Remembering the late "Jeans Queen" Gloria Vanderbilt and her contribution to women's fashion

Gloria's poses for a picture taken by Horst in 1941
Gloria's poses for a picture taken by Horst in 1941

Iconic fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt passed away this week in her Manhattan home at the age of 95 after a battle with advanced stomach cancer, her son and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, confirmed in a statement. 

“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms,” he said addressing the public.

Gloria, who is well known for her contribution to women's denim jeans, was the daughter of socialite Gloria Vanderbilt senior and Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt. 

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In 1934, after her father passed away, Gloria was coined the "poor little rich girl" by various publications after having been caught in the middle of what was known as the "custody battle of the century" between her mom and heiress aunt at the young age of only 10.

Despite being the subject of many rumours and scandals around her famous Hollywood lovers and three marriages, Gloria went on to live an incredibly full life, where she enjoyed success in interior design, poetry, film and television, modeling and fashion design. 

Here are four facts about this celebrated multi-talented woman that made her the icon she was:

History is made

Gloria made history as the first woman to put her family name into designer jeans.

The owner of a small design goods business in New York, Gloria designed home goods, but swiftly moved on to dresses. According to W, in the mid seventies, she was approached by clothing manufacturer Mohan Murjani.

Partnered with Mohan, Gloria had started out designing blouses. After a discussion with one of the heads at Mohan Murjani, she learned that there was tons of denim going to waste at one of the fashion company's factories in Hong Kong.

This is when she made the life-changing decision to design women's jeans. Soon the line expanded from denim jeans to blouses, skirts, perfume, and other clothing items that allowed for her brand to blow up into a $100 million empire.

More art than clothing

While Gloria had an eye for fashion design and bringing her designs to life, she was always an artist first.

She was the owner of her own namesake art studio, and painted hundreds of portraits and paintings, which she hung in her home and decorated her Instagram with frequently.

A woman of a thousand words

Along with everything else she had going for herself, Gloria was also a celebrated writer. According to New York Times, she occasionally wrote for The Times, Elle, and Vanity Fair. 

She also wrote a series of memoirs dedicated to the tragedies life brought, including the death of her son Carter as well as her struggles with her mother's abandonment of her and forgiveness thereof.

Made for TV

Between 1954 and 1963, the socialite focused her efforts on dominating the Hollywood acting scene. She was a darling both on screen and on stage. 

Appearing in a number of television drama's such as Playhouse 90, Studio One in Hollywood and The Dick Powell show, she established her right to be called an actress.

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Her death comes as a tragedy not only to her family and friends, but millions of people who had followed the Gloria Vanderbilt story and watched her grow. She has indeed created a legacy that will live on for decades to come.

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