Automotive designers draw their inspiration from a wide array of sources, but Ford designer Anthony Prozzi says the fashion industry is an especially fertile breeding ground.
“As a designer, you have to have a sixth sense to predict what’s going to happen next,” says Prozzi, who worked for fashion maven Donna Karan before joining the design team at Ford. “Fashion is a wonderful barometer because fashion designers are a lot more progressive, and they’re able to move a lot quicker. It takes us years to build a car, but a fashion designer can put a collection together in a few weeks.”
Prozzi will host a presentation on the influence of fashion on automotive design at the domino Bazaar, a shop-for-your-home design event scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14 in New York City.
Domino is a Conde Nast home and lifestyle magazine. The bazaar is sponsored in part by the 2007 Ford Edge.
Prozzi’s presentation will chronicle fashion and automobiles from the early 1900s to the present. From yesterday to today, Prozzi says, clothing and cars reflect the tenor of the times.
“Look at the ’60s, for example. The decade began with crew cuts and bouffant hairdos, and by middecade, miniskirts, hot pants and go-go boots were commonplace,” he says. “It was an era of counterculture and individualism, and people wanted a car that was a little naughty without being decadent. The Mustang represented that brilliantly. Like the hot pants and go-go boots, it was the antithesis of prim and proper.”
In today’s busy world, Prozzi says, mass clothing retailers such as Target and Banana Republic are responding with high fashion that is versatile and affordable. Ford is responding with the 2007 Edge.
“For the first time at Ford, we have a vehicle that seems to defy category. A lot of the boundaries about what is ‘car,’ what is ‘SUV’ and what is ‘minivan’ are being blurred,” says Prozzi. “Versatility is key, and I think the Edge addresses that in a stylish way.”
He says the Edge reflects the mood of today’s society.
“These days, everyone’s running around like crazy people. They’ve got kids in school. They’re trying to balance their work life and their personal life. The last thing they want to look at is something that’s disheveled and disorganized,” he says. “People want more order and organization in their lives. Those ideas are represented in the Edge’s clean lines and flowing design.”
Jeri Ward, Edge marketing manager, says the bazaar is an ideal venue for Ford’s new crossover vehicle.
“Our target customers read domino magazine,” says Ward. “They’re informed consumers who shop around for the products and brands they want. They prefer purposeful and bold design but nothing flashy or ornate, and they are the type of people who will find the Edge very appealing.”
The Edge will be on display at the bazaar and integrated into various parts of the event. Shoppers who spend $500 will receive a complimentary ride home in the vehicle.
“We believe that the Edge will change people’s perceptions about Ford,” says Ward.
The domino Bazaar will bring the top 100 designers in home and product design together at the Altman Building, 135 W. 18th St. in New York City. Tickets are $25, and a portion of the ticket sales will benefit the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America.