Thursday, 29 October, saw the South African unveiling of the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani at the African Pride Hotel in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.
Vespa and Armani are undoubtedly two of Italy’s most established and stylish brands of the last century. 2015 marks a prestigious time for both Italian powerhouses as Gorgio Armani and the Piaggio Group celebrate their 40th and 130th anniversaries respectively. What better way to pay tribute than a collaboration between the two? And what has resulted is an impressive culmination of style and quality.
The Vespa 946 Emporio Armani was jointly developed by Piaggio and Gorgio Armani to celebrate the pedigree of both companies. Piaggio exceeded expectations in the design; the form of the scooter – which still carries the iconic silhouette of Vespa – is stunning but a completely modern overhaul of the classic look. The form is completed with the subtle aesthetic provided by an exquisite colour palette provided by Gorgio Armani. Armani developed a subdued colour palette of greys and green that accentuates the 946’s flowing lines.
The event, held at the African Pride Hotel, was different to usual industry events. There was quite excitement around the reception. Personally I have always been intrigued by Vespa scooters since I was a child and have vivid memories of rows upon rows of Vespas lining the streets of Rome. Although the 946 was released globally a while ago, upon being invited I did my utmost to not look at the scooter, I avoided talking about it, I avoided Twitter, and definitely avoiding Googling it.
Upon arrival I was greeted by the lovely event organisers and Clinton Lehman – the Sales Director for Vespa South Africa – who assured me that upon seeing the 946, I would be reduced to child-like excitement. He was 100% right. Interestingly, we spoke about the social aspects of working for and owning a Vespa. We also spoke about what Vespa as a brand in South Africa offers clients and enthusiasts alike – Vespa organises breakfast runs for owners and Vespa buffs alike – something definitely worth checking out.
A photo posted by James Norwood-Young (@james.norwood.young) on
At the unveiling, the ever-so-cool Maps Maponyane and CEO of South Africa, Andy Reid, were both decked out in Armani suits and both visibly excited about what is considerably Vespa’s most exquisite offerings yet. Maponyane and Reid examined the scooter with schoolboy exuberance, talking about the 124cc engine that hums, the body and then breaking down the mind-numbing amount of details the 946 has to offer. The Vespa 946 Emporio Armani comes with all the bells and whistles the brand has become synonymous with, and an Armani helmet that matches the stunning scooter.
After a close up inspection of the 946, I’m sold. The handlebar, made of aluminium, is extraordinarily slim with bronzed chrome finish, the saddle is a unique single saddle mounted on an aluminium support that rises into the air and is covered with brown leather to match the handlebars. Technologically the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani has a unique frame made of steel and aluminium alloy and offers a digital dashboard with trip computer. Safety wise the scooter is equipped with front and back break discs, and ABS system and an Anti Slip Regulation system.
It’s beautiful, modern and sleek, and we expected nothing else from this match made in heaven.