Ann Bonfoey Taylor fashions on display at the Colorado Snowsports Museum | VailDaily.com

Ann Bonfoey Taylor fashions on display at the Colorado Snowsports Museum

The 'original grand dame of Vail' amassed a collection of unique skiwear

Ski racer, pilot, hunter, tennis standout, fashion designer, Vail icon.

Those are just a few words used to describe Ann Bonfoey Taylor, the original “grand dame of Vail” who was a renaissance woman ahead of her time. Taylor and her unique style and legacy are being honored at the Colorado Snowsports Museum in Vail.

Taylor grew up on the East Coast as a talented athlete who was named as an alternate on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team in 1940 but due to World War II the games were canceled. Shortly after that, Taylor took her skills as a pilot and became a commercial flight instructor, one of just 25 qualified women in the country at the time. During World War II, she became a flight instructor for Army and Navy pilots.

Taylor also created a distinctive homemade skiwear line and sold the distribution rights to Lord & Taylor, which featured her clothing in window displays on Fifth Avenue in New York City and in 20 other stores.

The Colorado Snowsports Museum hosted a private cocktail party at the museum to show guests some of her collection of unique designs and clothing followed by dinner at the 10th restaurant on Vail Mountain on March 30. One of Taylor’s sons, Craig Taylor was in attendance and told a few stories about his mother’s fashion sense and how she always searched for something different.

One story was when the family was still skiing back East and were at a cocktail party. Her son shared how everyone else was dressed. The men in sport coats or ski sweaters, the women in long skirts, cashmere sweaters and pearls and then there was his mother, dressed in full military regalia.

Craig Taylor also shared a memory of his mother coming back from the fashion houses in Europe and how disappointed she was that she didn’t see anything new and exciting. “She truly yearned for something different and if she didn’t see it, she would make it herself,” Craig Taylor said .

View some of the ski couture items from her collection of over 4,500 pieces at the Colorado Snowsports Musem. The items and her story will be on display until the rotating exhibit switches over to honor Warren Miller in November. For more information, visit http://www.snowsportsmuseum.org.