When I was eight years old growing up in Queens, all I wanted to do was dance, stand on point and wear high heels. I remember wearing my mother’s silver pumps and holding a beautiful Rusched Bodice Sweetheart neckline dress with a full skirt in in colors of muted skin tone with a grey feather inside the tulle. The fabric netting was holding the dress before me and looking in the mirror, I felt like a movie star or a ballerina.
It is still a vivid memory. Later performing in the art of dance, and rehearsing in Carnegie Hall in N.Y.C. Theatre, taught me transformation and the power of a theatre setting on the magic of costume that the actor wears.
Nowadays, that magical transformation inspires my day to day life with many celebrities and non-celebrities to style. I begin with notes taken with my client, and add my research, gathering photos of old era’s to get a better image of past time periods.
I research color information and the client’s social and non-social events. Lighting and mood are all part of the evolving image. Creating story boards filled with fabrics and textures—even accessories and placement on the body play an important role. All this must suit the person’s silhouettes and lifestyle helping to build their image.
My secret weapon begins with the under garment from color to cut – the magic begins here. I call it, “Trompe L’oielle” of the body– translated – fool’s eye. When I am creating a look for my clients—and I hear, “Carole, thank you,” I feel amazing!
Knowing your look – your style is key. I always “flip the image from sportswear to Red Carpet. Not to repeat the same cut and silhouette – it’s a must to refresh and regroup your style. You need to have fun with fashion—hemlines elevate or drop. Stripes become the favorite for the design community or passé. I always find it amusing just to dress to trend. It’s OK to dabble a bit with some trends, but you must be true to yourself and your style. Not to say, don’t try the new—please do, but your style should build and evolve.
I always create a story board for each client, as each client is unique. I add colors, florals, plaids, accessories, and shoes that freshen your look each season. Perhaps even creating a new silhouette or color palette — Fashion is an adventure. Once again I glance back to that girl looking in the mirror, holding my Mother’s evening gown in front of me, wearing silver pumps. I remember that little girl and the woman I have become.
We play dressing up because we want to be somewhere or somewhere else. Growing up and developing a fashion style shows the world how wonderful and inspirational you have become.
My Grandmother will tell you, I always loved theater, the arts, the fantasy, the imaginary areas, and the theater sets that lift the spirit with lasting impressions. As a dancer, I took classes in Carnegie Hall and danced in the Metropolitan Opera House. As a dancer, my point shoes taught me placement, silhouette, and physical space to alignment. This period of my life defined my awareness of the lush and the lavish that only the Opera could display. But yet the focus on detail with fantasy created the environment and the setting for the actors to perform. In contrast, Martha Grahem showed me the architectural line with symmetry to both dancer and sets are important to the viewer.
Living and working in both Hong Kong and England taught me both the approach to English design and how important subtle color and the importance of incorporating the Old World standard of quality and craftsmanship. Placing antiques with quality upholstery and fabrics were my ‘hands on experience’ in many a home.
In my childhood, I was not surrounded by entertaining at home. Living day to day in Asia and Europe, these ancient cultures, opened up my eyes for my passion to entertain. From planning a menu I have learned from a mentor chef in the ancient city of Kyoto, of which trays and dishes to use and how
important it is to eat with your eyes as well as your mouth. The placement of where one should sit and polishing silver, are all a part of completing a home.
Moving back to the States, I began to incorporate the art of Feng Shui as I began my role as Master in the Art of Feng Shui. This began the juxtaposition and influence of multi cultures have influenced my design mantra for lifestyle and home.
I never planned a career but I always followed my passion and always did what I loved. From dancer in West Side Story to Life and Style Designer, I have learned to follow my heart. I find it ironic that being a dancer in West Side Story mirrors my life, with the fusion of two cultures. Perhaps the experience with my path as a dancer is my walk as a designer with the fusion of Eastern and Western design. Let’s just say I am stepping into new directions. I have created designs where I show people how to create, live in, entertain, and most of all care for a home.