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Women’s History Month: 7 Phenomenal Women and the Products We Named for Them

February 27, 2017 | Filed in: Your Closet

As a brand created by women, for women, it’s only fitting that our products bear the names of our fellow females. We name our dresses after those closest to us: our colleagues, customers, mothers, daughters, sisters, and mentors. Tops and jackets, in turn, are named for those we admire from afar. Scrolling through our collection, you might recognize the names of provocative artists (Diane Arbus), legendary choreographers (Martha Graham), inimitable writers (Virginia Woolf), renegade comedians (Tina Fey), and leading figures of the suffragist movement (Elizabeth Cady Stanton). We hope that some of their chutzpah rubs off on our clothes—and the women who wear them.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re continuing the MM tradition of celebrating those who have been on our minds lately. Below, we honor seven trailblazing women—and the products they’ve inspired.

The founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton was a pioneer in more ways than one. During the American Civil War, she risked her life to bring medical supplies and aid to soldiers in the field, and was appointed “lady in charge” of soldiers’ hospitals along the battlefront. After the war, she worked with Susan B. Anthony on women’s suffrage while advocating for American recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which she achieved in 1881. In honor of her trailblazing spirit, we dedicated one of our coolest dress shirts to her—just the thing for a “lady in charge.”

One of America’s greatest documentary photographers, Dorothea Lange used her lens to give voice to migrant farm workers during the Great Depression. Her images were often published along with quotes from the workers themselves, and presented to the U.S. Farm Security Administration to document the living conditions of agricultural workers. She was known for her straightforward and respectful approach to her subjects—which is exactly why we named the elegant Lange cardigan after her.

Joan Crawford appeared in over 80 films during her 65-year career, cementing her status as one of Hollywood’s longest-reigning stars. She began her career as a showgirl, first in traveling dance troupes and later in chorus lines on Broadway, and eventually wrangled herself a contract to play Norma Shearer’s body double in 1925. She was soon cast in larger roles and won fame among Depression-era audiences. Despite a number of personal and professional setbacks, she continued to work steadily into her sixties. We named the Crawford top—a sleek take on the classic camisole—in her honor.

Best known for her children’s book series, The Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote stories based on her own upbringing on the American frontier. Born in 1867 in a log cabin in Wisconsin, Wilder moved with her family to Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota—all before she was 15 years old. The Little House books originated as a lengthy autobiography titled Pioneer Girl, completed in 1930 and intended for adults, but the manuscript didn’t sell. Wilder then reconfigured the book as an eight-volume collection for children, published in the mid-1930s. The stories have since spawned television spin-offs, musicals, and films. As a nod to Wilder’s constant adaptability, we named a versatile v-neck blouse after her.

South African-born artist Marlene Dumas is not bound by mediums; her works span paint, collage, drawing, writing, sculpture, and large-scale installations. She has said, “I would like my paintings to be like poems. Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.” Known for her distinctive portrayal of the human form, she inspired the name of our graphic, eye-catching Dumas top.

Architect Maya Lin is perhaps best-known for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which she created when she was only 21. Her controversial proposal—a “wound-like” creation to symbolize the fallen—has since become an iconic structure, attracting more than 10,000 visitors per day. In addition to architectural projects, Lin also makes sculptures, including a monument at Yale, her alma mater, to commemorate the admittance of women. We named the artfully-constructed Lin top for her.

Musician Nina Simone rose to fame in the 1950s and ’60s for her gravelly voice and unique mix of jazz, blues, and folk compositions. As a young artist, she studied classical piano at the Juilliard School in New York City, but dropped out when she couldn’t afford tuition and turned to performing in night clubs. She later recorded several hit songs (Sinnerman, My Baby Just Cares for Me) and albums (Little Girl Blue and I Put a Spell on You) that are still musical mainstays. A staunch Civil Rights activist, she performed and spoke at numerous protests, and created an enduring legacy of empowerment and liberation. The Simone top, a 1960s-inspired knit, is named in her honor.

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Alexandra Johnson is the brand manager at MM.LaFleur, where she started out as a summer intern. Her happy place is the room housing Monet's Water Lilies at MoMA. Read more of Alexandra's posts.

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