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Known for balancing modern designs with traditional elegance, Vera Wang is arguably the most prominent designer of bridal wear in America.
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Vera Wang was born on June 27, 1949, in New York City. A former figure skater, Wang was senior fashion editor at Vogue for 15 years and then a design director for Ralph Lauren. She designed her own wedding dress, then opened a bridal boutique and soon launched her own signature collection. Now hugely popular, she has a large Hollywood following and also designs lingerie, jewelry and home products.
Fashion designer Vera Ellen Wang was born on June 27, 1949, in New York City, New York. The daughter of affluent Chinese immigrants, Wang enjoyed a pampered childhood growing up on Manhattan's Upper East Side. She attended the elite Chapin School and the School of American Ballet, before enrolling at Sarah Lawrence College. During her sophomore year, Wang briefly studied abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris, but returned to the United States to complete her degree in art history.
A talented figure skater, Wang competed professionally throughout her teens. In the 1968 and 1969 U.S. National Championships she and her partner, James Stuart, placed fifth in the junior pairs competition. Upon her graduation from college, in 1971, Wang shelved her skating career and began working for Vogue magazine. Within a year, at the age of 23, Wang was promoted to senior fashion editor. She held that title for the next 15 years. In 1987, she left Vogue to take a job as design director for accessories at Ralph Lauren.
In 1989, Wang wed longtime boyfriend Arthur Becker. Frustrated with the slim selection of existing bridal wear, she sketched her own design and commissioned a dressmaker to tailor the elaborate gown at a cost of $10,000. The following year, with some financial backing from her father, Wang opened her own bridal boutique in the upscale Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York City.
Catering mostly to celebrities and socialites, the Vera Wang Bridal House initially offered couture gowns by the famed designers Guy Laroche, Arnold Scaasi, Carolina Herrera, and Christian Dior. Over the next few years, Wang honed her skills as a fashion designer and eventually launched a signature collection of streamlined and sophisticated bridal wear.
Wang first received international attention during the 1994 Olympics when she designed a hand-beaded ensemble for figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Wang has since introduced an equally popular line of elegant evening wear, as well as Vera Wang Made to Order—a collection of couture designs that are available exclusively at the Manhattan boutique. To date, both her bridal and evening apparel are sold at over 55 upscale retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
By balancing modern designs with traditional elegance, Wang has acquired a large following, particularly in Hollywood. Her fashions are frequently worn to film premieres and award ceremonies by a number of high-profile actresses, including Halle Berry, Goldie Hawn, Charlize Theron, Anjelica Huston and Meg Ryan.
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Each day, we put on clothes that do more than just cover up bodies. We choose clothes that represent our personalities, our moods, the times we live in, our ambitions and our desires. Who are the people behind the designs we wear every day? These fashion designers who have made fashion a huge industry, and whose work is as controversial, and as influential, as traditional art. These are some of the designers who have dressed the world's most famous people—and are hugely famous in their own right.
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