Vera Wang’s Fashion Empire

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.

iShe 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.

Vera Wang has single handedly transformed the industry of wedding dress, bringing from an outdated, busy look to a more modern, chic and organized design. On top of her wedding dress collections and boutiques, Ms. Wang has infiltrated every aspect of the fashion industry, from home décor, eyewear, fragrances, mattresses and china. This woman is a fashion powerhouse. There is something timeless about all that Vera Wang does. Her wedding gowns are coveted, and her china is classic and elegant, her home décor is clean and modern with a hint of tradition.

The official story is that Wang, unable to find a suitably fashionable dress for her own wedding, created one herself. While Wang did indeed create her own gown, she had no thoughts of entering the bridal business—she didn’t even consider it fashion but merely a commodity. What’s more, Wang, whose favorite color is black, wasn’t much of a romantic. But unwilling to walk away from a challenge, she opened a shop in The Carlyle hotel, and in 1990 began a radical makeover of the bridal industry. Instead of designing gowns that turned every woman into a sugarplum fairy, she created sophisticated drama with couture fabrics and sheer-illusion netting.

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.

Arguably the most prominent designer of bridal wear in America, Wang has been honored with a number of awards for her achievements, including the 1993 Chinese American Planning Council’s Honoree of the Year Award and the 1994 Girl Scout Council’s Woman of Distinction Award. Later that year, she was elected as a member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). In 2005, the CFDA selected Wang as the Womenswear Designer of the Year.