January 25, 2022

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Forget Mediocre Fashion

Safari-ized Maybach is late fashion designer’s final collab with Benz

The outrageous-looking luxury off-road two-seater was penned by Virgil Abloh, who passed away last week

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The 2021 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach provided the perfect platform for the reveal of Project Maybach, from Mercedes-Benz. The gold and gloss-black luxury concept, an all-electric two-seater, was designed in partnership with the late Virgil Abloh. The fashion design czar, aged 41, passed away last week, following a private battle with cancer. 

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He might have been an Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton, but Project Maybach is proof he was not afraid to step out of his comfort zone. Interestingly, this is Virgil Abloh’s second collaboration with the German carmaker. The first, a G-Class SUV, reimagined as a race car, was showcased last year.

The outlandish Maybach concept is a zero-emissions vehicle inspired by the wide open safari plains. It’s massive, stretching almost twenty feet from end to end. The nose takes up a significant proportion of that length, and was so designed to provide enough surface area to arrange the integrated solar cells that help extend the EV’s range.

An array of six safari-style lights alongside the trademark Maybach grille at the front end set the tone for the rest of the vehicle’s styling. The car’s rather boxy frame includes an external roll cage,  roof rack, and skid plates at both ends. A set of chunky tires completes the off-road disposition of the Maybach concept. The striking design theme, typical of Virgil’s bold approach, continues on in the tan interior, with what looks like a fold-away cinematic infotainment screen; and seats seemingly carved out from luggage sets.

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Mercedes-Benz described the show car as “a humble contribution to Virgil’s vast legacy.” Project Maybach “exemplifies the possibilities of future design and is the result of an ongoing cooperation with the polymath artist, architect, creative director, fashion designer and philanthropist.”

Initially, the plan was to unveil the concept at an intimate press gathering, but following the wishes of Virgil’s family, Mercedes-Benz decided to make Project Maybach available for public viewing at the Art Basel event. The collaborative electric show car, with its provocative design, is meant to inspire the next generation, and is a fitting homage to the black visionary who consistently challenged the status quo.

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