Take your pick from the Rhapsody, Chalet, or Thoroughbred themes

There once was a time when owning a Lincoln Continental meant that you belonged in the upper crust of society. It was a status symbol as much as it was a luxury sedan and having one meant that you had a license to roll down your windows to be seen driving one. Those days are long gone, and for a lot of the younger auto enthusiasts, mentioning the name “Lincoln Continental” doesn’t evoke the kind of response the way it used to. Ford, the parent company of Lincoln since 1922, hopes to change all of that when it brought back the Continental in 2016 after spending the last 14 years on the shelf. Now, the Continental is a year into its newest life, and it’s already getting a Black Label special edition.

One iteration of the Continental Black Label Edition is “Rhapsody,” of which its overarching theme is blue. Lots of it. In fact, a large majority of the car’s surface is blue, be it on the exterior or in the interior. And since this is a Continental, Lincoln didn’t just settle for any kind of blue surface, particularly in the cabin where swaths of premium materials are used throughout its whole surface.

According to Marcia Salzberg, Lincoln’s senior designer for color and materials, the decision to go with the specific color went beyond spinning the color wheel and settling for where the arrow ended up pointing at. “

“We had so much inspiration, from all around us,” Salzberg said. “We looked at the color of custom business suits, at nature, how day fades into night, how the sky gets so soft and velvety. We looked at our heritage, at Lincolns of the past – at how blue was such an important, signature color.”

The finished product is, without question, a unique take on the Continental. Other versions of the Black Label Edition are also available, specifically in Chalet and Thoroughbred themes that come with their own unique themes.

It remains to be seen if the Black Label Edition will help the Lincoln Continental regain some of its lost luster. At least the Continental is back, which is more than what it could’ve have said a few years ago when the nameplate was collecting dust.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Lincoln Continental Black Label Edition.

What makes the Lincoln Continental Black Label Edition special

2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label Edition High Resolution Interior
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If you thought that Lincoln was kidding about dressing up the Continental in “all-that-there-is” blue, you’d be wrong. Beginning in the exterior where the official body finish of the sedan is Rhapsody Blue, this version of the Continental Black Label Edition is really swimming in a pool of blue color finishes. This specific treatment extends all the way to the interior where the Continental’s cabin features plenty of supple materials, including leather, mesh, Alcantara, and even shearling carpets. For reasons that are probably obvious by now, the dominant interior leather is also called Rhapsody Blue while Rhapsody Blue Venetian leather plays a complementary part in creating somewhat of a two-tone finish to the cabin. All that leather is accompanied by Alcantara suede cloth and another shot of Rhapsody Blue trim. George Gershwin would be proud.

Needless to say, the common theme among these materials, other than their bespoke quality, is their color

Needless to say, the common theme among these materials, other than their bespoke quality, is their color. About the only things preventing the car from literally being a blueberry are the chrome treatments on the center console, dashboard, and instrumental panel and the silver mesh accents.

Lincoln’s objective with the Black Label Edition is clear in this regard. It wanted, in the words of Marcia Salzburg, to “evoke feelings of warmth, comfort, and security” through the choice of the tone and texture and make it feel as a sanctuary to its owners.

2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label Edition High Resolution Interior
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2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label Edition High Resolution Interior
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For those who aren’t too keen on dressing up the Continental like Jay Leno’s signature jeans-on-jeans fashion sense, Lincoln is offering two alternative themes to Rhapsody, specifically Chalet and Thoroughbred.

The Continental Chalet Black Edition Label takes a different approach than its Rhapsody and Thoroughbred counterparts by evoking a cooler, wintry theme to the luxury sedan. Instead of drawing the car in various shades of blue, the Chalet theme is all about white, evoking “pulse-raising mountain slopes and the warm comfort of a ski lodge.” It makes sense then that the predominantly white exterior is offset by contrasting Cashmere and Espresso leather in the interior, which also includes Alcantara suede cloth, Silverwood appliqués, and front leather seats that feature a unique treatment of Lincoln’s star logo. This particular theme is arguably the most difficult to maintain, but it does serve the luxury sedan well by giving it a clean and sophisticated look that befits its status as one of the most recognized luxury nameplates in the business.

Then there’s the Thoroughbred theme, which, as the name implies, is the most aggressively designed package of the Black Label Edition collection. Dressed in a Chroma Elite Light Brown paint finish that itself comes with an added cost, the Thoroughbred theme largely revolves around celebrating the elitist lifestyle of horse racing. As such, the interior of the Continental also features a similar color scheme, highlighted by Jet Black surfaces, Chestnut leather, Chilean Maple wood inlays, and Alcantara suede cloth accents. If the name of the game is to give the Continental a rugged luxury look and feel to it, the Thoroughbred theme checks off those boxes.

All told, the Lincoln’s Black Label collection for the Continental is a perfect identifier of the luxury sedan’s class and status

All told, the Lincoln’s Black Label collection for the Continental is a perfect identifier of the luxury sedan’s class and status, regardless of the theme that’s selected. I like the Thoroughbred theme more than the other two, but I wouldn’t mind those who opt for either Rhapsody or Chalet. It’s all about the taste here, and we all know that people have different tastes for different things.

2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label Edition High Resolution
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What’s clear, though, at least to me, is that Lincoln is doing a good job breathing some life to the Continental. It may not have needed it in the past when it was considered a go-to luxury sedan, but now that it’s trying to get back to the game, something like the Black Label collection is a welcome offering for those who are interested in buying a Continental. There is a premium to pay, but I don’t think that shouldn’t come as too much of an issue for those who are willing spend upwards of $60,000 on the luxury sedan in the first place.

Read our full review on the 2017 Lincoln Continental here.

Press Release

Versatile shades of blue, popular in spring designer collections, create the signature Black Label theme of the 2017 Lincoln Continental.

Rhapsody uses a rich blend of materials to create a layered effect that complements the monochromatic tone in shades of blue.

The materials are purposely arranged to flow like water: Glossier materials highlight the upper portion of the interior, while more lush touch points are lower, down to the softer, thicker carpet. Supple leather, rich Alcantara® sueded cloth, mesh and shearling combine to create an exceptionally diverse tactile experience.

“Rhapsody takes a bit of our Lincoln heritage, our signature blue, and modernizes it,” says David Woodhouse, design director, The Lincoln Motor Company. “It’s soft, it’s beautiful, and it’s truly inspiring.”

The versatility of blue is part its allure. The Pantone Color Institute placed three blue shades in the Top 10 colors of the season as part of a palette based on the relaxing, refreshing beauty of nature.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Institute, says in the consulting group’s 2017 Fashion Color Report that the range of colors evokes a spectrum of emotion and feeling.

In her book “Color: Messaging and Meaning,” Eiseman, a renowned authority on color, delves into the psychological applications and contexts of color.

Blue, she writes, has long been associated with serenity, respite and tranquility in nature, while industries have found the hue a perfect representation of quality and achievement.

In some cultures, she says, blue is even considered a color of protection.

In the Lincoln Continental, the unique, monochromatic style of Rhapsody sends a message all its own, says Marcia Salzberg, senior designer for color and materials, The Lincoln Motor Company. She agrees that blue is an incredibly versatile shade.

“Through the texture and the tones, we were able to evoke feelings of warmth, comfort and security – we’re able to offer a bit of sanctuary.”

The inspiration for the style was as unique as the interior itself.

“We had so much inspiration, from all around us,” says Salzberg. “We looked at the color of custom business suits, at nature, how day fades into night, how the sky gets so soft and velvety. We looked at our heritage, at Lincolns of the past – at how blue was such an important, signature color.”

They also listened, she says, to George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Hearing its long overture’s many highs and lows was inspiring. “I just thought, ‘That’s so representative of our lives today,’” says Salzberg. “It doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have – you have joys in life, you have those high crescendo points and yes, you have some lows.

“We felt it simply captured the tempo of life for the Lincoln client.”

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