A Constant Thread

As some of you have noticed I once again disappeared from my blogging in 2017. I have spent the last two years working on what I hope will be my “LUCKY” 13th book. As some of you have remarked, I have never written about my time in the world of fashion. From my childhood days to the day I left the business in 1995, fashion had consumed my time, my attention, my education, my growth, and the years I spent as a professional as only a true passion can. I can now finally say I am back with a new book to share with you.

It has been a very challenging experience to sift through over 65 years of my life, culling the endless piles and boxes of pictures, notes, letters, and articles. Then there are the memories, which take on a life of their own. The exciting and thrilling ones, the highs of success and a job well done, both alone and with with friends and comrades, and of course, the lows of disappointment, defeat, and at worst even despair. When I began this book I had no idea how long and arduous it would be. I suppose if I had known I wouldn’t have started this journey. So what began as a retrospective of a career spent in many fields of design has evolved into a reflection upon life. At the end of the day I discovered that none of us come out unscathed in our life journey, but how we survive the potholes and curve balls thrown at us is as important as how we soar through the successes.

Perceptions, assumptions, and judgement are dangerous undertakings; so often what we perceive to be someone’s story or truth is a veneer or an illusion. As the saying goes, “You can’t understand someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes” (even if they are Manolo Blahniks).

Throughout the process, the intertwined connections between my inspirations and pursuits became abundantly clear. The path followed by my career and life, blessed as it has been,  has by no means been not without it’s challenges.  The personal and the professional have been woven together to such an extent that at times the boundary between the the two is interchangeable.

Another happy moment for me was discovering the lovely fashion illustrations by my assistant  Peter Speliopoulos that so beautifully captured my work in fashion design.

I have always turned to the colors, patterns, and textures of nature for inspiration. When I see and touch the delicacy of an iris petal, I hear the rustle of silk taffeta.

The grace of the natural world permeates so many facets of my life and designs, appearing everywhere from décor to my own paintings.

I hope you will join me as I reminisce  about  the people and places that have influenced me, and  have informed  my experience as a fashion designer,  and  through  my  books, gardening, entertaining, and décor. And, of course, how the constant threads of character and creativity, and a passion for nature, color, quality, and classicism have influenced and transformed my life.

Design & Style: A Constant Thread    is available for purchase here.

92 thoughts on “A Constant Thread

  1. After not sleeping for a couple of hours, I decided to get up and have a relaxing tea, and there you are in my inbox. What a lovely surprise!
    Your newest book is full of glorious colour. I love the comparison of clothes to flowers. I’m sure it will be an interesting read.
    I hope with the completion of your life story in fee fashion world, you will once again start blogging, I was always ever so pleased to see a post from Carolyne Roehm.

    • Thank you Joanna I will try to be more consistent with my blogging but as I do all the writing and commenting myself plus do all of the other stuff with out a ” creative assistant” it is so hard to keep up with everything —glad you enjoy the color it is my favorite part of design! cr

  2. Thankyou Carolyne” so much for your post , I have been waiting for so long !
    You are an inspiration ” with your style and your artistic talent . Looking forward to more posts ….

    Hazel ( Manchester UK ) x

  3. I look forward to getting your book. I couldn’t agree more with your words, “At the end of the day I discovered that none of us come out unscathed in our life journey, but how we survive the potholes and curve balls thrown at us is as important as how we soar through the successes.” In fact that should’ve a plack to hang on the wall.

    Best of luck with your new book and may your journey going forward be nothing but spectacular!

    • Thank you Vicki—as they used to say on 7th ave. ” from your mouth to Gods ear” !!! cr

  4. I have already ordered the book from Amazon. Your books are so inspiring, thank you for sharing your sense of beauty!
    Anne-Britt; a grateful reader in Norway.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous! Can’t wait for my copy. Your work in fashion, flowers, and decorating is second to none. Congratulations.

  6. I already bought this beautiful book. All I can say is WOW! Every page more lovely as the next.

  7. Thank you for sharing your fabulous talents in this very beautiful new book. I have always been a fan of your lovely interiors, gardens, entertaining style, and recently your gorgeous watercolors. Your fashion design is as beautiful as one might expect. I love your new book💙

    • Dear Tanya Happy that you see the ” constant thread in my work makes the effort workwhilt. cr

  8. I’ve missed your blog posts, but it will be worth it once I’m able to enjoy your beautiful new book! My copy is pre-ordered and I can’t wait to get it. Your style, elegance, and kind demeanor are always an inspiration. 🙂

    Melissa

    • Thank you so much Melissa for your kind word- as always this makes me feel good about my work! cr

  9. I am continually amazed by your many talents. Thank you for sharing them with the rest of us. Grace and sophistication abound in your work. You have a way of helping us see through your eyes; that is perhaps the greatest give of all!

    • Thank you Kathleen I love the word grace and want to thank you for using it in conjunction with me and my work. cr

  10. Dearest Carolyne,
    What a thrill to wake up and find your charming self right next to me.. Miss you loads when you disappear for awhile. But over the years I’ve learned to be patient, because something exquisite is about to happen. Like a new book. it will be my non calorie hard candy this fall. As with all your books it will be a treasure. At last my thirst will be slacked learning about background.I remember well those fabulous clothes you created. Everything flowed and floated as if on wings.
    If by chance you have a signed copy. I too will float on wings.
    Best wishes on this 13th chapter of your life. Not to be mixed up with all the other chapters.
    Sincerely,
    Kem

    • Thank Kem or Karin not sure which name to use maybe like me you use to names. I appreciate your comments about my clothes. I loved designing them. cr

    • Hi Liz I hope you find the story interesting when you have the chance to read it. cr

  11. Have been anticipating and very excited about your new book and going to my independent book store today to order!

    • Great Judi we need to protect our independent book stores! They make where we live so much nicer. cr

  12. True to your talent, this book is beautiful and a feast for the eyes. Congratulations and good luck in your many creative endeavors!

    Bisous, Lili

  13. Sweetie, this is so lovely, so moving. I’m feeling proud I mentioned the importance of gardens when I mentioned you in an essay inspired by our museum’s de la Renta exhibition. Thank you for this work. Off to sinful “Nawlins” for good food and booze. Virginia

    • HI Virginia thank you so much for your continued support and please have some of that good “stuff” for me hope you can find some music as well! carolyne

  14. Welcome back, you were sorely missed. Can’t wait to order your new book, the photographs look absolutely splendid. All your hard work – I am sure is so worthwhile. Thank you for another great book.

  15. Carolyne, I’m excited to see your book! I’m contemplating writing a memoir with the understanding I will become obsessed, as though I slipped down the rabbit hole. Your talent and sense of style touches everything you touch. It will be my inspiration. xoxo, Brenda

    • Yes Brenda a memoir is a real journey and not always an easy one. Good luck with it. cr

  16. Your taste is impeccable and I enjoy your posts and your books very much.
    I am so sorry I missed seeing you in Dallas but I was out of the country and unable to attend. I hope you come back.
    Thank you for the beauty.
    Warmest regards,
    Audrey Friedman

    • Hi Audrey, I am going to be in Dallas speaking on the on the 13th and 14th of this November and shall be at the Wisteria shop on the 14th or 15th hope to catch up with you this time. cr

  17. Dear Carolyne, When your new book arrived I knew my day would be full as I immediately opened it, sat down and started reading. It is breathtaking, beautiful, inspiring and thoughtful. You must be very proud of your work and I am grateful that you have shared so much with us. It is graceful in the way it flows through the transitions that life has presented to you.
    You work is always soothing as it reminds me of all the possibilities to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us in nature and all the elements of gracious style.
    Thank you, Carolyne. Brava!

    • Thank you Marilyn when things get tough, such as dealing with an aging mother, I can go out to the garden see something beautiful and listen to one of my playlist and it soothes me. cr

  18. Oh my, Carolyne. I received my copy , must have been on the first possible day that one could – a few days sooner than I expected. Congrats on another gorgeous book – if possible, the photography may be more beautiful than any previous. Certainly the most LAVISH. I’ve gone through quite a lot of the book – going back and forth rereading some and yet to read others. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (which I don’t expect you to remember) I’m born and raised in St. Louis and have several connections to Washington U – the Art School and the Fashion Design Dept (my Mom worked for the Director of Steinberg Gallery and Cathy Rodgers who taught in the Fashion school was a dear family friend. I looked with interest at the photo of you as a (adorable) little girl on a street in front of some shops and i tried to figure out where that might have been taken before I realized it may have been from Kirksville. Anyway, again congratulations on a wonderful accomplishment. This one certainly goes on the ‘Successes’ side of life.

    • Thank you Kim, how small the world is —my teacher, your family friend the elegant Cathy Rodgers….. It is no longer 6 degrees of separation in life I think it is 1.5 degrees…. the older I get the smaller the world becomes and that is a nice and rather comforting thing I find. I was a knock–kneed little girl, a loner– that adults would say I would grow up and be beautiful—–they were being kind but it was a very long time before I even had my first date…. I felt so much like the little brown wren….. so thank you for saying that this book, my journey goes on the success side of life. carolyne

  19. Carolyne, Thank you thank you for undertaking the journey of this new book. It is wonderful and I relish every picture and word. Connecting with your amazing talent has been and continues to be such an inspiration to me in thoughts and design. You are ” a classic” ! A Constant Thread is a joy to savor.

    • Thank you Sandra doing this book was indeed a journey, sometimes a difficult one —so it is nice to hear that you use it and like it. cr

  20. Dearest Carolyne –
    It will be LUCKY 13! Although I have missed your presence over the last months, knowing the gift of a magnificent books awaits, makes it
    well worth the wait. I know it will be extraordinary as are you –

  21. It looks gorgeous, as were all your designs, and other books! Thank you!

  22. I’m excited about your new book! So glad you are back to blogging. It really makes my day to read the blogs and they inspires me too. Lynn

    • Thanks Lynn– I hope I can keep it up will try for just once a month as I will be traveling promoting my book for the next months. cr

  23. have followed you for many years and always admired you….my life’s passion has always been design albeit fashion and home design but i sadly never had the confidence to pursue it ….although so many people over so many decades have asked me why i haven’t done it….have done a career in real estate instead

    purchased many items from your website for home decor about 8 years ago and enjoyed that so much as i was accessorizing for my friend and we loved everything we bought from you

    best of luck on the book and look forward to reading it

    Sharon

    • Thank you Sharon, I loved my website but I was alone doing everything except the shipping and could not keep it up. Several people have told me I was too soon with it maybe they are right. cr

  24. It has been many years since we were together at Washington University and I look forward to getting you book. Should you find yourself in the Carmel Ca area please drop by my gallery and catch up. Best Chris Winfield

    • Hi Chris oh those carefree days as a student , little did we know at that time what lays ahead for all of us. I shall look you up[ should I get to Carmel carolyne jane

  25. CAROLYNE,
    I LOVE YOUR BOOK………THE COLORS AND THE PHOTOGRAPHY STAND OUT LIKE NO OTHER BOOK OUT THERE!!!!IT TRUELY TOOK MY BREATH AWAY when it arrived on my doorstep!I have flipped through it but have put aside as I have had some scary HEALTH news to READ IT!I know it will comfort me and take me away from my own thoughts and into your GARDEN and beyond!!!!!!!!I DO BELIEVE TO DAY IS THE DAY!A CUPPA AND YOUR BOOK AND HERE I GO………..THANK YOU!FOR ALL YOUR BEAUTY……………….FROM GOWNS TO TABLE-SETTINGS TO GARDENS AND FLOWER ARRANGING TO RESTORING MAGNIFICENT HOMES.IT ALL FEEDS MY SOUL and I am CERTAIN MANY OTHERS!XX

    • Dear Contessa,
      First- 🙏🏻 🌸 for your health situation above all else! -thank you for your kind words it makes me very happy that any thing I have created would give you or anyone any solace or happiness.

  26. I love your work Carolyn and look forward to new posts from you. I have all your books and am sure your 13th will be as outstanding as the others.

  27. I have the book and it is wonderful. You truly have tremendous design creativity, knowldege supported by hard work and never leaving your roots. You are my hero

  28. Stunning as ever. I am greatly anticipating the new book. I was just thrilled this summer when I noticed you purchased some of my blue and white prints from my Spoonflower shop (Peacoquette Designs.) As a long time admirer of your style, it gave me great joy.

    • Dear Sarah–i love your prints! I bought some in wrapping paper and some in fabric. As you probably know I did a book on blue and white and it remains a favorite combo. Keep up the beautiful work.
      thank you cr

  29. Dear Carolyne,
    I am so happy to have your message in my email this morning. I know you have been busy but selfishly I have missed your posts. It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I am thankful for many things both large and small. Thank you for what you bring to my life and many others. Heather

  30. Congratulations – Carolyne-
    Your work is always beautiful and inspirational!

  31. I am so happy you are posting on this site again. I am not on any other sites, but I did see a tour of your Charleston home on another site. I started looking at your videos on this site many times over so I would not lose sight of why I should keep my house looking great. I have ordered a copy of your beautiful new book from the Bookmark Shoppe in Bay Ridge Brooklyn to support my local bookstore . When ever I read a new post I want to do something pretty right away – so I am going to buy a pot of mums, and put my chairs back on my balcony to take advantage of this weekend’s good weather.

    • Good for you Lillie love the autumn mums ! Great you support the small local book shops we all love them. c

  32. I look forward to adding this Beautiful new book to my collection of your other inspiring books. So happy you are back to posting.

  33. Looking forward to adding your 13th book to my collection of your books. I skimmed through a copy of it and was amazed as usual, and it will be wrapped and under my tree for Christmas. Your blogs were sorely missed this past year but taking on such a time consuming job as you have done must have been a daunting task and bravo to you for another hit. Looking forward to future blogs, i missed your beautiful gardens and homes.

    • Hi Peter,
      I remember your comments and am happy to be back–this has been a tough year with all the work on a rather complicated book with photo rights and everything else in life. Hope all is well with you! best, carolyne

      • I am trying to get a copy of your first book of A Passion for Flowers from I believe published in 1992, but they said its out of print. Any ideas on how I can obtain a copy for a dear friend and a new admirer of yours??

        • Hey Peter That first was published in 1996 and I had found old copies on line at those sites that carry old books and out of print books. I cannot remember the name of the one where I found several of my out of print books…. I know they are out there good luck c

  34. Congratulation, I have missed your emails. Thank you so much for sharing the good news about your latest book.

    All the best,
    Roxanne

    • Hi I am going to try and do one post a month –being on book tour it is the best I can do at this time. Thank you. cr

  35. You certainly have been missed. I would often search for your next astounding presentation of yourself to us, your ardent and virtually insatiable readers. You have emboldened many of us to create (and re-create) elegance in our lives along with our insatiable desire to find inspiration from nature’s bounty. Your multi-talents notwithstanding the plentiful and generous sharing of your photography have always captured your style and elegance from fashion, home interior decorating, gardening and entertaining style. You embody panache and you command elegance. Of particular provenance are your immensely satisfying paintings of nature – these vignettes so intricately detailed with a true botanist’s eye yet personally appealing to study alongside and see a wonderful compilation of your self-taught skills. Yes, it has all been worth it.

    I have been an appreciative recipient of your shared genius and aplomb to accomplish so much throughout the years. You are an inspiration to me, personally, and evidently your wider audience (evidence via your internet presence, and for which the term “blogging” seems too rough-hewn to appropriately accommodate and define your preserved diaries-du-jour via the written and illustrated worldwide web). Perhaps you will arrive at a new “term” which better approximates an authoritative and educated style. You deserve this alone.

    I did just receive your latest book “A Constant Thread” and I am immensely satisfied with my recent procurement. Please recognize that your extensive passions and talents have, and should be, once again affirmed to be right on mark. Welcome back!

    Meg McDonough, President
    LuxuryHospitalityConsult.com
    Sarasota, Florida

    • Meg I hardly know what to say, except a profound thank you. Your kindness and encouragement are the things that keep me going—it certainly is not the money. As you know books, unless you are James Patterson or John Grisham, like mine are not for making money but for creating something I enjoy doing . So the power of kind words are very important to me. Thank so very much. carolyne I agree about the word blog and verb blogging I always though what an inelegant term—but what do I know of this young means of communication

    • Hi Liz Thank you so much for the post!1 You are a dear to help! Happy you enjoyed the book. cr

  36. Just received a copy of the book and I cannot put it down. What an achievement. Congratulations on this stunner! I have everyone of your books and this one is the best. Love following you and your life!

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