On Monday, Abloh and the luxury carmaker unveiled plans for a project billed as the first of its kind. Mercedes-Benz and the Off-White founder are creating a "unique artwork" from the G-Class SUV, which hit its 40th anniversary mark last year.
In a statement, Mercedes-Benz AG's VP of Marketing Bettina Fetzer (pictured below) touted Abloh as a key leader of creativity for the current era.
"Teaming up with Virgil Abloh, one of the most influential and inspiring creatives of our time, represents Mercedes-Benz's idea of Zeitgeist, co-creation, and contemporary luxury—for both our products and our brand," Fetzer said. "By launching Project Geländewagen now, we hope to inspire collaboration and creativity in our global audience."
In an interview with WWD, who first announced the collab on Monday, Fetzer shared additional words of praise for Abloh. She also revealed she owns the Persian carpet Abloh famously designed for IKEA.
"Virgil came along and said, 'How can we make it a bit more authentic when the car is around, and can we not scratch off the paint?' We could never have imagined," Fetzer said. "You should have seen our faces! We thought, maybe he will add more colors, like blue or purple, but he just went far beyond that."
For Abloh, the collab represented a unique chance to put his ideas and the ideas of artists like him on a new stage.
"Mercedes-Benz is a brand that stands for luxury and exceptional performance," he said. "Truly a perfect chassis to interject modern artists' ideas of what the future can be stylistically, within conceptual car design."
Mercedes-Benz Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener added that the brand's identity is one rooted in something "much more" than merely a luxury carmaker status, with design also always at the forefront.
"One major reason for our success story is our aesthetic soul and the unique style of our house," Wagener said. "The next step in pushing Mercedes-Benz design is our collaboration with Virgil Abloh. We are set to create something unseen in both of our branches."
The artwork is set for a digital launch worldwide on Sept. 8. Following the launch event, a home-scale replica of the artwork will be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to a charity in support of the arts. Additionally, the auction winner will be given "exclusive access" to the creators.