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Inside the Carry-On: Giles Taylor

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Design Director talks over-the-top, customized cars and travel essentials

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Behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce on an open road is obviously a pretty great place to be. To get to that point, though, you’ve got to make some choices. “Every Rolls-Royce is created to our customers’ desired specifications. No two are the same which makes it like entering a new automobile every time you step inside,” says Giles Taylor, the legendary car brand’s Design Director. With his team in the Bespoke Design Studio, he customizes some of the world’s coolest cars, like the Rolls-Royce Ghost Elegance, which is painted with 1,000 crushed diamonds, or the Serenity Phantom, upholstered in fine silk embroidered with cherry blossoms.

His personal favorite project is not quite so much about color schemes or artsy interiors as about greeting the fast-approaching future. “Having the opportunity to design VISION 103EX has been one of my proudest moments with Rolls-Royce,” he says. The futuristic model was unveiled in June of last year and isn’t for sale just yet. Equipped with artificial intelligence named “Eleanor,” the sleek, spaceship-like car lacks one typically quintessential feature—a steering wheel.

Though this high-tech masterpiece is exciting, Taylor still greatly enjoys getting behind the wheel in his home country (which is also the birthplace of Rolls-Royce). “The Rolls-Royce Wraith is the ultimate touring car and one in particular I love driving around the rolling countryside of southern England,” he says. Work often pulls him away from the British Isle—he recently hit Capetown, Dubai, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, “of all places,” he says. This summer, Rolls-Royce will reprise it’s Porto Cervo Summer Studio in Italy, where last year, two highly customized cars inspired by the Italian coastal town were on display. “Right now I am looking forward to the Spring when I can get behind the wheel of the Dawn with the roof down and head over to the Italian Riviera,” says Taylor. “It’s a truly beautiful way to enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery.”