How did 'rose gold' become a thing?
Looking back it’d fair to say that the little Fiat received a mixed reaction when it first arrived in the TG office car park. The optional rose gold paint – a £600 extra – has been a source of much conversation since. Sometimes overwhelmingly positive, other times it’ll be more “who on earth specced that and how colour blind were they?”
When I took the electric 500 to its natural habitat though – a South West London Waitrose – I was congratulated on my ‘purchase’ by a lovely older couple who thought it must have been a wildly expensive small car à la Aston Martin Cygnet. They described the colour as “champagne with a touch of pink” and “metallic baby bum”.
It’s certainly a brave shade, but Fiat isn’t the first to use it as an exterior colour, and it just so happens that Bentley has a similarly specced Continental GTC Speed on its press fleet right now – the perfect excuse for a twin test.
Yes, one might be an electric city car with 117bhp while the other is a 208mph convertible grand tourer with a starting price somewhere above the £230,000 mark, but hey, they’re both pink. You can have the Fiat with a rag top roof too if you really want.
“Rose Gold was originally introduced for the launch of the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase in 2016,” says Bentley’s Head of Colour and Trim Maria Mulder.
“That was as a duo-tone over the dark grey Magnetic colour. We could have made it more feminine by putting it with a white like Arctica or even with the Glacier White but this way it gave it a really powerful look.
“There are these beautiful dark grey and silver flakes within the Rose Gold which create the drama, and these days it has to work well with the Black Pack.”
In some lights both the Bentley and the Fiat look very pink, but on the unseasonably sunny day that we bring them together they’re shining and the gold is shimmering through.
“We were working on the colour for probably two years prior to the launch,” says Cathy Bass, colour whizz and the lady behind the introduction of Rose Gold at Bentley. “We were already on the colour before it became a trend.”
She’s right too. It wasn’t until 2015 that Apple launched the iPhone 6s with a rose gold option for the first time, and in 2016 the Bentley team tracked a number of jewellers and watchmakers gravitating towards the metal.
“We always look at what others are doing to make sure we’re not doing it,” Bass tells TG.
Pinky gold fans might have noticed that Rolls-Royce’s recently unveiled, second-of-three Boat Tails is painted in the stuff, but Fiat is the manufacturer trying to bring it to the masses with its reimagined 500.
“If what we do inspires other people it doesn’t matter who they are – it’s brilliant” says Bass. “What better complement is there than that?”
Mulder continues: “Hopefully this doesn’t sound too arrogant, but we would like to see ourselves as almost being like the haute couture. If something filters down it reinforces that you were right to introduce it.”