Editor’s Letter | September 2013

“In the working of silver or…turquoise the Indians had exhaustless patience; upon their blankets and belts and ceremonial robes they lavished their skill and pains. But their conception of decoration did not extend to the landscape. They seemed to have none of the European’s desire to ‘master’ nature, to arrange and re-create.... It was as if the great country were asleep, and they wished to carry on their lives without awakening it.” —Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

For fashion director Amanda Ross, Taos was a game changer. “I went on a road trip to find the landscape that inspired one of my style icons, New Yorker Millicent Rogers, and the artist Georgia O’Keeffe,” Ross told me, by way of explaining “Coming into Taos,” her 16-page fashion portfolio that anchors this month’s FALL FASHION ISSUE. As the editor in chief of this magazine, I can honestly say that it’s one of the best we’ve published since I’ve been at the helm.

But let me back up a bit. Last September, Amanda Ross officially joined the ranks of Departures. Just before coming aboard, she made her pilgrimage to Taos, New Mexico. She fell in love not only with the landscape but also with the energy of the artists, photographers and thinkers who have been inspired by the high desert panorama of the American Southwest. Here Amanda found the museum named for her heroine, Millicent Rogers, and the spirit of Mabel Dodge Luhan, the wealthy Buffalo-born socialite and patron of the arts who, with her then-husband, Maurice Sterne, moved to Taos in 1919. In 1923, Luhan married Native American Tony Luhan, and together they hosted the likes of novelists D. H. Lawrence and Willa Cather. Luhan, who died in 1962, was buried in the Kit Carson Park Memorial Cemetery, and Dennis Hopper would, after the success of Easy Rider, buy her homestead, now a National Historic Landmark.

“These women have been hugely inspirational to me,” Ross says. “They embody both great style and incredible substance. Amid this small town in the desert Southwest, they all found themselves and new lives.”