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The Blue Danube Dress

Carolyn Schactler is a designer with deep roots in Washington. She studied music in college, but found herself drawn to making her own clothes. Her study of design eventually took her from Texas to South Africa. Returning to the northwest, she became professor of apparel design at Central Washington University for 28 years, and in 2021 was honored by the university as Distinguished Retiree. Her gowns have been exhibited all over the world, winning prizes in design internationally, including a “Best in Show” award at the 1995 International Textile and Apparel Association competition. The Yakima Valley Museum has installed her work in the beautiful exhibit "Couture."

Washington State Magazine wrote about the Blue Danube dress: "Made of a shimmery, hazy blend of blue, green, and purple fabric, the evening gown has a diagonally cut bodice and large skirt with a detachable bustle of harmonizing color. The design is gorgeous enough to tempt any woman, but wearable enough for real people to own."

I was lucky enough to wear an outfit Carolyn designed for the character of Scheherazade, when the Yakima Symphony performed the symphonic poem by Rimsky-Korsakov. The concertmaster gets to voice the character of Scheherazade in this dramatic retelling of the One Thousand and One Nights, and some creative people put together the idea of the music with the costume. It was a delight to find the sound of the violin swirling up through the velvet and tassels I was wearing from head to toe. When I saw Carolyn's collection on display at the museum, my heart started pounding the minute I saw The Blue Danube. I'm deeply inspired by the beauty of Carolyn's work, and the joy it brings. 

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