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New from Detroit: A designer Chrysler

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CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly described Neiman Marcus’s role in selling a John Varvatos special-edition Chrysler 300C. Chrysler is advertising the car in the department store’s magazine, The Book. Neiman Marcus is not selling the car. The text has been revised.

Designers around the world have been lending their names to cars a lot more lately.  Chrysler is the latest, with designer touches by John Varvatos on a special edition Chrysler 300c.

It’s a tradition that really started in America more than four decades ago. In the 70s lots of fashion brands waved their magic style wands over cars.  Matt Hardigree with has a few faves, like the AMC Matador from Jackie O’s favorite designer, Oleg Cassini. There’s also the Bill Blass Lincoln, complete with a Cartier clock in the dashboard.

At the height of this craze, he says, “They even had a Levi’s edition Gremlin – all the seats were denim.”

Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand says Chrysler and John Varvatos, both from Detroit, make perfect sense for collaboration. But he says the question is how to do it in a way that both brands will actually be elevated. Varvatos is known for taking street style to the runway. The hulking Chrysler 300 has major street cred.

Varvatos’ take on the 300 is a study in black, says Hardigree at It has blacked out tail-lights. Even the chrome Chrysler logo is black. “Which fits sort of its mafioso image,” he says.

Varvatos borrowed the look from the street, Hardigree says. A car that’s bumper-to-bumper black isn’t known as pimped out. It’s murdered out.


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