Former figure skater Vera Wang was born in 1949 in New York to immigrant Chinese parents. Graduating in1967 from the Chaplin School, Wang also studied at the University of Paris and the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College, a private liberal arts college 15 miles north of Manhattan, earning a degree in art history.
Wang was a successful figure skater, competing in the United States Figure Skating Championships in 1968, but it was her failure in this competition to make the US Olympic team that was to become fashion’s gain, prompting her to leave figure skating behind for a new career in fashion.
Starting out in Madison Avenue’s Yves Saint Laurent boutique, in 1970 she was asked to join Vogue by the then editor, Frances Patiky Stein, and quickly rose through the ranks to become one of Vogue’s youngest ever fashion editors. Journalism was not to be her favoured career however, as Wang had always held aspirations to become a designer herself.
Leaving Vogue in 1987 to take up a position as a designer at Ralph Lauren, it was whilst planning her own nuptials that she spotted a gap in the market, bridal wear. Wang realised that this was an area that had been somewhat neglected by other designers, and she could bring a sensual modernity, and express the relationship between wedding, dress and current fashion trends.
Since that moment, Wang opened her own boutique in 1990, her own label in 1993, and in 2000, a ready-to-wear collection. Known primarily for her bridal wear and red carpet dresses, celebrities who have worn Vera Wang include Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman and Mariah Carey.
Vera Wang as a label continues to go from strength-to-strength, with annual sales estimated around $700 million, and in 2013, Vera was awarded by the CFDA the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of her significant contributions to the fashion industry.