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Jaguar XJ launch party: the Body beautifulJaguar XJ launch party: the Body beautiful

Jaguar went all out with its XJ launch at the Saatchi Gallery in London last night, with celebrities ranging from Jay Leno and Elle Macpherson to the Hoff himself
photographed by Getty Images


Above: Elle Macpherson and Jay Leno introduce the new Jaguar XJ at Saatchi Gallery, London.

Above: ‘The Body’, supermodel Elle Macpherson, and the new Jaguar XJ.

Above: Like proud parents: design director Ian Callum, host Jay Leno, and managing director Mike O’Driscoll.

JAGUAR KNEW it has the most anticipated car launch of the year. Since the Shanghai Motor Show, the Indian-owned car company had been drip-feeding fans and the media glimpses of its new XJ, after promising for years that the new model, codenamed X351, would drop the 1968-inspired shape in favour of something dramatic and modern.

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the expectations of the new XJ were just below that of the Ford Model A in 1928. Everyone knew it was coming; no one quite knew just how it would look.

Some parts were already common knowledge: the new XJ would be made of aluminium, there would be some shades of the smaller XF, and Jaguar was no longer in pursuing the John Prescott–Arthur Daley market. For the first time in over three decades, the big Jaguar saloon was forward-looking.

At the launch on July 9 at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, hosted by Jay Leno—who then introduced supermodel Elle Macpherson (the 1980s’ “supers” are in demand as ever)—the new XJ did not disappoint, and cemented many car nuts’ feelings that Ian Callum, the Scottish-born design director of Jaguar Cars, successfully channelled the vision of founder William Lyons better than any other man in the role. Callum has an eye for a great shape—the highly acclaimed XK and XF were developed under his watch—in the same way Lyons and Jaguar aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer had. And no one seemed to miss the connection between Macpherson’s nickname, ‘The Body’ (in a dress that looked a little like alloy), and the body beautiful that was the XJ.

Jaguar boss Mike O’Driscoll also seemed to understand the brand’s principles as our Lucire TV video attests, and the company’s owners at the Tata Group seem to be right in entrusting its premium division to him.

Other celebrities attending included David Hasselhoff (doing his best Ted Lange impersonation in one photograph), former Bond girl Rosamund Pike (who was equally stunning in Fracture opposite Anthony Hopkins), and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. •



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Jay Leno and the new Jaguar XJ.

David Hasselhoff does his best Love Boat Isaac Washington impersonation.

Design director Ian Callum speaks with the Hoff.

Jay Leno and David Hasselhoff.

Bond girl Rosamund Pike.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor.



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From issue 16 of Lucire