My Fashion Inspiration…
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 ruched bodice and sweetheart neckline dress with a full skirt in muted skin tone colors. It had a gray feather inside the tulle. Looking in the mirror, I felt like a movie star or a ballerina. It is still a vivid memory to this day.
Later, rehearsing and performing dance in Carnegie Hall in N.Y.C. Theater, taught me transformation and the power of a theater setting…especially the magic of costuming for an actor to transform into specific characters with focus, intent and direction. Nowadays, that magical transformation inspires my day-to-day styling with many celebrities and non-celebrities alike.
I begin with notes taken with each client and add my research, gathering photos of old eras 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 for each client. I always create a story board for each client, as each is very unique, filled with fabrics and textures, even accessories and show placement on the body. All this must suit the person’s silhouette and lifestyle to build their image. I add different colors, fabrics, patterns (from florals to plaids), accessories and shoes that freshen their look each season. Perhaps even creating a new silhouette or color palette to fit the transformation. Fashion is an adventure!
My secret weapon begins with the under garments…from color to cut…the magic begins here. I call it, “Trompe L’oielle” of the body, translated as fool’s eye. When I am creating a look for my client and I hear, “Carole, thank you,” I feel amazing!
Knowing your look and 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 to dress trendy. 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.
Once again, I glance back to me as young girl looking in the mirror holding my Mother’s evening gown in front of me and wearing her silver pumps. I remember that little girl who grew into a teen and then became the woman I am today. 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 Home Inspiration…
My Grandmother will tell you I always loved theater, the arts, fantasy, imaginary areas and 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 the importance of subtle color and an Old World standard of quality and craftsmanship. Placing antiques with well-made upholstery and fabrics was 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 and my passion to entertain. I have learned from a mentor chef in the ancient city of Kyoto how to plan a menu, 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 in my design philosophy. This began the juxtaposition and influence of multiple cultures in my design mantra for life and style. I never planned a career, but I always followed my passion and always did what I loved. From a dancer in West Side Story to a 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 this experience informs the path that I walk as a designer with my fusion of Eastern and Western design. I am stepping into new directions. I am creating designs that show people how to create, live in, entertain and most of all care for a home.