Rolls-Royce presents the Phantom Syntopia, the most technically complex Bespoke Phantom ever produced. Known for her beautifully sculptured garments and incredible craftsmanship, Iris van Herpen brings her inspirations to a luxury vehicle for the first time.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today unveils Phantom Syntopia, an intricate, haute couture-inspired masterpiece created in collaboration with renowned Dutch fashion designer and haute couturière Iris van Herpen. Based on Phantom Extended, it is the most technically complex commission ever undertaken by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective, exemplifying the level of craft that the British car manufacturer is capable of. Following four years of continuous development, this extraordinary, one of a kind commission is complete and will soon take its place in the private collection of an un-named patron of the brand.

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.

To create the stunning, shimmering exterior, the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective developed a one-off Liquid Noir paint. Iridescent in sunlight, it reveals Purple, Blue, Magenta and Gold undertones when viewed at different angles. To achieve this effect, the marque’s darkest solid-black paint is overlaid with a finish incorporating a mirror-like pigment, selected for its colour-shifting properties. To add a subtle, elegant shimmer, the team developed a brand-new technique for applying pigment to the clearcoat – a process that took several months, including over 3,000 hours of testing and validation. On closer inspection, the motor car’s bonnet is seen to feature a subtle rendering of the Weaving Water motif that appears throughout the interior, produced by carefully redistributing the pigment during the finishing process.

Phantom Syntopia’s interior suite incorporates magnificent features which were co-created by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective and Iris van Herpen. Some interior elements were handcrafted at the Home of Rolls-Royce by the company’s leading craftspeople working alongside members of Iris van Herpen’s team, while others were created in Iris van Herpen’s Amsterdam atelier, alongside her haute couture garments. 

There was more possible than I had thought there would be. I am really happy that we were able to bring such delicacy into the car. Working on the headliner and the gallery felt very similar to the haute couture process. It also really helped that my team was here at Rolls Royce for a while because we would not have been able to do it a different way. My team really enjoyed it.” – Iris Van Herpen

The interior features the Weaving Water Starlight Headliner, the most technically challenging version of this signature Rolls-Royce feature ever produced. Crafted using a single sheet of flawless leather, selected from over 1,000 hides, the Headliner acts as an art piece adorning the ceiling of the vehicle. Precise symmetrical cuts reveal a silver ‘liquid metal’ texture made from woven nylon fabric underneath, used in Iris van Herpen’s ‘Embossed Sounds’ collection, giving the Headliner a three-dimensional appearance. It is finished with 162 delicate petals made of glass organza, applied by members of Iris van Herpen’s couture team who travelled to Goodwood to undertake the work – a process that took nearly 300 hours. In addition, 187 of the 995 sparkling fiberoptic ‘stars’ were individually placed by hand alongside the artwork; illuminating sequentially, starting from the rear and moving to the front, they create a feeling of movement. In total, the entire Headliner alone involved almost 700 collective hours of work.

The ‘Weaving Water’ theme continues throughout the unique crafting in the Gallery, which runs the width of the Phantom’s fascia. Combining traditional haute couture techniques and innovative visual forms, this highly expressive work includes a further 85 petals, which were also attached by hand by Iris van Herpen’s team working at Goodwood, representing almost 60 hours’ painstaking work. The car is the world’s first to feature the delicacies of bespoke haute couture fashion.

In homage to Rolls-Royce’s heritage, this unique motor car recalls an era where a driver’s seat was trimmed in hardwearing leather and the rear compartment in luxurious, inviting fabrics. The front seats of Phantom Syntopia are finished in Magic Grey leather, distinguished by its lustrous finish. The rear seats are upholstered with a specially created silk-blend fabric, featuring a distinctive pattern which recalls the patterns cast by light reflecting on water at night. The seats are quilted with a Weaving Water motif, inspired by a tufting technique often employed in fine furniture-making in which embroidery is applied to the reverse side of the textile. This creates a three-dimensional depth while achieving a smooth, seamless, uninterrupted surface.

The project has gone further than any previous Rolls Royce commission by incorporating a Bespoke scent, creating a truly immersive expression of luxury. It was developed by an expert perfumer in close collaboration with the client. Designed to create a lasting memory, the fragrance is subtle and perfectly complements other aromas arising from the leather and other fine materials used in the car. The core scent is cedarwood and as part of this project’s constant quest for the ultimate in personalisation, the cedarwood used was carefully sourced specially from the client’s home region. The scent’s base combines powdery notes of Iris, obtained using a fluid extraction technology, with added hints of leather, finally blended with rose from Patagonia and a mild lemon.

The specially-developed scent-releasing mechanism is housed within the headrests. This patented technology ensures the fragrance is released in suitably delicate doses for a long-lasting, sophisticated sensory experience. The development process took more than two years, including rigorous testing in both very hot and very cold temperatures, to ensure the scent maintains its distinctive profile in all conditions. 

Phantom Syntopia will take its place in the client’s private collection in May. As a true one-of-one commission, Rolls-Royce assure that the car will never be replicated.