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ICON: Millicent Rogers

One of the most iconic heiresses of all time, the elegant and glittering Millicent Rogers was born with a silver spoon in her mouth (or rather, as legend has it, a 24-karat gold toothpick she liked to whip out at dinner parties), but she fell in love with the style and art of the American Southwest. The granddaughter of H.H. Rogers, co-founder of the Standard Oil Trust along with lil' old John D. Rockefeller, she lived a luxurious, cosmopolitan life in New York with a touch of European rebellion, going nowhere without her pack of 7-10 dachshunds whilst wooing the leading men of her generation until Clark Gable broke her heart. At which point she did what any of us would do in such dire circumstances and moved Out West declaring it was "time to stop falling in love." But she fell in love again, this time with an adobe fort she dubbed Turtle Walk and stocked with Spanish Colonial furniture, woven Native American textiles, paintings, pottery, and JEWELRY. Oh, the jewelry. She amassed thousands of Native American silver, gold, and turquoise pieces in her personal collection in the six years between her move in 1947 and her death in 1952 at just 51.

The sweetheart of New York City rebuilt her life in Taos, New Mexico and created a fury of interest in South West fashion across the country, setting the tone with her own uncompromisingly glamorous, high-end take on the gritty American look. Once spotted in thousand-dollar Charles James couture blouses, she became known for long "squaw skirts" swishing over several petticoats, authentic Navajo blouses, a shawl, and bare feet.

Millicent wasn't just a pretty face. She personally hired attorneys and lobbied D.C. on the issue of Native American rights and citizenship. She helped secure Blue Lake for Taos Pueblo, and she fought for Native American art to be recognized and protected as historic and critical to U.S. art history. Today, the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos honors her and displays her gorgeous Southwestern art collection, preserving her generational taste for fresh appreciation.

"Dear Paulie, Did I ever tell you about the feeling I had a little while ago? Suddenly passing Taos Mountain I felt that I was part of the earth, so that I felt the sun on my surface and the rain. I felt the stars and the growth of the Moon; under me, rivers ran..."

- Millicent Rogers in a letter to her son Paul Peralta-Ramos


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