The MINI Beachcomber Concept – Toronto Autoshow 2010

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

I haven’t been to the Autoshow in at least twenty years so I jumped at the chance to write about the new The MINI Beachcomber Concept car. The MINI Beachcomber was making a short stop in Toronto for its first Canadian appearance before being whisked to Europe for another autoshow. It may seem a little weird to my regular readers, but I’m a huge MINI fan. I love luxury and sports cars with Porsche being my favourite. Way back in 2006, I wrote a post for blogTO about Zipcar and my first experience driving a MINI.

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

Luxury event managers, CANDICE&ALISON were hired to produce the MINI Beachcomber launch with the theme of beach tailgate party. They brought together a mix of fashion designers, models, makeup artists and product designers to contribute to the launch. The theme was heavily influenced by retro 50s beach party pop culture.

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

Canadian designer Farley Chatto created MINI branded pin-up retro polka dot bikinis, a pair of board shorts and sheer tank. Jon, Vlada (black hair) and Caitlin of Elite models stepped out in Farley’s clothing to create a buzz around the car. Make-up/Hair Artist Ivy Lam recreated the 50s pin-up look for the women and a clean-cut 50s surf boy look for the lone male model. Jon, who is dangerously attractive, reminded me of Superman. He has that classic tall, dark and handsome look.

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

It seemed like Vlada was a pin-up girl in a previous life, she played the role so authentically. She really knew how to use the car in her poses. There was a high fashion element to this launch which was a refreshing change from the typical car show model. Models, high fashion or not, were very scarce at the autoshow, so this drew a lot of people to MINI’s booth.

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

Rounding out this group was Product Designer, Jasin Dollin who is known for creating the Lil’g (It will be available this year). It’s a DIY designer boombox made of vinyl which allows for customization. It can play your MP3 player. Jasin created a custom Lil’g for the MINI Beachcomber launch which spent a lot of time with Jon.

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

The best part of the presentation was people watching. Women in bikinis are a draw and I’m sure Jon helped steer some women over too. Many people wanted their pictures taken with the models. Men chatted up Vlada. There were several really cute moments involving little kids and the models. I saw Elvis, I’m not joking.

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010
Elvis in the house

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

So you are probably wondering about the car. Let’s get talking about it because I think it’s really fun. The MINI Beachcomber Concept is a four seat open body concept car. There are no permanent doors on this vehicle. Protection from the elements comes in two forms. One is a removable soft roof that is similar to a tonneau cover on a boat. The roof is an extremely light “very robust special fibre” (BMW’s words not mine) with excellent protection from wind and rain. The roof also has transparent plastic inserts at the sides and rear acting as windows. The second option is extra-light plastic, flush fitting inserts that are for the doors and the luggage compartment lid of the car. The principle is to mimic hardtop functionality. None of these options were present for my visit and there are no images in the media kit, boo.

The MINI Beachcomber Concept - Toronto Autoshow 2010
Images courtesy of BMW Group

The MINI Beachcomber Concept is a 21st century reboot of the Mini Moke. I have very fond memories of the Mini Moke. It reminds me of sea, sand, salt, Barbados, sun, flying fish, breadfruit and family. My parents are from Barbados and we have had many family vacations on the island. The Mini Moke was very much a sand a surf kind of car and had widespread usage in the Caribbean. The target market for the MINI Beachcomber Concept is the kitesurfers, wakeboarders and triathletes of the world. It boasts of its “special fastening systems” with makes it perfect for storing bulky items like mountain bikes, surfboards and wakeboards.

The MINI Beachcomber Concept - Toronto Autoshow 2010
Images courtesy of BMW Group

The MINI Beachcomber is equipped with 17-inch light-alloy runflat tyres and doesn’t need a spare. What you think is a spare tire compartment is actually a removable case with lock that is for storage. Instead of unnecessary air vents, the Beachcomber has more speakers for the stereo system.

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

The dashboard resembles a cockpit with spherical instruments that include a liquid sprung compass embedded in the steering wheel, an artificial horizon instrument which shows the angle of the car along its longitudinal and transverse axis and the Center Rail which connects the front and rear seats providing a special fastening system for components like external music players, storage boxes, shelves, armrests and integrated cable duct for connecting devices to car’s entertainment system (it provides power too).

Mini Beachcomber Concept Car - Toronto Autoshow 2010

I’m not going to go into too much more detail about the MINI Beachcomber. It’s a concept car and no production is scheduled. I’ve been told that future production models will have some of the Beachcombers elements and technological advances . It has a price tag of 1 million dollars. The freaking grill costs $300,000 alone. That is why they kept everyone except key staff and the models far, far away from the car. It’s a bit of a shame as I would have like to sit down in it. I’m in love with the seats.  Autoblog has a great gallery of images including closeups. I’ve distilled what elements I’ve found attractive about the car in this post but if you are so inclined you can download the full 11 page MINI Beachcomber Concept brief in PDF format to see what I left out.

Here is a video produced by MINI in which, Director of MINI Design, Gert Hildebrand talks about the Beachcomber at the Detroit Autoshow 2010.

If you want to see the MINI Beachcomber Concept at Toronto Autoshow 2010 you need to go Sunday, Feb 13, it’s heading overseas on Monday.

Check out all my photos from The MINI Beachcomber Concept launch at the Toronto Autoshow 2010.

TEFW – Dare To Wear Love at LG Fashion Week

Dare to Wear Love Pat McDonagh sketch
Dare to Wear Love Pat McDonagh sketch

I’m really excited about the Dare to Wear Love show on October 23th at LG Fashion Week. It’s one of my highlights.

Do you dare? For the first time ever, Hoax Couture and the Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC) are partnering with the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) to produce a fashion-forward, cause-driven and meaningful closing night show with Canada’s top designers at LG Fashion Week beauty by L’Oréal Paris. The goal is to leverage the power of the Canadian fashion and entertainment communities to raise awareness and funds for the SLF as it works to support communities that are affected by the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

Starting at 9 p.m. on Friday, October 23, a star-studded audience will experience the Dare to Wear Love show, full of beautiful fashion, dance and music inspired by Africa. The multi-faceted collaboration is the largest public dare of the SLF’s new fundraising initiative A Dare to Remember. Recently launched, the nationwide initiative challenges Canadians to take on dares of all kinds to raise awareness and funds for the grassroots organizations in Africa that are on the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic.

“The fashion and entertainment communities in Canada will provide a unique voice for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s new initiative with the Dare to Wear Love show,” said Jim Searle of Hoax Couture. “This show integrates high fashion and a truly important cause, and with the designers using gorgeous African fabric to create the garments, it promises to be a captivating evening.”

More than 25 top designers, including Lida Baday, Brian Bailey, Brose, Pam Chorley, Wayne Clark, Comrags, David Dixon, Evan Biddell, Farley Chatto, Greta Constantine, Izzy Camilleri, Linda Lundström, Lucian Matis, Ross Mayer, Jason Meyers, Price Roman, and many more, have committed to Hoax Couture’s dare to create luxe gowns made of rich, eye-catching fabrics sourced from African communities who work with the SLF. Each designer will be asked to have their own family, friends and supporters sponsor this dare with the goal of raising $50,000 for the SLF. Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell of Hoax Couture will also personally ask the fashion community to get involved by making a donation to this cause at http://www.daretowearlove.com .

I was send a digital package that contained some images of the prints that the designers will be using.

Dare to Wear Love PrintDare to Wear Love Print

Dare to Wear Love Print

Dare to Wear Love PrintDare to Wear Love Print

It also included some sketches from 4 of the 25 designers. I can’t wait to see these in person and what the others come up with.

Dare to Wear Love Ines Di Santo sketch
Dare to Wear Love Ines Di Santo sketch
Dare to Wear Love Hoax Couture sketch
Dare to Wear Love Hoax Couture sketch
Dare to Wear Love Comrags Sketch
Dare to Wear Love Comrags Sketch

The creations that the designers present will be auctioned off at a later time. The money will be donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

images: Courtesy of Rockit Promo