Virgil Abloh has a new collab, with an automobile, not a runway. The American designer is linking up with Mercedes-Benz with a unique artwork – to be auctioned for charity.
Sometimes nicknamed the G-Wagen, the G-Class is a luxury four-wheel-drive SUV instantly recognizable for its boxy silhouette and road warrior aesthetic.
Entitled Project Geländewagen, meaning terrain vehicle in English, the collab’ is a novel partnership between fashion, art, and autos - designed to fete the G-Class, which turned 40 in 2019.
“Mercedes-Benz is a brand that stands for luxury and exceptional performance,” says Virgil Abloh. “Truly a perfect chassis to interject modern artists’ ideas of what the future can be stylistic, within conceptual car design.”
Abloh, the menswear designer of Louis Vuitton and founder of hipster label Off-White, will work alongside Mercedes-Benz Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener on the artwork, the German car manufacturer said in a release.
“Teaming up with Virgil Abloh, one of the most influential and inspiring creatives of our time, represents Mercedes-Benz’s idea of Zeitgeist, co-creation, and fascination – for both our products and our brand,” stressed Bettina Fetzer, head of marketing at Mercedes-Benz AG.
The collaboration’s goal is to unite two industry leaders, “to push the boundaries of each respective creative realm and rebuild the luxury landscape anew, said Mercedes-Benz. The plan also includes co-operating with an established auction house to create a home-scale replica of the unique artwork to be auctioned, with all proceeds being donated to a charity that supports the arts. The actual art piece is not due to be unveiled until September 8.
“Mercedes-Benz today is much more than a luxury carmaker; it is a design brand and luxury label. One major reason for our success story is our aesthetic soul and the unique style of our house. The next step in pushing Mercedes-Benz's design is our collaboration with Virgil Abloh. We are set to create something unseen in both of our branches,” stressed Wagener.
Its many iterations, the G-Class has been a cult off-road classic; military jeep in Argentina; a Popemobile for Jean-Paul II; and a long wheel-base luxury Mercedes-Maybach G 650 with a price tag of €750,000. Looks like Virgil has plenty of material to play with.