Yesterday as I browsed through the web I happened upon this photo of Ann Bonfoey Taylor on Anna Dello Russo's blog and did a double take because Ann is wearing a twin of the pink Mongolian fur I have in the shop right now ! It is always a joy to spot a piece of vintage in action and I was thrilled to see something so similar to my find in all it's glorious action! Especially since Ann Bonfoey Taylor was such an amazing woman and an icon of style!
The photos I have posted were part of an exhibit that showed at the Phoenix Art Museum "The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor" but is sadly finished — sorry — I feel like I am teasing you with this but maybe it will lent out and shown elsewhere. There is a book that you can still buy based on the exhibit and I did find a video (below) that a girl from Trends Channel shot of the Phoenix exhibit at the time so you can get a glimpse of Ann's amazing couture collection. Only 60 full ensembles were shown from her massive collection that was donated so this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of what she actually owned and collected during her lifetime! Mindboggling!
Boy would I love to get into those archives!
And if you just asked yourself — who is Ann Bonfoey Taylor? First she is NOT Ann Taylor as in the Ann Taylor brand — an interesting fact is that the Ann Taylor retail chain is actually named after one of its early best selling dresses — there is no "Ann Taylor" in that sense. Nope the "real" girl who shared that name was infinitely more fabulous — just read this little overview that proceeds the exhibit notes on the Phoenix Art Museum's website:
"Original, creative, bold, athletic and gracious, Ann Bonfoey Taylor (1909-2007) was a recognized American taste maker and accomplished sportswoman. Regularly featured in publications such as Vogue, Town and Country and Harper’s Bazaar, Taylor was known for her beauty, love of adventure and theatrical dash. In 2008, her extraordinary wardrobe of custom-made couture and personally designed sporting ensembles was donated to the Museum by Mr. Vernon Taylor, Jr. and family of Denver, Colorado. Selected by Art and Antiques as one of the top 100 art museum gifts of 2008, Taylor’s impressive collection features works by some of the most masterful fashion designers of the 1950s and 60s including Charles James, Madame Grès, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Fortuny. It is significant for both the quality of the designers and depth, as the numerous examples allow for a comprehensive look at each designer’s artistic process.
Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor features more than 60 full ensembles and accessories that provide a comprehensive look at the wardrobe of a dynamic and sophisticated woman. Often designed by Taylor herself, the clothes demonstrate a refined personal style reflective of her outdoor savvy and gracious indoor elegance.
Raised in Quincy, Illinois, Taylor’s passion for sports and adventure began at an early age. At six years old her father took her flying in his open, two-seater biplane and later taught her to fly it. When World War II broke out, she became a flight instructor for Army and Navy pilots. In the 1930s, she competed in tennis at Wimbledon and began ski racing in Stowe, Vermont, and, in 1939, was selected as an alternate on the Women’s Olympic Ski Team. Complimented for her stylish look on the ski slopes, she started her own line of innovative skiwear which appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 1946 and was sold at Lord and Taylor.
In 1947, she married Vernon Taylor, Jr. and they established residence in Denver, Colorado, where they raised a family. With her love of the outdoors, Taylor developed a passion for horses and annually fox hunted in Virginia and England. The Taylors also built one of the first ski chalets in Vail, Colorado and maintained a cattle ranch in Montana where she was known as a gracious and elegant hostess to her worldwide circle of friends.
Taylor was recognized among an international jet setting social circle for her spirited discipline and fashion independence. Legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland once wrote to her, “I can remember years ago when you were in a marvelously creative mood, which has never ceased, and you just wanted everything and you just wanted everything to be right.” In today’s climate of rapidly changing fashion trends and runway spectacles, Taylor’s achievement of a timeless, original style with classic elegance makes her a true visionary."