Gabriele Strehle and Oliver Bierhoff discover exclusive automotive design
Oliver Bierhoff in front of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tent at BebelplatzStuttgart/Berlin – Three professions – one passion: high-quality and exclusive design. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, Strenesse fashion designer Gabriele Strehle and Oliver Bierhoff, manager of Germany’s national soccer team, discovered with Gorden Wagener, head of Mercedes-Benz design, how modern automotive design works. At the Mercedes-Benz designo stand, Wagener’s team of designers created a likeness of the new E-Class Coupé by arranging strips of coloured adhesive tape on a large display. Similar to the sketches and patterns employed in fashion design, the so-called tape technique is a creative process used to develop forms and silhouettes for new vehicles.
Ever since the debut of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in July 2007, Mercedes-Benz designers have been on hand to demonstrate in person how the design of a new vehicle is created. The designo name is universally synonymous with the high-quality distinctive design of Mercedes-Benz exteriors and interiors.

In the case of almost every model range, the Mercedes-Benz designers have developed a specific designo programme, each of them in line with its respective vehicle class. A wide and exclusive variety of exterior paints are available, along with almost limitless possibilities for the design of interiors using leathers, woods and different types of natural stones.Oliver Bierhoff and his wife Clara at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin July 2009 “I admire fashion designers who manage to produce four collections every year. You have to be extremely creative to do that. The design of our cars is already finished three years before its launch. At that point, the car is produced for seven years. This means that we have to put a lot more emphasis on the durability and timelessness of the design than it is the case in the fashion business. But when it comes to interior design we try to be just as 'haute couture' as fashion,” explains Wagener. For the new E-Class, for example, the designo programme offers ten different exterior paints to choose from. Gabriele Strehle and Oliver Bierhoff discovered how the various colours and surface treatments (matt or metallic) can alter a vehicle’s look and impression. The two designo guests enthusiastically experimented with the different colours while being able to see on a display screen how each colour made a Mercedes-Benz appear in a real setting. Both Strehle and Bierhoff see a strong connection between fashion and automotive design. “The Mercedes-Benz guiding principle of ‘nothing but the best’ applies to us in the fashion industry, as well. When you’re in a Mercedes, you’re aware of this consciousness about quality and a sense of well-being. To me, that’s what makes the difference,” explained Strehle.