Haute Couturière Iris Van Herpen and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars teamed with Dutch fashion designer and Haute Couturière Iris Van Herpen to produce what the company says is “the most technically complex Bespoke Phantom ever produced.”

Dubbed the Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia, the new bespoke sedan is based on the Phantom Extended platform, and took four years to create. 

“Building on two decades of joint undertakings with the world’s most celebrated design houses, artists, horologists and jewelers, Phantom Syntopia secures Phantom’s standing as the ultimate blank canvas for Bespoke personalization,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“In collaborating with internationally renowned designer and Haute Couturière Iris van Herpen, we once again redraw the boundaries of innovation, craftsmanship and bespoke possibility; not just for a motor car but across the wider luxury sector.”

A high-fashion Rolls-Royce

The Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia’s headliner takes more than 700 hours to create.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia is painted using unique Liquid Noir paint that’s created from black paint covered with a mirror-like pigment that has color-shifting properties. So, while the Phantom’s finish appears lustrous in sunlight, it possesses traces of purple, blue, magenta and gold depending on the angle you’re viewing it from.

The Syntopia’s hood incorporates the model’s distinctive Weaving Water motif, a design that’s used throughout the car’s cabin.

The interior takes the Weaving Water design and incorporates it into the car’s headliner, which uses leather that’s sliced to reveal the woven nylon fabric underneath it. The headliner is finished using 162 glass organza pedals. (Organza is a thin, sheer fabric with a plain weave that is typically made of silk or woven from strands of nylon or polyester.) It’s accentuated by 995 of Rolls-Royce’s trademark sparkling fiberoptic stars, 187 of which are placed by hand along the artwork. They blink sequentially, lending the lighting a feeling of animation, a first for the brand. 

As you might expect, crafting the headliner is a laborious process, one that takes more than 700 hours to complete. And that’s just the headliner.

A further 85 pedals are placed along the right side of the instrument panel, a spot that Rolls-Royce refers to as the gallery. It’s a sport for bespoke artwork and craftsmanship to individualize each car. The design can also be found on the vehicle’s picnic tables.

A far-out fabric

The Phantom Syntopia’s paint finish is uniquely its own and uses special processes to obtain its irridescent effect.

But the bespoke Phantom Syntopia also allowed Rolls-Royce designers to investigate alternative seat fabric solutions. Traditionally a Rolls-Royce, as well as high-end chauffeur models, the driver’s seat, actually the whole front row would be trimmed in leather, chosen for its ability to withstand the element — often the driver’s compartment was open to the elements.

The closed passenger compartment was trimmed fine fabrics. In that tradition, the Phantom Syntopia’s front seats are trimmed in gray leather, while the rear seats are covered in a specially created silk-blend fabric, with a pattern meant to evoke the patterns cast by light reflecting on water at night. The fabric is then quilted using the Weaving Water motif.

“Our engineers and craftspeople pushed their own limits and challenged existing notions of what’s possible in their pursuit of perfection. Phantom Syntopia is the most technically complex commission we have ever created,” said Jonathan Simms, general manager, Bespoke, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The finishing touches

To enhance the cabin’s ambience, a special cedarwood-based fragrance was developed by an expert perfumer to lend the interior a truly bespoke aroma. The fragrance is released from the headrests.

Rolls-Royce did not reveal the Phantom Syntopia’s price, as it was a bespoke commission.

As if to accentuate the special nature of this bespoke commission, Iris Van Herpen is designing equally bespoke apparel especially for this car’s clients. As you might have guessed, the design of the dress sculpturally echoes the Weaving Water theme used throughout the sedan. The dress will have the ‘liquid metal’ fabric used in the headliner, incorporating glass organza petals handstitched into the undulating wave pattern also seen on the car. 

The Rolls-Royce Syntopia is one of one, and its exact design specification will not be repeated, the company said.

Rolls-Royce says that its Rolls-Royce Bespoke division is celebrating its most successful year in the marque’s 118-year history — and that’s saying something given that all of the marque’s coachwork was bespoke prior to World War II. Of course, the company is measuring the hallmark by the total value of its custom commissions.

“The world of Rolls-Royce is very similar to Haute Couture,” Van Herpen said. “Every garment I create is a one-off, tailor-made to my clients’ individual measurements, just like every Rolls-Royce. My clients come to our atelier in Amsterdam for fittings, just as Rolls-Royce clients are invited to Goodwood throughout the design and craft process. On many levels, this collaboration was a natural symbiosis.”

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