Rolls-Royce and Designer Iris van Herpen Create the Nature-inspired Phantom Syntopia

The most technically complex Bespoke Phantom ever built took four years to develop and execute - and comes with a designer garment.

By Sony Thomas

Collaboration between luxury houses isn’t something new. And Rolls-Royce, the ultimate name in automotive luxury, has been prolific in its associations with other luxury brands. From the Phantom Oribe, a bespoke motor car built in collaboration with Hermès, to the ultra-opulent and exclusive Boat Tail in partnership with Bovet 1822, the Goodwood carmaker has leveraged the fruits of luxury associations to the maximum. The British uber-luxury car brand has now announced a new partnership with Dutch fashion designer and couturière Iris van Herpen. The result is Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia, said to be the most technically complex Bespoke Phantom ever built.

Rolls Royce Phantom Syntopia

The Haute Couture-inspired one-off luxury coach is based on the Phantom Extended and is the result of four years of development. Phantom Syntopia takes its name from van Herpen’s 2018 collection, designed on the tenets of biomimicry, where art takes cues from patterns and shapes in nature. Much like that collection of garments, the bespoke car also strives to capture the beauty of “fluid motion in solid materials” using its ‘Weaving Water’ theme, where three-dimensional textile sculptures in the car’s interior depict the flow of water. While some interior elements were made by Rolls-Royce craftspeople, others were made at Iris van Herpen’s Amsterdam atelier.

Iris van Herpen Atelier-Craftsmanship process

Rolls-Royce says the Weaving Water Starlight Headliner in the Phantom Syntopia was the most technically challenging ever to produce. Made from a single sheet of leather selected from over 1,000 hides, it has woven nylon fabric underneath, lending the Headliner a three-dimensional look. Finishing it with 162 delicate petals made of glass organza apparently took nearly 300 hours, while 187 of the 995 fiberoptic ‘stars’ were individually placed by hand, taking work on the Headliner alone to a collective 700 hours. These ‘stars’ illuminate sequentially from the rear to the front creating a feeling of movement. The ‘Weaving Water’ theme also runs along the width of the car’s fascia, including the Gallery.

Rolls Royce Phantom Syntopia

Complementing the cabin is the shimmering exterior coated in a specially developed one-off Liquid Noir paint that hints at purple, blue, magenta and gold tinges when viewed at different angles. The bonnet features a restrained rendering of the ‘Weaving Water’ motif achieved by redistributing the pigment during the finishing process.

The Phantom Syntopia is also the first Rolls-Royce model to include a bespoke scent developed by an expert perfumer in close collaboration with the clients. Taking the Haute Couture experience to the next level, Iris van Herpen will design a one-off garment for the clients who commissioned this car, to be ready by the time the car reaches the clients’ private collection in May.

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