Inspired by Oriental traditions, Serenity Phantom is upholstered with the finest imported silk. We meet Colour and Materials Designer Cherica Haye who hand-painted the blossom trees that adorn the interior.
SERENITY’S TEXTILE MAVEN
Relaxing in the rear compartment of Serenity Phantom is tranquility exemplified. It recalls the Oriental tradition of Far Eastern emperors taking to their private gardens to reflect in solitude under the blossom trees. The motif of blossom in full bloom that envelops Serenity Phantom is to this day viewed as a symbol of hope and renewal.
Creator of the blossom design is Cherica Haye, hired by Director of Design Giles Taylor directly from her final year show at the Royal College of Art in London in 2013. Shortly after taking up her position at Goodwood, the Home of Rolls-Royce, Haye began working on her vision for Serenity Phantom. This took her to the city of Suzhou in China – supplier of the world’s finest embroidered silks to centuries of imperial dynasties. Here, a six-month process began with the hand-dying of unspun silk by local craftspeople.
Haye, and her textile design partner Michele Lusby, carried the dyed silk back to one of Britain’s oldest mills, in Essex, to be hand-woven into the 10 metres of fabric needed to furnish the interior of Serenity Phantom. Together, they decided early on to use a linear weave with the silk, due to its richness and opulence.
To design the cherry tree bough for the headliner, Haye used a technique called ‘unconscious painting’. “You have to be completely relaxed and then simply paint almost as your hand leads your thinking, rather than vice versa,” she explains. “It’s a perfect technique for us. It matches everything we wanted the design to be.”
The duo liked the hand-painting so much that they decided not to cover it with embroidery, which is why the finished artwork is a mixture of hand-painted and embroidered blossoms on the silk. Haye painstakingly chose where each single petal should be placed, and which blossoms would remain hand-painted rather than embroidered. The cloth was then flown back to Suzhou to take advantage of the unmatched embroidery skills there, before returning once more to Goodwood.
“The idea to use silk came from wanting to bring beautiful fabrics back into the car,” explains Haye. “It’s only natural that we revisit the highest standards of luxury set by the rear compartments of Rolls-Royces in the early 1900s – a fantastic part of our heritage that we are now reintroducing into our brand DNA.”
Driven by the philosophy ‘Take the best that exists, and make it better’, Haye and Lusby have created an interior of such craftsmanship that it is a Rolls-Royce like no other.