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Louis Vuitton's Virgil Abloh Collaborates With Mercedes-Benz for the G-Wagon Project

From Off-White to "Off-Road" real quick.
IMAGE Mercedes-Benz
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Fashion icon and artistic director for Louis Vuitton Men’s Fashion Virgil Abloh has teamed up with Mercedes-Benz Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener for a collab project dubbed “Project Geländewagen.” 

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Aside from his involvement in Louis Vuitton, Abloh is also the founder of the Milan-based fashion house Off-White and was the first American of African descent to be artistic director for the French luxury fashion house. In 2018, Abloh was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Just how cool is the G-Wagon? Well for one, the Vatican used it when the first civilian version came out for the Pope in 1980 and was specially fitted with a clear thermoplastic top to serve as the Popemobile.

Photo by Mercedes-Benz.
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From G-Wagon to G-Class

Dubbed as the “Papa G”, the car is now on permanent display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The G-Wagon, now called the G-Class, was a joint project as a military vehicle between Daimler-Benz and military equipment maker Steyr-Daimler-Puch and was produced in Graz, Austira. The civilian version was conceived and manufactured in 1979 at the suggestion of the Shah of Iran who was a stockholder in Mercedes-Benz at the time.

After rigorous testing from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle, the G-Wagon has arguably become the world’s greatest off-road vehicle. It has basically kept its boxy military SUV styling for 40 years but has evolved to modern times using all the new tech and automotive hardware in the Mercedes-Benz arsenal over the years. It's also been a favorite SUV for celebrities and VIPs, thanks to its tough and boxy exterior and luxurious interior similar to the brand's S-Class sedans.

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Forty years later, Wagener decided to tap Abloh to create a one-off off-road designer G-Wagon as an ultimate expression of art, fashion and motoring icon. It blends high-end street fashion with a tough off-road cred that only the G-Wagon can do.

Photo by Mercedes-Benz.

Collaboration and creativity

“Teaming up with Virgil Abloh, one of the most influential and inspiring creatives of our time, represents Mercedes-Ben's idea of Zeitgeist, co-creation and contemporary luxury--for both our products and our brand,” says Bettina Fetzer, vice president for marketing at Mercedes-Benz AG. “By launching Project Geländewagen now we hope to inspire collaboration and creativity in our global audience.

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“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 stylistically, within conceptual car design.”

The project will be digitally unveiled to a global audience on September 8 4 p.m. CET (5 a.m. Philippine time the following day). Click here to set a reminder for this event.

A one of a kind home-scale replica of the unique artwork will be auctioned off following the launch. All proceeds will be donated to a charity that supports the arts. The winner of the model auction will also receive exclusive access to the co-creators, including a personal introduction to the inspirations behind the artwork and the creative powerhouses’ aspirations for it.

“Mercedes-Benz today is much more than a luxury carmaker, it is a design brand and luxury label," says Wagener. "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 design is our collaboration with Virgil Abloh. We are set to create something unseen in both of our branches.” 

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