Cars have inspired designers across the globe since the day they became a mainstream reality.
Cars have inspired designers across the globe since the day they became a mainstream reality. Notable examples from the past include Dior’s vintage cars-inspired prints, Prada’s candy-infused, cartoon car collection and Carven’s show featuring suspended cars and headlights. Quite recently Prada, Christopher Kane and Loewe among many other designers took a trip down to the race track again and showcased collections that rekindled the romance between men, cars and fashion.
“Like any sport, car racing comes with its fair share of fashion contributions (i.e. race-car clothing). Take the legendary Paul Newman, for example. His preference for polarised Carrera sunglasses were rooted in race-car driving, a passion he developed while filming the motorsports motion picture Winning in 1969. Or couture inspired by the King of Cool, Steve McQueen who favoured preppier Persols, the Tag Heuer Monaco and a white leather jacket with blue-and-orange stripes made famous in his 1971 French auto racing film Le Mans. And then there are the real heroes, car-racing champs, whose styles are typified by pairing padded, banded-collar jackets with off-track threads like jeans and button-downs,” avers designer Anuj Madaan.
He adds, “Men have always been drawn to driving — it has something to do with power and control. There are hell lot of men who hold a passion for all things automotive and will hunt down for pieces that are inspired by cars , bikes and car racing. However, whether you’re a car-crazed fan or couldn’t care less, there’s a little Speedway style out there for everyone.”
Fashion savvy actor, anchor and television personality Samir Kochhar agrees and adds, “Opt for the racer jacket: It’s the piece de résistance for really achieving roadster-ready style. Throw it on with dark-wash jeans to kick off the trend.” Talking further about the deadly combination of men and their love for automotives, he explains, “You see, there’s something extremely magical about this combination — stylish guys and their stylish cars — that’s never shifted entirely into neutral. You just can’t put in black and white to understand the passion behind it.”
From the point of view of a man who actually makes a living by being behind the wheels, race-car driver Karminder Singh says, it’s all about keeping it cool. He adds, “I think cars will always be important to men’s fashion because (men) associate cars with stars and style icons. Cars were a fundamental part of the image they portrayed. Driving signifies freedom. It’s rebellious. And girls like it.”
This fall, designers of all stripes championed the car coat, thus named because its hip-length hem allows gentlemen to emerge wrinkle-free after a drive. The featured versions include three-button versions made of thick, double-faced lambskin in colours like caramel and mustard and zippered and in drapey chocolate leather.
So, how do you get geared up for the race Before you put the pedal to the metal in search of a flame-retardant bodysuit, take a look at race-car clothing, refer to the street result in a mix of sportswear and workwear-inspired fits, oversized baggy silhouettes borrowed from the signature shapes of Japanese designers, relaxed denim jeans, straight-cut trousers paired with sweatshirts and jacquard knits, etc. Also car culture dominates the graphic print area too; a ‘car crash’ motif accented by extra-long belts that double as seat belts is perfect.