Lapo Elkann was born in New York City, though his mother is Italian Countess Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen and, yes, that’s Agnelli — his grandfather was Gianni Agnelli, who for many years headed Fiat Automobiles and its various subsidiaries.
Still in his late 30s, Elkann worked as personal assistant to Henry Kissinger and as head of marketing for Fiat before launching his own lifestyle and clothing brand, and his own advertising agency. His most recent venture is Garage Italia Customs, which is based in Milan, Italy, and housed in a former Agip gas station famous for its early space-age architecture.
Elkann, who often wears suits he inherited from his grandfather, has been named to best-dressed lists and now, through Garage Italia Customs, he’s working on automotive fashions. He helped design the Gucci Special Edition of the Fiat 500 and his personal car is a Ferrari 458 Italia that has been wrapped in green camouflage.
Since Garage Italia Customs’ launch last fall, its projects have included:
■The Black-Tie Fiat 500X with a herringbone exterior design created by combining chrome-plated film and traditional automotive paint. The car also has wooden roof rails and handles.
■A houndstooth-patterned Jeep Renegade with Foglizzo leather upholstery created for auction in support of the Womanity Foundation to protect women from abuse.
■“Terra Arsa” (Italian for Sunbaked Earth), a series of Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicles — G class, GLA Enduro, GLC, GLE and GLE Coupe — with wraps inspired by the desert of Almeria, site of those Sergio Leone Westerns. According to Garage Italia Customs, the cars not only look like they’ve been covered in sunbaked earth, but the opaque satin-effect film feels like the cracked desert surface.
■A pair of Smart Fortwo vehicles — pois and pinstripe — one in black polka dots on a pink background and the other designed as though it was wearing a pinstriped gray suit on a silver background.
■The Car-bonated Fiat 500, a project with Pepsi that looks like a pop-art project on the exterior but has an even wilder interior, which features optical fiber woven into the cloth material so the red, white and blue Pepsi-theme has its own internal glow and bubbled-effect blue Foglizzo-leather seat coverings.
■The “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s end” Jeep Renegade done with Sony Playstation Switzerland to celebrate the new video game with hidden treasure maps. The game was developed by Naughty Dog studios, which worked with Garage Italia Customs on an exterior that looks like a treasure map but by the use of black thermochromic paint darkens to keeps the map hidden until the exterior temperature reaches or exceeds 86 degrees. The map also is visible on the surface of the car’s dashboard.
Or, as Vogue magazine has noted, you can take a swatch of any material to Garage Italia Customs and it will emulate that design on your car or motor scooter, yacht, helicopter or airplane.
Vogue noted that Garage Italia Custom’s wraps cost around $1,700.
For more information, see the www.garageitaliacustoms.com website.