Vera Ellen Wang
June 27, 1949
New York City, U.S.
Sarah Lawrence College
(m. 1989; sep. 2012)
Vera Ellen Wang was born and raised in New York City, and is of Chinese descent. Her parents were born in China and came to the United States in the mid-1940s. Her mother, Florence Wu (Wu Chifang), worked as a translator for the United Nations, while her father, Cheng Ching Wang (Wang Chengqing), a graduate of Yanjing University and MIT, owned a medicine company. Her maternal grandfather is Fengtian clique warlord Wu Junsheng, who was killed by the Empire of Japan in the Huanggutun incident in 1928. Wang has one brother, Kenneth.
Wang attended Friends Seminary, graduated from Chapin School in 1967, attended the University of Paris, and earned a degree in art history from Sarah Lawrence College. Wang began figure skating at the age of eight. While in high school, she trained with pairs partner James Stuart, and competed at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She was featured in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd in the January 9, 1968, issue. When she failed to make the U.S. Olympics team, she entered the fashion industry. Wang continues to enjoy skating, saying, "Skating is multidimensional".
Wang was hired to be an editor at Vogue immediately upon graduation from Sarah Lawrence College, making her the youngest editor at that magazine. She stayed at Vogue for 17 years, leaving in 1987 to join Ralph Lauren, for whom she worked for 2 years. At 40 she resigned and became an independent bridal wear designer.
Wang has made wedding gowns for public figures such as Hayley Williams, Ariana Grande, Chelsea Clinton, Karenna Gore, Ivanka Trump, Campbell Brown, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Victoria Beckham, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Avril Lavigne, Hilary Duff, Khloe Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian. Wang's evening wear has also been worn by Michelle Obama.
She has designed costumes for figure skaters, including Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan, Evan Lysacek, and Nathan Chen. Kerrigan wore a Wang piece for the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics, Kwan for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, Lysacek for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and Chen for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Wang was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009 for her contribution to the sport as a costume designer. She designed the uniforms worn by the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders.
On October 23, 2001, her book, Vera Wang on Weddings, was released. In June 2005, she won the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Womenswear Designer of the Year. On May 27, 2006, Wang was awarded the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Forbes placed her the 34th in the list America's Richest Self-Made Women 2018, her revenues rising to $630 million in that year.
On September 10, 2019, after a sabbatical of 2 years during which she had presented her collections only via films, Vera Wang returned to the New York Fashion Week runway for her Spring/Summer 2020 fashion show, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of her brand. The show received very positive reviews, with Godfrey Deeny describing it as a "notable collection by one of the few New York designers with a truly distinctive fashion DNA", while Bridget Foley presented Vera's creations as "Beautiful, seriously designed clothes, presented with gutsy panache". However, the show was marred by several major footwear malfunctions, especially during the finale when four models fell down, including Fei Fei Sun, who fell twice in a row, leading chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman to state that "In 2019, no woman should be tortured by what she wears".
In 1990, she opened her own design salon in the Carlyle Hotel in New York City that features her trademark bridal gowns. She has since opened bridal boutiques in New York, London, Tokyo, and Sydney and has also expanded her brand through her fragrance, jewelry, eyewear, shoes, and homeware collections.
"White by Vera Wang" launched on February 11, 2011, at David's Bridal. Prices of the bridal gowns range from $600 to $1,400. In 2002, Wang began to enter the home fashion industry and launched The Vera Wang China and Crystal Collection, followed by the 2007 release of her diffusion line called Simply Vera, which are sold exclusively by Kohl's.
In spring 2012, Wang teamed up with Men's Wearhouse to offer two tuxedo styles available in both the retail and rental areas of their inventory. In June 2012, she expanded in Australia with the opening of "Vera Wang Bride Sydney" and her first Asian flagship store "Vera Wang Bridal Korea", helmed by President Jung Mi-ri, in upmarket neighborhood Cheongdam-dong in Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
In an interview with a CBS reporter, Wang said, "(It's) painful, and not only that, I have no choice. So I think when you start there's a certain innocence because of that freedom, and as you evolve you begin to see the parameters of what you can and can't do. So I make decisions that are very tiny that will affect an hour of work, I make decisions that will impact the lives of the people that work for me. It's in fashion as well, micro work, a centimeter of proportion and then it's macro to see what a vision is on the red carpet."
In June 1989, Wang married investor Arthur P. Becker in an interfaith Baptist and Jewish ceremony. They have two daughters, both of whom were adopted. In July 2012, the couple announced their separation.
In popular culture
Several movies and television shows have featured Wang's works.
In a third season episode of the TV series The West Wing, entitled 'The Black Vera Wang', an evening gown by Wang is pivotal to a storyline involving threats made against the White House Press Secretary, C. J. Cregg. In the other TV series The Newsroom also written by Aaron Sorkin, Mac also talked about wearing dresses made by Vera Wang for her wedding ceremony.
In the TV series Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf wore a Vera Wang wedding dress. Wang appeared in a cameo in season 5 episode 11.
In the film Sex and the City, Vera Wang was among the bridal gowns Carrie Bradshaw wore in her Vogue photo shoot. In the film Bride Wars, Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson wore custom-made Vera Wang gowns.
Also in Revenge, Victoria Grayson, played by Madeleine Stowe, wears a steel gray Vera Wang mermaid gown in her second wedding with Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny). The dress was actually shown in black at Wang's Fall 2012 show.
- Gossip Girl (2012) as herself.
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2011) as herself.
- Chelsea Lately (2011) as herself.
- The Celebrity Apprentice (2008) as herself.
- Ugly Betty (2007) as herself.
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- "Going Once, Going Twice" (April 13, 2015). New Yorker Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- Barsamian, Edward (December 20, 2011). "Vera on Ice". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Sports Illustrated, December 15, 2006, p. 66
- Krohn, Katherine (2006). Vera Wang (A&E Biography). Twenty-First Century Books. p. 112. ISBN 0-8225-6612-5.
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- "NBC's Campbell Brown Gets Married". People. April 2, 2006.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved March 8, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Celebrities who wore Vera Wang on their wedding day". Hello!. October 13, 2013. p. 3.
- "Celebrities who wore Vera Wang on their wedding day". Hello!. October 13, 2013. p. 4.
- "Michelle Obama Dons Vera Wang". Elle Magazine. December 5, 2011. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012.
- "Photos: 10 Best Dressed: Week of December 12, 2011". Vogue. December 2011. Archived from the original on February 15, 2012.
- Frey, Kaitlyn (February 8, 2018). "Vera Wang Reflects on More Than 20 Years of Designing Olympic Figure Skating Costumes". People. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Johnny Weir, Evan Lysacek in battle at figure skating nationals". USA Today. January 22, 2009.
- "Highlights". Philadelphia Eagles. Archived from the original on April 19, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
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- "Oscars 2012: Stars arrive". BBC News. February 27, 2012. Image 3 of 16.
- "Sofía Vergara Talks Wedding Dress: It Has to Be Vera Wang". E! News. October 2, 2013.
- "Vera Wang honored for lifetime achievement". The Columbus Dispatch. June 5, 2013.
- cfda.com "Vera Wang", Council of Fashion Designers of America.
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- "Vera Wang returns, with hippie hair and couture lingerie". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- "Vera Wang Spring Summer 2020 Full Fashion Show (untagged) - YouTube". Youtube.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- "Vera Wang soars yet stumbles". FashionNetwork.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- "Vera Wang RTW Spring 2020". Wwd.com. September 10, 2019. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- Vanessa Friedman. ""Vera Wang [...] threw in shoes so acutely angled and vertiginous that her models' knees shook with the effort to remain upright. Two actually fell, and one limped down the runway with one shoe off and one on"". The New York Times.
- Phelps, Nicole. "Vera Wang Spring 2020 Ready-to-Wear Collection". Vogue.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- "Models trip and fall at Vera Wang Spring/Summer 2020 - HD video with various angles of view - YouTube". Youtube.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- "Top Model Fei Fei Sun FALLS TWICE during Vera Wang Spring/Summer 2020 (New York Fashion Week) - YouTube". Youtube.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- "Vera Wang – Designer Fashion Label Biography", New York Magazine. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
- "Vera Wang Fragrances". VeraWangFragrances.com. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- "White by Vera Wang launches at David's Bridal". David's Bridal. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Pink Collection by Audrey Hepburn". Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- "Men's Wearhouse Partners with Vera Wang to Launch Black by Vera Wang". PR Newswire. PR Newswire. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
- Lee, Rachel (June 29, 2012). "Vera Wang opens 1st Asia flagship in Seoul". Korea Times. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- "Vera Wang talks bridal inspiration, how she applies fashion sense to wedding style". Retrieved February 14, 2017.
- Larocca, Amy (January 12, 2006). "Vera Wang's Second Honeymoon". New York.
- Feitelberg, Rosemary (July 11, 2012). "Vera Wang and Arthur Becker Separate". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- Amy Sohn (February 23, 2004). Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell. ISBN 9780743457309.
- "Bride Wars Wedding Style". Brides.
- "Revenge First Look: Victoria Grayson's Vera Wang Wedding Dress – InStyle.com". InStyle.com.
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