fashion history: iconic wedding dress designer

Fashion History: Iconic Wedding Dress Designer

In Fashion & Culture, Student Mingleby Sarah Rabiah

Women around the world dream of their perfect wedding — the groom, the location, the decorations, and of course, the dress.

For many women, that dream revolves around Vera Wang, an iconic American wedding dress designer. Wang’s fame as a designer is well-known, but she says that the success of her career still surprises her. 

“If anyone had said, the girl who didn’t get married until she was 40 would build a business based on wedding gowns, I would have laughed,” Wang tells CNBC Make It.

Her biggest success came later in her life when she decided to open her own business at 40. She started as a figure skating athlete at the age of 7 and excelled at it. But after not being able to get into the Olympics, she finally decided to turn her attention to her other passion: fashion.  Wang spent 17 years at Vogue until losing out for the position of editor in chief. Then her wedding happened. After deciding to get married at the age of 40, she found it too hard to pick a wedding dress she liked. It was her dad who sparked the idea and pushed her to see her struggle as a business opportunity. That’s when she pivoted her career to a wedding dress designer. 

In 1990, Wang opened her design salon in the Carlyle Hotel in New York City which featured her iconic wedding gowns. Her brand grew as she opened bridal boutiques in London, Tokyo, and Sydney. She also started expanding her business to fragrance, jewelry, eyewear, shoes, and homeware collections later on. 

She says that she thought it was too late for her to start her career as an entrepreneur at 40, but her dad’s encouragement and Wang’s passion for fashion got her to where she is now. Always modest, Want says that she feels extremely lucky. With every design she makes, she wants to be sure that the wedding dress is one the bride can dance in. 

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