By Carleton Varney special to Palm Beach Daily News.
I have known Palm Beacher Regine Traulsen, who is married to former Town Councilman William Diamond, for many years.
We met on an American Airlines jet way back in the 1970s. We were sitting side by side enroute to Chicago. I was headed to visit the Spiegel catalogue company, where I was a design consultant for its home-furnishings products.
Regine, as I learned, was traveling to meet a client to design some caftans for her. Designing caftans was part of her fashion career in New York.
She proved to be a fascinating seatmate, and I enjoyed hearing tales of her home country, Morocco. She filled me in on how she was raised in Marrakesh, had attended the Sorbonne in Paris and studied art in San Francisco. And, as I recall it, we discussed her love of fashion, interior design, architecture, Moroccan cuisine and travel.
I learned she speaks a number of languages. Beyond English, she of course speaks Arabic and French, a holdover from the days when Morocco was a French colony.
During our trip to Chicago, I learned so much about caftans designed for the likes of celebrities Elizabeth Taylor and Connie Francis as well as women about town. I also learned about her friends, including Andy Warhol, politicians and royalty.
We became fast friends. As a man of design, I appreciated this woman of style. We have enjoyed each other’s company on many occasions through the years, including the christening of my son, Nicholas.
Regine has often visited her homeland — often, that is, until the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to international travel. So now she lives the Moroccan life in New York and Palm Beach, where she and her husband are known for entertaining guests.
Perhaps “entertaining” is not a vivid enough a word. Regine and Bill’s Palm Beach home is like a movie set, filled with beautiful furnishings, music and glamour. Her parties have ranged from intimate dinner parties for maybe eight to 12 friends to elaborate Moroccan-themed gatherings for 100 with a buffet around the pool on nights filled with lights and music, all delightfully romantic.
Regine loves to decorate, and although she is not a professional designer, she might as well be. She would be a first-class decorator, take it from me. I would hire her in a minute for our firm. Regine has a love of blue and gold, but she keeps green and red in her favorite color palette as well.
Her fashion designer of choice was Oscar de la Renta, and she wore one of his designs to Malcolm Forbes’ spectacular 70th birthday party in Tangier in 1989.
Soon, Regine will be hosting what promises to be a super party herself, one she throws each year. She and her husband will be inviting all her friends, and the festivities are expected to include a pair of camels. Guests at her soiree are told to wear traditional Moroccan caftans — and I can tell you from experience, it certainly gets you into the spirit of the evening.