ODE TO THE ROAD: The multitasking Sir Paul Smith has yet another creative project in the works, and it’s set to be unveiled today at the designer’s shop on Albemarle Street in London’s Mayfair. Smith, a longtime Land Rover Defender owner, has created a one-off edition of the car, jazzing up the utilitarian vehicle with a rich patchwork of 27 colors mixed specially for the vehicle — and with some signature Smith-ian quirks.
Smith, who regularly uses his Defender to navigate the rugged terrain of Sardinia — where he has a holiday home — has colored each panel of the car’s exterior with a different paint — including blue, burgundy and gray — and done the seats in black leather with blue stitching, and Maharam home textile fabric of his own design. The central glove compartment has a set of keys printed on the base, and there are pops of fluorescent color throughout, a reference to the Defender’s role as an emergency vehicle. A hand-painted bumblebee on the roof of the car is Smith’s homage to the countryside, while door handles, wing mirrors and wheels all have a satin finish.
“It’s delightful to be able to participate in things that are made of metal instead of cloth,” said Smith. The model that Smith customized is the last of its kind, as Land Rover plans to bring out a new iteration of the car next year. Smith will have the car for the next year, and his design will not go into production.
Gerry McGovern, design director and chief creative officer of Land Rover, said it was Smith who approached the company about creating the design, and who worked closely with its Special Vehicle Operations design team. “I thought it would be lovely to do a special one-off as a way of saying ‘Byeeeee!’” said Smith.