Millicent Rogers, Fashion Icon

Courtesy St. Martin's Press /Bettmann/Corbis

The Standard Oil heiress’s chic look continues to influence designers today.

I’m constantly looking for new inspiration from books, films, art and the places I travel to. And as a stylist, I’m especially drawn to fashion icons. Millicent Rogers, the Standard Oil heiress from my grandmother’s era, the 1940s, is one I’ve long admired. The socialite, mother, designer, collector and philanthropist was always reinventing her fashion style, famously mixing haute couture—designers Charles James and Valentina were two of her favorites—with her own oversized jewelry creations. Besides an impeccable eye, Rogers had great intellectual curiosity (she taught herself to read Latin and ancient Greek), determination (she advocated for the rights of Native Americans) and drive (she learned metalmaking in order to craft her jewelry). She was ahead of her time, a real renegade, and continues to influence designers today.