Land Rover has collaborated with Paul Smith for a one-off Defender model, showcasing the potential of the automotive manufacturer’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division whilst simultaneously highlighting the British fashion designer’s eclectic tastes.
Paul Smith, a longstanding fan of the Defender, has owned several of the vehicles over the years and currently keeps one at his home in the Italian countryside. With guidance from Land Rover’s Design Director, Gerry McGovern, Smith worked closely with the SVO design team to create a unique vehicle, built to his own specification.
Known for using bright colors in his fashion line, Paul Smith’s flamboyant style is also depicted on the Defender, where 27 different colors have been used on the exterior. Though it is reminiscent of Volkswagen’s Harlequin series, the German carmaker actually used their own color palette in the creation of those limited-edition cars. Smith does not. Instead he’s taken inspiration from colors seen in the British countryside and from Defenders used by the Armed Forces. Smith gave the SVO team a set of Pantone references so the exterior colors could be specially mixed for the vehicle.
The interior wasn’t left untouched by his bespoke vision either. Black leather contrasts against blue stitching to give the utilitarian cabin a luxury feel. “This is a complete one-off; I wanted to give this Defender a feeling of luxury, so I used a mix of leather and fabric for the seats. I actually used the fabric that I design for Maharam, the American upholstery company,” says Smith.
Smith also worked with the company’s design team to add hidden details (similar to the ‘Easter eggs’ Chrysler designers created for Jeep products): There is an image of a set of keys printed inside the glove compartment as well as a hand-painted bee on the roof. The traditional Defender clock has also been replaced with a Paul Smith fascia.
The Defender retains traditional elements, such as the wing mirrors, door handles and wheels, but these were given a makeover; adorned in a satin finish to create a more contemporary feel.
This exclusive Defender is just one more bespoke addition to the Land Rover send-off as the company celebrates the iconic vehicle’s last year of production. Land Rover has previously announced three limited edition Defenders — the Autobiography, Heritage and Adventure models — to commemorate the vehicle’s 67-year production run.
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