27 June 1949: Birthday of Vera Wang, American fashion designer (Source)

Designer Vera Wang at Ralph Lauren’s 40th Anniversary celebration in the Conservancy Garden, Central Park, New York City, September 8, 2007 – photo by Christopher Peterson (Source)

Vera Ellen Wang[1] (Chinese: 王薇薇; pinyin: Wáng Wēiwēi; born June 27, 1949)[2] is an American fashion designer.


Early life

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.[3] Wang has one younger brother, Kenneth.[citation needed]

Wang attended Friends Seminary,[4] 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.[5] 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 Illustrateds Faces in the Crowd in the January 9, 1968, issue.[6] When she failed to make the U.S. Olympics team, she entered the fashion industry.[7] Wang continues to enjoy skating, saying, “Skating is multidimensional”.[5]

In 1968, Wang was presented as a debutante to high society at the International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf Astoria New York.[8]


Career

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.[9]

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.[18] Wang was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009 for her contribution to the sport as a costume designer.[19] She designed the uniforms worn by the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders.[20]

On October 23, 2001, her book, Vera Wang on Weddings,[21] 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.

Wang’s evening wear has been worn by stars at many red carpet events, including Viola Davis at the 2012 Academy Awards,[22] and Sofia Vergara at the 65th Emmy Awards.[23]

She was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.[24][25]

In 2006, Wang reached a deal with Kohl’s, a chain of department stores, to produce a less expensive line of ready-to-wear clothing exclusively for them called Simply Vera.[26]

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,[27] 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.[28] The show got very positive reviews, Godfrey Deeny describing it as a “notable collection by one of the few New York designers with a truly distinctive fashion DNA”,[29] while Bridget Foley presented Vera’s creations as “Beautiful, seriously designed clothes, presented with gutsy panache”.[30] However, the show was marred by several major footwear malfunctions,[31][32] especially during the finale when four models fell down,[33] including Fei Fei Sun, who fell twice in a row,[34] leading chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman to state that “In 2019, no woman should be tortured by what she wears”.[31]


Retail

In 1990, she opened her own design salon in the Carlyle Hotel in New York City that features her trademark bridal gowns.[35] She has since opened bridal boutiques in New York, London, Tokyo, and Sydney and has also expanded her brand through her fragrance,[36] 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.[37] In 2002, Wang began to enter the home fashion industry and launched The Vera Wang China and Crystal Collection,[38] followed by the 2007 release of her diffusion line called Simply Vera, which are sold exclusively by Kohl’s.[35]

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.[39] 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.[40]

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.”[41]


Personal life

In June 1989, Wang married investor Arthur P. Becker in an interfaith Baptist and Jewish ceremony.[1] They have two daughters, both of whom were adopted.[42] In July 2012, the couple announced their separation. (Source)

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