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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks into high gear today, setting the pace for fashion images that are going to be seen in media, film and boutique windows around the world over the next several months. In fact, seventy-six percent of US business professionals responsible for product direction say that what they see during fashion week in New York will influence their future design decisions according to a February 2011 survey conducted by Mercedes-Benz and WGSN.

The What Drives Luxury market intelligence report, a collaborative effort between Mercedes-Benz and WGSN, explores a range of topics including luxury purchase behaviors and macro trends that are shaping the design industry including data from two separate polls with Mercedes-Benz customers and fashion industry professionals.

As the economy transitions from recession to recovery, the report focuses on the influences of a new essential luxury consumer that has emerged, where price is not the driver within the purchasing decision, but value that is directly connected to the experience and meaning a product brings to the owner’s life.

“Consumers want luxury goods with an authentic story. Although price is still a factor, they are looking for products with timeless quality and a unique consumer experience,” said Allyson Rees, US Retail Editor of WGSN.

A macro trend in the report called Cinematic captures this design mindset. Using a visual language and a universally familiar medium, it takes the best of the past, distills it, and reshapes it for the world we live in today. This is seen across multiple genres from Dior’s cinematographic fashion campaign with David Lynch to day-wear inspired by the 1920s, 1930s, and Art Deco movement, which is expected to make its way on to this season’s runways. The macro trend is being fuelled by the overall industry decision makers – in fact, 374 design-involved professionals polled for the report found that ninety-two percent are inspired by historic design. And among 180 individuals polled for the report from a Mercedes-Benz online community of owners, eighty-three percent agree that when it comes to luxury automobile design, they like new models to feature elements of classic cars.

“This year we are celebrating the 125th anniversary of Carl Benz’s patent for the first automobile and more than ever, Mercedes-Benz has the opportunity to dig deep into its heritage as a backdrop to showcase great, innovative design that pulls from a legacy of fascinating cars,” said Kristi Steinberg, manager of customer and markets insights for Mercedes-Benz USA. “The new CLS and SLK on display at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week break entirely new ground in their segments, while staying true to the brand’s roots and that speaks to true luxury.”

For a copy of the full report, visit www.media.mbusa.com

About The What Drives Luxury Report
In addition to leveraging key insights from the global research expertise of WGSN, Mercedes-Benz polled its Advisors community, a private online owner community. The community was surveyed on luxury design trends and purchase decisions. The activity was hosted from January 20, 2011 to February 1, 2011. The survey garnered a respondent base size 180 unique participants (77% male / 23% female 21-61+ years). Results were delivered un-weighted in the form of frequencies and percentages based on total respondents for the community. The survey was administered by Think Passenger Inc. In addition to the Mercedes-Benz Advisor Community poll, WGSN conducted an on-line survey from February 2 to February 4, 2011 with 357 fashion professionals from retail and design on their thoughts regarding the future of luxury as well as design inspiration and consumer motivators.

About WGSN
WGSN is the global authority on style and design. The company identifies and analyzes current and future style trends and provides its customers with state-of-the-art online tools that can be used to create commercially successful products and services. WGSN defines and shapes winning style and design for over 36,000 customers globally. WGSN is head quartered in London and has offices all over the world including Milan, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Tokyo. For more information, visit www.wgsn.com. Follow WGSN on Twitter: @wgsn.

ABOUT Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. In 2007, Mercedes-Benz USA became the title sponsor of IMG’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami. Mercedes-Benz is also the title sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. For more than 40 years, MBUSA has taken pride in its commitment to the customer by providing superior quality luxury vehicles coupled with outstanding customer support. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.maybachusa.com.

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