- The best way to predict the future is to create it. Peter Drucker
Have a Rolls-Royce Phantom Serenity
It used to be that owning a particular make or model car was a sufficient display of wealth. Today, however, it seems like every Youtube rap sensation or Saudi Prince can afford a Maybach. Rare models just don’t seem rare any more. Enter the bespoke car. Luxury manufacturers have begun to emphasize customization, creating unique takes on high-end models that are as much pieces of art as they are automobiles. Case in point: the Rolls-Royce Phantom Serenity, a unique version of the well-known Phantom coupe with a tranquil pearl paint job and an interior that draws on Japanese artwork.
While the outside of the car is the very portrait of austerity, the interior is a temple to opulence, with silk upholstery inspired by the textiles of imperial China. Blossoms drawn in classic Japanese style adorn the walls of the Serenity, emphasizing the zen aesthetic. The technical aspects of the Phantom are well-documented; it handles well and can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 6.0 seconds. What makes the Serenity unique is its singular aesthetic, a commitment to luxury that makes it seem more like a royal litter than a car. Rolls-Royce is banking on the Serenity as a harbinger of things to come in the luxury car market, of a future where the wealthy commission bespoke cars just as the princes of Italy funded renaissance paintings. Those who want this rare beast may be out of luck; so far, only one exists.
Creating the interior of Serenity
As with the creation of every Rolls-Royce, the genesis of Serenity and its blossom motif began with a blank piece of paper. However, unlike any other Rolls-Royce, it also began with a blank bolt of the finest hand-woven silk.
In order to create this totally one-off bolt of silk for Serenity, the Bespoke team looked to Suzhou, China, the town renowned for its creation of imperial embroidery. The team sourced the unspun silk thread and had it hand-dyed by the Chinese craftspeople who have been creating beautiful silks for centuries.
It was then transported to one of Britain’s oldest mills, based in Essex, to be hand-woven into just 10 metres of the fabric – enough to clothe the interior of Serenity – in a process that took two days or two hours per meter of fabric. The numerous colours of silk thread were painstakingly blended into the highest quality warp which has 140 threads per centimetre to result in the lustrous Smoke Green colour of the underlying silk fabric.
Once prepared, the plain Smoke Green silk was transferred to London where the blossom motif designed by Haye and Lusby – a uniquely modern take on centuries-old silk Chinoiserie – began to flourish across the fabric as British and Chinese craftspeople embroidered their vision of copper-coloured branches and white petals.
The final touch was the detailed petal by petal hand-painting of crimson blossoms directly onto the silk. The resulting panels and swatches that have formed the centrepiece of Serenity would take up to 600 hours of work per panel.