Icons: Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt by Richard Avedon

Gloria Vanderbilt is a designer, an artist, an author, a New Yorker, an heiress of a railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt and mother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. Beautiful and charismatic, she has lived an extraordinary (and at times dramatic) life, and has paved the way for today’s celebrity designers by becoming one of the earliest socialites to create a clothing line.

Talented and stunning, Gloria Vanderbilt is today’s icon in the Visual Therapy – Icons series.

Vanderbilt in 1941


Vanderbilt’s great aesthetic translates into everything she does, from clothes that she designs to the books the she writes. From selling 10 million pairs of jeans per year at the height of her brand’s success in the 1970s, to writing an erotically charged book at the age of 85… this woman has enough talent, energy and courage to do it all.

Gloria Vanderbilt S/S 2005: Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss, Daria Werbowy


Although Gloria born into extreme wealth, she chose to work hard. Vanderbilt once said: “I wanted to make something of myself…The fame you earn has a different taste from the fame that is forced upon you.” She believed that the key to success is staying busy and active, and inspires others by example. In one of her recent interviews, Gloria Vanderbilt shared: “I’m determined to be the best I can be for as long as I can, and when I’m not, I have my plans. I walk a lot and watch my diet. That’s the key of it. I’ve always had a lot of energy.”

Gloria’s Portrait for Condé Nast


Vanderbilt has supported various causes that help blind, homeless and starving children. We don’t have the right to judge her actions, but it’s definitely interesting that in 1946, after a long custody battle, Gloria announced that she would no longer be paying her mother an annual allowance, choosing to give it to a charity instead.

The chic Gloria Vanderbilt


Gloria’s style type is chic avant-garde. Beyond beautiful in photos by such famous masters as Horst and Richard Avedon, she looks fabulous and age-appropriate in her signature clean lines, bold prints and statement jewelry.

Recent photos of Gloria Vanderbilt with son Anderson Cooper and with Sarah Jessica Parker

Read Anderson Cooper’s tribute to his mother for the November 2010 issue of Vogue.