Photos supplied by Jacqueline Ayer's estate
“Jackie grew up believing that she could accomplish anything. She was graceful, charming, smart, drew beautifully and had an innate sense of style and fashion. ... What is always difficult to understand is the degree to which she changed every culture she was embedded in, from editorial pages to clothing design to fabrics and children’s books. Her parents, the neighborhood, her schooling and the remarkable century we shared all contributed to her extraordinary life.” —Milton Glaser
The daughter of Edward and Thelma Brandford, Jacqueline Ayer grew up in the Bronx in the "Coops," a co-operative built for garment workers. She went to The High School of Music & Art, followed by Syracuse University. She continued her studies in Paris, which led to work as an assistant fashion illustrator. There, she met Christian Dior and Michel de Brunhoff, leading to work as an illustrator for Vogue and Bonwit Teller in New York. Her marriage to Fred Ayer led to a move to Thailand, where she wrote and illustrated children's books and started the fashion company Design Thai, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Later in life, she worked in India for craft and textile development under Indira Gandhi and in New York and London designing home furnishings for companies including Bloomingdale's and Conran.