At 73, Vera Wang's career is at an all-time high. For her, that success comes with a "daily struggle".

Vera Wang is one of the most successful fashion designers on the planet. 

At age 73, she has been designing gowns for Hollywood's elite and wedding dresses for anyone with a sizeable wallet for over three decades now. 

She's someone who posts regularly on social media, loves to experiment with fashion and has plenty of celebrity friends including Vogue's Anna Wintour, Ariana Grande, Michael Kors and Zendaya.

But there's so much to Wang that remains mysterious – her family life, her childhood, her relationships and more. She has spoken briefly on each of these things from time to time, ever so slightly lifting the lid on her life. 

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Here's everything we know about the woman behind the wedding dress empire.

Vera Wang's childhood.

Wang was born in 1949 in New York City. The daughter of a Chinese-born business tycoon and a mother who regularly shopped at the couture shows in Paris, Wang's childhood was financially privileged to say the least.

Raised on the Upper East Side – a part of New York best known for its Gossip Girl characterisation – Wang initially had dreams of becoming an Olympic figure skater. And she was very good at it. She reflected on her love for skating with Seventeen Magazine, saying the discipline it taught her was a skill she used later on in life.

"I thought nothing of waking up at four in the morning and rushing to the rink just to have 10 minutes longer on the ice than my competitors," she said. "It takes tremendous will to compete in any athletic endeavour, so it meant going to bed early and getting my homework done in advance. I had to sacrifice things, like a social life, to be a skater at 15. But I loved skating so much that it was worth everything to me."

But unfortunately for Wang, a career in figure skating wasn't meant to be. After school, she went to Sarah Lawrence College where she studied art history, spending her summers working at Yves Saint Laurent. She wanted to go to design school, but at the time her father wouldn't pay for her tuition.


"He thought the chances of me making it as a designer were, like, less than zero. He said, 'Listen, I paid for five years of undergraduate. How about law school or business school? Go to Yale Law.' I said nope. And then, I think just to make me really aggravated, he said, 'I'm not paying for anything else'," she said to New York Magazine.

Vera Wang's incredible career.

Lucky for Wang, she managed to get a job as a sittings assistant (styling editorial shoots) with Vogue soon after her row with her dad. 

She stayed with the magazine for years, working her way up the "fashion food chain" to becoming an editor.

Reflecting on this time in her life, Wang said to Harpers Bazaar: "It's a calling. Like being a musician. I mean, the hours of practice, the loneliness, the dedication. It was a very obsessive job for me," she explains. "My father didn't get it."

But it was the perfect place for Wang at that point of her career – teaching her the fashion fundamentals, the business behind it and developing her passion for clothes. 

By 1989, Wang was working as a design director at Ralph Lauren. And then at age 40, Wang decided to open a New York bridal shop and debut her own line of gowns.


And it's gone tenfold from there: fashion lines and collections, fragrances, stationery, lingerie, eyewear, shoes, homewares – you name it. Today, there are Vera Wang boutiques in America, London, China, Tokyo and Sydney. 

As the sole owner of her business, Forbes has reported that Wang's net worth is around US$500 million.

"For me, I have to be very honest, it's really a daily struggle. I don't have a well-balanced, well-rounded life," she said to CNBC recently. "I think work has been my whole life and it's kept me honestly relevant, fascinated, passionate, frightened, worried and stressed. But [my career] has enabled me to really have a very full life.

"[Entrepreneurship] is not for everyone. But if you really love something, whatever it is, that is a big start. If you don't love it, you will not make it through. Things can get really tough and decisions will be very hard."


Vera Wang's family life.

In 1989, Wang married Arthur P. Becker, an American investor and real estate developer who also became Wang's business advisor at one stage.

Wang and Becker went on to adopt daughters Cecilia, born in 1990, and Josephine, born in 1993. She has said previously that she "tried to get pregnant", but instead went down the adoption route, opting for "two Eurasian children".

As one of the most prominent fashion designers in the world, Wang previously said marriage and kids weren't on the cards for her. She said to New York Magazine back in the day that she had always envisioned her future self as a "fashion nun... living, eating, breathing clothes".

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Apparently, it was some sage advice from none other than Anna Wintour that steered a then 40-year-old Wang in a different direction.

"Anna said, 'You have got to get a family going here. You've been single for three decades now.' So I married my husband. There are days I'm not happy I did it, but there are days I'm thrilled – I mean, he has always understood my nature, which is that it's always about product," she said back in 2006, while they were still married.

In 2012, Wang and Becker announced their split.  

They said although they were divorcing, they would remain amicable parents to their daughters, and it appears they have remained in one another's lives.

As for her parenting style, Wang said to Harpers Bazaar that she tried not to emulate her mother's strict style. 


"My mother was extremely controlled, sort of flawless. And I always tend to be a bit more hippie. She was a Tiger Mother... But she really tried to encourage me to be who I was. I don't live through my kids. But I do know what will happen in life, and I just want them well prepared," she explained.

Both Cecilia (32) and Josephine (29) went to Ivy League universities, and have remained mostly out of the spotlight. 

Wang has said recently she is very proud of her daughters, writing about them in Seventeen Magazine: "You, and all young women, are the future of the world. If I can leave a legacy that I've empowered even one young woman and given her hope, then I will have made a contribution."


Vera Wang today.

Just this week, Wang celebrated her 73rd birthday with loved ones at an extravagant rosé and enchanted garden themed party. 

She wore a pink tiara, tinted her hair pink and plenty of short pink and sparkly outfits.

Along with a new collection for the season, a prosecco line, and creating custom dresses for celebrities, Wang is keeping busy. She also regularly speaks on social issues she is passionate about such as LGBTQIA+ and abortion rights. 

As she said on Instagram: "Given the world we inhabit and the reality we are experiencing right now, there is undoubtedly no more significant time to celebrate the progress we have achieved towards acceptance and diversity these last decades. But we are also in jeopardy of losing all we have gained if we do not recognise that nothing is a given unless we remain constant. So today's show of solidarity bears an even more important significance."

She also said in a profile interview: "I'm very much a feminist. I think that any profession that makes you feel old by the time you're 21 is very negative. You've got to start off with something you at least stand half a chance of doing."


As for discussions surrounding her appearance and ageing, Wang has said she understands why it has been a conversation, but wishes the focus would be on her work instead. 

"I have to say that this whole thing was just crazy, really really crazy. Sometimes I joke and say I'm not really 101. I understand the focus, but I don't think it should be about that focus," she told Access Hollywood

"I think it should be about all women of any age. It's really about you and having confidence. What keeps you young is your brain and spirit. I think that's far more important than a new fad diet or how many hours of Peloton you're doing."

Sharing her skincare tips with The Strategist, she said she wishes she had started using sunscreen sooner.

"Most Asian women and my Asian girlfriends don't worship the sun like I did when I was younger. I was a tennis player, a skier, a golfer, and lots more. But now I see my friends at 50, 60, 70, and they all have gorgeous skin. I'm late to making sunscreen part of my daily ritual, but it's an essential for me now."

And ageism is something Wang isn't here for, telling BBC Radio that she has never thought of "going way out of my way" to preserve youth "in a fanatical, obsessive way".

"I have been in fashion since I was 19 years old, not in front of the camera but behind it. I work with the most beautiful women in the world, and I more envision them as my muses [not my personal aspiration to be], I think when you don't think about ageing in a traditional way, maybe it's in a way better – healthier. My work keeps my mind occupied. And when your mind is occupied, everything follows," she said. 

"I'm kind of proud [of ageing]. Ageism has always existed. As you get older you have to find your own relevancy for how you're going to spend the rest of your life. It's a number. But I see people doing their very best work as they get older. Experience, knowledge and wisdom stands for a lot."

Feature Image: Instagram @verawang.