If you try to think outside the box for a moment, Rolls-Royce will probably stand out as one of the automakers that are the equivalent of a fashion company in the auto industry. The British firm’s bespoke stylish creations often combine materials, colours, and techniques that are not unseen in the fashion industry, and the new Phantom Syntopia one-off follows that trend again and even elevates it to new levels. 

Rolls-Royce describes the vehicle you see depicted in the gallery below as the most technically complex bespoke Phantom ever. It has been created following the Haute Couture fashion philosophy in cooperation with innovative fashion designer Iris van Herpen. For the uninitiated, Haute Couture is the process of hand-creating exclusive custom-fitted high-end fashion design, which first made waves in the mid-nineteenth century when Paris slowly started becoming the centre of the world’s fashion industry.

Gallery: Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia

The unique vehicle is based on the Phantom Extended, which Rolls describes as the “ultimate blank canvas for personalisation,” and has been under development and building for the last four years. The ultra-exclusive Phantom takes its name from Iris van Herpen’s 2018 collection, which was inspired by patterns and shapes found in nature. The Phantom Syntopia follows the same overall design recipe, focused on the beauty of fluid motion in solid materials. Rolls-Royce calls this theme Weaving Water.

“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. 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,” fashion designer Iris van Herpen explains.

That Weaving Water approach can be first seen when you open up the doors and take a look at the headliner, which was the most technically challenging component of the Phantom Syntopia for the designers. It was crafted using a single sheet of leather selected from over 1,000 hides. Those impressively precise symmetrical cuts were all done by hand and give the headliner a liquid-like three-dimensional appearance. The process of applying those 162 delicate petals alone took van Herpen’s team nearly 300 hours at Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood factory. Combining all other operations of designing, preparing, and building, the headliner involved approximately 700 collective hours of work.

Another very interesting detail is the design of the picnic tables which mirrors the Weaving Water theme of the Phantom’s front bonnet. This unique finish was achieved by combining multiple coats of paint and lacquer containing different quantities of glass particles. The formula was perfected for four months by the automaker’s Exterior Surface Centre before it was ready to be applied to the car with nine trial versions made before finding the ideal proportion of glass particles.