Saturday, June 07, 2014

Lunch with the FT: Gloria Vanderbilt

"Gloria Vanderbilt, now 90, has been famous for many things in the course of an extraordinary and varied life. An artist, actress, heiress, model, socialite and fashion designer, she’s been married four times (to agent and film producer Pat DiCicco, conductor Leopold Stokowski, film director Sidney Lumet and author Wyatt Cooper) and courted by luminaries from Marlon Brando to Frank Sinatra, Howard Hughes to Roald Dahl.
As if in contrast, every day she eats the same thing for lunch: a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich and, occasionally, an apple. Yet for this interview, Vanderbilt has agreed to put aside her routine and to go round the corner from her studio to Ze CafĂ©. As a kind of quid pro quo, however, she first wants me to come to her studio, a small white room in a ground floor apartment on the far east side of Midtown Manhattan, just below the apartment in which she actually lives.It’s not a bad deal. The apartment, which represents nine decades in a suite of rooms, is about as close as you can come to a life in microcosm. It’s very full.
Vanderbilt was born in February 1924, the only child of railway heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and his second wife, Gloria Morgan. A year later, Reginald drank himself to death and, after a bitter court case, his young widow lost custody of her daughter, little Gloria, to a paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (founder of the Whitney art museum in New York).In the intervening years, Vanderbilt has been through so many incarnations that everyone has their own version of her: to me, she will always be the woman whose form-fitting jeans, with distinctive signature and swan logo, invented designer denim in the 1970s." (LunchwiththeFT)

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