NYIAS 003When I get dressed for the day, usually there is a key item that I build my outfit around: low-heeled Christian Louboutins that I can walk all day in; a richly finished Dolce & Gabbana handbag that will hold my iPad and file folders; a Trina Turk coat with subtle whimsy and serious style.

Then I hop into my generically appointed SUV and away I go, as indistinguishable on the road from the drivers in yoga pants or mom jeans. Now, finally, I can wrap myself in the same fine rich leathers and luscious details of my favorite handbags and shoes. I recently attended the New York International Auto Show and was delighted at the design eye brought to the paint and interior colors of some of the cars on display. Two that caught my eye were a new line of paints on several BMW models (Audi and Mercedes Benz are also leading this trend) and a keen design eye applied to some new GM models (and including, yes, Chevy!).

NYIAS 001BMW’s gorgeous new matte paints, here the 6 Series in bronze.

It isn’t a surprise that BMW, always the innovator in both technology and design, wowed the show with a gorgeous new palate of paints. However, it wasn’t color that caught my eye; instead it was the rich, velvety matte texture, evoking a finely sheared mink or a pair of Wolford hosiery: touchable, elegant, resilient, yet still sparkly and metallic enough to fill the need for bling. BMW showed matte paints in a  number of colors on a number of models, but it was this bronze that that made me want to slip behind the wheel in sleek Prada knits and drive off into a 22nd century sunset. 

The other innovation that channeled my inner designer was Chevrolet’s re-imagineering of the Impala. Long the stock of bleak rental car fleets, the Impala was at one time in its early history the macho expression of many an American male ego. For the 2014 model year, the car has been re-cast for the driver with high demands for interior design and driving machismo.

Its exterior reminds me of the Chrysler 300, beefy macho sedans in which I’m happy to be in the passenger seat, but not so much the driver’s seat; the 300 always made me feel as if I needed a cigar in hand to be at home. But here, GM has put its design team, led by David Lyon, in charge of creating an exquisite aesthetic. For inspiration, David dove into the world of finely crafted leather accessories, studying the details of some of the world’s finest handbags.

NYIAS 002A closeup of the interior and exterior colors of the 2014 Impala. Note the nicely detailed grey piping on the seats.

As a result, climbing into the cab of the Impala is like relaxing into the atelier at Lambertson Truex: richly crafted leather details are delightfully complimented by a silvery blue exterior paint, a color so gorgeous that I might be tempted to park it right outside my office window so I can glimpse its twinkle throughout the day. The color on this particular Impala reminds me of a favorite Tod’s bag, one with deep silvery blue leather on the outside and brown stripped satin lining, one that inspired many an outfit flecked with touches of blue and brown. And now, with Detroit paying homage to Fifth Avenue, design details further compliment the driver, leaving her no longer indistinguishable behind the wheel, but instead allowing her to further extend her tasteful vision and style.

Top photo: GM North American President Mark Reuss unveiling the 2014 Impala in it’s most luscious color, silver blue topaz. Thank you to General Motors for use of this photo.