Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,187 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Meryl Streep Talks Acting With Daughter Mamie Gummer in Ricki and the Flash: "She's the Real Deal"
- The Best Photos from the Week of July 27- August 2, 2015
- Watch New Girl Star Jake Johnson Try and Fail at Parkour
- Amy Schumer Tells Jon Stewart About Her 'Heartbreak' Over Trainwreck Shooting
- Brazilian Dog Refuses to Leave Hospital Caring for Ailing Owner, Even After Owner Dies (Video)
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 08, 1991
- Vol. 35
- No. 26
When the Glitterati Get the Urge to Merge, They Flock to Bridal Expert Vera Wang
Last September, Wang turned her newfound expertise into a business, opening the Vera Wang Bridal House, Ltd. on New York City's chic Madison Avenue. The shop has become the fashion mecca of the marrying crowd, including Max Kennedy (Ethel's son, who is betrothed to one Victoria Strauss) and Daria Hines (Gregory's daughter). "I was in such a panic about finding the appropriate wedding dress that I was delighted to find Vera," says Giorgio Inc. co-founder Gale Hayman, who married Dr. William Haseltine in February. Even Hollywood stars John Travolta and Kelly Preston made a pilgrimage to Madison Avenue after their engagement last January.
Folks also flock to Wang for advice. "Vera understands giving the bride attention," says Bride's magazine Editor-in-Chief Barbara Tober. "She has to be everything—a counselor, psychiatrist, surrogate mother." Says Wang: "They don't all want my opinion, but I think they trust my choice of dresses."
So they should. Her 500 samples boast the latest sophisticated trends: rich appliqués, hints of color, short hemlines and no trains. The average dress price is $3,000, but if a bride doesn't like what she sees, Wang will design on command—for $10,000 or more.
If she's a perfectionist, well, it runs in the family. Vera and her brother, Kenneth, 40, were brought up with strong parental role models: Florence Wu, a United Nations translator, and Cheng Ching, an oil and pharmaceutical tycoon who gave his daughter's business a financial push. Even when she was growing up comfortably on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Vera was an overachiever. For her seventh Christmas, her parents bought her a pair of ice skates. Wang became a competitive skater, coming in fifth in the 1969 Junior United States pair championships with partner James Stuart. "Skating," she says, "is the closest you come to flying."
But the prospect of landing in an ice show left her cold, so, after graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 1971, she pursued a career in fashion. "The only thing that I loved as much as skating were clothes," she says. "I buy clothes that I don't ever intend to wear, just to collect them."
At 21, she got a job at Vogue, but what she really wanted to be was a designer. That didn't happen for 16 more years, when Ralph Lauren hired her to supervise design and production for his women's accessories.
In the meantime she met future husband Becker at a tennis match. They played the dating game for four years before tying the knot in a Chinese-Jewish wedding for 400 at New York City's tony Pierre hotel. "Life with Vera is a state of perpetual motion," Becker says. "It's sometimes hard to keep up with her."
Now the two have someone else to keep up with, 8-month-old adopted daughter Cecelia. Parenthood agrees so well with the couple that they plan a December move from their eight-room Upper East Side digs to a 20-room apartment closer to Vera's store so they'll have room (or "plenty more babies," Wang says. "I'm hoping for three."
While she waits, she has begun a book on wedding fashion. "What I'd really like to be," she says, "is the Ralph Lauren of the bridal world."
ELIZABETH M. SPORKIN
VERONICA BURNS in New York City
- Veronica Burns.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!