Ralph Lauren Gloria Vanderbilt

Host Ralph Lauren with guest of honor Gloria Vanderbilt. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images

Designer Ralph Lauren hosted cocktails for style legend Gloria Vanderbilt at his new Madison Ave. women's store in NYC on Nov. 4 to celebrate the publication of a new book about her life.

Wendy Goodman's "The World of Gloria Vanderbilt" celebrates the 86 years of a remarkable woman who has been a fashion designer, artist, actress, and philanthropist.

Anderson Cooper, Vanderbilt's son, wrote the book's foreword and greeted a glittering guest list that included Uma Thurman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marisa Berenson, Camilla Belle, Kathy Griffin, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos, Jacqueline Kennedy's sister Lee Radziwill, Alina Cho, socialite Aerin Lauder, Gloria Steinem, and NBC news anchor Brian Williams.

Vanderbilt has been a fixture in the national consciousness ever since a sensational 1934 custody battle between her free-spending mother and her more responsible aunt. At stake was a share in a $5 million trust fund left to her by her late father.

In the 1970s her name became synonymous with a range of jeans, putting Vanderbilt in the league of designers like Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani. Vanderbilt's advice on personal style, she told StyleList, is to "follow your instinct about expressing your feelings about beauty and life."

Asked to define her own person style, she laughed. "To define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth," she said. "That's all I can say!"

Model Lauren Bush, wearing a Ralph Lauren evening gown, described Vanderbilt's style as "amazing, very uncommon, very unique. She's just an enduring icon, and today, when everything's so quick and fast -- blogs and Twitter -- it's nice to have some of that old-school sensibility of what it means to be unique and creative."

Cooper's friend Kathy Griffin, who was celebrating her 50th birthday, said Vanderbilt was throwing her a dinner on Friday night.

"I love that she's still so chic, I love that she has walked through the fire," said Griffin. "And I love that she thinks I'm funny and gets me and doesn't think I'm mean."

Author Goodman said working with Vanderbilt was "beyond a dream project. She first and foremost is an artist. She's one of the most original and creative women, and she's a very disciplined woman. And she's so well read!

"As much as I know her, I still keep learning things about her all the time."

In related news, read about Anthropologie's party celebrating the life of Isabella Blow.