Elegance in design. Superiority in craftsmanship. Rarity of materials. Exclusivity of availability. Such words describe the designer offerings of Barneys New York as aptly as they do the luxury vehicles created by the Lexus automotive company. So, it was a natural fit when in 2015, they combined talents to create the awe-inspiring Arctic Chase scene for the store’s much-anticipated Holiday windows. To the delight of shoppers and passer-bys, miniature penguins surfed atop crystal-encrusted, 3D-printed exact scale replicas of the Lexus IS, GS F, and RC F models racing around a decked-out slot track. In conjunction, Barneys sold a limited-edition Lexus RC F remote-controlled car that included such lifelike features as working headlights, high-grip racing tires, and a stunning silver and black finish. Someone’s happy holiday, indeed.
This spring, Barneys and Lexus come together again to celebrate the launch of the stunning new Lexus LC 500. Featuring uncompromising design and performance, this prestige 471 horsepower luxury coupe is heralded as having one of the most powerful naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engines in the world. (Lexus is also offering a hybrid version of the LC.) “The LC 500 represents Lexus’ first entry ever into the most premium end of the luxury coupe market segment,” says Brian Bolain, the USA General Manager for Product and Consumer Marketing. “As such, we wanted to be sure it was a bold departure from our other models; a statement maker that would appeal to a very exclusive audience.”
While the car’s exterior showcases dramatic, angled bodywork and a massive, mesh front grill, the interior has been painstakingly crafted by the company’s “Takumi” or Japanese master artisans who are renowned for their obsessive attention to detail. “The interior is where people spend all their time,” notes Bolain. “So our focus was on maximum driver engagement, but also providing a bespoke quality—a handcrafted feel—to the driver experience.” The steering wheel, for instance, was created after measuring the distribution of palm pressure during driving, then exhaustively manipulating the cross section for the perfect grip at various points along the wheel. The resulting elliptical shape provides optimal control when cornering at high speeds and allows for direct feedback from the suspension. Even the stitching of the leather surface was placed for enhanced grip and reduced fatigue.
In April, automotive industry leader Wards announced that the LC 500 made its annual “10 Best Interiors” list. (Each vehicle is evaluated based on aesthetics as well as materials, ergonomics, safety, comfort, value and fit-and-finish.) In recognition of this achievement, Barneys and Lexus created another design milestone: The unveiling of an exclusive sommelier set. “We were given a unique opportunity to collaborate with Lexus on something that speaks to the connoisseur,” says Tom Kalenderian, Executive Vice President of Barneys. “The individual who is attracted to a special vehicle such as the LC 500 is a very discerning client—someone who appreciates luxury, quality and great experiences. We wanted to identify another such experience in the life of this client and create a collection of items that expresses the luxurious elements of the car as well as the lifestyle of this person.”
The elegant, handcrafted sommelier set is comprised of a bar tray, wine decanter and bar tools. Inspired by the LC 500, “the stingray-covered bar tray is in the same beautiful shade of blue as the car’s interior paneling,” says Kalenderian. “Meanwhile, the wine decanter is crafted of crystal and has a unique leaning silhouette that is excellent for aerating the wine, enhancing the consumption experience.”
Completing the set, the bar tools (a foil cutter and corkscrew) are fashioned in fine steel and white mother-of-pearl (“to reflect the bespoke white leather upholstery of the car,” notes Kalenderian) and come with an orange travel pouch that matches the car’s interior trim. “The colors for the LC 500 were chosen for their bold, statement-making effect,” says Bolain. “And the sommelier set, like the car, was designed for those who are not afraid to be noticed.”
The sommelier set is available in a limited quantity and can be purchased online, or at the Madison, Beverly Hills, and Chicago stores. As with the LC 500, “the pieces are individually as beautiful as they are luxe,” says Kalenderian. “Collectively, they are the perfect must-have bar set for a sophisticated connoisseur.” We’ll raise our glass to that.