French designer, Tristan Auer reimagines Citroën’s CX Prestige, delivering something unique and rather special.
The Hôtel de Crillon on the Place de la Concorde has been something of a Paris institution, at least for those well-heeled enough to stay there, since it opened to the public in 1907. The neoclassical 18th century palace – one of a matching pair situated at the famous Paris landmark – was built in 1758 and through its history, saw its fair share of drama, not least of which was its use by the post-revolutionary French government as a place to house King Louis XVI and his Queen, Marie Antoinette prior to their execution in 1793.
The hotel, having hosted the great, the good, and the filthy rich for over a century was closed in 2013 to allow for a major refurbishment, carried out by a team of designers, headed by Aline Asmar d’Amman, working alongside Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian, Cyril Vergniol and the late Karl Lagerfeld – reopening to notable acclaim in 2017.
When designers apply their craft to an area outside their traditional skillset, the results can be, shall we say, uneven. This was certainly the case for Mr. Lagerfeld, whose bespoke BMW Seibeners were a little on the rococo side. Not knowing a great deal about his couture work, it nonetheless raised questions about his taste.
Even car designers, who really ought to know better, have tripped and fallen when applying a creative makeover to a pre-existing automobile. The most recent and possibly egregious example being Mr. Ian Callum, former doyen of Jaguar’s Whitley design studio. Having previously created a steam-punk resto-modded Jaguar Mark 2 for enthusiasts to have various forms of apoplexy over, he more recently followed it up with an unfortunate redux of his first generation Aston Martin Vanquish. And while Callum and Largerfeld appear to have little in common otherwise, questions of taste must also be asked.
Not so France’s Tristan Auer, who has recently transferred his talents with furnishings and interiors from the likes of the Crillon to re-imagine a mid-70s Citroën CX Prestige on the behest of the carmaker as part of its centenary celebrations. Auer is clearly a man of discernment, with sufficient sympathy for the original car’s design intent to retain the CX’s essence, rather than overwhelm it with ill-judged contemporary markers of ‘modern luxury’.
Even more telling is what he has chosen to excise from the Prestige’s exterior, the process of removal (bodyside moulding and vinyl roof covering) serving to enhance the big Citroën’s unmistakable lines.
I’m not usually a fan of these kind of designer re-imaginings, preferring to see cars left in their original form. However, executed to this level, its an entirely different proposition. This magnificent car is now on extended loan to the Hôtel de Crillon, replacing a similarly enhanced Citroën DS as a courtesy car, collecting and ferrying guests around the city of light.
The full story of this impressive makeover is told at Classic Driver, along with an array of photos which show the CX to best effect. The article, which I recommend wholeheartedly, can be accessed by clicking here.