For the new creative endeavor entitled Project Geländewagen, Abloh was tasked with producing an exclusive piece of artwork inspired by the German automaker’s G-Class lineup of luxury SUVs. The multi-hyphenate––best known as the founder of Off-White and the chief menswear designer at Louis Vuitton––worked closely with Gorden Wagener, Mercedes’s chief design officer, to see it through. After the initial digital reveal on September 8, a home-scale replica will be auctioned off with proceeds going to arts-focused charities.
“Mercedes-Benz is a brand that stands for luxury and exceptional performance,” said Abloh in a press release. Leaning heavily into a car analogy, he called the collaboration “a perfect chassis to interject modern artists’ ideas of what the future can be stylistically, within conceptual car design.”
The venture comes at a crucial time for Mercedes, as the brand tries to expand its reach. “I don’t see us as an automotive company so much but more of a lifestyle and luxury brand as our work goes way beyond cars,” Wagener told Forbes earlier this month.
Wagener believes that Project Geländewagen is a natural extension of the Mercedes brand. “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.”
In an exclusive interview with WWD, Bettina Fetzer, vice president of marketing at Mercedes-Benz, revealed that the art was originally set to debut at a physical event during Paris Men’s Fashion Week. However, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, those plans were ultimately scrapped.
“It’s an opportunity for us to use all that creative power that we’re getting out of these projects and see how we can redefine what a digital event could look like,” she told the fashion industry trade. “We have chosen an approach with distinctive storytelling. Basically, we take the audience to our journey and to Gordon and Virgil’s creative minds.” With those two ports, that’s a journey we’d be willing to take.