Thursday, April 26, 2007

Vera Wang: Fashion Designer, Figure Skater

Clothing designer Vera Wang is world renown for her stunning dresses, bridal gowns and lovely eau de parfum, but few know Vera Wang, the figure skater. Back in 1968, Vera's prowess on ice got her profiled in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd," a long-standing feature that highlights current amateur athletes' exceptional performances. This week, the magazine celebrates 50 years of "Faces," which has run 2,632 weeks and profiled 15,672 athletes, including hundreds of then-unknown, now-famous personalities such as Tiger Woods, Magic Johnson, Emmitt Smith, Jack Nicklaus, John McEnroe and even James Dean.

Turns out Vera, a freshman at Sarah Lawrence College in 1967, took the senior ladies' title with a near-perfect performance at the North Atlantic Figure Skating Championships, which ended up getting her featured in the Jan. 8, 1968, edition of S.I. At 18, she missed qualifying for the nationals by two
spots, and by falling short, so too did her dream of the 1968 Olympics.

After that, Vera left New York City and traveled to Paris to "find herself." It was there that she ended up discovering her fascination with design and fashion, and it quickly became her full-blown love. Today, the likes of Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson and Uma Thurman wear her gowns, and no red carpet event is absent her "look."

Now 57, does Vera miss the skating? She tells S.I., "
My old coach Peter Dunfield recently said to me, 'Vera, don't you miss the wind in your face? And I said, 'I do. I miss it every day.' "