Meet Anne Francis Farish

Location: Houston, TX and Aspen, CO
Age: 79
Marital Status: Single
Education: University of Texas and Wellesley

Texas native Anne Farish, found herself a widow in 1956. “I was really a pioneer in some ways,” she told FOF. “I moved to Aspen with my three children under five in 1958.” There, she fell in with the eclectic group of artists who helped turn Aspen into a cultural center. Since 1980, she has split her time between the snowy hamlet and a home in Houston, but at 79, she still hits the slopes every chance she gets.

What made you choose Aspen?

I came out here to ski and I just fell in love with the place; the tiny town, the music school, and the maverick people. There was a very unusual group of people in Aspen that had come here in the ’50s.

Did you go to college?

I got engaged when I was 17 but my father asked me to please go to college for one year. He wanted me to go to Sweet Briar—not Wellesley. You know, Sweet Briar just had the ring of nice, southern gentility. He did not see the value of an intellectual woman. But I loved Wellesley. There was a very broad range of people and I was excited by it. After I got married my husband and I went to the University of Texas for another year and a half.

Tell me about your style.

When I left Texas, I happily dropped the formalities of my life there—my country club and the Junior League. From then on I really didn’t pay attention to style other than skiwear and hiking clothes and very casual, sporty things.

Why do you like shopping at Tootsie’s?

What changed my whole fashion modus is a woman who works at Tootsie’s – Edna Robins. She is excellent at putting a fashion spin on everyday clothes. She helps me look a little bit less like my country club age group.

What designers did you love when you were younger?

In the sixties, when Adolfo was at his height, I went to New York fairly regularly and I wore his clothes. You know, the rich hippie look. Great big felt skirts with paillettes and big sleeves on the blouses. They’ were so beautiful and unique. I would love to wear them today.

Has age changed your style?

I don’t wear sleeveless dresses anymore, that’s a given. I keep the lengths of my skirts within reason. Not that my legs are too terrible.

Which designers do you wear?

Rena Lange is my favorite. This year I ordered a few things from Michael Kors.

Who are your style icons?

Recently I met Gloria Vanderbilt at function at The Metropolitan Museum, and I thought she was drop dead chic. Simple, elegant and unique. And I like the direction that Mrs. Obama has gone with her fashion. It looks more like regular mothers. I think First Ladies should have some special dignity, and she has that too.

What’s your beauty routine?

It’s very old timey. I have very fine, straight hair and I wear it pulled back in a ponytail. I don’t like it just slick straight, so I sit under the dryer for an hour once a week.

Do you have a spa that you like?

I get facials at Smooth Skin in Houston. The name’s enough to make you go.

Who inspires you?

I’m very inspired that we elected a black president. That makes me feel good; that we’re trying to give everybody a fair chance and we’re acknowledging that we haven’t always.

What’s your passion project?

I really sympathize with the mistreatment of animals. I’m very interested in birds and dogs and horses; all the animal charities. I had one trip to Africa. I thought it was glorious. I would love to just walk around like Meryl Streep in those khaki clothes and live in a glorious tent.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Aspen and in Houston?

Cache Cache is one I like a lot. It’s American with a French feel. Most people in Aspen give it our top honors.

What do you do for exercise?

Pilates. I’ve done it for probably 30 years, in New York, Aspen—everywhere. I worked originally with Ron Fletcher and he worked with Joseph Pilates. He still alive, about 88, still traveling around the world spreading the message.

Do you still ski?

I am happy to still be skiing. One of the reasons I take my health so seriously is so I can enjoy the things I love.

How do you know the Bushes?

They were neighbors of mine in Midland. There wasn’t much going on in Midland, Texas in 1950. Our fun was going on Sunday afternoon to swim in the Veteran’s Administration swimming pool, and Saturday night we’d go out and watch them play donkey baseball. There was nothing, absolutely nothing.

How did you know Slim Aarons?

He was sent to Aspen to photograph people for his book, The Beautiful Life. He chose to photograph me, I think, because I had a Victorian house that was not done in Victorian furnishings. I had had a decorator from New York help me.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Going to Aspen and enjoying nature. And my home in Aspen is an indulgence. After my children left I sold the Victorian and I bought this big piece of property; it felt like it was in the country but I could get to town on a bicycle or by foot. I built an eclectic, contemporary house—very simple architecture. It’s a very comfortable space for me. And I’m alone quite a bit.

Do you like being alone?

Yes. I require it. Particularly so, now that I’m deaf. I don’t really want to be with just anybody anymore. It’s gotta mean something or else I’d just as soon be alone—happy to be here and enjoy my view and the comforts that I have created.

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