Quite possibly one of the most recognizable names in bridal fashion, Vera Wang is a true fashion icon. For years we have been mesmerized by her beautiful designs and intrigued by how she has been able to evolve with the ever-changing fashion demands and still maintain at the top of her game.
In celebration of her birthday, we wanted to know – how did Vera Wang’s reign in the fashion world begin and evolve over the past several decades?
Where it All Began
Born on June 27, 1949, to affluent Chinese immigrants, Vera Wang enjoyed a privileged childhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. She attended the elite School of American Ballet, briefly studied abroad at the Sorbonne University in Paris (considered the 2nd oldest university in Europe), and was a talented figure skater and competed professionally as a teen. Hardly seems like she would have time to tap into her designing mind.
Fast forward to 1971, after graduating from college Wang put her ice skates on the shelves and began a career at Vogue.
Top executives quickly noticed Wang which resulted in her working her way up the ladder to become one of their youngest fashion editors ever. But when asked where her fashion inspiration came from, Vera Wang is quick to cite her mother as the source.
In 1987 Wang made the decision to leave Vogue and begin working as the design director for the Ralph Lauren label. In two short years, she had amassed a tremendous collection of accessory lines, 18 to be exact. And with this, her love for designing emerged.
Getting Into Bridalwear
We finally see Wang make the move to designing wedding dresses in 1989 after she herself struggled to find a bridal gown that fit the style of a modern woman for her own wedding. So, what does a fashion designer do when she can’t find a wedding dress she loves? Well, it’s simple! She got out her sketch pad and pencils and sketched her very own wedding dress design. Then hired a dressmaker to craft the elaborate bridal gown at a whopping cost of $10,000.
One year later in 1990, with some financial backing from her father, Wang opened her first bridal boutique in the luxurious Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in the big apple.
Initially, her boutique offered couture gowns by popular (and expensive) designers such as Christian Dior, Guy Laroche, Carolina Herrera, and Arnold Scaasi. She quickly honed her design skills and eventually launched her very own signature collection of sophisticated bridal wear. And the rest they say is history.
Some of Vera Wang’s Notable Accomplishments
Our love story with Vera Wang has continued since the ’90s and we are delighted to see her expanding into new arenas. Below are just a few of her accomplishments.
2002 – entered the world of home furnishings by launching the Vera Wang China and Crystal Collection
2005 – Wang won the Council of Fashion Designers America’s Womenswear Designer of the Year
2006 – Given the Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award by the Savannah College of Art Design
2007 – launched the diffusion line Simply Vera, which is sold exclusively by Kohl’s
2009 – inducted in the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame for her designs for sport stars
2010 – partnered with Davids Bridal to create White by Vera Wang, an affordable designer wedding dress collection.
Over the years Wang has continued to amaze us by expanding her business to include lingerie, jewelry, fragrances, home furnishings, desserts, ready-to-wear, and of course our favorite bridal gowns.
Wang’s designs are often found in popular culture such as Carrie Bradshaw wearing one of her designs when she took part in a Vogue photoshoot in the show, Sex & The City. Anne Hathaway & Kate Hudson both wore custom-made Wang wedding dresses in the popular movie, Bride Wars.
Other celebrities that have worn designs by the popular Wang are Nancy Kerrigan, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Goldie Hawn, Meg Ryan, and Angelica Huston.
As one of the best wedding dress designers in the world, Wang’s bridal styles embody modern designs, classic fabrics, exquisite details, and whimsical elements. Throughout her collections, you will find figure-flattering silhouettes and unexpected design elements such as over-sized bows, ruffles, and pops of color.
Any bride will feel like a million dollars on their wedding day when wearing one of the exquisite gowns by Vera Wang. A true design icon that we will love forever.