Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gloria Swanson the designer

It was a few years back, in 2009, to be precise, that I wrote about Gloria Swanson being a hero of mine. This, of course, holds true today as much as it did back in 2009.

As some of you may know, Gloria added fashion designer to her repertoire of professions back in the 1950s. She took over Puritan Dress Company's line called Forever Young in 1951 and that association lasted all the way until 1981. Gloria's mission was to improve the line that was designed mostly for larger and busty women, with the loving image of her "stout" mother in mind. According to her autobiography, titled Swanson on Swanson, she would travel to Paris and Florence every year for inspiration, and talk to salesgirls and fitters because they are the people who best knew both the dresses and the customers.

"I like to think that during my tenure I made the average stoutish woman in America look a little more glamorous in clothes off the rack than she had before 1951", Gloria wrote.

Along the years I've seen dresses designed by Gloria Swanson pop up on Etsy and Ebay on occasion. Although they aren't really my personal style, I always take a closer look just to see what kind of pieces Gloria came up with. I find it awesome that the actress, whose name was on everyone's lips following her performance in Sunset Blvd., chose to design a line aimed for larger ladies.

Here you can find a collection of pretty frocks designed by Gloria for Forever Young around the 1950s, sourced from various online shops.

From Mill Crest Vintage

From AlexSandra's Vintage Emporium

From Little Bird Vintage

From Divine Elegance

From Ginger Root Vintage

From Stairway To Vintage

From Dancing Gypsy Vintage

From decodarling

From therealrockon

From anne8865
Do any of these frocks strike your fancy? Are you lucky enough to own pieces designed by your favourite star?


  1. I really do love these dresses, how lovely that she chose to create a range for larger ladies inspired by her mother.
    Love Lil x

  2. Ohhh, a fellow Gloria Swanson fan! I've long adored the feminine designs that Gloria produced, and would soooo love to find one of her pieces someday to add to my wardrobe.

    Wonderful post, dear gal!

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I think my first comment attempt didn't work, here goes again: I had palpatations reading this - I discovered Gloria Swanson as an actress this year, after finally watching Sunset Boulevard. She's magnificent - terrifying too - but magnificent! I want to go to a fancy dress party wearing a leopard print turban, and make flashing eyes at everyone.

    I love that blue dress, it's in my size, but I'd have to wear two bras to pad it out in the bust...!

    Thanks for highlighting Ms Swanson the designer, I love her even more now!

    Porcelina xx

  4. Lil - I'm glad to hear that you loved Gloria's designs!

    Jessica Cangiano - Thank you! A fellow Gloria fan, indeed, big time. I'm crossing my fingers that you'll find one of her lovely pieces to add to your collection one day.

    Porcelina - Aw, it makes me so happy to hear that you loved the post so much! Gloria truly is one of a kind, not only as an actress but as a business woman. I love that her career endured for decades after decades and that she ventured to so many different fields. What a lady!