Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Vera Wang

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Vera Wang is the fashion world’s gothic queen, wedded to craft, creative innovation and intricate detail. Hear her story.

When it comes to Vera Wang, we’re the emoji with the heart eyes. Wang is stylish, empowered and original. Entrepreneur, mother, couture guru, Wang is far more than a fashionista – she’s a creative phenomenon. She’s the kind of woman we want to be. 😍 😍 😍 Yep. We’re smitten. 😉

Wang is the emo of haute couture. Known as the wedding dress queen, the designer herself is typically draped in black. Her bridal gowns marry fantasy with nostalgic romance whilst her ready-to-wear collections court drama. Her designs embrace a luxurious dichotomy, fashioned by turns from ivory silk crepe + Chantilly lace, and ostrich plumes + black mink. Their architectural silhouettes are heartbreaking. 💔

Taylor Swift + Kylie Kloss wearing Vera Wang. Vogue Fashion Editor - Tonne Goodman. Photographed by Mikael Jansson.
Taylor Swift + Kylie Kloss wearing Vera Wang. Vogue Fashion Editor – Tonne Goodman. Photographed by Mikael Jansson.

Wang’s portfolio of clients reads like a Hollywood’s best-dressed list. Her ready-to-wear collections have won the ardour of Rita Ora and Michelle Obama, Sofia Vergara, Mariah Carey, and Taylor Swift. Her signature bridal gowns have graced the ceremonies of Victoria Beckham, Buffy (seriously!), Chelsea Clinton, Alicia Keys, and the list goes on. This woman has pull.

Vera Wang - Fashion's fave bridal maverick Vera Wang Wedgwood Blanc Sur Blance Bone China and crystal stemware
The designer herself (source: blacktieweddings.com.au) and Vera Wang Wedgwood Blanc Sur Blanc Bone China and crystal stemware, available online at Zanui.

Wang was born in 1949, the Year of the Ox, designating her diligent, reliable, determined and ambitious. She grew up in New York’s Upper East Side, the daughter of a United Nations translator and a pharmaceutical mogul. Her parents were migrants from Shanghai, China (though Wang herself has never been there). A strong will and what she calls an “insane work ethic” were written in her DNA.

Wang was well acquainted with hard work from an early age. She was a world-class figure skater before she became a designer. She competed in the 1968 Figure Skating Championships. When she failed to make the 1970 Winter Olympics team, she turned her steely determination toward the world of fashion.

Vera Wang figure-skating. T Magazine Photography - Marvin Orellana.
Vera Wang figure-skating. T Magazine Photography – Marvin Orellana.

Wang spent 16 years at the Vogue coalface, becoming the youngest ever fashion editor and stylist at age 23. A decision to pass over her for Editor-In-Chief (in favour of devilishly infamous Anna Wintour) saw Wang split from the helm. In her search for greener pastures, she found Polo Ralph Lauren, joining as Design Director in 1986.

Wang began designing wedding dresses when she couldn’t find the one she wanted for her own big day. Though Wang’s signature label would seem an inevitability, it was her father who pushed her into its realisation. “He was fanatical,” she says. She launched her flagship bridalwear store at the iconic Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Madison Avenue in 1990 with his backing.

burdadothu Vera Wang Lace and Grosgrain Bone China Dinnerware
The designer (source: burda.hu) and Vera Wang Wedgwood Grosgrain and Lace Bone China, available online at Zanui.

Wedded to feminine detail, intricate layering, and exquisite luxury, her inimitable designs drew fans and lifetime achievement awards alike. She branched out into ready-to-wear in 2000, and with this came the red carpet, an experience she describes as “a gamble of the highest order. It’s Vegas and then some.”

Then came authorship, fragrance, shoes, eyewear, jewellery, and, of course, homewares. ♥️

Vera Wang Sequin Champagne Saucer (Set of 2)
Vera Wang Wedgwood Sequin Champagne Saucer (Set of 2), available online at Zanui.

In 2002, Wang began her collaboration with Wedgwood which now encompasses bone china dinnerware, crystal stemware and giftware. The Vera Wang Wedgwood collections exhibit a shared appreciation for standout design and a commitment to superior craftsmanship. Wang’s collections translate classic designs into a modern vocabulary. “The collections blend subtlety with sophistication and the results are elegant, timeless and luxurious – live it, enjoy it,” she says.

Blake Lively in Vera Wang on Gossip Girl Vera Wang Wedgwood Lace bone china dinner setting source modernweddingdotcomdotau
Blake Lively wearing Vera Wang on Gossip Girl (source: popsugar.com) and Vera Wang Wedgwood Lace Bone China, available online at Zanui.

A self-confessed sentimentalist, Wang has a love affair with things past and a hunger for the new. Her homewares collections exude a zen-like balance between these two extremes, exuding sophisticated drama.

“They’re perfect for wedding tableware but are also accessible for people to enjoy using in everyday life,” Wang says. “Each range features an artistic, modern and luxurious design and a couture-like quality.”

Vera Wang Wedgwood
Vera Wang Wedgwood photo frames and With Love Gold Flutes available online at Zanui.

Asked about her aesthetic, she says, “I probably am a minimalist, in a weird way. But there is a romanticist in me, no question. I don’t mean that to sound sugary or whatever. Also a side of me likes something that feels thought-out.”

Wang’s designs are as considered as the woman herself. She’s an argument for self-affirmation – driven, dynamic and meticulous. This powerful triumvirate of traits has taken her from elite athlete to style sage and beyond. It’s impossible not to admire fashion’s favourite gothic queen.

You can hear Wang talking about her approach to homewares design here:

Quotes sourced Wedgwood, WWD magazine and Vera Wang.

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.