STYLE EVOLUTION

A Look Back at Gloria Vanderbilt’s Heiress Style Through the Years


Archive Photos

At 93, Gloria Vanderbilt contains multitudes, and wears them on the outside, too. The only child of railroad heir Reginald Vanderbilt, she was born an American heiress and raised by her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in the center of the New York social scene. In her younger years, she was an actress and muse for famous photographers like Richard Avedon and Horst P. Horst, making numerous appearances in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She also later became a fashion designer, being one of the first to dare to take on denim. Vanderbilt married four times in her life—always to a creative man—and was also rumored to have dated Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Howard Hughes, and Roald Dahl. Today, she’s the adoring mother of Anderson Cooper, an accomplished artist, author, and now Instagram star. She’s not one for selfies, but having been in the public eye since she was a child, Gloria Vanderbilt has a long history of fabulous appearances.

1
1934

Gloria Vanderbilt with her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt-Whitney, who was granted custody of the young heiress after the case was made that her mother was unfit to parent.

2
1937

Gloria Vanderbilt Whitney rides on horseback in 1937 wearing a traditional suit and tie. She lived in her aunt Gertrude’s mansion in Old Westbury, Long Island.

3
1939

Gloria Vanderbilt sits on a Louis Vuitton trunk suitcase with her aunt Gertrud Vanderbilt-Whitney after returning to New York from Cuba in 1939.

4
1939

Gloria Vanderbilt and her mother, Gloria Morgan-Vanderbilt, take a stroll in Los Angeles in 1939. Gloria wears a polka dot dress with a white collar.

5
1941

Gloria Vanderbilt married the agent and alleged mobster, Pat DiCicco at the age of 17 in her mother’s Beverly Hills home. They divorced four years later.

6
1944

Gloria Vanderbilt poses for an issue of Vogue magazine in 1944 wearing a striped dress with her hair in a coiled braid.

7
1954

Gloria Vanderbilt poses by the pool in a one piece bathing suit and hat. This was just a year before her divorce from her second husband, the conductor Leopold Stokowski.

8
1950

Gloria Vanderbilt poses in her kitchen wearing pearls and a floral dress covered in roses circa 1950. Her son, Christopher Stokowski, was born in 1952.

9
1953

Gloria Vanderbilt photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue in 1953 while wearing a polka dot dress with a lifting collar.

10
1956

Gloria Vanderbilt wed her third husband, the director Sidney Lumet, in 1956. They divorced in August 1963 and had no children together.

11
1955

Gloria Vanderbilt wearing a fur sweater, dress, and diamond choker necklace while in the lobby of hotel Gladstone in 1955.

12
1955

Gloria Vanderbilt poses for photographers outside the Astor Theater before the premiere of Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden” in 1955.

13
1950s

Frank Sinatra wears an overcoat and hat while on a date with Gloria Vanderbilt, who wears a jacket trimmed with fur, in the late 1950s.

14
1960s

Gloria Vanderbilt poses in a mod jumper dress, bangles, and a striped handbag in the late 1960s in New York City.

15
1963

Gloria Vanderbilt Cooper wears a gingham dress and necktie with Gucci loafers while sitting with her fourth husband, Wyatt Cooper.

16
1966

Gloria Vanderbilt photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue while at home wearing a white lace dress designed by Mainbocher.

17
1968

Gloria Vanderbilt poses for a 1968 Vogue magazine issue against a wallpaper of violets while wearing a high-collar purple top.

18
1968

Gloria Vanderbilt attends the premiere of Trilogy in 1968 at the Art Theater in New York City wearing a polka dot dress.

19
1968

Gloria Vanderbilt attends a premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre with her husband Wyatt Cooper in 1968 wearing a black and white dress and enormous diamond costume necklace.

20
1969

Gloria Vanderbilt attends a gallery opening in 1969 in New York City wearing tulle-trimmed top with bell sleeves and a high-collar.

21
1970

Gloria Vanderbilt poses with her husband, Wyatt Cooper at the Nine O’clocks Winter Ball in honor of Colonel Serge Obolensky’s 80th birthday at the Plaza Hotel.

22
1970

Gloria Vanderbilt is photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue on the patchwork floor in her apartment wearing Japonoiserie-styled patchwork, silk caftan with ruffled collar, hair pulled back into her usual classic chignon.

23
1972

American author and actor Wyatt Emory Cooper and wife Gloria Vanderbilt Cooper sit with their sons, Carter (1965 – 1988) and Anderson Cooper in Southampton home in 1972.

24
1972

Gloria Vanderbilt poses at home with her sons Anderson and Carter Cooper (1965 – 1988) in Southampton, New York in 1972.

25
1972

Gloria Vanderbilt leaves a party in a tight white lace dress with ribbon trim and bell sleeves alongside her husband, Wyatt Cooper.

26
1975

Gloria Vanderbilt photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue while in her studio with pantings on the walls and floor.

27
1975

Gloria Vanderbilt photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue while culred up on a couch with flowered printed pillows she designed.

28
1979

Gloria Vanderbilt attends the “Fashions of The Hapsburg Era” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing a fuzzy purple jacket in 1979.

29
1985

Gloria Vanderbilt is photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vanity Fair while wearing a pleated dress most likely by Fortuny while posing in front of a large portrait of her mother in her penthouse in Gracie Square in New York City.