One Haute Automobile

daimlerchrysler ag, armani s.p.a.

Is the automotive world — home to what Tom Wolfe famously described as a "kandy-kolored tangerine-flake" aesthetic — finally ready for a matte-finish car? The industry shifted gears briefly in Milan last week when Mercedes-Benz and Giorgio Armani — two of the most powerful brands in their respective industries — teamed up to design the limited-edition, four-seat CLK.

The sand-colored roadster with a luggage-leather interior was presented alongside Armani's spring 2004 fashion collection. Skeptics at the press conference kicked the funky green-rubber tires and compared notes on other fashion designers — Bill Blass, Pierre Cardin,...

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