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Discussion Starter #1
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Showcases Textile Design Capabilities With Serenity

"Take the best that exists, and make it better". A quotation attributed to one of the founders of the world's most illustrious car manufacturers. Giles Taylor, Director of Design for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, has done just that. Recognising the trend of individual personalisation and subsequent rise in Bespoke customer commissions, the automotive visionary has complemented the most prestigious Bespoke Design Team in the world by adding outstanding talent from new arenas.

Two young, female, textile design prodigies, Cherica Haye and Michelle Lusby, have joined a collective of the automotive world's finest designers, engineers and craftspeople, tasked with fulfilling the requirements of discerning Rolls-Royce customers who wish to make their cars unique.

This fusion of expertise has led to the creation of a motor car which showcases the pinnacle of both design and automotive luxury, setting a new benchmark in the art of conveyance.

Serenity, a one-of-a-kind Phantom Extended Wheelbase motor car, is a highly crafted modern interpretation of a Japanese Garden, designed by Haye and Lusby. The rear cabin has been created out of hand-painted and hand-embroidered raw silk, depicting an interpretation of a Japanese tree which wraps around the interior of the motor car. Designed specifically for the rear occupants, the highly ornate blossom and petal pattern runs throughout the car, with the emphasis on the opulent headliner.

Haye and Lusby join Rolls-Royce Motor Cars from two of the UK's foremost textile design schools.

"It is imperative that we connect with these designers when their creativity is in abundance, fresh from university and design colleges. Cherica and Michelle bring with them a deep understanding of different textures and applications in design; when combined with the existing expertise of the Bespoke team we can reach new boundaries in automotive design, allowing us to incorporate precious, beautiful and natural materials in our motor cars," Giles Taylor commented.

"Over recent years we have seen the merging of art forms," he continued. "Industries are less segregated and compartmentalised; boundaries are blended between art, design and contemporary culture. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars spans these industries, marrying contemporary vision and skilled craftsmanship with excellence in design and engineering.

"This merging of industries, with luxury at the heart, of which Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is at the core, provides us with an opportunity to offer our customers much more than just a motor car. Taking the finest practises and techniques from these industries allows us to satisfy our customers' requirements, reinforcing Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as the pinnacle of a hybrid of design, fashion and engineering excellence."

Haye and Lusby reside in the Colour and Materials department. Responsible for designing exterior paint and leather colours as well as interior textures, they select colours and trims which will complement each other, working closely with the exterior and interior automotive designers.

"Colour and Material Design is the common thread throughout every human's life," says Haye. "I don't just mean fabric; much of what we take for granted has been designed specifically to create a certain atmosphere or impression, or to evoke a particular emotion. The combination of materials is as important as the design itself; these elements go hand in hand."

Colour and Materials Designer, Michelle Lusby

Michelle Lusby joined the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Design Team as a Colour and Materials Designer in April 2014, having received a First Class Honours Degree in Interior Textiles & Surface Design from the University of Plymouth. Here she explored print, colour and material manipulation, and gained an understanding of the key properties of fabrics and different printing processes which have enabled her to explore unique ways to apply texture and form to a flat surface, creating finishes that are beautifully unique.

Born into a creative family, Lusby followed in her Grandmother's footsteps and gained experience working for a luxury leather goods company in her home county of Somerset. This ignited a passion for textiles and a keen interest in luxury Interior Design. Lusby's Grandmother was fabled for her fashion illustrations, a skill passed to Michelle who to this day uses hand drawing and sketches to illustrate her ideas and designs.

This creativity is apparent in Serenity, a Phantom Extended Wheelbase, created in the finest quality raw silk, hand painted and hand embroidered with a tree in full bloom, evoking an atmosphere of calm tranquillity. The fabric has been designed to provide texture to the interior of the motor car. Each thread has been hand placed to reflect light and bring the motif to life.

Lusby commented, "With Serenity we have pushed the boundaries of the concept of Bespoke. We have taken luxury to a new level. The car transcends being a form of transportation and becomes a work of art, demonstrating the constant striving for perfection and an unparalleled pursuit of sourcing the finest materials for the world's best motor car."

Cherica Haye, Colour and Materials Designer, Bespoke Design

Thirty year old Cherica Haye achieved a Masters Degree in Textile Design from the Royal College of Art, having obtained a BA Honours Degree in Textiles from Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in 2011.

Haye was responsible for hand-painting the Serenity motif onto a paper scroll before transcribing it for realisation. "To go home after work saying I was hand painting today sounds like a dream, something I was warned at both the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martin's that I would unlikely do when starting out in the industry. It is testament to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars that every element of design is considered, no corners are cut, no compromises made."

Haye continued, "I feel a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that the many years spent fine-tuning my creative skills as a Textiles Designer at two of the best Art and Design colleges in the world can pay off. It is a tremendous payback for those long hours and relentless investigation of fabric, textures and finishes." Haye, a keen cyclist, recognises the importance of exercise in daily routine. "If I'm physically fit I find it fuels my body to design better."

As experts in colour and material, the design duo are constantly searching for inspiration. This rarely comes in the form of automotive design, unless as in this case from the annals of Rolls-Royce, but often from Art & Design, current trends, sometimes even societies and cultures.

For Serenity, the women began their research in the marque's rich archive. In the early 1900's, chauffeurs sat on leather, a naturally robust material suited to exposure to the elements. Luxurious fabrics remained the upholstery of choice for the occupants of the rear compartment. Today, as supple leather of the finest quality has become accepted as the norm in luxurious travel, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars re-introduces silk as a sumptuous and highly opulent upholstery on which to reside.

When Haye and Lusby considered the ambience experienced in the rear compartment of a contemporary Rolls-Royce, thoughts turned to the Far East, specifically a Japanese Garden.

"A Rolls-Royce Phantom is synonymous with tranquillity. It is an ambient, calm and peaceful cocoon in an often frenetic world. This evoked notions of the Emperors from the Far East, who would retreat to their private gardens to reflect in solitude under blossom trees," says Haye.

She continues, "This lead us to explore the materials and textures used in this culture; silk defined opulence, the colour of the raw silk we used could often be found in robes worn by the Japanese Royal Family, and the Blossom motif in full bloom, which envelops the motor car, is to this day often viewed as a symbol of hope and renewal."

The exterior paint colour has been specifically designed for Serenity, the most complex and expensive paint ever created by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Serene pearlescent hues of the Mother of Pearl paint respond gracefully to light, hinting at the resplendent interior of this one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

The selection of precious substances used throughout Serenity reference the Oriental Influences. The Blossom motif is recreated through the finest marquetry on the rear doors and fascia through the use of Mother of Pearl, laser-cut and hand applied, petal by petal into rare smoked cherry wood. In addition, Mother of Pearl is applied to the face of the clock and driver's instrument dials, etched with concentric circles redolent of the raked gravel seen in Japanese gardens, and set with hand applied precious rubies, echoing the colour of the hand-painted flowers in the silk lining.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brings Serenity to this year's Geneva International Motor Show, unveiling the new standard in authentic, bespoke luxury motoring to the world's media.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Brings Serenity to the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show

"Celebrating the historical role played by silk as a symbol of ultimate elegance, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke Design team has created a magnificent one-off Phantom which will set a new benchmark for luxury individualisation in the motor industry, and reaffirm that Bespoke is Rolls-Royce." Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has brought Serenity to this year's Geneva International Motor Show, unveiling the new standard in authentic, bespoke luxury motoring to the world's media.

Showcasing the tireless efforts of the Bespoke designers and craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood to "Take the best that exists and make it better," Serenity introduces a completely new level of individualised luxury applied to a Rolls-Royce Phantom – already considered by owners and admirers alike to be "the Best Car in the World."

Sir Henry Royce's maxim, "When it does not exist, design it," inspired the latest generation of Rolls-Royce's Bespoke designers to ask what wholly new approach to luxury would delight the most demanding and exacting people in the world – Rolls-Royce customers. Their answer came from Rolls-Royce's deep understanding of the most precious, beautiful and natural materials.

Silk would prove to be the route to a new definition of luxury, one that guarantees every customer a canvas for completely unique design, every time.

The marque's Bespoke Design team took inspiration from the opulent interiors of Rolls-Royces that have conveyed Kings and Queens, Emperors and Empresses and world leaders. Add to this, contemporary interpretations of furniture design combined with Japanese Royal robe motifs and Rolls-Royce designers have delivered a truly innovative, thoroughly modern and tranquil Rolls-Royce interior.

Delivering authentic modern luxury, Serenity reintroduces the finest of textiles – silk – to create the most opulent interior of any luxury car. This unique design demonstrates the levels of craftsmanship, creativity and attention to detail only Rolls-Royce Motor Cars can offer.

More than ever, Bespoke is Rolls-Royce.

The fabric of the ultimate Phantom

"Having revisited the history of the amazing interiors of the elite Rolls-Royce's of the early 1900's, we felt inspired to share this heritage with our new customers in a very contemporary way," comments Giles Taylor, Director of Design at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The choice of Phantom for this project was obvious, but creating the motif that would define this most opulent and modern of automotive interiors would require considerable new expertise.

Cherica Haye and Michelle Lusby, both Textile Arts graduates from the Royal College of Art and Plymouth University respectively, joined Rolls-Royce's Bespoke Design department to help realise the direction of the core motif for this magnificent one-off Phantom.

"Some of the most opulent silk motifs come to us from the Orient, where imperial families' and rich merchants' robes were made from the finest silk materials," comments Lusby.

The ultimate example of the most opulent robe design became the junihitoe, a highly complex handmade 'twelve-layer robe' of silk worn only by female Japanese courtiers. The colours and the arrangements of the layers were very important, with the colours given poetic names such as 'crimson plum of the spring'.

In addition, during the Japanese Edo period (1615-1868), the merchant and artisan classes commissioned beautiful clothes to demonstrate their wealth and good taste. Clothing developed into a highly expressive means of personal display, an important indicator of rising affluence and aesthetic sensibility.

Anew aesthetic known as iki, or elegant chic, meant anyone with real taste focussed on subtle details, whilst those with style and money found ways to circumvent rules that forbade the use of certain colours, such as red, by applying them to undergarments and linings.

"The rear compartment of a Phantom is the most tranquil, beautiful place to be, a place where time and the outside world simply slip past," says Haye. "This tranquillity made us think of the Oriental tradition where Emperors would take to their private gardens to reflect in solitude under the blossom trees. The blossom motif is one that is cherished in Far Eastern culture and has been beautifully applied to Royal robe design over the centuries. We felt it was the perfect representation of tranquillity and serenity for a beautiful modern interior from Rolls-Royce."

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.

Unconscious painting

The style of painting employed in the design of the Serenity silk is a centuries-old technique known as 'unconscious painting'. Much of Japanese painting technique is learned through very fine and detailed rendering of classical forms within nature; branches, leaves, flowers, bamboo etc.

The work can be painstaking with the same form rendered again and again. The purpose of this repetition is to imbue in the artist an innate understanding of these natural forms until their balance and nature is understood without thought.

In order to paint a calm and beautiful image the artist must be calm of mind. Mood becomes all important as it will influence the balance and mood of the work. A meditative state results where the brush can flow freely in the artist's hand – a state of 'unconscious painting'. So in preparing to paint the panels for Serenity, the serene state of mind was all important. The branches needed to have life, movement, spontaneity – but with grace and calm.

Inspiring Serenity – the ultimate in Bespoke luxury

"From renaissance times to the modern day, eminent people have surrounded themselves with rare fabrics such as silk to signify their power and position in society, whether at home or on the move," explains Giles Taylor, Director of Design at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "In the early 20th Century, as closed Rolls-Royce's replaced luxurious carriages, these opulent fabrics began travelling with their owners in the rear compartments of the world's finest motor cars."

As discerning customers in the early 1900's moved from horse drawn carriage to motor car, the style for many of their luxury automobiles was the Sedanca de Ville. With open cockpits, chauffeurs continued to sit on leather, a naturally robust material suited to exposure to the elements. However, luxurious fabrics remained the upholstery of choice for the occupants of the rear compartment.

Only when automotive leather became more refined was it accepted by patrons of the prestigious marques as a luxury material. At the same time the increasing availability of artificial fabrics to the wider car industry meant that leather was seen as a luxury, and the best leather, the ultimate luxury. Today, only the finest hides make it into a Rolls-Royce motor car.

"The desire for the finest, most opulent fabrics endures amongst the cognoscenti around the world, including many Rolls-Royce owners," continues Taylor. "The thought that fabrics such as silk have been discounted from use because of their delicacy only spurred us on to go further than any other car maker is capable of doing. The result is Serenity."

More than just Silk

Of course, the creation of the most opulent interior of any luxury car could not simply rely on beautiful silk upholstery. Taking its cue from the world of modern furniture design, the rear occupants' elevated and powerful seating position has been accentuated with the valances of the seats made from rare Smoked Cherrywood. Reminding one of the drivers' position in the early 1900's motor car, the seats in the front of the car are clothed in Arctic White leather.

Smoked Cherrywood continues the Oriental theme within the cabin, applied the Serenity's door cappings, dash fascia and rear centre console, but further embellished by another beautiful Far-Eastern wood – Bamboo – with the highly skilled application of Bamboo cross-banding.

In addition, the blossom motif from the silk is recreated through the finest marquetry on the rear door cappings through the use of Mother of Pearl, which is laser-cut and hand-applied, petal by petal into the wood. Mother of Pearl is created when two substances, one mineral and the other organic, combine. Tiny hexagonal plates of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate, are arranged in layers alternating with conchiolin, a flexible protein similar to silk that is secreted by the mollusk.

This theme is continued in the driver's compartment of the car with Mother of Pearl applied to the face of Bespoke Serenity's clock and the driver's instrument dials. This Mother of Pearl face is etched with concentric circles redolent of the raked gravel seen in Japanese gardens, and is inlaid with hand-applied rubies which echo the colour of the hand-painted flowers in the silk lining.

Continuing the theme of ultimate luxury, the luggage compartment of Serenity is lined in Arctic White leather with an Arctic White carpet.

As a final touch, two parasols featuring the Serenity motif are held by Bespoke leather loops incorporated into the boot lid.

Seductive and beautiful exterior

The lustre of Phantom Serenity's exterior dazzles with its powerful and noble presence.

Its Bespoke Mother of Pearl paint is the most expensive one-off paint ever developed by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. It has been added in a three stage pearl effect and hand-polished for 12 hours by the craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood to deliver this shimmering presence.

Hinting at what is to come, a delicate two colour coachline with three colour blossom motif echoes the interior. The coachline that adorns Serenity's exterior has been applied by the squirrel-hair brush of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars coachline expert, Mark Court. The asymmetric nature of the coachline signifies the respective positions of owner and chauffeur, with the entrance to the rear compartment indicated on the right-hand side of the car with the blossom on the rear wing and coachline ending at the B-pillar.

Bespoke is Rolls-Royce

Phantom Serenity is the latest one-off commission to come from the Bespoke team at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. One-off commissions and Bespoke Collections helped Bespoke sales to grow globally by 31% in 2014, with 85% of all Rolls-Royce motor cars sold around the world commissioned with some level of Bespoke content.

Whilst every Rolls-Royce is special, nearly every customer desires extraordinary distinguishing features to make their car completely unique. Fulfilling these requests falls to the marque's Bespoke design department; a collective of the automotive world's finest designers, engineers and craftspeople.

This approach has distinguished Rolls-Royce Motor Cars for over a century, with today's methods echoing the age of the coachbuilder when customers purchased their chassis and engine before sending it away to be bodied to their exacting specifications. From the finest detailing to the boldest statement, customers work in close collaboration with the team to realise their desires. Inspiration can come from anywhere; whether it is a request to perfectly match the exterior finish to a favourite garment or a more elaborate creation that seeks to tell a story, no idea is left unexplored.

With an unparalleled scope for personalisation, Bespoke is very much the jewel in the crown of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars' unique brand promise. Indeed, Bespoke is Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II at a glance

Phantom's striking and modern front best encapsulates the essence of changes that lie beneath:

A modern front face, featuring rectangular LED headlamp clusters, indicator strip and new front bumper design

The first car manufacturer to offer full LED headlamps as standard, incorporating curve light functionality and adaptive headlamps for enhanced road illumination

New single piece grille surround for Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé; colour coded grille surround offered as an option

Three new wheel finishes available across the range

Redesigned rear bumper for Phantom Saloon incorporating polished stainless steel highlight and new seat flute design across the range

Sublime and effortless: enhanced assistance, connectivity and infotainment systems:

Fully updated satellite navigation system featuring 3D map display and landscape topography, satellite view, guided tours, enhanced points of interest and composite route planning function

Larger control centre display and eight functional bookmarks in chrome for easy selection of key functions

New chrome rotary controller, flanked by function keys including menu, navigation and telephone
Enhanced assistance provided by camera system, featuring top view, automatic rear path prediction and split-front view

Smart phone cradle, 12V and USB port in centre console; abundant hard drive for storing music accessible via additional glove compartment USB port

Excellence in engineering and pinnacle performance:

New 8-speed automatic gearbox and rear differential, complement peerless direct injection V12 engine improving performance and serene Phantom ride experience

Fuel consumption improves by 10 percent across the range; CO2 emissions down from 385 to 347g/km

Enhancements to Phantom's lightweight aluminium spaceframe, including the addition of brace bars for optional Phantom Saloon dynamic package featuring stiffer suspension, visible exhausts, thicker steering wheel, alternative gearbox tuning and linear braking characteristics

Front door side pockets now slightly smaller, due to the addition of a crash pad, for more even distribution of forces in a 30° side-impact pole tests



FIN Moderator
2,106 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
It's nice to know Rolls-Royce has the guts to build a vehicle with silk upholstery.

ALL luxury brands should offer fine fabrics as an alternative to leathers.

FIN Moderator
2,106 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
^ glad I was at the Library when I opened this thread, N.R. ...with all those pix :angel

VERY Agree about fabrics!! :thumb:
(tho not ones that look like mattress ticking)
I was hoping you were looking!

Ticking is now being used as an upholstery because it's durable and strong, and it's the only way you can use silk in an automobile.

Wool broadcloth doesn't need ticking because it's already a durable material. It has successfully been used in automobiles before.


Mercury C557
22,734 Posts
I used to sell furniture - fairly high end, BeverlyHillsAdjacent - and am gritting my teeth at the floral fabric
edit - imho they (well, I doN'T care what RR does
but Lincoln...) should look at the fabrics used for couture-fashion
seriously doubt they'd see floral like that some Georgia O'Keefe maybe...​
*like* the inlay
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