By  on May 12, 2010

From the moment she unlaced her competitive figure skates for the last time, Vera Wang set her sights on a life in fashion.

In the 40-plus years since, hers has been a singular ride, one that took her first to Vogue magazine, where she learned that no one disturbed the calm of Mr. Penn’s set with chatter, to Ralph Lauren, where she experienced the creative joys of limitless resources, and finally, 20 years ago, to her own company.

From its modest beginnings as a small bridal boutique, Vera Wang the firm has grown into an important licensing-based operation, and Vera Wang the designer, into a major force. Long the go-to goddess for aisle-bound superstars, as of this fall, Wang begins a relationship with the marrying masses via her recent deal with David’s Bridal.

In ready-to-wear, she has dared to be different, adhering steadfastly to her luxe-casual bohemian aesthetic — even though she acknowledges that a more mundane approach might play better at retail. But then, Wang didn’t get into this business for the money.

“For me, fashion was sheerly for the love,” she says. “It was never about the money. And unfortunately, now it has to be. That’s the big adjustment I had to make in my life. You can’t survive with a fashion company if you don’t make any money. That’s just a silly little reality we all want to sweep under the rug, but it’s true.”


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