This 2015 concept was inspired by fashion - can you tell?


Hot pink butting up to gloss blue; matte gray nestling closely with orange and chrome detailing. Add a riot of layered surface interplays as well as extreme, mini-supercar proportions, and extended exposure to the Citroën Survolt concept sounds like a recipe for a migraine, or a page out of Tommy Hilfiger’s Spring/Summer catalogue. So why the double-whammy of complex form and the bold use of color and textile?

“We designed it like a fashion designer,” explains Citroën Style’s Chief Designer, Bertrand Dantec. “When Chanel sketches an outfit, they have different materials, different textures: it’s a collection of items, not just one garment.”

To extend the tailoring metaphor, the Survolt’s matte gray ‘shirt’ is layered with a gloss blue ‘jacket’, the hot pink highlights the motoring equivalent of a Paul Smith suit lining. The impression is of draped fabrics rather than a solid mass, accessorised with orange wing mirrors and a chrome broach for a grille. The swooping, looping, extrovert result is in sharp contrast to the ostensibly production-ready DS High Rider concept which nestled elegantly in a quiet corner of the show stand. Can Citroën brand sustain such seemingly disparate designs?

“The difference between Citroën and other manufacturers is that every Citroën is different,” says Dantec. “We’re not defined by a grille or a design language. We have no rules - we don’t have a book to say how to design a Citroën. The rule is creativity. And show cars express our creativity to the maximum.”

It certainly makes a compelling case for itself, especially in light of ‘small, medium and large’ model ranges such as Audi’s. And while the overall result may be a little extreme - cartoon-like even - Citroën has created a very human, emotional electric car. When every other manufacturer wears its technical heart on its sleeve in the design of its often pious electric EVs, the Survolt is a breath of fresh air. Expect more muted tones and a thicker overcoat for Citroën’s Autumn/Winter collection.