Rolls-Royce Black Badge: The Origin Story

The marque reveals an unexpected history of subversion within Rolls-Royce, including the creation of Rolls-Royce’s alter ego

The marque reveals an unexpected history of subversion within Rolls-Royce, including the creation of Rolls-Royce’s alter ego: Black Badge. In addition to the extraordinary origin story of the marque’s permanent Bespoke series of motor cars, the brand has elected to bring its learnings together with an animation, created in partnership with highly conceptual non-fungible token (NFT) creator, artist and illustrator Mason London. Rolls-Royce reveals origin of Black Badge  that  channels the subversive spirits of founders C. S. Rolls and Sir Henry Royce Black Badge responds to the demands of a new class of disruptors and visionaries Design and engineering execution challenges established assumptions about the brand Black Badge motor cars now represent 27% of Rolls-Royce product commissions

“Black Badge represents a natural evolution for a brand that is defined by a culture of collaboration with its clients. Black Badge is not a sub-brand. It is an attitude that represents an authentic and confident response to the desires of a new group of clients who proudly practise bold self-expression.” Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

As Rolls-Royce’s clients became younger, more dynamic and diverse, so did the scope of inspiration. The marque’s specialists recognised a movement in fashion and haute couture that was channelling a similar spirit, one that celebrated the tension between rebellion and design tradition. Inspiration was frequently drawn from classic garment silhouettes but led to a fresh and contemporary mood through dark yet innovative materials, often accented with a flash of bold colour. Creators such as John Varvatos, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester championed a similar aesthetic. Comme des Garçons’ protégé Kei Ninomiya was so moved by the theme of darkness he created the Noir label in its honour.

However, this movement extended beyond the catwalks and onto the streets of the world’s most exclusive enclaves. From Tokyo to Los Angeles, architecture in monochrome dramatically increased in popularity. In the first half of the 2010s, yakisugi, the ancient Japanese technique of charring exterior wood, experienced a considerable resurgence, while the Nashville-based O’More College of Architecture & Design coated its 2017 show house in black.

Similarly, at Rolls-Royce, colour palettes that deferred to heritage were replaced with a darker aesthetic that communicated presence without distracting from the motor car’s silhouette. While black products have reflected a traditional code of luxury, particularly in fashion, Rolls-Royce’s designers now work to subvert it through the injection of bold colour. In the same way that Chanel’s little black dress has evolved, Rolls-Royce’s clients have become increasingly bold, integrating neon flashes with the noir mood of Black Badge.