Often, one’s nascent interests turn out to be the seeds of their future. As a child, young Carolyne spent many tender hours with her dog and pony, playing dress-up and flower shop, and helping her grandmother in her vegetable and flower gardens. She continued to nurture those interests throughout her life and career, and they have sprung up into something lovely indeed.
Victoria’s 2017 Artist in Residence, Carolyne Roehm, is not only lauded as an icon of style, but is also a noted fashion designer, floral arranger, and gardener. One of her more recent endeavors is the art of watercolors, which make their print debut in At Home in the Garden—an oversized art book whose sweeping expanse covers the 59-acre terrain of her Connecticut home. Here, through her photography and text, readers can witness Carolyne’s process as it unfolds from the design of the gardens through the phases of cultivation and arrangement.
Following her childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer, she moved to New York City after college and became the assistant to Oscar de la Renta. “He took a young kid,” she says, “who already loved decorating, music, food, flowers, and beauty, and exposed her to all of that at a more sophisticated and glamorous level. What fun I had working with him. He was the best mentor one could possibly wish for.” She would remain with Oscar for the next ten years until she left, in 1985, to start her own fashion house.
The following years would find Carolyne in Paris, training with noted floral designer Henri Moulié, learning the art she credits as a natural extension of her gardening interests. But as one’s pursuits and inspirations tend to conspire with one another, throughout her life, she has let what she loves guide her. “I try to see beauty,” she says, “in as many things as possible—it just makes life so much more joyous.” Beauty, for her, is a driving force and an inspiration, the foundation of her work and interests.
Her various passions are united by their elegance and grace, their charm and refinement, and Carolyne sees them as drawing from the same source. “All design is related,” she says, “because one deals with the same basics: line, space, form, color, and texture. It is in the textiles that I see the greatest similarity; when I see a beautifully colored fine taffeta, my mind immediately thinks of red or salmon-colored translucent poppies, or when I touch a rich red-violet, I see the velvety coxcomb flower.”
Carolyne says that she is looking forward to sharing her love of design and beauty in 2017 and, she adds, to inspiring our readers to find what gives them their bliss. “My mission,” she says, “is to help others create beauty in their lives every day.” Victoria is honored to have the work of Carolyne Roehm grace its pages this year.
To learn more about Carolyne Roehm’s style, read “The Art of Refinement” on page 17 of the January/February 2017 issue of Victoria.
Text Cynthia Reeser Constantino