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Vanderbilt, Gloria

name jeans line including

B. 1924

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Awards: Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, 1969
         Fashion Hall of Fame, Elected 1969
         Woman of Achievement Award, Anti-Defamation League, 1981
         Citation of Merit, National Arts Club, 1982

She has been in the public eye all of her life. Descended from American “royalty,” including the Vanderbilt, Whitney, Morgan, and Payne families, Gloria Laura Vanderbilt was thrust into the center of a vicious custody battle at the age of ten, between her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, sister of her deceased father, and her mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. Despite her difficult and very public upbringing, Vanderbilt put her skill at painting, writing, and business to excellent use. She has authored three critically acclaimed books and has contributed to several magazines; her artwork has been exhibited at many galleries and museums; and Hallmark has used her pastels and collages in a line of paper products, Gloria Vanderbilt Collections.

Vanderbilt’s triumphs and tribulations were tracked with great interest. She married several famous and successful men, dominated New York’s Best Dressed List during the 1960s, worked diligently for major charities, and raised two sons. However, she will probably be best remembered, not for the fortune she inherited at age twenty-one, but for the second fortune she made through her extraordinary licensing agreement with a company known as Murjani International. By giving permission to Murjani in 1978 to use her name on their jeans, she became the first “designer” name to appear on the derrieres of American women, launching the designer-jeans phenomenon.

By the 1980s Gloria Vanderbilt’s jeans were the best-selling jeans in America, with Vanderbilt herself appearing in commercials and at in-store events all over the country. Her licensing agreements quickly expanded to include luggage, jewelry, handbags, home furnishings, and fragrances including Vanderbilt, with its signature swan logo, introduced in 1981, and Glorious, launched in 1987. She even licensed her name to a low-calorie dessert.

The Gloria Vanderbilt brand name endured through the rest of the century. Gitano acquired the apparel line in 1990 and sold it to an investment group in 1993, which continued distribution through J.C. Penney and Kohl’s in the United States, and Zeller’s, owned by the Hudson Bay Company, with approximately 340 stores in Canada. In 2000, Vanderbilt introduced a new junior line called Glo, by Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel.

Vanderbilt, Gloria - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Gloria Vanderbilt, Social and Economic Impact [next] [back] Vanderbilt, Cornelius - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Cornelius Vanderbilt, Social and Economic Impact

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