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Friday, October 4, 2013

Royal Enfield Continental GT part of Retro World look

Royal Enfield's Continental GT with Planet Sputnik's David Parr (center).
Royal Enfield's retro-sassy new Continental GT cafe racer was launched in England with the help of an outfit named Planet Sputnik. Jorge Pullin noted the firm's contribution in a recent item on his blog My Royal Enfields.

With a storehouse of vintage vehicles, props, locations and fetching models dolled up in period duds, Planet Sputnik delivers the look of the 1950s and '60s for a long list of commercial and film clients.

They did a fantastic job for Royal Enfield. I was in England to witness it first hand, but you see it for yourself in the short movie "Ace Cafe to Madras Cafe."

According to Planet Sputnik:

"Not only did we advise the company during the earliest stages of the motorcycle’s concept and design several years before it became reality, but we were also consulted to ensure that the launch struck the right balance of classic Brit heritage and modern-day cool.

"Finally, Planet Sputnik‘s guy David Parr was specially selected by Royal Enfield to appear alongside several other riders in promotional footage and stills for the stunning new 500cc machine. Most exciting was this edgy new short movie "Ace Cafe to Madras Cafe," which involved a demanding filming schedule in London, Turkey and India.

"Planet Sputnik is your one-stop retro hire agency for photographic, editorial, film and television work. Authentic locations, vehicles, props and wardrobe — and period-perfect people, too — whatever your stills, filming or event hire requirements, we’ll supply a professional and creative service sparkling with vintage glamour and style."

Check out Planet Sputnik's gallery of fashion and film. The recreations are great and they use a lot of original items. But there's an overly commercial feel to it. I asked my wife and grown daughters to look at Planet Sputnik.

Daughter Erin's reaction: "Aaaaand now I want to shop."

Planet Sputnik's motto is "Welcome to our Retro World." They bring the mid-20th Century into the 21st Century, all polished and prettified.

I was there and I remember. It stank. We had pimples. The girls were not nearly so suggestively pliant as the models Planet Sputnik serves up. On the other hand, the men — even hooligans — were generally better shaved.

The Retro World of Planet Sputnik is the idealized past seen as it would have looked in a glossy fashion magazine of the time. Maybe better.

What Planet Sputnik accomplishes is not "evocative" but actually creative. It's not so much a betrayal of what the past was really like as it is a sort of imposition of current (commercial) concerns on the past. It's mostly"right" but it's still somehow "off."

And that's probably a good thing. If the recreations were too period perfect they would be objectionable as a falsification of the past.

The ironic thing to me is this: Royal Enfield's brand new, old fashioned, long-stroke, Brit-style, single-cylinder Continental GT is more authentically an artifact of the 1960s than the faux Rockers they have posed with it.

See what I mean. Watch the film:


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