NEW YORK – Striking a balance between art and commerce, Ford senior designer Anthony Prozzi uses the same principles that guided him as a creator of men's clothing for fashion mogul Donna Karan in designing the all-new Ford Fusion's interior.

“Regardless of what you're designing, the rules of design are the same,” Prozzi tells WardsAuto.“The silhouette and sense of proportion (are similar). When you look at a well-constructed garment – the cut lines, how pieces come together – I’m more sensitive to all those details.”

Prozzi already has earned his chops in the automotive arena, having designed the interior for the first Ford Flex cross/utility vehicle in 2008. But he is particularly proud of his work on the ’13 Fusion because “it's a triumph in using sustainable materials.”

The cloth seating is made from recycled plastic bottles and insulation in the trunk was formed from recycled blue jeans and battery cases, Prozzi says. But being green doesn't detract from the Fusion looking like a very sexy car, he insists. “That's important, because if it doesn't look good nobody will buy it.”

Prozzi also believes boundaries have been blurred between what is masculine and what is feminine.

That's one reason his design inspiration for creating the Fusion interior came from two different people: Sean Avery, a rough-and-tumble hockey player and one-time Detroit Red Wings who recently has taken an interest in fashion, and Kate Lamphear, the style director for Elle Magazine who Prozzi says has an androgynous appearance.

“I looked up what they wore and what they found attractive,” he says. “I feel my interior captures (their styles). The Fusion's interior has strong, powerful metalwork, yet everything is soft to the touch, regardless of the material.”

Prozzi also attributes his work to the influence of J Mays, Ford's chief creative officer. Mays developed the design principles that influence most of the auto maker's new vehicles. In the past, he inspired the Jaguar F-Type and Lincoln MKZ, and while at Volkswagen, the New Beetle, among other models.

The Fusion design project took place simultaneously with Mays’ development of the Ford Evos concept coupe. “It was a test bed for Fusion ideas,” Prozzi says.

Although he didn’t work on the Evos concept, Prozzi says he was inspired by Mays’ words: “We wanted the Ford Evos concept to give a clear message about where Ford design is heading –shaping vehicles that are fun to drive, have a premium appeal but, above all, are stunningly beautiful.”

Nevertheless, the Fusion presented a big challenge. “We couldn't make it too edgy, but we didn't want something boring, either,” Prozzi says. “People want something that's memorable.”

The Fusion design team spent countless hours improving the human/machine interface, alone. “The HMI of a vehicle is without question one of the most challenging; how to balance consumer needs with ever-changing technologies and deliver it in a cost, aesthetic and ergonomically appealing way,” he says.

While supervising the design of the sedan’s interior, Prozzi says he worked in close collaboration with the car’s exterior design team headed by Chris Hamilton. “We met daily, and each of us was aware of what the other was doing.”

Altogether, four interior designers and four exterior designers created the Fusion's look.