Post Opulence: A Softer Tomorrow?

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A decade or more of adversarial design and in-your-face attitudes has left us in need of a breather. Might a new era of post-opulent aesthetics mellow us out? Aidan Walsh hopes so.

If one were tasked with capturing the spirit of recent times using only a single word, ‘adversarial’ wouldn’t be a bad shout. From music to cinema, politics to language, the past few years have been very much a case of brute force over subtlety, belligerence over amicability and ‘if you’ve got it, bloody well flaunt it!’

Such trends have, of course, not been lost on the car industry’s resident fashionistas, the designers, who’ve tapped this fractious zeitgeist with snarling snouts, slashed and swollen surfaces stretched taut over metal musculature and popping iron veins, topped off with more jewellery than De Beers.

As might be expected, given their popularity among status-conscious consumers looking to ‘make a statement’, luxury and premium brands have very much led the crusade into the prevailing red-mist. From humble, and now seemingly understated, beginnings with Audi’s ‘single frame’ DRG back in 2004, the vogue for angry, pumped-up, bejewelled and all-around confrontational visuals has swept away almost all else.

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