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Press Information

Press Information
Mercedes-Benz Young Classics artistically staged

Press Information

18 January 2011

April 2010





Artist and international fashion designers put Mercedes-Benz
Young Classics in the limelight

Cooperation between Mercedes-Benz and the Antwerp´s MoMu fashion museum


The Fashion Museum Antwerp and the designers

New “Mercedes-Benz Young Classics“ division successfully launched


Mercedes-Benz Young Classics: cult object and investment


Artist and international fashion designers put Mercedes-Benz Young Classics in the limelight

  • Striking settings evoke collective memories

  • Exhibition staged jointly in Berlin by Mercedes-Benz and
    Antwerp’s MoMu Fashion Museum

  • Open every day until Sunday – admission free

Stuttgart/Berlin. The ‘RECOLLECTION QUARTETT’ staged by Mercedes-Benz and MoMu Fashion Museum, Antwerp, opens today in line of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. Together with the Belgian artist and photographer Frederik Heyman, four international fashion designers will be mounting an exhibition featuring four iconic Mercedes-Benz models dating from the 1970s to the early 1990s that still have great appeal today. The exhibition is on at the paint studio of the Deutsche Oper opera house’s former stage services company in Berlin-Mitte. The settings takes visitors to the exhibition back
to the era associated with each car. They reflect the spirit of the time, the prestige enjoyed by these legendary cars, and their image as well as that of their typical owners. The memories and stereotypes they evoke are then transposed onto the 21st century. With a knowing smile, the exhibition links collective memories of a bygone age with the fashion and design of today.

“The young classics on display, and the stereotypes associated with them, have played a major role in defining the image of the Mercedes-Benz brand, and they continue to do so, even today. These cars have left their mark on people’s collective memory, which is why they still remain desirable,” said Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. “This exhibition shows that many seemingly backward-looking stereotypes of this kind become amazingly incisive once more and regain their relevance if they are put in even a slightly updated context – and that is their connection with fashion. Fashion brings itself up to date all the time by constantly reinterpreting past trends and styles,” explained Kaat Debo,

curator of MoMu Fashion Museum in Antwerp.

The vehicles on display are a 1974 ‘Stroke 8’ saloon, regarded as the archetypal company car, a 1977 SL ‘lifestyle convertible’ which has become a byword for the wild 1970s, a 1981 ‘tradesman’s estate car’ and a 1991 S-Class coupé that

has gone down in recent automotive history as an ‘éminence grise’.

The artist Frederik Heyman has created unique photographic backdrops for each of these four Mercedes-Benz ‘young classics’ with scenic motifs that are full of humour and surreal imagery. The four designers, Mikio Sakabe, Bernhard Willhelm, Henrik Vibskov and Peter Pilotto, have each brought their own

fashion creations to the sets.

The ‘company car’ and liberation from the grey suit

Known as ‘Stroke 8’ models and built from 1967 to 1976, these saloons still exude an aura of extreme reliability. The W115 model series has travelled

4.6 million kilometres, a record that is still unbeaten today. This unpretentious, functional saloon epitomised the German company car, and in the 1970s they could be found in use as taxis all over the world.

Frederik Heyman features the car in a surreal setting inspired by the endless staircase in M. C. Escher’s 1961 lithograph ‘Ascending and Descending’. A secretary at a typewriter sits inside the car typing ‘Taxi for sale’ in Arabic. She

is wearing a dress by Mikio Sakabe that is reminiscent of a classic cocktail dress but it is printed with a contemporary design of large eyes. Around the car, other women can be seen liberating themselves from their grey suits, the prototypical uniform of secretaries and office workers.

The ‘lifestyle convertible’ and the legendary playboy

The SL roadster with removable hardtop (R107 model series), built from 1971 to 1985, is a symbol of the 1970s like no other Mercedes-Benz vehicle. It represents the move away from uncompromisingly tough sports cars towards refined, but powerful luxury two-seaters. Seen in US series, such as Hart to Hart and Dallas,

it became part of the American way of life.

In his installation, Heyman picks up on the great popularity of this convertible

in the US and also on the Mercedes-Benz advertising campaigns of the time that featured the SL convertible driving on sun-drenched Californian beaches and along Sunset Boulevard. Fashion designer Bernhard Willhelm has translated the typical 1970s playboy, with his unbuttoned shirt revealing a hairy chest and a gold chain, into a modern version – with a gym-honed body wearing a tight Lycra outfit and mirror sunglasses.

The ‘tradesman’s estate car’ and the traditional lumberjack shirt

Mercedes-Benz launched the S123, its first T-model, in September 1977. The

‘T’ stands for tourism and transport. Produced between 1977 and 1985, this estate car’s generous luggage space quickly made it very popular with tradesmen, although the vehicle’s spaciousness also appealed to families. Because it was used for sport and leisure, the S123 is seen as one of the first lifestyle estate models.

Appropriately, Heyman’s installation focuses on leisure activities in the great outdoors. He depicts an idyllic picnic scene with a father and son by a campfire, reinforcing the stereotype of the sturdy lumberjack. Henrik Vibskov adds a fashionable interpretation of work clothing in the set, with the return of the classic checked lumberjack shirt as a playful accessory.

Éminence grise’ and global power play

The C126, which was built in the period 1985 to 1991, is a grand old man among the young classics. The discreet luxury of this coupé model series, combining the straight lines of its exterior with opulent engineering, appealed to diplomats and international captains of industry.

In his installation, Frederik Heyman represents it balancing precariously between a game of chess and a three-dimensional model of the earth. He is playing with the image of power and its inherent duality. Three women in dresses by Peter Pilotto are participating in the global chess game but their shadows indicate that they are also pawns in the game. The style of the women’s clothes is similar to 1980s power dressing – whose striking colours and shapes commanded respect.

Mercedes-Benz – the art of long-life design

This exhibition of young classics extending across almost three decades provides a striking illustration of the way in which Mercedes-Benz design has changed over time. The process has been evolving for 125 years. Each Mercedes has its own character yet it is clearly recognisable as belonging to the same family as

its predecessors and the other models in the series. This has always been the principle motivation for chief designers at Mercedes-Benz. Professor Gorden Wagener, the current head of Mercedes design, puts it like this: “A Mercedes
will always be recognisable as a Mercedes. And a Mercedes never looks old, even after 30 years on the road. That is what makes it so alluring, and what we call long-life design.” A Mercedes-Benz combines continuity and creativity, tradition and modern features. These are the foundations on which the style will continue to be valued for its elegance over the long term, and the reason why many of the cars have become such coveted classics.

Design has even greater significance for Mercedes-Benz, though, because it is literally its trademark. The brand’s image has always been dominated by design in the form of the three-pointed star representing the characteristic Mercedes brand values fascination, responsibility and perfection. Design has two key requirements that Mercedes has fulfilled with great success for many years. Not only should the lines of a car evoke enthusiasm for the product, they should also reflect the philosophy and profile of the marque. In other words: design is the visualisation of brand values – and it defines them – in the past, the present and the future.

The ‘RECOLLECTION QUARTET’ exhibition runs until Sunday, 23 January 2011 and it is open every day from 12 noon to 8 p.m. (closes at 5.00 p.m. on Friday). Admission is free. More details are available online at
Cooperation between Mercedes-Benz and the Antwerp’s MoMu Fashion Museum

The Fashion Museum Antwerp and the designers

The exhibition "RECOLLECTION QUARTETT" is a joint project between Mercedes-Benz and the Fashion Museum Antwerp in Belgium (ModeMuseum, or MoMu), which opened in 2002. With an extensive collection, representing five centuries of fashion, and two large-scale exhibitions of contemporary work each year, the MoMu has already
built up a considerable reputation.

The historical collection is made up of exhibits from the former textile and costume museum Vrieselhof and comprises clothing, lace, embroidery, fabrics, patterns and equipment used in textile craftsmanship, such as old printing blocks. The MoMu is thus a sort of collective wardrobe, in which the memories

of centuries are preserved.

The changing exhibitions, each devoted to a specific theme or to the work of an internationally renowned fashion designer, are characterised by their surprising architecture and by the unusual way in which the exhibits are displayed. MoMu has, for example, made a name for itself with spectacular solo exhibitions by Yohji Yamamoto, Bernhard Willhelm, Maison Martin Margiela and Stephen Jones.

"As a museum, we are exceptionally sensitive to qualitatively outstanding design. To this end, we collaborate with an excellent network of contemporary designers, graphic designers, photographers and exhibition designers. We allow ourselves to be nourished by young and new creative talent and the cross-pollination that this generates, giving our exhibitions their specific MoMu signature", commented
Kaat Debo, Director of MoMu. "In this first collaboration with Mercedes-Benz,
we continue this method of working, inviting five highly talented designers. It is fantastic that Mercedes has given us the opportunity to associate what is in fact
a daring vision to a part of Mercedes-Benz history."

Participating artists and designers
Frederik Heyman

Frederik Heyman studied graphic design and illustration at the Royal Academy

of Fine Arts in Antwerp and earned a second Masters in photography at the same time. In addition to his work as a fine artist, he is also a fashion photographer, applying a comparable, stylised approach to his work. He takes meticulous care in the way he dresses people and decors. In his words: "My images are both illustrations and photographs. They always begin at the same point, but their translation into a given medium can vary."
Bernhard Willhelm

Since establishing his own label, in association with Jutta Kraus, in 1999, Bernhard Willhelm, born in Ulm in southern Germany, has never ceased building his imaginative, happily crazy universe. Initially focusing on women's wear, his first collection was presented in Paris in March 1999. In January 2003, he presented a menswear collection at the Paris Men's Fashion Week. Bernhard Willhelm trained in fashion design at the Antwerp Academy, graduating in 1998. He has worked as an assistant to Walter Van Beirendonck, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Dirk Bikkembergs. He has had solo exhibitions of his work at the Fashion Museum in Antwerp (2007) and the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands (2009).

Peter Pilotto

Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos are the designers behind the Peter Pilotto label. Pilotto is Austrian-Italian and De Vos is Belgian-Peruvian. They met while studying at the fashion department of the Antwerp Academy in 2000. Peter Pilotto's vision of women's wear embraces both new and classic perspectives on elegance. Otherworldly prints are combined with soft, sculptural shapes to create the unique signature of this design duo, which is not reactionary, but evolves

and is explored with each new season.
Henrik Vibskov

The designer Henrik Vibskov is most commonly associated not only with his fashion label, but with a multitude of twisted, yet tantalising universes created in the context of each of his collections: Big Wet Shiny Boobies, The Land of the Black Carrots and The Fantabulous Bicycle Music Factory are just a few titles of the shows that he has recently presented. Each title refers to a different, equally mesmerising world and system of logic. As a fashion designer, Henrik Vibskov has produced fourteen collections since graduating from Central St Martin's in London in 2001. He is currently the only Scandinavian designer on the official show schedule of the Paris Men's Fashion Week, where he has presented collections since January 2003.
Mikio Sakabe

From 2000 to 2002, Japanese-born Mikio Sakabe studied at the École de Mode Internationale (ESMOD) in Paris. He continued his studies in fashion design at the Antwerp Academy, finishing in 2006. That same year, he won the Fashion Special Prize at ITS#FIVE in Trieste, Italy. Sakabe presented his first collection at the 2007 Paris Fashion Week. His garments are clearly inspired by subcultures. Mixing both Oriental and Western cultures, Mikio Sakabe's collections infuse a Japanese style with modern European techniques.

New "Mercedes-Benz Young Classics" division successfully launched

Mercedes-Benz Young Classics: cult object and investment

Modern classics, or "youngtimers", from Mercedes-Benz are becoming more and more popular. These are vehicles from the period 1970 to around 1990 that are already deemed to be, or have the potential to become, classic cars. In Europe and the US in particular, they have become something of a cult. Their authenticity and limited number means that these vehicles are not only fun
to own, but that they can also bring an above-average return on investment.
In order to meet growing demand, the Stuttgart-based premium brand established a new division, “Mercedes-Benz Young Classics" in 2009 and opened the first Young Classics Store in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart in September 2009.

Buy or hire your dream car: the Young Classics Store has a broad range of youngtimers on offer, making it unique in the industry. Every vehicle is in excellent condition and covered by a warranty from Mercedes-Benz. "Young Classics will help us to make people's automotive dreams come true",

commented Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. Along with vehicle sales and rental, Mercedes-Benz Young Classics can also help arrange financing or insurance.

But the service provided by Mercedes-Benz Young Classics encompasses far more: drivers of "youngtimers" can have their pride and joy serviced and can if necessary source genuine replacement parts. These services are also available from selected authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers across Germany.

Further details of what's on offer are also available online:

Perennial fascination for young and old – increase in value guaranteed

According to the statistics from the German Federal Office for Motor Vehicles, the market for "youngtimers" in Germany comprises some 6.6 million cars. Around one million of these are Mercedes-Benz vehicles, representing a market share of 15.6 percent. Studies undertaken by the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) and DEKRA go to show that some 60 percent of owners of Mercedes-Benz "youngtimers" are between 21 and 50 years old – and so often

not much older than the cars themselves. Only one in five of them use their "young classic" as their main vehicle.

Whether a son wants to drive the car his father drove, the young creative type wants to differentiate himself from the mainstream, or the well-established doctor wants to fulfil a childhood dream – what they all have in common is the desire for a vehicle with character. For many younger motoring enthusiasts, as well as for those who have remained young at heart, driving a "youngtimer" is seen as something of a cult. A Mercedes-Benz is even far more than this: the overall charisma it exudes has made it part of our culture.

For every Mercedes-Benz carries on the tradition of the inventor of the automobile to shape the future of individual mobility. Further characteristic qualities of the brand, such as safety and comfort, are part of this tradition and have inherent
in them Mercedes-Benz's sense of responsibility to offer the customer "The
best of all that's good" (Carl Benz) or, quite simply, "The best or nothing"
(Gottlieb Daimler).

Every Mercedes-Benz Young Classic was once part of daily life and played a

key part in our cultural experience. These vehicles bring the street scenes of our memory alive. They are the contemporary witnesses of generations who are still driving today. A Mercedes-Benz Young Classic is thus part of our collective memory.

But of course well preserved classics and "youngtimers" are also eminently suited as long-term investments. Classic vehicles, above all the premium-brand models, have become an impressive economic factor – and continue to experience a tremendous growth in value. Compared with an increase of just 32 percent for the German stock index (DAX) in recent years, some Mercedes-Benz models, such as the 300d Cabriolet or the 280 SE Cabrio, have almost doubled in value.

Division to grow further

The Mercedes-Benz Young Classic division allows the brand with the three-pointed star to fill the gap between the sale of new vehicles and the highly specialised classic car business operated by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. Mercedes-Benz is thus offering its customers an unrivalled level of continuity in sustaining the heritage of its vehicles from all eras. What is also inherent in this is the brand promise that a Mercedes-Benz will not only be the perfect vehicle for its owner today, when new, but that it will also be so tomorrow,

as a classic car – offering at the same time a unique level of stability in terms of value.

"Mercedes-Benz Young Classics" was established at the initiative of Daimler AG's Business Innovation unit. The role of the Business Innovation team is to identify and leverage opportunities for growth right through the value chain. They are looking for as yet unexploited potential and new business ideas around today's core business.

"Mercedes-Benz Young Classics" is an example of the range of possibilities that exist to translate existing strengths into additional profitable growth for our company. Since 1 November 2010 the new business segment has come under the responsibility of Mercedes-Benz Classic. Further Young Classics Stores will open during this year. Before the year is over, further Young Classics Stores will open their doors, for example, in Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Aalen and Hamburg.

The Young Classic Store in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart will be enlarged. In addition, a certification programme will be launched which awards the "Young Classics Partner“ label to authorised Mercedes-Benz workshops which are particularly well qualified as Young Classic shops.



Tobias Müller, tel.: +49 (0)711 177 7368,

Melanie Graf, tel.: +49 (0)711 177 6876,

MoMu Fashion Museum, Antwerp:

David Flamée, phone: +32 (0)3 470 2777,
More information about MoMu Fashion Museum is available online at:
More information on Mercedes-Benz and the exhibition is available online at:

Daimler Communications, 70546 Stuttgart/Germany
Mercedes-Benz - A Daimler Brand

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