Sun Valley style
Local ski fashion through the ages
Sun Valley has always
had style. The resort and its fashionable patrons graced the covers of
Vogue and Esquire magazines within a few months of the 1936 opening. And
while the chic celebrities and well-dressed wealthy who call this town a
place to hang their ski poles have, on the whole, added to that
inimitable style, Sun Valley’s first trendsetters were in fact the men
of the original Sun Valley Ski School.
By the early ’40s the
resort was in its heyday. Mary Pickford, Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers
were all regular visions on the slopes of Sun Valley, bringing with them
their movie star panache. To keep current with the ski fashions, the
ladies of the lodge favored Picard, a Manhattan ski wear designer who
had been brought in to run Sun Valley’s ski shop.
In fashion terms, the ’50s largely overlooked Sun Valley. The celebrities flocked to a newer, and, at the time, more chic ski town—Aspen. The resort compensated by catering instead to America’s burgeoning middle class. Consequently, the slopes lost a little of their elegance. This Dollar Mountain daredevil shows off the style for spring skiing in 1950: a straw hat, a smile and a pair of socks that any grandma would be proud of.
While the rest of the
world swung through the ’60s in some truly fabulous clothing, Sun
Valley’s clientele were not exactly the foot soldiers of the fashion
revolution, but then mini skirts are hard to pull off on the top of a
The style of the
slopes came into its own in the decade of disco and divas. The valley
was littered with Bogner babes wearing the figure hugging styles of
German designer, and professional skier, Willy Bogner.
The ’80s, a decade
that fashion disowned, fell in love with skiwear. Two of the worst faux
pas in fashion history were prevalent on Baldy in the ’80s, leggings
(which even Jane Fonda couldn’t pull off) and neon (which should be
reserved for construction workers alone). On the plus side, however, the
ski patrol could find people much more easily.
The dress down decade
of the ’90s compelled skiwear manufacturers to move away from the fads
of high fashion towards a niche market of specialist winter sport
clothing that emphasized comfort. Items that would be laughed off
runways in Manhattan were necessities on the slopes of the Rockies.