Start your engines – a new collaboration between Chitose Abe’s offbeat Japanese fashion label Sacai and Mercedes-AMG is revealed today, ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix which takes place on the neon-lit streets of Sin City this Saturday at 10pm local time (18 November 2023).
The collection, designed by Abe alongside the AMG team – AMG is the high-performance subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, which competes as part of the F1 calendar – draws inspiration from the ‘Red Pig’, the playfully nicknamed Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, AMG’s first racing car.
First look: Sacai x AMG
A blueprint for the Mercedes-Benz S Class that would follow, the 1971-built car debuted at the ‘24 Hours of Spa’ endurance race where, despite being a full-size sedan, it nonetheless ’against all odds’ finished in second place – an underdog story which has gone down in racing lore.
It provides the perfect starting point for Abe, whose work at Sacai has been defined by the fusing together of often idiosyncratic elements and materials into singular hybrid garments (for example, a trench coat might be melded with a puffer jacket, a walking-style sandal with a towering rubber sole). Much of this expertise is derived from her experience as a pattern-cutter for Rei Kawakubo and time spent as part of the Junya Watanabe design team, while her hybrid approach has also seen Sacai collaborate with a slew of other brands and figures – from Ghetto Gastro to Nike.
‘Our approach to design with purpose at Sacai is to always explore the quintessential forms and create something new,’ she explains. ‘The purest intention is to start from the archetype, which also applies to collaborations, working with the original and the best in its respective fields.’
Here, this results in a performance wear-rooted collection that spans racing-style overalls – adorned with the vintage-inspired Sacai AMG logo – alongside patch-and badge-covered varsity jackets, blousons and T-shirts. Mercedes-AMG says the collection was an ‘intellectual exercise’ in combining both parties’ distinct design philosophies and codes. The collection is available in AMG Speed City in Las Vegas from from now until 17 November 2023 and on nordstrom.com.
But that’s not all – for full Sacai x AMG immersion, Abe has also collaborated with AMG on a special car ’wrap’ in mirrored chrome – giving the somewhat unique opportunity to match your outfit to your car (though sadly, the one-off wrap is not currently available for sale). It also features a series of badges and embossed shapes which mimic those found in the collection itself.
‘[It’s] innovative, disruptive and unique,’ says Michael Schiebe, Mercedes-AMG’s CEO of the project. ‘AMG and Sacai sit at the intersection of luxury and performance in their respective fields, and we are thrilled to see the collaboration come to life in a way that feels authentic to both brands’ DNA.’
The collection is available in AMG Speed City in Las Vegas from now until 17 November 2023 and on nordstrom.com.
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Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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