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Socialite designer Carolyne Roehm quits business


Carolyne Roehm, the svelte socialite designer known for her lavish evening clothes and whirlwind party schedule, is closing her fashion business.

Roehm said she was discontinuing her business "in the wake of a personal family tragedy." She is married to Henry Kravis, whose son, Harrison, died in an automobile accident in Colorado on July 13.

Roehm said the death was "the catalyst" in her decision, but added, "There are other personal reasons I don't care to go into."

Roehm opened her design house in 1985, shortly before her marriage to Kravis, a partner in the leveraged-buyout firm of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co.

Although in Kravis she had a backer with deep pockets, Miss Roehm never parlayed her name into the mix of lower-cost sportswear, accessories and perfume that are the lifeblood of most Seventh Avenue houses. But a lack of financial success was probably not the main factor in her decision.

"I don't think they would have hired me if financial considerations were a factor," said Kitty D'Alessio, who was named president of the company this summer. "I started July 8 and this tragedy happened on July 13. I know how these things hit you. Money was no object here."

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