Cars And Fashion: An Enduring Love Affair

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© Chris Dorley-Brown

We consider our favourite moments of clothes in cars, from Chanel's Ford to MOVEment and Stephen Jones

Nearly 30 years ago, photographer Chris Dorley-Brown set off to document the privatisation of Rolls-Royce that was taking place in London at the time. As he wandered through Hackney, he started taking pictures of the drivers stuck in traffic, capturing the tedium, the static frustration and, of course, the idiosyncratic outfits. While at first glance Dorley-Brown’s photographs may look like simple portraits of bored motorists, there’s more to them than it seems. From car varnish and wardrobe coordination to jewellery, mutton chops and lurid suits, Drivers In The 1980s is a vital record of authentic 80s street style.

Cars have inspired designers across the globe since the day they became a mainstream reality. Notable examples include Dior’s S/S01 vintage cars-inspired prints, Prada’s S/S12 candy-infused, cartoon car collection and Carven’s A/W13 show featuring suspended cars and headlights. But collaboration works both ways: Mercedes-Benz has become a regular fashion week sponsor and Porsche carved itself a spot in fashion heaven with its line of luxury accessories Porsche Design. To celebrate the ever-growing list of collaborations between designers and carmakers, here we consider some of our favourite car moments in fashion.

Prada's Car Park, S/S12
Miuccia Prada has a reputation for delivering the unexpected, and her S/S12 collection surely wasn’t a letdown. The venue had been turned into a huge car park, guests enjoying the view lying back in giant foam cars. Printed on pastel shade robes, jackets and bags or included into the design, from flame-lined skirts and blaze-shaped shoes, the car motif was central to every piece of Prada's playful collection.

Gucci's Cadillac Seville
If class had four wheels, it would look like the Gucci Cadillac Seville. Introduced in 1979, the special edition car was available in three different colours – white, black or brown – and it featured a back pillar covered in double G-printed vinyl, Gucci’s green and red trademark bands across the trunk lid, golden Gucci logos on the wheels and roof. Sold for $22,900, the package included a complementary set of Gucci luggage.

Chanel’s Ford
When it first appeared in 1926, Chanel’s Little Black Dress was dubbed by a Vogue editor as “Chanel’s Ford”. Radically simple and affordable for women across all social rankings – the haute couture versions were just as tasteful as the mass-produced styles – Coco Chanel’s iconic creation perfectly mirrored the egalitarian principles of Henry Ford’s modestly designed, reasonably priced Model T.

MOVEment x Stephen Jones x Ford Vignale
If MOVEment was conceived to inspire beautiful aesthetics and unique sensations by uniting the best of fashion, dance and film, Ford Vignale was designed to bring quality of product and first-class experiences to the customer, making it the ideal partner for AnOther’s latest collaborative project.

Céline Auto-Inspirations, A/W11
Inspired by the minimalist elegance of luxury cars, Céline's A/W11 show was a parade of monochrome suits and wood print patterns. With car interiors, wealth and lavishness as main references, leather and fur were worked into shirt detailing and coat collars.

Drivers In The 1980s is out now, published by Hoxton Mini Press.