For years, leather –in all its forms – has been the panache of luxury car, but the symbol has gone down to more mundane options in recent years. So, Italy’s Maserati, together with premium fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna is trying to offer a new option to its upscale customers.
Later on this year, the two partners will start offering the option to bespoke the interior of a new Quattroporte sedan in silk. That’s right – silk. But it’s not the “ordinary” one found in Zegna suits, but a specially developed, heavy-duty variant that is promised to be as durable and lasting as traditional leather and other materials. “I was skeptical,” comments Maserati chief executive officer Harald Wester, when his counterpart chairman Paolo Zegna called them and proposed the idea. “My immediate reaction was this guy is nuts.” Instead, Zegna’s chairman calls the partnership “a dream come true,” and adds he faced long hours retting they won’t be able to deliver the right material. Initial tests showed traditional silk would only last about ten percent of the time other conventional automotive seating materials, like leather, do. Without feeding the silkworms steroids, as was joked during the announcement conference, Zegna came up with a final blend that is both heavier than traditional silk used for Zegna’s clothing lines.
It’s also long lasting and the typical Maserati Quattroporte will need around 12 meters (over 13 yards) of the material, four times what is used for a man’s suit. The first version would have a grayish hue and then it would end up being offered in a variety of contrasting interior colors – being woven into the seat bottoms and backs on a new Quattroporte, as well as other areas of the interior, said Wester.