Now here’s a Land Rover Defender the likes of which you haven’t seen before. That’s because it was designed by Sir Paul Smith, yes THAT Paul Smith, the British designer behind his very own fashion empire. But who knew that fashion wasn’t his only passion. It turns out he is quite a Land Rover fan and has owned several over the years. So he’s collaborated with the automaker to create this ‘one off’ to add to his own collection.
“The Defender is a British icon, which is something I’m exceptionally proud of,” Smith says. “I keep a Defender at my home in Italy which is in the middle of the countryside, so it’s the perfect vehicle to cope with the rugged terrain.”
Smith worked closely with Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations design team to create a unique vehicle, built entirely to his own specification. He chose all 27 paint colors you see in the patchwork design. Smith says the color palette was inspired by the British countryside, as well as colors historically seen on Defenders used by the Armed Forces. The colors were mixed specifically for this vehicle.
“I wanted deep rich colors, but at the same time, I wanted them to work together yet be surprising,” Smith says.
The interior also stayed true to his vision as well.
“This is a complete one-off; I wanted to give this Defender a feeling of luxury, so I used a mix of leather and fabric for the seats,” Smith adds. “I actually used the fabric that I design for Maharam, the American upholstery company. The vehicle features lots of special Paul Smith touches.”
“Inside, black leather contrasts against blue stitching and there are lots of little hidden details throughout. For example, there is an image of a set of keys printed inside the glove compartment. Then there is a hand-painted bee on the roof, which is another little tongue-in-cheek reference to the countryside and the heritage of the car. Also, the traditional Defender clock has been replaced with a Paul Smith fascia. My designs are known for their attention to detail, so I didn’t want this Defender to be any different.”
With guidance from Land Rover’s Design Director and Chief Creative Officer, Gerry McGovern, he was able to realize his uniquely personal version of this global automotive icon.
McGovern says he “felt it would be a fitting tribute to the iconic Defender, that one of Britain’s most distinguished designers worked with the Land Rover team to recognize his creative vision.”