Long before becoming a world-renowned fashion designer, Vera Wang dreamed of Olympic figure skating. With her Olympic dream ending in 1968, “I was completely lost. Bereft. I needed to find something else that I could love as much. It turned out to be fashion.”
Vera Wang is without doubt one of the most successful fashion designers in the world. Famously known for her wedding dresses and modern but chic designs she has become an icon in the fashion industry since she started as an editor for Vogue in 1971. But did you know she also had a passion for figure skating?
Being a talented figure skater herself Wang competed professionally throughout her teenage years. But when she placed only fifth in the junior pairs competition at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships she had to bury her hopes for a spot on the Olympic team. After graduating from college a few years later she eventually decided to quit the sport completely.
But when Vera Wang was asked by Nancy Kerrigan’s coach, with whom she had skated, to design the costumes for the Olympic Games in Albertville, she agreed – not an easy task, she admitted in an interview with People magazine in 2018: “It’s not for the faint of heart. If one strap were to break, or if the beading on the sleeve gets caught when they turn, their whole Olympics is over. That is how serious it is. It’s absolutely nightmarish!”. Wang mastered the challenge: Kerrigan won bronze in the 1992 and silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Soon others followed, including Michelle Kwan, Evan Lysacek and Nathan Chen.
Discover the stunning outfits Vera Wang designed over the past decades for some of the best figure skaters there are to round off their Olympic performances on ice.
Words and images by Columnist, NG. As part of our Winter Olympic series, that also includes Winter Sport: The True ‘Beautiful Game’.