“Cars are not a suit of clothes; cars are an avatar,” said Chris Bangle, a former BMW design chief, during his TED talk in 2002. “Cars are an expansion of yourself: They take your thoughts, your ideas, your emotions, and they multiply [them].” But it is easy to disagree and argue that your clothes reflect your personality at least as much as your car does.
Perhaps Bangle’s aversion to placing clothes and cars on an equal level exemplifies why creative collaborations between automobile and fashion brands are typically short-lived and fraught with complications: Fostering a true meeting of the minds between companies from these two ego-driven cultures can be a tremendous challenge. Yet it is possible, as evidenced by the partnership between the Italian automaker Maserati and the Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, which most recently has produced the Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition. (The brands’ previous collaboration involved the VOR 70 Maserati, a 70-foot carbon-fiber monohull racing yacht whose crew is outfitted in high-tech pieces by Zegna Sport. Zegna offered the VOR Maserati capsule collection of casual sportswear and sneakers at its stores this spring and summer.)
Maserati, which is celebrating its centenary this year, and Zegna, which began as a textile mill in 1910 and produces all of its own fabrics, have adroitly changed with the times without straying from their roots. Zegna’s suits have for decades been a uniform of choice for power brokers and celebrities, who flock to its client-centric made-to-measure tailoring services. Last year, the brand showed its intentions of venturing into a wider market when it signed as its head of design Stefano Pilati, who was the head designer at Yves Saint Laurent.
Likewise, Maserati is seeking to broaden its appeal and reach a more youthful-minded and upwardly mobile clientele by adding the midsize Ghibli sedan to its portfolio of cars. Maseratis once were reserved for film stars and playboys or—as in the case of Marcello Mastroianni, who was among the famous owners of the elegant Series I Quattroporte—films stars who were playboys. Mastroianni’s 1965 Quattroporte is among about 30 historic models included in Maserati 100: A Century of Pure Italian Luxury Sports Cars, an exhibit showing at the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, Italy, through the end of this year.
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The similar histories and forward-thinking philosophies of these two paragons of la dolce vita hold promise for a long and happy partnership, which in addition to producing the special-edition Quattroporte (and the VOR sportswear) is expected to create a new range of optional trims for Maserati models.
Maserati will produce only 100 examples of the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition, which begins as the Quattroporte GTS and has a base price of $175,000—about $35,000 more than the standard GTS. The interior is lined with a combination of ultrafine-grained leather, open-pore walnut trim, and opulent yet durable ZegnaSilk fabrics that were developed exclusively for the car. The sandy-gray leather covering the headrests is embossed with Maserati’s trident logo. The roof pillars are wrapped in Alcantara that is the same color as the headrests, and the roof and sunshades are lined with gray silk jersey. Labels reading “Ermenegildo Zegna Exclusively for Maserati” are sewn to the sunshades. An aluminum plate bearing the words “Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition One of 100” is affixed to the center console. The exterior is finished in a color called Platinum Silk, which is exclusive to the Limited Edition and uses extra-fine aluminum pigments to create a sheen similar to that of silk.
“We’ve worked closely together over the past few years to bring to life the best assets of both houses with this limited edition,” says Maserati’s CEO, Harald Wester.
Gildo Zegna, CEO of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, adds, “For over a century, Zegna and Maserati have shared a tradition of craftsmanship and innovation, and our collaboration combines attention to tailored details with cutting-edge technology to produce a vehicle which celebrates the timeless charm and sophistication of the Italian lifestyle.”
The Limited Edition is powered by a twin-turbo V-8 that develops 523 hp and 524 ft lbs of torque. It enables the car to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 191 mph. Many of the features that are optional on the GTS are standard on the Limited Edition. These include the sunroof, front-seat ventilation, and four-zone climate control.
With the Limited Edition comes the 19-piece Owner’s Collection, some of which will be available in Zegna stores beginning in September. The capsule collection includes leather goods, luggage, an umbrella, and an 11.5-foot bolt of the ZegnaSilk chevron-weave fabric used for the Quattroporte’s seating surfaces. For an additional fee, an Ermenegildo Zegna made-to-measure suit can be fashioned from the fabric, so that your clothes can be an expansion of your car.
Styling: Christopher Campbell
Model: Ryan Barrett, IMG Models
Groomer: Santoro Giacomo