In the 1920's the first Concours d'Elegance was staged as an elegant marketing effort in France. The custom automobile coachbuilders and fashion couturiers of Paris were making luxury products of important design and wanted a new and different way to reach their markets. In an effort to create a unique way to reach the market, an idea was developed of a grand exhibition combining both automobiles and fashion.
Fashion models dressed in the latest Paris creations would drive new automobiles up to a reviewing stand. The automobiles tended to be luxury cars decked-out with custom coachwork. In many cases they were one-of-a-kind. The models would step out of the cars and fashion to the crowd. The cars and fashions were judged and awards given. The awards were based on beauty, design and style.
Before World War II, the Concours d'Elegance format was popular and became a premiere social event. The underlying objective was for manufacturers to reach the market for these beautiful high design products. Concours d'Elegance was one of the most elegant methods of selling products. The Concours d'Elegance was meant not only as a car show, but also as a total extravaganza of style.
The Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance has a different objective then historical Concours D'Elegance's. The purpose of the event is to celebrate automotive history and heritage. Fashion and unique cars are still on display without the marketing purpose. The event is used as a fundraiser with the profits spent on supporting and preserving Meadow Brook Hall.
The Meadow Brook Concours d'Eleganceis in its 28th year, is the single largest fundraising event supporting the preservation of Oakland University's Meadow Brook Hall. Concours d'Elegance, literally translated, means 'parade of elegance.' Since its inception, the term referred to a very special type of carriage or automobile show.
Meadow Brook Hall
Meadow Brook Hall is the fourth largest historic house in the U.S. and renowned for its craftsmanship, architectural detailing and grand scale. The mansion was built in the1920s as the residence of Matilda Dodge Wilson (widow of auto baron John Dodge) and her second husband, lumber broker, Alfred G. Wilson. The 80,000 square-foot Tudor-revival style mansion has 110 rooms and is complete with the vast collections of original art and furnishings.
Meadow Brook Hall is listed on the national and state registers of historic properties and strives to preserve and interpret its architecture, landscape and fine and decorative art. Throughout the year, Meadow Brook hall is open to the public and offers daily tours, special exhibitions, programs and lectures, educational activities, lunches, tea programs, dinners and much more.