New Eurostar carriage design slammed by fashion's elite

Influential names from the fashion industry, including Vanity Fair's Virginie Mouzat and British Fashion Council ambassador Sarah Mower, have criticised the interiors of Pininfarina's Eurostar redesign, referring to the Standard Premier carriage as "a disaster".

A slew of critical comments by leading fashion critics and industry figures were left on an Instagram post by design editor and writer Nick Vinson showing the interior of Eurostar's Standard Premier coach.

Brand new @eurostar train but #StillNoWifi?? #Dumb #ShameOnEurostar #PickyNicky #VinsonView

A photo posted by Nick Vinson #PickyNicky (@nickvinson) on

Vinson, who writes a monthly column for Wallpaper*, expressed his dismay at the the lack of Wi-Fi on the train in a caption for the image.

Virginie Mouzat, fashion and lifestyle editor of Vanity Fair France, replied: "This new Eurostar is a disaster. Cheap and not comfortable. And four months ago they said they'd put on the Wi-Fi in one month."

Sarah Mower, who is also a contributing editor for US Vogue, claimed that staff were also unhappy with the redesign of Eurostar's Standard Premiere carriage interiors.

"The staff hates it too as it's hard to manoeuvre," she commented. "I felt quite violent about it – it is now worth paying less to avoid being in that carriage."

Vinson told Dezeen that he was impressed by the comments, which were mainly from "high-hitting fashion women" who use the high-speed train service regularly to travel between London and Paris for events and meetings.

Other commenters included British fashion critic Lisa Armstrong and Charlie Harrington, contributing fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar UK. Wallpaper* magazine also commented from its official Instagram account adding "very harsh lighting."

Eurostar redesign criticised by fashion's elite
Pininfarina also redesigned Eurostar's Standard class coach interior

Armstrong, who is fashion director for the Telegraph newspaper, told Dezeen that the interior design was a "considerable downgrade".

"The seats are too wide so you slide around, the arm rests are hard, and there seems to be even less room for luggage," Armstrong told Dezeen. "It's an assault on the eyes because it looks so cheap and plastic-y."

"The lighting's a disaster, very hard and tiring on the eyes," she continued. "I said to one of the – very nice – attendants that I felt I had to register my disappointment, and he said many, many passengers had done the same."

"It's a total misfire, and the infuriating part is that it has a captive market," she added.

Italian transport design studio Pininfarina unveiled the redesigned train carriages in 2014 to mark Eurostar's 20th anniversary.

Its high-speed train went into commercial service at the end of 2015, with extended routes to Belgium and the Netherlands due to commence this year.

The fleet replaces trains designed under Eurostar's former unofficial creative director, Philippe Starck, who worked as a consultant for the train service until 2005.

Eurostar redesign criticised by fashion's elite
The redesigned fleet of high-speed Eurostar trains went into service in 2015

The old interiors featured beige and brown upholstery, and seats with padded headrests shaped like a wide, shallow U.

The new trains have 20 per cent more seating, with blue and grey interiors and thinner seats designed to create more legroom for passengers.

"From the outset, our aim was to create a warm, inviting and engaging space for our customers," a Eurostar spokesperson told Dezeen. "We're very proud to have worked with Pininfarina on every aspect to create a timeless design which would cater for the varying needs of those on board."

"As the new trains enter service we are listening very carefully to our customers feedback, as our priority is always to provide the best possible customer experience," he added. "Our initial research has seen higher satisfaction scores both for business and leisure audience and of course we’ll continue to monitor this."

Vinson said that a lack of competition had given Eurostar nothing to measure itself against, and compared the new fleet to trains used by Italian operator Trenitalia.

Eurostar St Pancras ticket hall by Christopher Jenner
The Eurostar St Pancras ticket hall by Christopher Jenner was unveiled in 2014

Trenitalia's new high-speed trains went into service in 2013, with a carriage interior designed by Italian studio Bertone Design, led by architect Aldo Cingolani.

"Train services improved dramatically in Italy when Italo arrived on the scene, Trenitalia rose to the challenge," Vinson told Dezeen. "That included the train interiors. Eurostar needs a competitor."

In 2014, Eurostar unveiled a redesign of its London ticket hall by now ex-creative director Christopher Jenner.

The space – intended to to evoke the "golden age of travel" – was widely criticised by Dezeen readers, with one commenter questioning how they could ever "approve such a mistake for St Pancras".