Aspenite, Marie L. Gardiner gave up her spirit to God peacefully and painlessly at Aspen Valley Hospital on Friday, February 28, 2020. She was surrounded with love, support and friends as she passed from this life to the next. Marie leaves behind her beloved sister, Laura Anne Kaufmann married to Thomas Kaufmann, her nephew Eric Thomas Kaufmann and his spouse, Julie London Spears and their children, William and Hannah. She also leaves her niece, Tara Laura Kaufmann and her spouse, Joel Severin Kristoferson, and their daughter, Bridget. Lastly, she leaves her youngest niece, Trisha Anne Kaufmann, along with cousins, friends and acquaintances.
Marie chose quality of life over invasive treatments and she lived her final years doing the things she enjoyed: sewing, skiing and bicycling. An avid skier, Marie even skied during the last weeks of her life. Marie was private, but known by many in Aspen. She was always impeccably dressed whether in town, at an art opening or on the slopes.
Marie was born and raised in New Jersey and resided in New Jersey and New York until her free spirit and sense of adventure called her to go west and settle in Aspen, Colorado at approximately the age of 28. She remained there for the rest of her life. Once settled, Marie embraced skiing and riding her horse, Lamri. She worked at various jobs, but then decided to do something she was very good at and enjoyed. She set up her own seamstress business, Sew and Sew. She not only did alterations for individual clients, but also for shops including, Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, Brioni, Banana Republic and Prada. She was particularly interested in bridal couture and she eventually created Mademoiselle Marie Bridals. She did everything from custom bride and bridesmaid gowns to flower girl dresses. Marie did design, pattern making, fitting and sewing and embellishments all by herself. She also specialized in wedding hats, headpieces and veils. Her love of vintage and antique clothing, along with being a romantic, gave birth to another venture, “Marilyn” which consisted of Marie’s original handmade lingerie and trousseau sets. This line offered handmade pengnoir sets, negligees, slips, garters, g-strings, bouquet sachets, ring pillows, handkerchiefs, satin cases and pouches. All work was hand-embroidered with intricate details such as ribbons, bows, rose appliques, delicate seed pearls, sequins and tiny sparkling jewels.
Marie helped restore antique clothing at the Aspen Historical Society, created costumes for productions by the Aspen Music Associates some of which were Madame Butterfly, The Barber of Sevilla, Tosca and La Boheme. Marie also participated in costume design and construction for the Symphony in the Valley, Aspen Theatre at the Park and the Salt Lake City Acting Company during one of her travels. She also took on other seamstress and design projects to numerous to mention.
Marie was a graduate of the Katherine Gibbs School in Montclair, NJ. She received a bachelor’s degree in American Literature and a bachelor’s degree in Social work from Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ. In later years, Marie attended the Paris Fashion Institute in Paris, France and did independent research at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Marie worked as a seamstress, and an excellent one at that, however, over time she became an accomplished dress designer and dressmaker. She created beautiful and feminine originals under the name of Mademoiselle Marie.
Marie was extremely dainty and ladylike, but she was strong and courageous. She was fiercely independent and capable, intelligent, sensitive, artistic, romantic, amazingly talented and could carry on a conversation about a wide range of topics. She especially enjoyed discussing religion and politics. Marie was interested and proud of what her nephew, nieces and great nephew and nieces were doing and her cousin’s children too. Marie was a good, kind person who helped many people during her lifetime. She will be missed and remembered.
A mass will be offered for the repose of her soul on Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5:30 PM at St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen, Colorado.