Gloria Vanderbilt, the iconic fashion designer, has passed away at the age of 95. Vanderbilt’s life was a completely unique one, from her childhood loss, brutal and public custody battles, and living with incredible wealth in the highest society. But she is best known for her work in fashion, first as a model but, later, as an innovator. Though she graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, her true legacy comes from the inspired, ahead-of-its-time decision to market jeans to women.
“Vanderbilt worked with manufacturer Mohan Murjani to popularise jeans for women at a time when they were largely designed for me,” the Guardian explains. “She was among the first to use a famous family name in the marketing of a fashion line, emblazoning her signature across the back pocket of the famously fitted designs. The Amanda jeans which – as she put it – ‘really hug your derrière’ cemented her place in fashion history, and proved innovative enough to spark a $100m (£79m) empire.” She changed fashion — and daily life — for women around the world.
Though she caused a seismic shakeup in fashion, she never rested on her laurels. She continued to grow her brand and innovate. Young and irreverent until the end, she wrote an erotic novel called Obsession at the age of 85. She had a joyful and close relationship with her son, journalist Anderson Cooper, who carries on her legacy.
“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said. “She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her and they’d tell you she was the youngest person they knew – the coolest and most modern.”
You can see his dedication here:
The Vanderbilts may be an American royalty of sorts, but she was never satisfied with just her name. “I’m not knocking inherited money,” she told the New York Times in 1985, “but the money I’ve made has a reality to me that inherited money doesn’t have.” So she kept challenging, changing, and evolving. But, more than that, her spirit — hopeful and determined — will live on. “I’ve had many, many loves,” Vanderbilt once says. “I always feel that something wonderful is going to happen. And it always does.”