An Air Of Elegance
Transcending traditional roles, aircraft and helicopter companies have entered the realm of luxury lifestyle in a number of design collaborations with renowned fashion houses including Hermès and Versace. With an increasing number of affluent travelers preferring to fly in their own customized aircraft, industry crossover between the world of haute couture and private aviation is emerging as a growing trend.
As members of the wealthy elite and corporate leaders contribute to the proliferation of private aviation in the region, the luxury aircraft market is experiencing a surge in demand. Apart from the privacy of business aviation, wealthy travelers are also looking to put a personal stamp on their own aircraft as an additional element of exclusivity.
In light of this, aircraft manufacturers have joined forces with the most influential inhaute couture design to offer exclusive interior design service for private aircraft owners, catering to their specific needs. In these collaborations, aircraft makers provide expert know-how on the logistical, technical as well as management aspects of private aviation, while luxury designers work with aircraft owners on the interior design and stylistic aspects, tailored to their own individual tastes and preferences.
Targeting this emerging market of affluent flyers, the House of Hermès, a renowned player in the fashion world, has recently confirmed a partnership with Eurocopter to create the Helicopter by Hermès. Aiming to enhance the experience of business travel, the unique collaborative effort will see Hermès designer Gabriele Pezzini working with the engineers from Eurocopter.
Aircraft manufacturers have joined forces with the most influential in haute couture design to offer exclusive interior design service for private aircraft owners
“While growth in business aviation is robust – with promising upside potential in both the US and other key markets – it is a segment that also places extremely high premium on quality of design,” explains Senior Executive Vice President of Eurocopter Philippe Harache.
Evident in the features of its spacious cabin and storage compartments, the signatures of Hermès are apparent in the interior design of Eurocopter’s EC135 helicopter. A minimalist exterior paint scheme of the spacious cabin interior is complemented with the Hermès’ ‘Toile H’ canvas, with calf leather upholstered seats and banquette. “We set out to create a product that would add value and appeal for a highly desirable, but discriminating market segment,” Harache adds.
In another notable partnership, Versace and TAG Aircraft Interiors also combined their expertise last year for an exclusive interior design service catering to the needs of private jet owners. The crossover effort between Versace and TAG-AI covers the range of interior design applications for Bombardier Global XRS, Boeing BBJ, Gulfstream 550 and Airbus ACJ aircraft.
"We wanted to create designs that reflect a lifestyle and bring out the art of living, which is the essence of the Versace brand and its design philosophy, manifested in every detail of the aircraft interiors," says Managing Director of TAG Aircraft Interiors Bijan Khezri.
Versace's design house also teamed up with Agusta Westland to design the interiors of its exclusive line of private helicopters, facilitating personalized design motifs in signature Versace style.
"Interior design for helicopters is a natural extension within the Versace world following our recent announced luxury resorts, private jets, exclusive cars that represent the Maison's unique style and design," Versace CEO Giancarlo Di Risio explains.
Meanwhile, the BMW group DesignworksUSA has ventured into aircraft design, unveiling initial design concepts for a 787 VIP business jet with an ultra luxury interior. Aimed at wealthy jetset clientele, the luxury aircraft comes complete with white leather lounge chairs, a full bar, burgundy accent pillows, artwork, luxury bedroom accommodation, and glass areas on the floor for passengers to observe their vehicles parked below in the garage.
With significant groundbreaking collaborations between aircraft manufacturers and fashion design houses, the development of private aviation is poised to accelerate with forays into the luxury market segment. As more crossover efforts between the two industries occur, the passenger experience of traveling in a private airplane will reach a new level in comfort and exclusivity.
An Interview with François Taverne
How did Hermès enter into its first collaborative effort with Eurocopter and what does the company want to achieve with this partnership?
Since the very beginning, Hermès has been interested in conveying movement and has always dedicated its knowledge to travellers. From horse to motor car, from rider to traveler of today and tomorrow, Hermès is inexorably linked to mobility. The helicopter is a symbol of that mobility; easy to handle and caters to different flight missions with ease.
The helicopter can be used either for business or leisure, offering a great sensation of freedom and lightness. In light of this, Hermès and Eurocopter aligned their common values with each other as it became obvious that we can develop a fruitful partnership where we can contribute out respective expertise. The result is a common product which represented a new vision of air travel via helicopter, combining the distinct qualities of Hermès and Eurocopter – where aesthetics and design meets technology, technical performance as well as industrial expertise.
What is the company’s expectation for the prospects of the EC 135 helicopter with its new Hermès design?
With Eurocopter, we anticipate the delivery of 10 helicopters per year, with the first taking place in October 2008 (delete the space), at which time "l'Hélicoptere par Hermès" will be available worldwide.
What is the philosophy behind the Hermès design for the EC 135 helicopter?
The philosophy behind this project lies in the transformation of a technical problem or constrain into a creative solution. Looking for an overall coherence between interior and exterior, and addressing every single detail, the philosophy was applied to the design via a user centric point of view.
Are more collaborations with aircraft-makers in the pipeline for Hermès?
We are definitely interested in aircraft. Our first goal is to cater to the demands of our customers, and at the same time forging a solid relationship with the aircraft industry. It is still early to say whether we will form more partnerships similar to our alliance with Eurocopter.