The Wedding Edition Meets… Vera Wang
The Wedding Edition Meets… Vera Wang

The Wedding Edition Meets… Vera Wang

If there’s one name synonymous with wedding dresses, it’s Vera Wang. The American designer has led the way for more than three decades, having cut her teeth in mainstream fashion for nearly 20 years before that. To mark the launch of her second bridesmaids’ collection with Pronovias, we sat down with her to talk dresses, career highlights and the one piece of advice she’d give to every bride.

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First, Vera – would you say there’s such a thing as a typical Vera Wang bride?

No. I really see the brand as being for everyone. But what I will say is the Vera Wang bride loves fashion, and from the very start, I’ve approached bridal as a fashion veteran. As a designer, I’ve made it my mission to bring that unique freedom, experience, confidence and exposure to my work. I’ve always maintained that I was a fashion designer who happens to create bridal, not a bridal designer. Vera Wang as a brand has always been about a girl who is fearless and has her own sense of self. The dresses then add a certain charm, sensuality, artistry and possibly grandeur, depending on the bride and the dress.

Speaking of charm and grandeur, how do you hope women feel in a Vera Wang dress?

This really is for the bride to decide, depending on her own personal style and that of her wedding. I’m always suggesting things, but never dictating how she should feel in her dress. I see it as my job to bring ideas to the table that no one has thought of yet – but it’s still her job to make it her own at the end of the day. Ultimately, I’d hope they feel exuberant, playful and sexy in one of my dresses – but a lot of that will come down to them feeling confident and happy with the final look.

SEPARATES are a great trend – they have a certain CASUALNESS and NEWNESS to them, but still in a DRESSY way.

What are some of the biggest trends you’re seeing in bridal right now?

Sustainability has moved much more front and centre in designers’ minds – including mine – which is why separates are having a moment. They’re more versatile, easier to style and you can wear them in different ways long after the wedding is over. It’s even more true in the eveningwear market, but we’re seeing it trickle over into weddings. As a stylist, I think it’s a great trend – it has a certain casualness and newness to it, but still in a dressy way. Plus, the final look all comes down to the styling, which makes it a little more fun. Interestingly, I also see a lot of brides moving towards minimalism – so much so it’s almost tipping over into conservatism. 

Are there any major influences you’re embracing in your own work or seeing in others?

I think a lot of American brides are being led by what’s happening in Europe. I don’t know if it’s the Meghan Markle effect, but a lot of them are taking cues from the traditions and religions seen on the continent. For example, Spanish influences are big right now, as are shapes and structures from the 50s and 60s. In recent years there’s been quite of lot of embellishment – ruffles, overly ornate and mixed laces etc – but today I see the pendulum starting to swing back a little. Personally, I’d love to see brides embrace colour a bit more, which is why I continue to incorporate it in my own work and offer it as an option.

Is there anything you think is a mainstay in bridal fashion – anything you can’t go wrong with?

Plain lace. It’s the wedding fabric – and brides will always come back to it. As I said before, we’ve been through a period of quite heavy embellishment, but now there’s a return to the simpler fabrics – which probably speaks to the ‘quiet luxury’ trend. People should remember, I’ve been in this business for 34 years. I’ve seen it all – too many pouffes, too many mistakes. Bridal can be quite a traditional industry, so you need to be careful you don’t end up with something that just looks like ‘merch’. 

Do you remember who your first celebrity bride was?

I’m not sure I remember the first celebrity who came to me for a wedding dress, but the first high-profile wedding I was involved in was Max Kennedy (the son of Robert F. Kennedy) and his wife Victoria. The business wasn’t even officially up and running but Ethel Kennedy – Max’s mother – came to see me in a hotel in New York about dressing them both. I worked for about six months on those looks and the minute they came out of the church, they decided to play touch football and Victoria’s dress was completely ruined! I didn’t mind though – it was like working with American royalty.

Tell us a bit about your latest bridesmaids’ collection with Pronovias…

The bridesmaids’ collections we work on with Pronovias are an opportunity to bend the rules and make a statement. For this collection, I was able to include strong colours and textures, and accessorise the pieces in ways I haven’t been able to before – and certainly not in bridal. The last collection was quite clubby and night-time in feel; this time it was more ‘vacay’ inspired. We shot it in the Hamptons – all blue skies and vibrant colours – and it’s very different to anything you typically see in the wedding world. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to lots of weddings – and it’s amazing to see how brides are doing things their own way. I just love how joyful this collection is; it’s impossible to pick a favourite look.

What tips would you give someone looking for bridesmaid dresses?

Right now, I’d favour block colours over prints or florals – the wedding day really is the bride’s moment to shine, and you don’t want anything too complicated that’s going to vie for attention. That said, as someone who was a bridesmaid 12 times, I know how important it is to make sure the bridesmaids are happy in what they’re wearing – and that you’re choosing pieces that are easy to move in and that they could wear again. 

Separates are good way of doing this – I mentioned earlier that they’re a big trend in evening and occasion wear right now. You just don’t want anything too uniform – it’s just not very modern. It’s easy to put together that traditional ‘tableau’ look, if you want it, but as a designer I see it as my job to offer up something different. 

Every bride needs to give herself a BREAK – most are new to this WORLD and it does take time to feel COMFORTABLE.

Finally, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give brides who are coming to you for a dress?

First and foremost, it would be to keep an open mind and to try things you’d never thought you’d like. Have fun with it and take the time to explore different ideas. You have to remember you’re an amateur the first time you get married – I know I was, even though I’d been in fashion for 30 years at that point. When I was looking for my dress, I did it all, including the Paris route – Chanel, Dior – with my mother, even though I was working for Ralph Lauren at the time! Ralph and I did talk about my dress, but he said he didn’t want to do it in case I wasn’t happy. 

Every bride needs to give herself a break on this one – most of them are new to this world and it does take time and research to feel comfortable in what you’re doing. I should also take the opportunity to plug my book here – even though it’s over 20 years old now, I still think it’s one of the best books on weddings, hence why it took four years to put together! Finally, I’d tell all brides to try and relax. There’s more freedom nowadays then there’s ever been, and there’s no reason to subscribe to religion or tradition if you don’t want to. So, enjoy it – it’s a once in a lifetime moment. 

For more about the new collection, visit 

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