It is so undeniably British. The idea of having a jacket to suit the occasion – the smoking jacket, the car coat and the driving jacket, this latter piece of outerware the subject of a collaboration between Lotus and globally renowned Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons.
It is arguably the world’s most exclusive driving jacket and is available only to customers of the Lotus Evija, the world’s first British all-electric hypercar, who will spend in the region of £2-million to have the chance to buy the garment.
The jacket’s classic design draws on the core values and DNA inherent in every product that both Lotus and Norton & Sons create – performance-oriented, lightweight contemporary design, advanced technical materials and sporting durability.
Norton & Sons was founded in 1821, exactly 200 years ago, and in the 1860s moved to its current address at 16 Savile Row, in the heart of London’s Mayfair district. Every Lotus Evija customer, male or female, is offered a personal appointment at the shop, where they will experience the unique luxury of the Norton & Sons bespoke service.
They will be measured and fitted and a unique pattern for their driving jacket will be drafted by hand by Norton & Sons’ master cutter. Each jacket will be individually hand-cut and hand-sewn, with the resulting garment being as unique as each Lotus Evija.
The jacket’s design was created jointly by Norton & Sons Design Director Patrick Grant and Lotus Design Director Russell Carr. Together they drew inspiration from the Lotus Evija hypercar and the car company’s glorious and successful racing heritage.
The jacket is made from a superfine lightweight water-resistant merino wool/nylon technical textile manufactured in Italy by Loro Piana, and features state-of-the-art Cobrax and Riri hardware. The overall shape echoes that of Team Lotus pitlane jackets of the early 1970s, seen at the racetracks of the world and worn by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and iconic motorsport heroes of the era including Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti.
The shape of the front pocket outlined with twin red stitching is drawn from the design of the Lotus Evija’s ‘ribbon’ tail light. Detailing on the nape of the neck, both inside and outside the jacket, repeats that motif and features a golden number 16 – the Savile Row address of the Norton & Sons’ shop.
Other tributes to Lotus heritage include three underarm ventilation eyelets inspired by the Lotus Elan 1600 triple tail light design.
The technical eyelet knit lining is breathable, perforated to reduce weight and includes a pocket perfectly sized to take the Lotus Evija key. There is also a label celebrating the collaboration; it features the Norton & Sons wordmark, the Lotus roundel and strapline ‘For The Drivers’, and a new silhouette of the Lotus Evija hypercar penned by Anthony Bushell, the car’s lead exterior designer.
Patrick Grant, best known as a judge on hit BBC TV Show ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’, commented: “When I was a kid, Lotus was the sports car everybody wanted. It was what James Bond drove and was the dominant team in Formula 1. To get the chance to explore the extraordinary Lotus racing archive, and to design a piece of clothing that takes its inspiration from such iconic 1960s and 1970s designs, was both a challenge and a thrill.”
Watch an exclusive film about the project at https://youtu.be/iCe3BUhEZJY