The headliner alone took over 700 hours of work and the rear seats are finished in silk
March 6, 2023 at 11:04
by Sebastien Bell
Iris van Herpen, for those who aren’t into fashion, is a big deal in the world of haute couture. In fact, she is a member of the Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, so it doesn’t get much more high fashion than her. And she has spent the last four years working with Rolls-Royce to create a one-off car.
Inspired by her 2018 collection, Syntopia, which saw garments designed using the principles of biomimicry, van Herpen endeavored to apply that same concept to a car, with the Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia.
“For this special collaboration, I was inspired by the concept of ‘Weaving Water’ and transformed the sense of being in movement into an immersive experience of fluidity inside the Phantom,” she explains. “I wanted this to become a state-of-the-art experience being overwhelmed by the forces of nature. The powerful movement of the Phantom is woven into the shifting three-dimensional waves inside the car to embody the ingenuity of nature.”
Read: Rolls-Royce Creates ‘The Six Elements’ Limited Edition Phantoms
On the outside, that theme of weaving water can be best seen on the hood. Based around a one-off color called Liquid Noir, the iridescent shade of black has hues of purple, blue, magneta, and gold depending on the angle at which it’s viewed.
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Creating the color took Rolls-Royce over 3,000 hours of testing and validation, and saw the marque develop a new technique for applying a clear coat over its solid-black paint. That allowed it to redistribute the pigment to create a motif in the paint.
It’s What’s Inside That Matters
This being a car inspired by high fashion, the interior is the part that really matters. Indeed, the roof panel is an artwork in and of itself. Made of a single piece of leather (chosen from a stock of 1,000 hides), it features precisely positioned, symmetrical cuts that reveal a woven nylon fabric.
This technique was previously used in van Herpen’s “Embossed Sounds” collection, and has been arranged here around a 162-piece petal motif made of glass organza that was installed by members of the fashion designer’s own team. The whole ceiling is finished with Rolls-Royce’s fiber optic star pattern and in all, it took over 700 hours of work to complete, between the two teams.
Lower down, the interior of the car was inspired by Rolls-Royce’s more historic vehicles, in which the front seats were made of hard-wearing leather (for the chauffeur), and the rear seats were made of finer fabrics.
Here, the front seats are finished in Magic Grey leather, which has a lustrous finish, and the rear seats are finished in a silk blend fabric, whose design was inspired by the reflection of lights on the water during nighttime.
Beyond the Material Realm
Beyond the physical materials that went into the Phantom Syntopia, Rolls-Royce also created a signature scent for the car. Inspired by the fashion designer, it features elements of iris, in addition to cedarwood, hints of leather, mild lemon, and rose from Patagonia. The scent is diffused by a patented mechanism in the headrest that ensures that it is never under or overpowering.
In addition to the one-off Phantom, the new owner (whose name has not been divulged) will also get a one-off garment designed by Iris van Herpen. The sculptural design of the dress echoes the weaving water motif of the car and features all of the same materials and techniques used inside of it.
While the new Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia is expected to be delivered to its new owner in May, the dress will take around six months to complete.
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