How to Dress Like a Porsche
Suddenly, out of nowhere, the worlds of motoring and fashion have become intertwined. I like cars, I guess. Some of them are really pretty, and they are absolutely excellent for getting around. But I’ve never been obsessed, or even that interested. Lots of men are very interested in cars – maybe they love their speed, or their phallic nature, or their capacity to impress teenagers on the high street – and so therefore I’ve always kind of assumed that they were fundamentally uncool. Cool things are not commonplace. Cool things are subversive and rarefied and arcane and ephemeral, and there’s nothing subversive, rarefied, arcane, or ephemeral about a Honda Civic. Fashion brands wouldn’t want to dabble in the drudgery of combustion engineering, would they?
Well a little research shows that they very much would. In the Eighties, Lacoste worked with Peugeot on a special edition of the 205, and in 2004 Armani teamed up with Mercedes on a CLK 500. Elsewhere there have been Ermenegildo Zegna Maseratis, Yves Saint Laurent Citroens, Adidas Volkswagens, Versace Lamborghinis, Paul Smith Land Rovers (and Minis), Hermes Bugattis, and even a K-Way Fiat.
Maserati Quattroporte Zegna Limited Edition
Traditionally, I guess drab ol’ car makers got to share some of the fashion brands’ starlight for a while, and the fashion brands got some mainstream exposure to Top Gear types that otherwise might never have known that they actually need to build a wardrobe of interchangeable basics and hero pieces. But now, as enthusiasm for yet more collaborations between clothing brands withers, some fashion designers are tapping up car makers to breathe new life into the model.
Kith, the streetwear behemoth by footwear designer Ronnie Feig, just announced a partnership with BMW. (Kith has really driven/ridden the collab boom, previously partnering with Nike, Birkenstock, Versace, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Ugg, Oakley, Looney Tunes, the USA Olympic team, and the Japanese restaurant, Nobu, to name just a few.) The result is a 96-piece collection featuring suede bombers, dressing gowns, tracksuits, scarves cardigans, hoodies, tees, mugs, gloves, umbrellas, water bottles… all of which daubed with the spliced icons of BMW and Kith. (And very satisfyingly spliced, I might add.)
Kith X BMW
There are cars, too. Plural. The first is Feig’s own 1989 BMW E30, which the carmaker has kindly refurbished, rebadged, and reupholstered with all the requisite Kith-ness. (You can’t buy that one.) Then there is the Kith edition of BMW’s M4 Competition, of which there will be 150 units, in three colors, available to purchase. It has undergone exclusive modifications to the interior and exterior, it says here.
Last year Teddy Santis of Aimé Leon Dore teamed up with Porsche to restore and reimagine a 911 Carrera 4 (type 964) from the late Eighties, and in doing so created the ultimate hype item for our times: a one-of-one thing, based on heritage and sports and a monied, east-coast vibe, that serves no purpose other than to dazzle people on social media. “It has been a deeply humbling experience to be entrusted with a project of such importance to the Porsche community and to work together on a design that has been so instrumental in shaping my own outlook and aspirations,” said Santis in the Porsche press release.
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And no discussion of the convergence of cars and clothes could be complete without a mention of Virgil Abloh's take on the G-Wagen. In September, the fruits of the American designer's partnership with Mercedes were unveiled, and opinions were... mixed. Kate Bosworth - among other luminaries - loved it, taking to Instagram to comment "this is SO RAD", but car journalists weren't all so enthused. However, it wasn't for them. It was an artwork; a study of "what luxury may look like in 100 years", said Abloh. There were no wing mirrors or indicators, and the white paint had been sanded down to enhance the vehicle's monolithic vibe. A scale model sold at Sotheby's for just over $200k. Whereas the Kith Beemer and ALD Porsche were made in homage to the cars, this was more of an homage to Abloh-ism.
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Anyway, I digress. To me, Aimé Leon Dore and Kith are exceptionally representative of how we dress now, and therefore the Porsche and BMW projects are in fact perfect examples of what it means to be stylish in 2020! (It took me a while, but I got here. Thanks for hanging around.)
The Gucci Fiat and the Armani Merc may have been cool things, but they didn’t define an aesthetic. For whatever reason, the late Eighties, JFK Jr, Michael Jordan, Cindy Crawford, Princess Diana, sportswear-meets-denim-meets-New Balance-meets-Ralph Lauren vibe is very big right now (as per ALD). And what is more that than a sports car? Fast, brash, utilitarian, brutally elegant, and expensive. Am I telling you to dress like a vintage sports car? Well yes, kind of. But Harry Styles is doing it, so maybe you should, too.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.