Vera Wang – Renowned Chinese-American Wedding Dress Designer

Vera Wang – Renowned Chinese-American Wedding Dress Designer

Vera loves clothes beyond loving clothes; she loves everything that has to do with clothes. This is not a make-believe love here; it’s the real thing. Anything that has happened to Vera is fallout of this love. It’s her only agenda. So she is going to present you clothes in an extremely loving manner: beautiful clothes in the most beautiful way possible.”

—Paul Cavaco, the editor of New York Magazine

Vera Wang – Renowned Chinese-American Wedding Dress Designer
Vera Wang – renowned for her designs of wedding dresses

Vera Wang’s Story

Vera Wang, born on June 27 1949, is an American fashion designer based in New York and especially known for her wedding dresses collection.

Her parents were born in Shanghai, China, and came to the United States in the mid-1940s. Vera Wang was born and raised in New York and after graduating from The Chapin School in 1967, she attended the Sorbonne, University of Paris and earned a degree in art history from Sarah Lawrence College.

While in high school, Wang trained as a figure skater with pairs partner James Stuart, and won the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She was featured in Sports Illustrated in the January 8, 1968 issue. When she failed to make the US Olympics team, she entered the fashion industry.

Vera Wang’s love for fashion was discovered during her studying years in Paris. Returning to the US after graduation, she became American Vogue’s youngest ever fashion editor at the age of 23. She left Vogue in 1985 after being turned down for the editor-in-chief position and joined Ralph Lauren as a Design Director for two years.

qing shupei-vera wang-fall 2010
Qing Shupei – famous Chinese supermodel, wearing Vera Wang’s design in the Fashion Show For Fall 2010

In 1989, 39-year-old Vera Wang was a high-powered, high-fashion design director. She was also engaged to marry businessman Arthur Becker, and she wanted the perfect dress for her wedding day. But even though she visited stores all over New York City, she found only traditional, fussy gowns, designed for a younger bride.


“I’m very modern and sophisticated,” Wang said, “I didn’t want to look like the girl on top of the wedding cake.” Frustrated at the lack of options, Wang decided that she would simply have to create her own dress. It was the first dress Vera Wang designed. Soon after her wedding, Wang made an important decision: she knew there was a need for more sophisticated, elegant wedding gowns. In 1990, she opened her own design salon in the Carlyle Hotel in New York that features her trademark bridal gowns.

Within months, word of Wang’s designs spread quickly among well-to-do New Englanders, upper-class socialites, and celebrities. Vera Wang eventually launched a signature collection of streamlined and sophisticated bridal wear and soon became the foremost designer of wedding gowns in the world. In 2005, she was awarded Womenswear Designer of the Year by the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America).

Ms Carina Lau with groom Tony Leung, dressed Vera Wang’s gown in 2008
Ms Carina Lau, in blissfulness with groom Tony Leung, dressed Vera Wang’s gown in 2008

Vera Wang’s Recognition

Evening Gowns popular with Celebrities

Wang’ story doesn’t stop at bridal dresses. She has also designed formal gowns for many top celebrities too. Wang has made gowns for Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne, Victoria Beckham, Khloe Kardashian, Jennifer Garner, Sharon Stone, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Uma Thurman, Holly Hunter and many more top celebrities. Many famous celebrities dress in her beautifully designed evening gowns for award ceremonies, movie premieres, and other important events.

Vera Wang’s designs are very simple but not boring, she is known for simply constructed, slinky gowns that drape smoothly over a woman’s body as the pictures below show.

Celebrities in Vera Wang designed dresses
Rachel Weisz in 2007 Oscar party-vera wang
Rachel Weisz in 2007 Oscar party
keira knightley-verawang-2008 oscar party
Keira Knightly in 2008 Oscar party
verawang2-debra messing
Debra Messing in a stylish evening gown designed by Vera Wang

Fashion in Figure Skating

Wang was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009, and was honoured for her contribution to the sport as a costume designer. She has designed costumes for figure skaters, including Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek. Silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan wore a unique design of Vera’s for the 1994 Olympics. She designed the two-piece uniforms currently worn by the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders.

Nancy Kerrigan-vera wang
Vera Wang’s hand-beaded ensemble for Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan received International attention
evan lysacek-vera wang
Evan Lysacek wore a creation by designer Vera Wang in the ice ring

Beyond Wedding Gowns and Dresses

By balancing modern designs with traditional elegance, Vera Wang has acquired a large following, particularly in Hollywood. Eventually, Wang ventured beyond fashion designs in gowns and dresses, expanding her brand name through her fragrance, jewelry, eyewear, shoes and house ware collections.

On October 23, 2001, her book Vera Wang on Weddings was released.

book_vera wang
Vera Wang on Weddings Book

The world’s most successful bridal gown designer shares her vision for this most important event of a person’s life – the wedding. Rather than a soup-to-nuts approach with endless lists of what to do, Vera Wang details each aspect of the wedding with her thoughts and ideas, culled from years of experience in the wedding business.

In 2002, Vera Wang launched her first signature fragrance which was simply called Vera Wang. An exotic and feminine scent featuring notes of mandarin, lotus and iris, it was designed with brides in mind. During that year she also began to enter the home fashion industry, launching The Vera Wang China and Crystal Collection.

vera wang princess
Vera Wang Princess Fragrance

She continued to launch several perfumes, for example – Vera Wang for men (2004), Princess (2006) and Truly Pink (2007).

2007 also saw the release of her diffusion line called Simply Vera Wang, sold exclusively by Kohl’s (an American departmental store chain)

The Vera Wang brand covers from wedding fashion basics like jewelry, eye wear and shoes to post-wedding lifestyle choices like chinaware, stationary and even mattresses.

vera wang brand

Vera Wang’s most outlandish project to date is coupling with Eight Wonder (Las Vegas based casino developer) to design hotel suites under the Vera Wang name.

Vera Wang’s Latest Collection-Fall 2010 Fashion Show

Tailoring was a focus of this fashion show. However Vera Wang put her luxurious, ultra-femme stamp on it; adding Mongolian lamb trim to the hem of a coat and cutting the sleeves off at the elbows so it can be worn with opera gloves;affixing sequins to the mesh pockets of a charcoal felt double-lapel jacket.
show1-vera wang
A pair of her easy paper-bag-waist tuxedo pants, worn with a draped one-shoulder top in white linen voile or an ivory silk faille tucked bustier, would make fabulous alternatives to the little black cocktail dress.  Among the best was a simple twisted and draped jersey frock that fell to just above the knee.

show2-vera wang

“Less is more” is not a concept that feels entirely natural for Wang. Still, she nailed it with a scalloped black organza gown that looked practically weightless as it glided down the runway.

show3-vera wang

Spring 2011 Wedding Gown Collection

Each piece embodies the delicate, airy feeling that spring brings to each of us. Soft hues, luxurious fabrics, and clouds of silk and tulle dominate this Spring 2011 Collection.

As always, Vera’s collection include both classic, simple white or ivory wedding dresses, as well as more daring gowns in unexpected shades. Every detail (including hints of lace and floral appliqué) is beautifully done, while being restrained and demure.

spring 2011-vera wang-wedding dress-

spring 2011-vera wang-wedding dress

spring 2011-vera wang wedding dress

If you’re a fan of the impeccable layering often present on Vera Wang creations, then THE dress might be waiting for you in Vera Wang’s Spring 2011 collection.



Learn some Mandarin Words

王微微 wáng wēi wēi Vera Wang n.
新娘礼服 xīn niáng lǐ fú Bridal gown n.
颁奖典礼 bān jiǎng  diǎn lǐ Award ceremony n.
精致的 jīng zhì de Sophisticated adj.
优雅的 yōu yǎ de Elegant adj.
社会名流 shè huì míng liú Socialites n.
褶皱 zhě zhòu Drape n.

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