Fashion and functionality are sometimes mutually exclusive: in many cases, they can be polar opposites. However when it comes to design that is practical as well as beautiful, the Germans are experts. Buying German has been a priority for many car lovers for decades, with Porsche being the go-to sports model for motor enthusiasts the world over.
More recently, Porsche’s line of clothing and accessories has brought fashionable consumers around to the idea of buying German. The collection was introduced in 1972 by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the founder of the renowned car. Relaunched in 2003 as Porsche Design, the collection now encompasses luggage, timepieces, homeware and eyewear. Electronic products are also included under the umbrella, such as a range of high-end stainless steel BlackBerry smartphones: the most recent, the P’9982, is available in an array of finishing options, including a body which is backed with Italian leather or with crocodile leather.
Leather by design
In 2010 Porsche Design launched its selection of engineered leather products, created through high-quality craftsmanship. The collection has featured a leather jacket made from nappa lambskin, which was so exclusive it was limited to 200 pieces worldwide. Other items include a duvet jacket crafted from super-soft kidskin suede and the Tec Flex leather jacket, which incorporates covered zip-pockets and loops for headphone cables.
Speaking about why the engineered leather range stands out, Dr Juergen Gessler, Porsche Design’s CEO, says, ‘It creates an uncompromising link between functionality and aesthetics and fits seamlessly into our product portfolio. Our concept remains unchanged: we don’t follow trends, we set our own accents. The result is that our version of casual chic makes our fashion collections unique.’
Functionality and fashion
Perhaps the best example of the brand’s seamless combination of functionality and fashion is its signature handbag, the TwinBag. Created using the most exclusive leathers and expertly crafted by artisans in Florence, the TwinBag’s most distinguishing feature is its innovative carrying concept – adjustable handles which allow the bag to be worn either as a traditional handbag or as a shoulder bag.
Each bag is produced from a single piece of leather, which is then expertly stitched by hand. The lining is made from the softest Alcantara material and the metal fittings, including chrome, silver, white gold and rose gold, are finished using advanced electroplating procedures. This is the perfect combination of Italian craftsmanship and German design.
The success of the TwinBag led to a collaboration with the Berlin-based painter Thierry Noir who took the TwinBag and incorporated his own signature handpainted ‘heart faces’ to create a special edition which was presented at the 2013 Art Basel Miami Beach and then made available to purchase from selected Porsche Design stores worldwide.
‘The speed of modern life has changed our perception of the world and the only logical conclusion is the combination of minimalist design and functionality,’ says Porsche Design’s creative director Thomas Steinbrueck. ‘Therefore, we have created a look that works in harmony with this new living environment. Structured but not constructed. Casual and formal at the same time. In particular, we have used the latest techniques of materials development for the production of familiar and yet forward-looking cuts.’
Four decades after its creation, it’s clear that Porsche Design still follows the design principles set by its founder, who maintained that ‘if you analyse the function of an object, its form often becomes obvious’. In the case of Porsche Design, the form is not only functional, and perhaps obvious, but beautiful.