Detroit is not a glamorous city. It is a grey city, especially right now because it’s winter and, although it’s not actually freezing, it feels cold. Detroit does not have much beauty or charm, especially as it isn’t even snowing. It’s just a bit miserable.
Which makes the contrast with GM’s Style Event all the more noticeable. It’s a big glitzy do in a tent by the river, which isn’t as smart as it sounds because the river is the Detroit (a wide, grey slug of a river) and the tent is in a car park. The snow, which would have looked nice if it had been left on the ground, had been bulldozed into slushy, greying piles in the next lot.
But inside is the brave, bold face of America and the world’s biggest car manufacturer. At least I think it is. Once again it looks like Toyota is closing in on GM to take the top spot. If General Motors was a house, Toyota would be in the kitchen making itself coffee and rearranging the cookbooks.
Not that any worries about the future stopped GM from putting on a slickly-run, glittery show. GM’s actually doing a lot better now than it has been, so Mary J Blige, Maroon 5 and the inexplicably popular Kid Rock (right) performed while impossibly perfect models paraded the catwalk, clothes-horsing swishy dresses and grungy dress-down collections. Oh yes, and there were some cars.
Quite a lot of cars, in fact, but it would have been easy to overlook them even though they drove right down the centre of the catwalk between the models. There didn’t seem to be much of a connection between the cars and the girls and the clothes and the music, aside from the obvious theming of colours and collections – the models accompanying the lowered white Chevy HHR wore wintry white Snow Queen style outfits.
That didn’t really matter. Celebs and music and models mean plenty of TV coverage and that’s what matters. The cars became, literally and metaphorically, vehicles for the overlay of glamour. But having said that, there aren’t many consumer goods you could do something like this with. Somehow, it just wouldn’t have been the same with washing machines.