collaborations that generate “creative friction.”
She said that by collaborating with the right partner, Mercedes’ designers can stretch themselves and learn to think differently, while the brand can reach new audiences beyond the automotive realm.
“It brings a lot of fun to the teams, a different perspective,” and nudges them to look at how other companies design and how they approach different challenges, Seeger said.
She added that when the DNA of both companies fit, and the projects are authentic, “they can add value, and relevance for a different audience.”
Creative collaborations can also liven up an old story. Seeger pointed to a recent collaboration with Heron Preston marking the 40th anniversary of the airbag’s first serial introduction into the Mercedes S-Class.
She admitted that the anniversary of the airbag “was a potentially boring story, but Heron put the idea of airbag safety into a whole new context.” Preston designed a capsule collection made with recycled airbag materials, and other commercial merchandise.
The German automotive firm has been pursuing new ways of engaging with the fashion and luxury world as it dials down its international runway show sponsorships.
It has been swapping named fashion showcases for one-off collaborations with big names in the creative fields.
In addition to Preston, it has worked with the digital entertainment brand Superplastic and collaborated with the late Virgil Abloh on Project Maybach. That resulted in a show car, a limited-edition series of electric luxury cars, and a related Off-White capsule collection.
Moncler said the new project is about moving beyond fashion “and into new spheres of design.” The launch is taking place during Moncler’s event in London that will see Alicia Keyes perform.
The latest round of Moncler Genius collaborators includes Pharrell Williams, who’s just been tapped as creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear. Genius is an experimental brand that invites outside fashion designers and creatives to riff on Moncler’s signature puffer jackets.
Designers such as Simone Rocha, Craig Green and Jonathan Anderson have all created conceptual outerwear and accessories for Moncler Genius. Each year the collaborators’ work is displayed in theatrical, grand-scale venues.
As reported, since 2017, the number of Mercedes-Benz-branded fashion weeks has been shrinking although the brand remains involved in many other areas of the industry.
It promotes and mentors young designers, which it has been doing since 2009, and continues to be involved with the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Accessories in Hyeres, France.
At Berlin Fashion Week, where it used to be the headline sponsor, the brand launched a format called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Moments.