Probably the most important wedding dress designer in the USA, Vera Wang never studied design. She studied at Chapin School, an all-girls, private day school in Manhattan and took a degree in art history.
She was born in New York in 1949 of Chinese parents. She started her career in fashion as editor of Vogue, where she worked for sixteen years, from 1979 to 1985. She realized it was time to move on when it was clear to her that she had little chances of a career progression in the magazine. She was offered the opportunity to work at Ralph Lauren as design director, and took it. She kept this position for two years, then she started to work on her first bridal gown collection.
Her first boutique in Manhattan opened its doors in 1990. Her popularity in the industry grew gradually, not through glamorous marketing campaigns but through word-of mouth.
The first time her name became known to the public was when American Olympic figure skating medalist Nancy Kerrigan asked her to design her costume for the winter Olympic games of 1994. Vera Wang, who had practiced skating as a teenager (she almost made it to the Olympic team), accepted enthusiastically. An even major breakthrough came in 2008 with one of her wedding dresses being featured in the Sex and the City movie.
Early in her career, it became clear to Vera that her creative energy could not be confined in the wedding dress industry. Her collections expanded rapidly: from wedding dresses to jewelry, eye wear, shoe and house ware collections, and of course perfumes. The list of celebrities she designed a wedding gown for is impressive: Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne, Victoria Beckham, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Holly Hunter, just to name a few.
Vera Wang sees herself as an innate artist, if she were not a fashion designer she would express her creativity as a movie director or a novel writer.
She also made some TV appearances in The Apprentice and in the Ugly Betty TV series as herself (with also Victoria Bekham as herself).