PaperCity Magazine

November 2018- Houston

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illustrate the journey: At a college in Oxford, England, where she studied Shakespeare, we find her hanging naked by her fingers from her dorm window, after accidentally getting locked onto a sky-bridge in nothing but a towel, which fell off as she tried to leap into her room. In Paris, she took a cooking class in the basement of the Ritz hotel, where she was given the daily job of gutting and cleaning fish for bouillabaisse. In the evenings, she went to her unpaid internship at the Ritz's famed flower shop, Moulié Fleurs. There, she reunited with Prince Amyn Khan, who discovered her on hands and knees, covered in fish guts, and sweeping flower cuttings from the floor. Aghast, he fled before she could get to her feet. Later that night, Roehm attended a glamorous blowout celebrating American fashion week, dressed in a Chanel couture dress. Naturally, the first person she met was the prince, who, chin in air, proclaimed her "simply too confusing" before striding off to the bar. Roehm ultimately discovered her true self among the ruins of her former life, launching a fantastically successful career as an author, starting with A Passion for Flowers in 1997. Until recently, the past was never far from mind. Roehm tells me that for more than two decades, she kept boxes full of press clippings and photographs in the basement of her 18th-century Connecticut estate, Weatherstone. "Once I turned my book over to the publisher, you know what I did? I shredded them!" she says. "It was the analogy of getting rid of the past. It was the best feeling. That's where I am in life now." PERFECTLY IMPERFECT: CAROLYNE ROEHM ON HER TELL- ALL BOOK — AND THE JOURNEY IT TOOK TO GET THERE Let's be frank. The original manuscript was even more brutal in the honesty — but my publisher asked me to take some of it out. I told her if you want to do another how-to, la-di-da book, I'm not interested at this age and stage. I didn't want to do a puffy thing about how to put flowers together. I love doing them, but that's not what this is about. Fashion's heartbreak. It was a very sad time [when I shut down my company] — the end of my fashion career. I didn't get fashion magazines anymore, and I never looked at them unless I was at an airport. This was the one book I did for myself, because I owe it to all those years that I worked hard, all those years I lived on nothing as a design assistant, and all those years grieving about it. On resilience. I've always known we should never judge a book by its cover. I've been a victim of that to a certain degree. People look at my books and say, 'Wow, this ball gown,' or, 'Look at her life, her homes.' But we all suffer failures, disappointments, heartbreaks. The point is to pick ourselves up again, but to do it with wisdom and humility. Finding home. I split my time between homes in New York City, Colorado, Charleston, and Weatherstone,[her house in Connecticut]. It's all too much. I keep thinking I need to simplify, to pick one place. Weatherstone is the one place I call home, but I tell myself I can't keep repairing the roof. I huff and puff in Colorado because of the altitude. Home will never be New York, and as much as I love Charleston, it'll never be home either. You know why? If I move there full time, I can no longer grow my peonies, tulips, and English garden roses. They won't grow there. Books and binge watching. I'm a big audio-book person, because I do a lot of work with my hands, working with flowers in the garden, and painting. I'm also a junk reader of books on espionage, spies, thrillers. I binge-watch 24. But one of the most captivating shows I've ever seen is A Place to Call Home. It's set in Australia after the Second World War. I can't tell you how many people I've turned onto it. They all call and tell me, "It's ruining our lives! We can't stop watching it." A Conversation and Book Signing with Carolyne Roehm, at the Theta Charity Antiques Show Saturday, November 17, 10:30 am, at the George R. Brown Convention Center; media sponsor PaperCity; For tickets, and complete Theta speakers schedule, go to Gardens at Weatherstone Painted floor at Weatherstone Roehm's Connecticut house, Weatherstone PHOTOGRAPHY CAROLYNE ROEHM

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