The 1950s didn’t only give birth to celebrated pop stars, fashion icons, dashing mods and exciting new movie stars. It was also when MINI arrived on the scene, the automotive design icon that, from its inception, brought these cultural elements together and shifted from being a car into something much more. The latest part of this transition? An electric car and a fling with the Swedish fashion powerhouse Whyred.
At the end of the 1950s, the sleek, pioneering design of the MINI quickly elevated the car’s status from convenient runaround to unmistakable style icon, heralded as much for its beautiful lines as its powerful engine and innovative suspension system. Created as a response to the fuel shortage of the postwar world, the MINI was the original manifestation of the company’s spirit and desire to generate ground-breaking solutions to global concerns. Drivers were blown away by this small power package of a car and the unique go-kart-like experience it offered. As a symbol of style and ingenuity, the MINI soon came to influence and be adored by some of the greatest actors, film-makers, musicians and fashion faces of the time, including Paul and Linda McCartney and Peter Sellers. It regularly appeared in fashion shoots, and unquestionably occupied a key part of the cultural limelight from the start – and design and style have never stopped being essential parts of its world.
MINI has certainly come a long way since these exciting early days, all the while staying true its creative and stylish heritage, and constantly striving to stay in the driver’s seat of its own transition. One of the most exciting parts of the company’s evolution is MINI’s first electric car: the Countryman Plug-In Hybrid. Paying homage to the original pioneering MINI design, but with an added “electrified” performance, the Plug-In Hybrid offers the same thrilling go-kart feel that got fans raving in back in the 1950s. As MINI’s latest creative solution, this time to the modern-day problems of congestion and emissions, the Plug-In Hybrid stands out as a beacon of hope. It’s a car that’s as beautiful and environmentally friendly as it’s fun to drive, something that feels both refreshingly new and assuredly familiar at the same time. Although bigger than the original MINI and adapted to the various demands of the modern world, the Plug-In Hybrid still embodies the iconic design that has been in MINI’s DNA for decades.
Another stylish creator that looks to the inspirational heritage of the pop stars, fashion icons and mods of that time is the renowned Swedish fashion brand Whyred. Founded in the late 1990s, the label has always dared to think differently and to question the status quo, building up its own style legacy in the process. Whyred’s autumn collection, entitled Darkroom, is inspired by Paul McCartney’s song of the same name. The collection embraces the same dramatic colours, adventurous silhouettes and eye-catching patterns that were all part of the inspirational environment during the era when MINI came to life. “Darkroom” is a symbol of that contrasting place, between light and dark, where we search for our own creativity – a place that engenders opportunities for transition, change and betterment. Entering his own creative darkroom, with no intention of releasing the song originally, McCartney created a musical gem that epitomised his creative and progressive spirit, from which Whyred has drawn a great deal of inspiration for its new collection. The essence of the looks matches MINI’s own spirit of innovation that has been there since the early days, when Paul and Linda would be spotted driving around in their own MINI.
So, as part of the ongoing transition that MINI is constantly pursuing by widening its horizons and stylistic inspiration, The Forumist has brought together the keen eye for covetable design and style that both brands possess to establish a never-seen-before connection. The combination of MINI’s Countryman Plug-In Hybrid, a model that echoes the original MINI design, and Whyred’s Darkroom collection, inspired by icons of the same era, is both fresh and strikingly natural at the same. And this is only the beginning of the latest journey. Even though we can’t say what creative solutions and design-savvy innovations MINI will come up with in the future, one thing is certain: it will continue to drive towards the boundless opportunities that lie ahead – and do so with as much panache and expertise as it has always done. So here’s our teaser: the sleek and iconic design of MINI’s Countryman Plug-In Hybrid matched with the striking designs from Whyred’s Darkroom collection. It’s a match made in style heaven!
Words by Petter Bladlund
Photography by John Scarisbrick
Film photography by Gustav Sandegård
Film director & styling by Pejman Biroun Vand
Hair & Make-up by Lillis Hermansson
Models: Jean-Jacques and Frida W. (Stockholmsgruppen)
Photographer’s Assistant: Petter Bladlund
Stylist’s Assistant: Melinda Urbansdotter
Photo postproduction: Omnilux
Film postproduction: Bsmart
Special Thanks to Mini and Whyred
Film soundtrack: Who by Brian Jonestown Massacre
#1 Adele Coat, Karolina Cherrie Shirt, Ruth Trousers and Justina Shoes
#2- #4 Frida wears: Elza Jacket, Yasis Top, Babette Clean Trousers and Justina Shoes. Jean-Jacques wears: Noren Jacket, Mills BD Memento Flower Shirt and Showpiece Trousers and Shoes
#5 Trouve Paisley Jacket, Showpiece Shirt and Babette Lux Trousers
#6 Mills BD Paisley Shirt, Ian Cord Trousers and Showpiece shoes
#7 Rudy Soft Peak Check Jacket, Mills Flannel Small Check Shirt, John Check Trousers and Showpiece shoes
All looks by Whyred