• Prolific Quarterly

PQs Gloria Vanderbilt - The original socialite and one of your favorite designers.



Gloria Laura Vanderbilt (born February 20, 1924) is an American artist, author, actress, fashion designer, heiress, and socialite. During the 1930s, she was the subject of a high-profile child custody trial in which her mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and her paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, both sought custody of the child Gloria and control over her $5 million trust fund.

Called the "trial of the century" by the press, the court proceedings were the subject of wide, sensational press coverage due to the wealth and notoriety of the involved parties and the scandalous evidence presented to support Whitney's claim that Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt was an unfit parent.

As an adult in the 1970s, Gloria Laura Vanderbilt became known in connection with a line of fashions, perfumes and household goods bearing her name.


"She is noted as an early developer of designer blue jeans."


Gloria is a member of the famous Vanderbilt family of New York City and the mother of CNN television anchor Anderson Cooper.

Vanderbilt studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse with teacher Sanford Meisner and studied art at the Art Students League of New York.

She became known for her artwork, giving one-woman shows of oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels. This artwork was adapted and licensed, starting about 1968, by Hallmark Cards (a manufacturer of paper products) and by Bloomcraft (a textile manufacturer), and Vanderbilt began designing specifically for linens, pottery, and glassware.


From 1954 to 1963, Vanderbilt applied herself to acting. (Her first stage vehicle, The Swan, inspired the logo she later used as a fashion designer.) During this time in her life, she appeared in a number of live and filmed television dramas including Playhouse 90, Studio One in Hollywood, and The Dick Powell Show. She also made an appearance in a two part episode of The Love Boat in 1981.

Other TV programs on which she appeared include Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Live with Kelly and Michael, and CBS News Sunday Morning.


Another big mark of her career when Vanderbilt had also become one of the most sought after international fashion models in the world.

Beginning with the custody trial during her childhood, appearing at age 17 in Harper's Bazaar, being the public face of her clothing and fragrances lines, and noted for having inspired Richard Avedon, she has been a popular subject for photographers her entire life.

In 2001, Vanderbilt opened her first art exhibition, "Dream Boxes," at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester; it was a critical success. She launched another exhibition of 35 paintings at the Arts Center in 2007. Two years later, she returned to the Arts Center as a panelist at its Annual Fall Show Exhibition, signing copies of her latest novel, Obsession: An Erotic Tale.


Vanderbilt had written four (4) volumes of memoirs and three (3) novels including but not limited... Obsession: An Erotic Tale, mentioned above as of late May 2016, and she also regularly contributed to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Elle just to name a few.

In November 2010, Gloria Vanderbilt was the subject of a new book chronicling her personal and business life, titled "The World of Gloria Vanderbilt", written by Wendy Goodman, New York's design editor. The book, published by Abrams, featured many previously unreleased photographs. Vanderbilt also brought a net-site that featured her artwork, the Gloria Vanderbilt Fine Art net-site, on-line.

On April 5, 2016, HarperCollins Publishers released a new book, written jointly by Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper, titled The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss. The book was described thus: "A charming and intimate collection of correspondence between #1 New York Times bestselling author Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, that offers timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives." - PQ


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