Vera Wang (nee Vera Ellen Wang) — the woman who designed her own bridal gowns, and dressed up brides and bridesmaids all over the world!
China has a long and great cultural heritage. China has given great personalities like Qin Shi Huang, Confucius, Mao Zedong, Laozi, Zhang Ziyi, etc. from every walk of life to the world. China has been the first in several inventions: paper, printing, writing, gunpowder, compass, bell with clapper, pottery, lamps, and several other articles that have made us feel cultured and comfortable are the inventions of this great land.
Though most Chinese clung to their traditional clothes in the past and for most part of the present era, there have been some significant changes even in this most disciplined military country. People in general and young people in particular have shown more enthusiasm in wearing clothes other than their official uniforms and traditional costumes. And to meet the general demand, China has produced some notable designers like Masha Ma, Yang Li, Yun Linn, Vera Wang, etc., who have brought their nation’s fame on to the catwalk with their fashion designing talents.
Vera Wang, like every other Chinese, is proud to announce that she is ethnically Chinese though she was actually born in New York. Being the daughter of a wealthy Shanghai couple settled in the States, she was brought up in the upend neighbourhood, getting educated in the best schools.
Vera, dubbed as the ‘queen bee of the bridal couture world’, has her skilful hand deep in the bridal gowns and dresses. She dared to bring non-white into the age-old custom of brides wearing only white at their weddings, and went even further by bringing in ‘black’ bridal collection in the Fall of 2012, causing the tongues wagging by stating that using black and nude (color) in bridal dresses is the ‘idea of witches’!
As is the case with people in many societies in Asia, Vera Wang also likes ‘red’ because, according to her, colour red represents good luck which a bride needs a lot during her wedding.
A designer who understands a wedding
Wang believes that a wedding is not just two people following some rites to get permission to wallow in sex. She is known to take all the details of the whole process of wedding of a particular bride she’s going to dress up into consideration: venue, theme, number of people attending, bride’s individual traits and preferences, and even the location, temperature, and the exact time of the event besides the financial soundness!
Vera’s success is in her understanding of the ‘curves’. Being a figure skating enthusiast and champion from an early age, she knows how to ‘make’ curves show up more prominently.
The beginning of the house of bridal gowns
She did not enter into the fashion world blind folded though she had her father, a rich business magnet, to finance her. She had spent about twenty years working in the field of fashion before she finally made a name for herself. She was a senior fashion editor for Vogue, the international fashion magazine, and then she worked for some considerable time for Ralph Lauren, the American fashion icon, as a design director, where she learned all the tricks of the trade.
She opened her own design salon in a New York hotel in 1990, featuring her flagship bridal gowns. Since then she has spread her own boutiques in New York, London, Tokyo and Sydney. Once her bridal gowns got recognition, she went on to expand her brand name by introducing jewelry, shoes, fragrance, eyewear and houseware items.
The celebrities that donned Vera’s wedding gowns
The list of Wang’s celebrity brides is as long as her princess’s bridal gown: Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of the former president Bill Clinton; Karenna Gore, the daughter of Al Gore, the former vice president; Victoria Kennedy, lawyer & wife of Robert F. Kennedy’s son Max Kennedy; Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, Kate Hudson, Holly Hunter, Hilary Duff, Sarah Michelle Gellar, the well-known Hollywood actresses; Ivanka Trump, the American businesswoman; Victoria Beckham, a businesswoman & fashion designer herself; Campbell Brown, Khole Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, the popular TV personalities; and Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, the music icons, to name a few.
In addition, Wang’s costumes have been worn by a number of famous figure skaters, such as Michelle kwan, Evan Lysacek and Nancy Kerrigan. The cheerleaders of Philadelphia Eagles, the reputed football team, wear Wang’s two piece attractive uniforms when they cheer their players.
Vera Wang’s other clothes line is as popular as her bridal gowns: the First Lady Michelle Obama likes wearing Vera’s evening wear; Sandra Bullock, the noted Hollywood actress, presented herself at the 2011 Oscars in Vera’s dress; Viola Davis, the award-wining star, wore Wang’s dress at 2012 Academy Awards; and Sofia Vergara, the famous Columbian actress & TV personality, showed up in Vera’s dress at 65th Emmy Awards in 2013.
As is the case with designers of multiple products, each of Vera Wang products has a logo, monogram or just the name on it. However, the most common one seen on her products is the peculiar logo: the thin and long letter ‘V’ sitting on the centre stroke of the thin and long letter ‘W’ below.
Credits, Honors and Awards
With so much dynamism behind her delicate figure, it’s no wonder Vera Wang won so many prestigious awards and honors.
She was presented as a debutante, at the International Debutante Ball at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City in 1968. She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) ‘Womenswear Designer of the Year – 2005. She received the Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2006. She was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2010, she was awarded the Leadership in the Arts Award by the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association.
When she opened her third international and first Asian flagship store ‘Vera Wang Bridal Korea’, in the upend market area in Seoul in 2012, President Jung Mi-ri graced the occasion.
She received the Geoffrey Beene Achievement Award in 2013.
Vera’s gowns and dresses for bridesmaids and brides are so popular that they have been mentioned in several popular movies and TV shows:
In the 1989 TV film ‘Steel Magnolias’, Julia Roberts in the lead character wears Vera’s wedding gown. In the 2009 Bride Wars movie, lead character says “You don’t alter Vera to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera!” And there are several TV series in which we see and hear Vera Want being mentioned, especially the Sex and the City, The West Wing, Ugly Betty, etc.
This ethnically Chinese designer, Vera Wang, who made a great number of brides proud to be brides, deserves all the Kudos!