Style icon Veronika Heilbrunner designs her individual smart fortwo | tailor made. Creative sparks are certainly flying when high-fashion chic meets the almost unlimited opportunities of the BRABUS tailor made program.
The gray-clad halls, located in an industrial area of Bottrop, a city in west central Germany, are inconspicuous to a fault. On the outside, absolutely nothing betrays the enchanted realm of almost unlimited colors, parts, materials, and patterns found behind these façades; a realm where, since 1977, Mercedes-Benz and, as of 2002, smart models of all sizes and price ranges have been refined into personal dream cars. Here, in the northern-most part of the Ruhr region, the credo remains: Anything featuring the BRABUS marque will go beyond what’s already impressive.
Cooperations like these blur the boundaries between cars and fashion: For their latest creative summit, smart and smart BRABUS joined forces with Veronika Heilbrunner. As fashion editor, style expert, and founder/creative director of the successful online magazine hey woman!, the ex-model embodies a very contemporary, urban look.
The result of this collaboration: a very special car, the smart fortwo | tailor made by Veronika Heilbrunner. It is just as stylish and sophisticated as the Munich-born icon’s favorite items – and just as bold and sporty as the countless design options the smart BRABUS tailor made program has to offer.
Almost limitless smart BRABUS tailor made program
Flashback: It’s Monday morning and we’re in a meeting room on the smart BRABUS site. Veronika Heilbrunner has joined BRABUS head of marketing Oliver Khazalpour, smart BRABUS product manager Sebastian Wittich, and fellow hey woman! co-founder Julia Knolle to browse paintwork examples and color catalogs, flicking through opulent books filled with swathes of fabric and leather samples.
The four have just returned from a tour of the smart BRABUS shop floor where, every day, around 40 smart BRABUS tailor made models are finished by hand. As part of the tour, they also paid a visit to the saddlery and its selection of 31 leather colorways and 11 Dinamica colors. Veronika, who is allowed regular peeks behind the scenes of the design studios of major fashion labels, has a small, inspiring deja-vu moment.
The brief tour of the plant ends at the foyer where a smart fortwo cabrio | tailor made in white with strawberry red RAL hue accents awaits shipping and delivery. “It will be a wedding present,” reveals Khazalpour. “I like the slightly more plain one right next to it even better,” Veronika adds, referring to a smart fortwo | tailor made in velvet blue metallic with a cognac-colored leather interior.
It’s a moment that says everything about the sheer limitless options of the smart BRABUS tailor made program, which caters to any taste from extravagant to understated – and now releases its very first high fashion model.
Veronika’s notebook overflows with ideas
Veronika comes thoroughly prepped for this workshop to fine-tune the design choice of colors and features of her smart BRABUS tailor made. For inspiration, she paid a visit to four fashion and product designers across Europe, from Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin (the Royal Porcelain Manufactory) and Paris design label Ellery to footwear brand Eytys in Stockholm and London-based designer Delfina Delettrez. Together with these design experts, Veronika discussed individualization options and also collected plenty of ideas for her smart BRABUS tailor made. Now, she pulls a thick notebook out of her nylon Prada backpack, brimming with an ordered overview of all her gathered inspirations, brainwaves, and ideas.
These early sketches are creative fireworks, bursting with enough ideas to completely reinvent the fittings and furnishings of an entire car. Think velvet seats, a porcelain or even crystal gearshift, emojis as detail accents, and maybe even never-before-seen glitter paintwork. What’s more, Veronika wants to know whether “it’s at all possible to get your initials stitched into the headrests?”
“Sure,” replies Khazalpour. “All you need to do is pick the hue of the decorative stitching.” Together with Veronika, he opens the BRABUS tailor made configurator tool designed to visualize such ideas. Heilbrunner hardly skips a single configuration option made available to demanding smart BRABUS tailor made program customers.
After intense discussions of different configuration options and color combinations, one thing is certain: The one-off smart fortwo | tailor made by Veronika Heilbrunner will bedazzle with elegance.
“I love the idea of designing a custom car that matches my own fashion style,” states the now Berlin-based Heilbrunner, “after all, it’s pretty rare to get such a fantastic opportunity to take a direct influence.”
Auto couture, inspired by a design roundtrip
For the body panels and tridion safety cell, Veronika picks velvet blue with a rough silver metallic effect. It’s a very exceptional finish especially blended for Veronika Heilbrunner and now available as an option of the BRABUS tailor made program. Since Veronika chose the exterior style package for her model, spoilers, rocker panels, rear panel, and diffusor also received the velvet blue treatment.
The shade is a perfect match for the glistening royal gold metallic light alloy wheels. Moving on to the interior, Veronika opted for the tailor made leather package in black and the interior style package with a gearshift in anodized aluminium and black nappa leather, an aluminium handbrake handle, brushed stainless steel sports pedal pads, and a door sill trim with BRABUS lettering.
Naturally, the car also sports Veronika’s own initials – the designer’s characteristic signature. They are embroidered into the headrests with a scarlet red thread. “As crowning insignia, we chose an element from one of my initial ideas: The gear knob features a diamond-shaped inlay of ruby-colored glass,” adds Veronika, visibly pleased with the result.
Style icon meets urban icon
Whether cars or fashion – the visual highlight of the design process remains the studio shoot of the final product. Here, offset to glamorous perfection by the photographer’s flash, style icon meets urban icon, making the smart BRABUS part of Heilbrunner’s high fashion world.
It soon becomes obvious that Veronika’s car is a true must-have for Spring/Summer 2017. Even though it will remain a one-off piece, the custom colors velvet blue metallic and royal gold metallic will be available as part of the BRABUS tailor made program.
Must-have of the season: the smart fortwo | tailor made by Veronika Heilbrunner: