Fashion’s muses were in full force at Fashion’s Night Out in New York City: designer pop-up shops and strolling fashionistas filled the streets as the entire city turned its attention to celebrating its homegrown industry. But in its own velvet-roped VIP section of the Meatpacking District next to the Gansevoort Hotel, was a a bit of a surprise: the 2013 Ford Fusion, displaying its new design, sporting a green eco-inspired backstory and celebrating its own muses.
Just like the iconic Hermés Birkin bag or the classic Chanel suit, the Fusion is inspired byliving, breathing, wearing-just-that-perfect-something magical beings whose steely breathless glances send fashion forecasters and buyers scrambling to be in their court. And in this case, the Fusion has not one, but three muses.
- Kate Lanphear, style director of Elle Magazine, whose icono-gothic spiky cuff bracelets and neo-punk hair, mix of skinny jeans, bespoke tweeds and French couture create an at-the-surface sense of sureness; you see her and want to be her.
- Sean Avery, NHL player, admitted clotheshorse and budding fashion editor, who is equally as influential and followed in fashion as he is in hockey. Known for his machismo as well as his thoughtful focus on materials and design, he’s also known for Stanley Cup wins, controversy, potty-mouthed comments and beautiful girlfriends, as well as a stint as a Vogue Magazine intern and the model in Hickey Freeman’s spring ad campaign.
- Eddie Borgo, jewelry designer and man behind many of the spiky cuffs and other pieces favored by Kate Lanphear, his designs bring the serious heft and gleam of metal through industrial, mystical rock-n-roll inspired designs.
From Muse to Inspired Interior
So how does this translate into a car? While the Fusion’s exterior lines have been refined, retouched, given a new sense of elegance, that’s another story for another day. Inside the Fusion, its muse influences flourish. “There is a sensuality to it, that it feels good, it makes you realize this is something that is not appealing just on a visual level, but on a sensual level, too,” says Anthony Prozzi, the Fusion’s interior designer and former menswear designer for Donna Karan, who was charged with rethinking the Fusion’s interior experience. “To be modern and beautiful you have to explore the dichotomy of things, look at hardness and softness, masculine and feminine,” to achieve the elements that are visually powerful, but satisfying to the touch.
Winning Design: The Three Key Areas Of Focus
Prozzi started with what he called the three critical areas of design: the steering wheel– “how it is stitched, how your fingers plays across it, the sensuality to it, that it feels good;” the front passenger area: “we needed to give the [passenger] a spot so they know they’re not left out.” Care was taken to make sure the passenger can can see and feel all the tactile and visual touches that the driver experiences. And third, the seats: “People have a way of playing with the seats, touching them,” settling into them. Prozzi watched the way people pose, their little nuances. “It is our job to listen, take all that in and interpret it into a product that is seductive, so that you want to get in and drive.”
Next: The All Important Accessories
Then–so importantly–there’s the jewelry: “We used this amazing complicated metalwork, the jewelry of the car,” said Prozzi, “knowing where to put just the right accessories in this gorgeous black interior, there is jewelry that talks to the passengers, it’s in the door panels, it gives you the embellishment, that modern, accessible, friendly and approachable” feel, but still with an edge. Ah, jewelry: it always makes you feel good.
Beauty Behind the Scenes
But the good-feel focus of the Fusion isn’t just about velvety door panels, the slash of silver chrome across the dashboard or tailored seat lines crafted to cradle your bottom; it is about feel-good engineering in the passenger cabin, too. As the saying goes, beauty is more than skin deep: The Fusion’s designers, seeking to employ not just design, but sustainable design thinking, looked to the many ways they could use recycled, eco-friendly elements. “The 2010’s are defined as decade of access and accountability,” said Prozzi. “We are holding our world leaders and our manufacturers accountable for what is happening, so how can we respond to that?”
As a result, the velvety black dashboard and door panels are made from recycled soda bottles, and other recycled plastics in the car will amount to two million pounds of recycled plastic per year. The insulation between the interior and the car’s exterior, which reduces road noise, is made from recycled denim. And Ford’s company-side use of soybean-based foam on all its car’s seats, seat backs and headrests–rather than petroleum based foam–will reduce petroleum production by more than 5 million pounds and carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20 million pounds annually. Wow.