Motoring / Cars and Bikes

Rolls-Royce x Iris van Herpen: Phantom Syntopia

The Phantom Syntopia is perhaps the most complex commission that Rolls-Royce has ever built.

Mar 14, 2023 | By Joseph Low

Rolls-Royce, the British marque that has been synonymous with a luxuriant lifestyle, has once again outdone itself. Presenting the Phantom Syntopia, which the brand said is the “most technically complex Bespoke Phantom produced.” Based on the brand’s Phantom Extended model, which serves as the perfect canvas, the Phantom Syntopia is created in collaboration with renowned Dutch fashion designer and Haute Couturière Iris van Herpen.

According to Rolls-Royce, “Phantom Syntopia takes its name from Iris van Herpen’s landmark 2018 collection, designed on the principles of biomimicry in which art is inspired by patterns and shapes found in nature.”

“Like the collection, which comprises a series of highly sculptural garments brought to life through movement, Phantom Syntopia seeks to represent the elusive, ethereal beauty of fluid motion in solid materials through its ‘Weaving Water’ theme.”

The couture theme is subtly featured on the motor car’s bonnet, where the iconic Weaving Water motif is expertly rendered on. To do this, the craftsmen have to redistribute the pigment during the finishing process carefully so that it can be seen.

From start to finish, the Phantom Syntopia took four years of continuous development and will take its place in the private collection of discerning patrons of the brand. After the initial phases of designing the car, Rolls-Royce further shared that the exterior paintwork alone took over 3,000 hours of testing and validation. The result: A shimmering façade that is iridescent under sunlight to unveil hues of purple, blue, magenta and gold when viewed at different angles.

In the interior suite, the collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Iris van Herpen is further exemplified as the elements within the car were handcrafted at the Home of Rolls-Royce by its leading craftspeople and members of the fashion designer’s team.

Upon opening the doors of the Phantom Syntopia, the Weaving Water Starlight Headliner will immediately capture the attention of its owner. Crafted using a single sheet of leather, exact cuts are made to reveal a silver “liquid metal” texture and this gives the headliner its 3D appearance. To finish up, 162 delicate petals made up of delicate glass organza petals, were painstakingly applied by hand for nearly 300 hours. In addition, almost 200 sparkling fiberoptic stars were also placed by hand to create a sense of movement, taking a total of almost 700 collective hours of work.

The Weaving Water motif continues to be spotted in the Gallery, which runs the width of the Phantom’s fascia. By blending traditional haute couture methods with creative visual designs, this incredibly expressive creation includes an extra 85 petals that were meticulously affixed by hand by Iris van Herpen’s team at Goodwood, taking nearly 60 hours of meticulous labour.

Also in the Gallery, the Phantom Syntopia is equipped with Magic Grey leather seats in the front, and in the back, there are seats upholstered with a silk-blend material that was specifically designed for the vehicle. This is a tribute to Rolls-Royce’s history, where the driver’s seat was typically covered in durable leather, while the rear compartment was adorned with a comfortable, luxurious fabric.

Speaking more about the Phantom Syntopia and this collaboration with Iris van Herpen, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “Phantom Syntopia is the most ambitious, singular and highly Bespoke Phantom we have ever created, and a clear statement of Rolls-Royce’s standing as a true luxury house. Building on two decades of joint undertakings with the world’s most celebrated design houses, artists, horologists and jewellers, Phantom Syntopia secures Phantom’s standing as the ultimate blank canvas for Bespoke personalisation. 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.”

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