Entertaining at home is about finding those one or two elements that make you stand out; whether that is a cocktail, the music playlist, or one particular dish. What people expect from me is visual beauty, especially from my flowers,” says interior designer and author Carolyne Roehm. She should know. Carolyne’s expertise on the subject of entertaining has been honed from the many years she spent reigning over New York’s social elite. She has since stepped away from that world to become an acclaimed interior designer and lifestyle expert, sharing her learnings in several books on flowers, gardening, decorating, and entertaining.
In the 1980s, Carolyne had a formidable career in fashion, working closely with Oscar de la Renta as an in-house model and designer, starting her own eponymous fashion line, and serving as the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She was also married to financier Henry Kravis, and their Park Avenue lifestyle was the aspiration (and envy) of many; their lavish Manhattan apartment was the inspiration for the set of the film, The Bonfire of the Vanities. A consummate tastemaker and one of the most stylish women in the world, Carolyne was a fixture on the International Best-Dressed List, entering its Hall of Fame in 1991.
Carolyne Roehm Thomas Deron
These days, her lifestyle is more low-key luxury. The majority of the time, home is Weatherstone, a historic Georgian house set on 60 acres of land in Sharon, Connecticut, which she shares with her eight dogs. She was originally drawn to the property because of its proximity to her two close friends and designers, Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass. Though she also owns properties in Charleston, South Carolina, and an apartment in New York City, it is here that Carolyne, who was raised in Missouri – “a farm girl at heart” – feels the most at peace. She spends as much time as possible outdoors, gardening and tending the flowers that compose the spectacular floral displays that have become her trademark.
It is her reputation as an extraordinary hostess that attracted the attention of the French crystal company, Baccarat, who asked her to incorporate its new seasonal pieces into her home for a festive campaign for its Maison & Objet set in September. A fan of the brand for years, Carolyne has used Baccarat to entertain since the 1970s, and its classic Harcourt glasses are amongst her favourite. — Nausheen Noor
Read the full feature in the November/December issue of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors