Gloria Vanderbilt, it’s fair to say, was not a minimalist. Let’s get that straight.
In an age where a lot of people seem to want to mimic the same decorating aesthetic and queue up for the exact same $29 marble-topped table or rose gold candle holder, we could learn a lot from decorators from the past. And from Gloria, to be specific.
Granted, Mrs Vanderbilt had a pretty awesome budget and plenty of helpers to fancy up her place, but at the heart of it is a sort of bonkers irreverence that bucks trends and just does its own extremely decorated thing.
These photos make me extremely happy and highlight, I think, the sort of bracing results you can get from just putting stuff you love in your home – and forgetting about what other people are putting in theirs.
Okay, perhaps the thing you love is the marble-topped table and that is GREAT, but it’s good to note that there are other ways and other textures, colours, shapes that can add some bonkers brilliance to any room. And don’t forget about floors that match walls that match curtains that match frocks. Or indeed that MISMATCH!
I can’t get enough of the craft elements popping up in these rooms, either.
Gloria Vanderbilt is now 93 years old. She’s the daughter of horse admirer, gambler and one-time millionaire soak, Reginald Vanderbilt, himself the son of a billionaire railroad mogul.
At the age of ten Gloria was at the centre of a widely-reported custody dispute. Her boozehound dad Reginald died of cirrhosis of the liver after burning through his inheritance, leaving Gloria’s mum (also called Gloria) in debt. At this point, Reginald’s sister (and Gloria’s aunt) Gertrude decided she was the best guardian for the 10-year-old and a battle dubbed “the trial of the century” ensued. Gloria senior was dragged through the mud and deemed an unfit mother by many. Her sexuality also faced public scrutiny. In the end her daughter, Gloria Jnr, ended up in care of Gertrude with some agreed weekend visitation:
“After more than seven weeks of extensively reported testimony, Judge Carew ruled in favor of Gertrude Whitney. Little Gloria would live with her aunt; her mother could have weekend visitations,” Town and Country tells us. So sad, especially when Gloria later admitted she’d been coached to speak out against her mother.
(Interestingly, Gloria senior’s twin sister Thelma Furness was the mistress of King Edward VIII, the very same abdicating Edward – the Queen’s uncle – who later went on to court controversy with Wallis Simpson.)
Apart from being a high profile trust fund baby and lover of patchwork and crochet, you might also know Gloria as the mum of TV personality, Anderson Cooper.
A total trailblazer, artist Gloria launched her own lifestyle, fashion and fragrance empire in the 70s, marking out a path that many celebrities follow to this day. Genius.