The four one-of-one cars are the crowning achievement of this collaboration. The Palace team cooked one up for each of its flagship stores in Tokyo, London, New York, and Los Angeles. “I just really wanted to do a car,” Tanju says. “They’re fun to work with and [Mercedes-AMG] are open to any ideas.” Open to any ideas is the most important qualification when engaging with Palace. Tanju says he came into this second project with Mercedes-AMG with a commitment to “make more eye-catching fades and weirder graphics.” In typical Palace fashion, the graphics are outrageous. Across the rear doors of Tokyo’s AMG G 63 SUV is a horse galloping through space while London’s hatchback features a snarling white tiger on its hood.
This is Palace at its absolute best: teaming up with a serious prestige sports organization and taking the air out of it. The white tiger and the space-ready steed are “stuff that you’d think, “Oh, that would make a kind of funny T-shirt,’” Tanju says. The joke is even better, though, when those graphics are expertly hand-painted atop the shell of a very expensive car. Even Tanju is still a little shocked these cars actually exist. “I think it’s so crazy that [AMG] were like, ‘This is fun and good,’” he says.
Working with Palace requires a good sense of humor. Philipp Schiemer, Mercedes-AMG’s CEO, says that at the beginning of this project with Palace, folks internally felt a little more conservative. “But then we said no,” he says, “because if we are too conservative, it’s nothing special.”
Schiemer is right to seek out that special feeling. While a streetwear brand collaborating with a luxury car company would have been headline-making news a few years ago, brands from the respective industries have been pairing off in droves over the last couple of years. Supreme worked with Lamborhini, Kith partnered with BMW, Aimé Leon Dore made Joey Tribbiani proud with a Porsche collab, and Rhude teamed up with McLaren. Seen from that perspective, if you’re not putting a white tiger on the hood of a hatchback, you’re just another tastefully reworked car with a streetwear logo on it. The attraction between streetwear and car companies is easy to tease out. Folks like Tanju jump at the opportunity to work on a car project and companies like AMG want to enamor the dedicated fanbases that follow these brands. “Sometimes you hear that younger people are less interested in cars than older generations, but I don’t think that is absolutely true,” Schiemer says. “But I think it’s important for automotive companies to get into the environments where younger people circulate. This is one of our ambitious objectives.”