Queen of Bridal Fashion: Vera Wang
Astonishingly, Wang did not come straight out of college as a fashion designer. For someone whose name is synonymous with bridal fashion (the list of celebrities who have worn her designs extends far beyond the horizon), Wang has had as many careers in her life as she has started trends in the bridal gown industry.
Child figure skater
Wang was born to a privileged family in the US in 1964 in the New York district of Long Island. Her mother was a translator and her father owned a medical manufacturing company. She has one brother named Kenneth. As a young girl, Wang discovered a talent for figure skating and dreamed of competing in the Olympics. Unfortunately, Wang discovered in her teens that although she was a good skater she could never compete with the best in the world and failed to qualify for the Olympics. However, Wang has credited her skating experience with giving her a solid work ethic that helped her in her future fashion career.
Education in the US and Paris
Educated at Sarah Lawrence College and then at the Sorbonne in Paris, Wang received the best education that her family could offer her. She majored in art history. After leaving college she found herself working as a fashion editor, eventually becoming fashion editor of Vogue magazine, and then leaving some years later to become one of Ralph Lauren design assistants. It was while working at Ralph Lauren, that Wang first got married at the age of 40. She credits her frustration with finding a wedding dress as the inspiration for designing her own gown and starting a business.
Design style and legacy
Working at Vogue exposed her to the best fashion design talent in the world, and working with Ralph Lauren is according to Wang, the best training in understanding the American fashion-buying psyche, that a young designer could possibly get. Wangs success lies in mixing trends and bridal. Her gowns are at home on the red carpet as they are in the church. The emphasis is always on bringing out the individual personality of the bride. Accordingly, she has dressed more celebrity brides than perhaps any other contemporary designer. In 2012, she shocked people by designing a bridal dress collection in a palette of nude shades and blacks. The following year, Wang presented a 2013–2014 collection entirely in a range of sugary pink hues, which was received very favourably by the fashion press.
In popular culture
Vera Wang is the most well-known wedding dress designer in the world. Her designs are copied by many high street designers, and she herself has appeared in numerous television shows as herself (she dressed Carrie Bradshaw for her wedding). You can see many brides today, such as those who choose Kempton Park wedding packages wearing designs inspired by her couture creations.
Wang has had an astonishingly long and successful career. She will be remembered as one of the most influential fashion designers of the late 20th and early 21st century. At the age of 64, Wang shows no sign of slowing down or of becoming a less thrilling and innovative designer. Recently she has spoken of being inspired by the designs of Christian Dior, so it will be interesting to see how this influence shows up in her future work. No doubt her collections will be the highlight of many fashion weeks to come.