In her lush new memoir, fashion designer turned lifestyle maven Carolyne Roehm reflects on true luxury.
AT THE AGE of five, Carolyne Jane Smith had definite ideas about luxury: “Flowers, dress up, more flowers.” The only child of a Missouri school principal, she grew up in what she describes as “a Midwestern version of the Alabama town in To Kill a Mockingbird.” At seven, she made her first luxury purchase: a $7 rhinestone-studded tiara from the Sears catalog that she paid for with her 35-cents-a-week allowance. It wasn’t until she was 23 and moving to Manhattan that she finally owned, thanks to her mother’s keen eye at a sale, her first Bill Blass and Halston dresses. Her dream of city life was “a job as a designer that would make it legitimate for me to enter a room in a gown and jewelry— and everyone would go, Wow.”
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