It’s a feast for the senses; that much is clear

The Fiat 500 will never be mistaken for a car that puts a premium on its performance capabilities. Actually, the 500 is far from what a performance car looks and sounds like. But rest assured, even without those credentials, the 500 has an identity that’s unique to its own. Just run back the number of special edition models that Fiat has produced of the 500 and you’ll see a pattern there. The Fiat 500, for all intents and purposes, is a fashion and lifestyle car in the sense that it attracts designers from all walks of the fashion and lifestyle worlds, a lot of whom have made partnered with the Italian automaker to make special edition models of the hatchback.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Fiat 500 Ron Arad Edition. How about the 500 GQ Edition or the 500 La Petite Robe Noire? Go back a little further and you might remember the 500 and 500 Gucci Edition models from 2013. There’s a pattern here that Fiat has embraced and that relationship with the fashion world is once again in the spotlight with the introduction of the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition.

Styled by the famed perfumer in collaboration with Garage Italia Customs, the one-off 500 Paco Rabanne Edition is not for the conservative fashionista. It’s certainly not for those who don’t appreciate a car dressed in shiny gold and has plenty of unique details that set it even further apart from other special fashion edition 500s. It’s brash, ostentatious, and an acquired taste, to say the least.

Fiat itself isn’t actually selling the 500 Paco Rabanne Edition. But someone will take home the one-off creation, thanks to a Paco Rabanne giveaway wherein a customer who buys a bottle of Paco Rabanne 1 Million or Lady Million fragrance will be given a chance to register in Fiat’s website for the opportunity to get chosen as the winner.

Like it or not, it’s a car that’s going to demand attention wherever it goes. The question is whether you’re fashion-forward enough to appreciate what Paco Rabanne and Garage Italia Customs did to this Fiat 500.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition.

What makes the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition special

If it’s not obvious enough, the 500 Paco Rabanne Edition really is a showstopper in more ways than one. I suppose that’s what happens when you let Paco Rabanne and Garage Italia Customs work on a 500. For those who don’t know, neither Rabanne nor Garage Italia Customs are known for being conservative with their designs.

And so it is, that’s exactly what we see in the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition. The Metallic Sun Gold body of the hatchback is the obvious attention-grabber, but there’s actually more to the car than the shiny body paint. For one, the roof of the 500 is black, which creates a nice contrast from the rest of the body. There’s also some pinstriping involved, adding another layer of design character to the overall look of the 500. Splash on the good wheels and the gold front grille and you get what in my mind is the most outlandish special edition or one-off Fiat 500 I’ve seen in quite some time.

Some of you might wonder then what I think of another recent one-off 500: the confusing Fiat 500 “I Defend Gala 2015” One-Off Edition. You’re right; that one was a little bit more difficult to comprehend. Don’t get me wrong; I love the purpose of that one-off 500 – it was developed as a one-off piece for the “I Defend Gala,” an event devoted to defending the universal value of basic human rights – but its design, done by no less than craftsman Stefano Canticelli, just left me confused. It’s one thing to use calfskin on the interior, but using it on the exterior of the car is a little too much, even for my liking. Same thing with using mahogany wood. Great in the cabin, not so much as side mirror covers. And don’t even get me started on the picnic basket at the back of the hatch.

2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition
- image 697875
2015 Fiat 500 Ron Arad Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 571322

Note: side-by-side photo of the I Defend Gala Fiat 500 and the Ron Arad Fiat 500.

If anything, the 500 Paco Rabanne Edition’s style fits more into another recent fashion collaboration 500, the Ron Arad Edition. That one was a lot more conservative compared to the Paco Rabanne 500 with a better-looking design to boot. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not averse to having gold in my life. I just don’t like being overwhelmed by it. By contrast, the 500 Ron Arad Edition was dressed in all black and featured special white outlines drawn on the sides of the car, depicting the silhouette of the 1957 Fiat 500. It was simple, classy, and descriptive all rolled into one. That’s a much better approach, in my mind, than the Paco Rabanne 500.

Fortunately, the interior of the 500 Paco Rabanne Edition isn’t as flashy as its body. That’s a good thing! There are still some gold applications, most noticeably the dashboard and various trims scattered around the cabin. But for the most part, the predominantly black interior was enough to keep it the treatment relatively subdued. Unfortunately for the Paco Rabanne Edition, my preference is still with the Ron Arad Edition, largely because it also maintained a similar black-and-white look to its cabin. Most of it was dressed in black with the white trims providing a classy contrast. But the white headliner on that special edition 500 was the feature I liked the most. Not only did it prevent the interior from drowning in too much black – it works in the exterior because of the image of the 1957 500 – but it also created a perfect balance between the two colors, the kind that you normally see when you’re wearing a tuxedo.

2015 Fiat 500 Ron Arad Edition
- image 697885

Note: interior photo of the Fiat 500 Ron Arad Edition

On that note, I will give some credit to Fiat because the predominantly black interior has worked well in the Fiat 500 in the past. Remember the 2013 Fiat 500 Gucci Edition? It was available for both the 500 and 500 C variants a few years ago and it came with an all-black interior that was only interrupted by Gucci’s iconic green-red-green design stripes running down the four seats and the seat belts. That one worked because it played well into Gucci’s own colors.

2013 Fiat 500 and 500C by Gucci High Resolution Interior
- image 510298

Note: interior photo of the Fiat 500 Gucci Edition

And if we’re really being fair, the black-and-white interior treatment hasn’t always worked for the Fiat 500, as shown by the treatment done on the cabin of the Fiat 500 La Petite Robe Noire. That one just took the whole black-and-white treatment a little too far.

2014 Fiat 500 La Petite Robe Noire Interior
- image 539865

Note: interior photo of the Fiat 500 La Petite Robe Noire.

For the most part, the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition fits into what I expected out of another Fiat-fashion designer collaboration. In some ways, it’s another perfect example of the 500’s styling versatility, which I consider one of its biggest strengths as a model. Sure, none of these special edition 500s get any increases in power, but focusing on that aspect of the hatchback is completely missing the point on why these special edition 500s work.

Like I said, the hatchback isn’t going to break any speed records anytime soon. Its top-spec 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine only produces 100 horsepower. That’s not going to change anytime soon and even if there are any power increases, anything more than 140 or 150 horsepower sounds unreasonable.

The true and real appeal of the Fiat 500 is its design and the potential for that design to be altered, tweaked, or modified into various results. We’ve seen it with the 500 Ron Arad Edition. We’ve seen it with the 500 and 500C Gucci Editions. For better or worse, we’ve also seen it with the 500 “I Defend Gala” Edition.

And now, we’ve seen it with the 500 Paco Rabanne Edition. The gold body may not be for everybody, but rest assured, the flamboyance of the car fits right into the 500’s own personality.


What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: