Mercedes-Benz Makes Latex an Automotive Fashion
Mercedes-Benz highlighted its the new SL roadster in a 2016 Fashion Campaign and Film shot by American photographer Jeff Bark. The promotional film features Russian supermodel Natasha Poly and latex works by Japanese designer Atsuko Kudo.
The campaign, Obsession with an Icon, puts the luxurious new SLs’ distinctive design in the spotlight, highlighting its sinuous lines and sensual curves in precise detail by wrapping the car in latex. The car is photographed alongside Natasha Poly, who wears matching body-hugging latex.
The campaign was shot in Miami, Florida, by American photographer Jeff Bark, who’s celebrated for his high-octane use of colour and a pop-edged, hyper-realistic style. Bark was already aware of designer Atsuko Kudo’s latex work, having shot it for a number of fashion stories. “For me, my photography is only about light and colour, so in this case I wanted to light the car to emphasize its form and three-dimensional qualities, but having the latex as a second skin so you could see the lines of the car in a new way.” he explains.
For Bark, the project was about pushing boundaries. “What’s so appealing about working with Mercedes-Benz is that each campaign is very different; they always try to make something you haven’t seen before,” he says. “An icon has to be an obsession for more than just the person who is in love with it; one of the things about Mercedes-Benz is that it’s universally loved.”
Alongside the SL, the star of the show in matching peacock-blue skintight latex is Natasha Poly, one of the world’s most recognizable faces. “I’m very proud and honoured to have become a member of this amazing family at Mercedes-Benz and to do this beautiful campaign, introducing this iconic car,” she says. “I feel very powerful in this dress, like a superhero. I feel very strong and sexy at the same time.”
The exotic latex work is by Atsuko Kudo, the Japanese-born, London-based designer who’s world-renowned for her ingenious work with the fabric, and whose hand-made pieces have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Kate Moss and Lady Gaga. When Kudo was approached by Mercedes-Benz to take part in the fashion campaign of the new Mercedes-Benz SL she immediately saw a synergy between the car and her designs. “They are so similar- both are sexy, curvaceous and super shiny,” she says. The car was wrapped in 130 square meters of custom-made latex produced from five separate sheets that were meticulously glued and polished by hand. The result is a campaign that seamlessly combines a daring and innovative concept with an accomplished technical feat.
“Like no other model, the SL embodies the myth of Mercedes-Benz. Just think of the legendary 300 SL or the Pagoda– everlasting vehicles. Icons such as the SL are timeless and redefine themselves through innovative design over and over again and they often polarize”, said Dr Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. “These characteristics were successfully carried out for our new fashion campaign with the SL.”
Bark chose to shoot the campaign in a working quarry, selected not only for its monumental proportions but also for the rugged contrast it offered with the SL’s sleek lines. “I wanted somewhere that would enhance the beauty of the car, though in this case that wasn’t very hard to do as the car is already so beautiful! That is why I wanted to put it in an environment that maybe wasn’t so beautiful to make it stand out.”
Both the film and Fashion Campaign were produced as part of the International Fashion Engagement for Mercedes-Benz.
The film begins panning down onto the SL, accompanied by sounds of its engine revving. The noise of the engine wakes Natasha. In a panic she notices that the car is not under the latex cover and flushes with anger. As she enters her surveillance centre she realizes the car is driving through the grounds, and breaks into a jealous rage as she makes her way to the car park. There, she finds the car covered in latex and is relieved to discover that the car is safe and she is close to the thing she is obsessed with the most (watch the video here at YouTube).
20 Years of Dedication to Fashion by Mercedes-Benz
Over the past 20 years, Mercedes-Benz has established itself as a partner at selected fashion events. The brand is currently involved in more than 50 fashion platforms globally, including Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks in Beijing, Madrid, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Istanbul and Berlin, as well as the acclaimed International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères. The Group recognised the parallels between exclusive cars and high-quality fashion collections at an early stage as, in both worlds, passion, style, innovative design, the finest materials and first-class technical implementation are critical factors for success. Mercedes-Benz has consistently supported selected fashion events around the world over the course of two decades, making a name for itself in particular for promoting talented new designers.