Vera Ellen Wang was born in 1949 and raised on Manhattan’s Upper East Side by her mother, Florence Wu, a UN translator, and her father, Cheng Ching Wang, an oil and pharmaceutical tycoon.
She was a competitive ice skater until the age of twenty. Vera studied Theatre at Sarah Lawrence College, but switched to Art History when she realized that an Asian woman, in the early 1970s, was unlikely to be successful as an actress.
She was an editor at Vogue for seventeen years and Ralph Lauren design director for two years, despite having no formal design training.
Many celebrities have appeared in her designs, she has designed skating dresses for Nancy Kerrigan, and gowns for Sharon Stone, Alicia Silverstone, Tyra Banks, Jennifer Garner and Mariah Carey.
After a long and strenuous search for the perfect wedding dress for her own lavish wedding, Vera decided to design her own line of wedding dresses. In 1990, she opened the Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd., on Madison Avenue in New York.
Vera Wang’s many accomplishments include her trademark upscale wedding gowns, a range of accessories, a published wedding book, a fragrance line, and designing a Barbie gown collection.
In June 2005, Wang won the Council of Fashion Designers America’s Womenswear Designer of the Year. On 27 May 2006, she was given the Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award by the Savannah College of Art Design.
The following year, Wang launched the diffusion line Simply Vera, which is sold exclusively by Kohl’s.
In 2009, she was inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame in recognition of her designs for sport stars.