Mercedes-Benz and Moncler Unveil Collaborative Abomination

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Designers from Mercedes-Benz and Moncler have put their heads together to create one of the weirdest automobiles seen in years. Revealed at Moncler’s “The Art of Genius” show held during London Fashion Week, the Project Mondo G is the result of Project Maybach designer Virgil Abloh and Moncler’s Genius label asking the age-old question “what would it look like if someone put the G-Glass inside of a giant puffer jacket?”

It’s definitely not a question anyone would have asked themselves if there wasn’t a corporate partnership afoot. Ultimately, the Mondo G is a commercial designed to draw attention to companies that sell four-figure puffer jackets and six-figure cars. While luxury automakers partner with fashion brands to ensure their vehicles are displayed at industry events catering to the most materialistic people on the planet – Mercedes has attended at least one global fashion event every year since 1995 – it’s not often you get to see a car modeling the latest textile trends.

But the Moncler show had the G-Wagon wearing reflective tires designed to emulate the brand’s puffers. The SUV even has a topper with an oversized zipper at the top, which would seem to be comical were it not for the overarching seriousness of high fashion. No matter how utterly ridiculous something seems, there’s always a chorus of industry voices reminding you that this is all serious business. Designers never call these shows commercials and Moncler will never admit that its products are largely indistinguishable from alternatives offered by Arc'teryx, Marmot, Telfar, and North Face. These items are always alleged to be high art and presumably worthy of the same consideration you’d give The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí or Picasso’s Guernica.

While luxury automakers are prone to similar behavior, they’re also far more likely to give the game away.

“It’s not something you would imagine from the automotive industry, so we wanted to take things to a different level. It’s much deeper than a sponsorship engagement,” Britta Seeger, a member of Mercedes-Benz’s board of management overseeing sales and marketing, told Vogue Business in an interview. “While our interests are not exclusively fashion, has so much creative friction that it’s very fascinating for us.”

“By exposing ourselves to different partners and projects, we can become more relevant to them,” Seeger continued. “They start to think about Mercedes, not with the primary purpose of buying a car, but maybe they want to talk about it or drive it one day.”

Basically, Mercedes thinks it’s a wise idea to associate itself with a brand selling hyper-expensive coats where the biggest draw comes from their exclusivity. Moncler shoppers may own some of the fanciest cold-weather apparel on the planet but they’re unlikely to wear it for a brutal hike through snowy mountains, much in the same way you never really see the capable G-Class tackling the same rough trails as a decade-old Jeep Wrangler. In that sense, this makes the partnership a perfect pairing.

A piece written by Designboom encapsulates the above by being loaded up with the typical industry jargon designed to make the Mondo G seem more groundbreaking than it really is. Conflicting premises claim that products are utilitarian goods that have evolved into “luxury lifestyle items” due to a “fusing of opposites.” But they somehow failed to note how much the Mondo G looks like a moon buggy or that it’s not something you can go out and buy.

Not that one could even drive it. While the massive silver tires might keep the 2.5-ton G-Class from sinking into the snow, they wouldn’t offer any traction and are so insanely large that the SUV wouldn’t be able to turn. Having a massive zipper down the top also probably makes getting to roof-mounted objects unnecessarily difficult. But it wasn’t made for gear heads, it exists to remind people who exclusively buy luxury goods that Mercedes is a luxury brand.

"Based on our design philosophy Sensual Purity, this art piece merges extremely contrasting forms and surfaces: spacecraft shiny materials with a used patina look; strong geometry of the G-Class with organic forms of Moncler puffer jackets," said Mercedes chief designer, Gordon Wagener. "Because of over-dimensional and exaggerated language of forms, it's polarizing art to set new impulses and trends."

What say you? Are vehicles like this an abomination or is there merit to something like this?

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 12 comments
  • Irvingklaws Irvingklaws on Feb 22, 2023

    It's just art (albeit commercial). It doesn't need to be practical or even possible. It exists as a creative exercise to generate interest, invite critique, inspire discussion, and create memorable imagery for the constituent brands. To that end, mission accomplished.

  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Feb 22, 2023

    This is the dumbest concept I can remember in a long time.

  • Daniel J I love my mazda 6. It's getting harder and harder to drive it around where I live as municipalities fail to repair roads. SUVs are just easier to drive with all of the potholes.
  • 1995 SC On the plus side, I found a sedan I want to buy
  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.