Perhaps taking a page out of the playbook of Coca Cola, who recently hired Mark Jacobs to revitalize their brand, Chrysler, another classic American company, has hired high-end men’s fashion designer John Varvatos to design their 2013 300c Luxury Sedan.
Major American automakers, like Chrysler, have traditionally positioned themselves as the homegrown, ultra-manly alternative to their sleek, luxurious foreign competitors. Therefore high-fashion design presences seem like a counterintuitive approach to achieve their desired aesthetic.
That said, this is not the first example of a car company enlisting the help of a high-end designer. Back in 2000, Lincoln unveiled their Cartier line of limousines. In that case, the combination of the two products, both luxury items in nature, was not so surprising. Chryslers’ take on this approach, however, is slightly more innovative, introducing Varvatos’ hard-core, gentlemanly, west coast style to Chrysler’s classic American image, aiming to revitalize their brand and appeal to the more refined tastes of European and younger, urban markets.
The 300c Limited Edition features Phantom Black paint, a titanium-look exterior trim, dual exhaust finishers, and a front bumper fitted, it appears, from the SRT8, which has larger intakes and a chin spoiler.
Inside, the design is similarly aggressive. The seats are covered in pewter-colored Napa leather with shining, metallic flakes inserted in them, and the wood isn’t any ordinary rose or oak stain, but a Charcoal-stained, icy gray. The dashboard, door panels, and the center console are also covered in Black Frau leather, all held together with Varvatos’ signature black and gray stitch.
So how did we get from that Texas ranch to 315 Bowery Street, the John Varvatos storefront featured in a current Chrysler commercial? The Chrysler marketing team needed to provide a unique, modern edge to its American classic status, and found the perfect man and aesthetic to do it. What Coca Cola and Chrysler have proven is that consumers are willing to be pushed more than advertisers often give them credit for, and that the risk of innovative strategizing is well worth the reward.