Wang at the 2009 premiere of City Island
June 27, 1949 |
New York City, New York, United States
|Spouse(s)||Arthur Becker (m. 1989-2012)|
|Awards||CFDA's womenswear designer of the year, 2005; André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award|
|Labels||Vera Ellen Wang|
Vera Ellen Wang (Chinese: 王薇薇; pinyin: Wáng Wēiwei, Mandarin pronunciation: [u̯ɑ̌ŋ u̯éɪ̯u̯éɪ̯]; born June 27, 1949) is an American fashion designer based in New York City and former figure skater. She is known for her wide range of haute couture bridesmaid gowns and wedding gown collections, as well as for her clientele of elite lady figure skaters, designing dresses for competitions and exhibitions.
Early life and education
Vera Ellen Wang was born and raised in New York City, and is of Chinese descent. Her parents were born in Shanghai, China, and came to the United States in the mid-1940s. Her mother, Florence Wu, worked as a translator for the United Nations, while her father, Cheng Ching Wang, owned a medicine company. Wang has one younger brother, Kenneth.
Wang graduated from The 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. 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 Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd in the January 9, 1968 issue. When she failed to make the US Olympics team, she entered the fashion industry. Wang continues to enjoy skating, saying, "Skating is multidimensional".
In 1968, Wang was presented as a debutante at the International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. At the time of her presentation, Wang explained that "the whole idea of a debutante affair is for a girl to be presented who is available for dating”. However, Wang had not formally announced her two-week-old engagement to Thomas Bermingham of Chicago and Phoenix. Wang, who was representing China at the ball, also admitted that she had never actually been to China, but that her parents had “homes in several areas in the Far East”.
Beginning in 1970, Wang was a senior fashion editor for Vogue but left Vogue after being turned down for the editor-in-chief position currently filled by Anna Wintour and joined Ralph Lauren as a design director for two years.
Wang has made wedding gowns for many well-known public figures, such as Chelsea Clinton, Karenna Gore, Ivanka Trump, Campbell Brown, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Victoria Beckham, Avril Lavigne, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner, Sharon Stone, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Hilary Duff, Uma Thurman, Holly Hunter, Kate Hudson, Khloe Kardashian and Kim Kardashian. Wang's evening wear has also been worn by Michelle Obama.
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.
On October 23, 2001, her book, Vera Wang on Weddings, was released. In June 2005, she won the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) 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 was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009, and was honored for her contribution to the sport as a costume designer.
Twenty years after opening her first bridal boutique, Wang was awarded the Leadership in the Arts Award by the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association. She accepted the award on April 17, 2010 at Identities, the Harvard association's annual charity fashion show.
Wang's evening wear has been worn by stars at many red carpet events, including Viola Davis at the 2012 Academy Awards, Sandra Bullock at the Oscars in 2011 and Sofia Vergara at the 65th Emmy Awards.
In 1990, she opened her own design salon in the Carlyle Hotel in New York that features her trademark bridal gowns. She has since opened bridal boutiques in New York, London, Tokyo and Sydney, Australia. Wang has also expanded her brand name through her fragrance, jewelry, eyewear, shoe and houseware collections.
'White by Vera Wang' launched on February 11, 2011 at David's Bridal. Prices of the bridal gowns range from $600–$1,400 which gives more brides a more affordable way to wear Vera's designs. In 2002, Wang began to enter the home fashion industry and launched The Vera Wang China and Crystal Collection, followed by the 2007 release of her diffusion line called Simply Vera, which are sold exclusively by Kohl's.
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 neighbourhood Cheongdam-dong in Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
In 1989, she married Arthur Becker in an interfaith Baptist and Jewish ceremony. They resided in Manhattan with their two adopted daughters: Cecilia (born 1990), who currently resides in New York City, and Josephine (born 1993), who attended The Chapin School and currently attends Harvard University. Becker was the CEO of an information technology services company called NaviSite until August 2010. In July 2012, Vera Wang Co. announced that the couple have separated. The separation was amicable.
In popular culture
Several movies and television shows have mentioned Wang's works.
In the Sex and the City TV series, Charlotte York found Wang's wedding dress to be the perfect wedding dress, and wore it for her wedding to Trey MacDougal. Wang's design was mentioned in the NBC television show The West Wing in the episode "The Black Vera Wang". In ABC's Ugly Betty TV series, Vera Wang makes a cameo as herself, designing a dress for Wilhelmina Slater's wedding to Bradford Meade.
In the film Sex and the City, Vera Wang was among the bridal gowns Carrie Bradshaw wore in her Vogue photo shoot. In the film Bride Wars, Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson wore custom-made Vera Wang gowns.
In one of Totally Spies! episodes, "The Wedding Crasher", a villain named Wera Van (parody of Vera Wang), desires revenge on those who rejected her wedding dress designs.
- Gossip Girl (2012) as herself
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2011) as herself
- Ugly Betty (2007) as herself
- Chelsea Lately (2011) as herself
- "Vera Wang Wed To Arthur Becker". The New York Times. June 23, 1989. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- Barsamian, Edward (December 20, 2011). "Vera on Ice". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Sports Illustrated, December 15, 2006, p. 66
- Krohn, Katherine (2006). Vera Wang (A&E Biography). Twenty-First Century Books. p. 112. ISBN 0-8225-6612-5.
- Wang, Vera. "International Debutante Ball Dec. 31, 1968". New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Vera Wang". Fashion Model Directory.
- "Gore's Eldest Daughter Weds New York Doctor In Washington". CNN. July 12, 1997. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
- "NBC's Campbell Brown Gets Married" People. April 2, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
- RSVP for Gossip Girl's Finale Wedding! Retrieved March 1, 2009.
- "MICHELLE OBAMA DONS VERA WANG". Elle Magazine.
- 10 Best Dressed
- Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders at the Wayback Machine (archived February 6, 2007) Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
- Vera Wang to be inducted into U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame
- Johnny Weir, Evan Lysacek in battle at figure skating nationals. USA Today
- "Cultural Couture: Campus catwalks redefine the relationship between minorities and fashion". The Harvard Crimson. April 20, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
- "Oscars 2012: Stars arrive". BBC News. February 27, 2012.
- "Sandra Bullock The Oscars 2014 | Academy Awards 2014". Oscar.go.com. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
- "Sofía Vergara Talks Wedding Dress: It Has to Be Vera Wang". E! Online UK. 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
- "Vera Wang Lifetime Achievement Award". Vogue.
- Vera Wang - Designer Fashion Label Biography New York Magazine. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
- "White by Vera Wang launches at David's Bridal". Davidsbridal.com. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
- Lee, Rachel (29 June 2012). "Vera Wang opens 1st Asia flagship in Seoul". Korea Times. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- New York Times: "Vera Wang Wed To Arthur Becker" June 23, 1989
- Vera Wang by Anne M. Todd
- "Vera Wang, Arthur Becker Separate After 23 Years Of Marriage". Huffington Post. July 11, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- Amy Sohn. Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell.
- Bride Wars Style: A behind-the-scenes look at creating Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway's bridal fashion
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