Auto shows are all about the unveiling of new models. But before they are unveiled, cars must be veiled.
The design of the veils is revealing. At Saab’s party in the IAC Building, the iceberg-like glass structure designed by Frank Gehry, the veils were arctic white and gauzy. The 9-X BioHybrid concept, also white, peeked out from behind its veil like a bride. The glacial white seemed appropriately Scandinavian.
Across town, Kia rented the Exit Art gallery on 10th Avenue for the premier of its Koup concept. On Tuesday afternoon, the Koup stood naked and red while the designers Peter Schreyer and Tom Kearns contemplated covering it. They agreed on the beauty of what they called the “swoosh” shape along the Koup’s side and Kia’s new twin-tab grille face.
But designing the cover for the car to attend its coming out party was harder. The crisply outlined car stood in a room of red cloth of a certain bordello flavor, a choice perhaps appropriate to local political news. It was left to Alex Fedorak, the Kia publicity chief, to decide just how to fold the red cloth over the car, which was to be half concealed for the company’s party Wednesday night. The car was to be unveiled Thursday morning at Kia’s press conference in the Javits convention center.
At the party, held with Vans, the skateboard shoemaker, the Koup posed teasingly clad for journalists. The Koup’s cloth cover left a front and a rear corner exposed, and hung as thick as drapery in a David painting. From the rear, the red cloth suggested a wrapped coffin.
Draping is design, too. Draping is not easy; it must offer seductive hints, mixed with virtuous concealment.