Automotive styling has been known to creep into the fashion realm from time to time. Porsche will happily sell you some aviator sunglasses. Like the looks of a Ferrari? Its gabardine chinos are currently on sale for $98. Mercedes-Benz’s fashion collection even features a fanny pack (sorry, a “hip pack.”)
But for a limited time, Range Rover is passing up these fashion aspirants with something truly refined and a bit eccentric, too. As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the legendary British brand will make you a bespoke sport coat that’s a perfect match to its debut 1970 model. That’s because the threads of the houndstooth check come in three of the Range Rover’s original showroom colors: Bahama Gold, Davos White and Tuscan Blue.
Actually, Range Rover is too busy making vehicles, so the tailoring will be done by no less an entity than Henry Poole & Co. A fixture on London’s Savile Row since 1846, Poole’s clients have included Emperor Napoleon III, King Edward VII, Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill.
Land Rover’s chief creative officer Gerry McGovern partnered with Poole to create the lambswool fabric, which the Somerset firm of Fox Brothers then wove to specifications. “The cloth has been inspired by a heritage colorway featuring a Tuscan Blue lining and Bahama Gold under-collar, yet designed to have a modern casual twist, which can also be worn with timeless elegance,” Poole’s managing director Simon Cundey said in a statement.
The jackets (price unspecified) can be made for both men and women, but customers had best get to London in a hurry. Fox made only 131 yards of the fabric, enough to create some 50 jackets. Then this particular fashion show will be over.
Brands celebrating round-number anniversaries usually cook up some kind of attention-grabbing promo or other, but the operative question for this one might be: How exactly are 50 bespoke sport coats supposed to accelerate sales of Range Rovers?
A Land Rover spokesperson explained to Adweek that the collaboration is principally a celebratory move and also a worthy match since both brands hold Royal Warrants. “Although we see no direct sales,” the spokesperson said, “we know that Henry Poole customers have a strong Range Rover following and it will also open the door to Range Rover customers who would like the experience of bespoke tailoring but never had the right opportunity.”
Range Rover made its first public appearance in Paris in 1970 as an offshoot of the highly popular Land Rover, which had been on the market since 1948.
But while the Land Rover focused solely on ruggedness, utility and off-road performance, the Range Rover combined those capabilities with comfort and amenities. As The New York Times put it, “the Range Rover was made to leave London on a Friday night for a 100-mile-an-hour sprint to a country estate, and rev up Saturday morning for a pheasant hunt across the rocky English countryside.”
Range Rover’s 1970 press release was a tad more restrained, maintaining that the car would “be equally at home on a range in Texas as on the fast lane of a motorway in Europe.”
Whatever boost the bespoke jackets might bring to the marque, Range Rover could use the help. Indian conglomerate Tata Motors, which has owned Jaguar Land Rover since 2008, reported revenue losses of 44% for the quarter ended June 30. Jaguar Land Rover retail sales were down 42% for Q1, though the company rallied a little in June. Like most automotive brands, Land Rover was hit hard by the coronavirus, which for a time forced it to shut down both dealerships and its assembly line. Talks with the British government over a possible bailout broke down on Aug. 16.