Paul Smith designs tailor-made Land Rover Defender

Iconic British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has partnered with Land Rover to create an equally iconic custom Defender, which was revealed last week.

The veteran menswear designer has long been an ardent fan of the Land Rover Defender, calling it a “British icon” and having owned several of his own Defender models over the years.

“I keep a Defender at my home in Italy which is in the middle of the countryside,” he said, “so it’s the perfect vehicle to cope with the rugged terrain.”

Built by Special Vehicle Operations

Working closely with Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations design team, which handles customer commissions and personalisation requests, he created a unique vehicle that’s built completely to his own specifications.

Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design director and chief creative officer, said: “I felt it would be a fitting tribute to the iconic Defender, that one of Britain’s most distinguished designers worked with the Land Rover team to recognise his creative vision.”

In lieu of more traditional finishes, the tailor-made Defender features a total of 27 different colours on its exterior panels, lifting inspiration from Sir Paul’s famous multi-coloured stripe designs.

According to the designer, colour inspiration was taken from sources as diverse as the British countryside and the sorts of colours historically seen on military-spec Defender models.

Adding more weight to the vehicle’s bespoke design, Paul also worked closely with Land Rover to ensure that the interior was created to his exact vision.

He said: “This is a complete one-off; I wanted to give this Defender a feeling of luxury, so I used a mix of leather and fabric for the seats.

“I actually used the fabric that I design for Maharam, the American upholstery company. The vehicle features lots of special Paul Smith touches.”

Unique Paul Smith touches

The black leather upholstery is contrasted with blue stitching, while a variety of unique hidden features like a hand-painted bee design on the roof emphasise the attention to detail.

However, while Paul has added a variety of personal touches, he still wanted to retain traditional elements of the Defender, like the wing mirrors, door handles and wheels, albeit with a satin finish for a contemporary feel.

Joining two icons from the British automotive and fashion industries, this new one-off Defender model continues the year-long celebration of the Defender as it ceases production later this year.