Decades ago, on the heels of a bad breakup, Carolyn Roehm received some sage advice from her boss an mentor, designer Oscar de la Renta. “Carolyne,” he said, “husbands come and go, boyfriends come and go, the same with friends. The only thing no one can take away from you is your passion to create.”
Over the last four decades, Roehm’s passion to create has found various vessels of expression—first in fashion, where she worked as de la Renta’s muse before starting her own eponymous line, and later as an author of popular books about flowers, entertaining, and interiors.
Most recently, Roehm has moved to the easel, painting botanicals inspired by 17th-century artworks. Though the medium has shifted, her devotion to nature, color, and classicism has remained steadfast, as she explains in her new book, Design & Style: A Constant Thread (Rizzoli, 2018). “When I see and touch the delicacy of an iris petal, I hear the rustle of silk taffeta,” she writes.
It’s this connectivity, this Jeffersonian kind of cross-pollination that Roehm documents and celebrates in her latest volume. Part memoir, part scrapbook, the book is a testament to Roehm’s evolution and the current of creativity that has guided her career.
By Kirk Reed Forrester
Design & Style: A Constant Thread by Carolyn Roehm (Rizzoli, 2018)