Somebody who famously dropped out in the forties and moved to Taos was Millicent Rogers. Taos-based author Cherie Burns (www.cherieburns.com) recently wrote Searching for Beauty, a perceptive biography of the Standard Oil heiress and fashion trendsetter who first popularized the Southwest socialite look of a white blouse, long black skirt, and lots of silver and turquoise jewelry.
I interviewed Burns over coffee at Collected Works Bookstore, and told her my favorite section of the book was the Taos years. Burns said, “I had to explain what Taos is, and what it was to Millicent and to women then.” Which was? “It was in some ways like what it is now, but more of a frontier. The Anglo population making a life for themselves there – – the artists and the prosperous Anglo women – – came for a certain kind of experience. It was a smaller and wilder place.” Which influenced Millicent how? Burns replied, “There was a profound shift for Millicent from looking for beautiful things that could be bought like fine clothes and Faberge eggs – – she had a real eye for beauty and quality. When she came to Taos, she was reset to appreciate a whole different palette of beauty – – like starry nights in the dark and being led by torchlight after dinner parties.” To all my blog readers: I'm wishing you light in the darkness too in these final days of 2011!