Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Getty
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably wondered what celebrities add to their shopping carts. Not the JAR brooch and the Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. Designer Vera Wang – in the midst of creating numerous bridal, ready-to-wear, sunglasses and active product lines – recently launched her own Prosecco called Vera Wang Party. She took a break from her busy schedule to chat with us about the glasses that are a highlight of her Elton John-level eyewear collection, the 12-year-old doggie bag she calls her “apartment” Pomeranian Lola and sweet treats she buys by the six pack.
Most Asian women and my Asian girlfriends don’t worship the sun like I did when I was younger. I was a tennis player, skier, golfer and more. I hated all the sunscreens available at the time. I thought Hawaiian Tropic, which was popular, was too thoughtful. But now I see my friends at 50, 60, 70, and they all have gorgeous skin. I’ve been slow to incorporate sunscreen into my daily routine, but it’s an essential for me now. I choose my FPS generally based on where I am. If I’m in Miami or California I’ll go for something stronger, maybe SPF 55. But generally I like SPF 30. I use RoC Moisturizer with SPF when I’m in New York because that it protects my skin, and I am not allergic to it. My skin has changed so much over the past few years that now I never used to react to irritate it.
I used to do all my sketches on fax paper because 30 years ago if you wanted to do an entire collection of, say, 40 to 60 looks or even 50 wedding dresses, fax paper made it easy to categorization and sketching on the sheet, like a graph. I ended up with these little hieroglyphs. But as time passed and the nature of the business changed, I started working with the fabric myself. My design director lives on an iPad, but I really like the draping and seeing how the fabric falls on the body. Some things aren’t easy to sketch either. I have the idea in my head, and sometimes I just need to create it to explain it. My ideas change as I start draping and seeing how the fabric moves. We have live models, which is a great luxury to have. I put the fabric on it, use pins and start creating. It’s very artisanal what we do.
I have a lot of allergies, so I’m careful with my products. People ask me what my beauty tips are, especially brides. And I say, well, I have a great makeup artist for when I go out. All I can say is that hydration and sunscreen are the two most important things. When I was younger, I was always a shower girl. But now I’m really trying to take a bath. It’s very calming, and let’s face it, our world today has a surprise in store for us every minute, so it’s nice to relax. I like to put Johnson’s baby oil in the tub. I know it sounds silly, but it really works to hydrate and nourish your skin. And it’s very calming.
Lola is my 14th dog. I’ve had Chihuahuas, Pekingese, Yorkies and Pomeranians, that’s what Lola is. She is 12 now and she lost her sister about two years ago, just before the pandemic. Because I was staying home, I was spending more time with her than ever before, and now I include her in all of my activities. She will attend a three-hour fitting and observe the whole process. She also likes to roll in fabric. He’s our team mascot. She has this little doggie bag I call her apartment. It’s this little black nylon thing. She used to share it with her sister, and they hid treats in the bag, so she would have a stash. We bought it when we brought her home with her sister. It’s not my favorite thing. I think it’s a bit ugly, but Lola loves it. I bought a Louis Vuitton carrier for my daughter’s dog, and when I tried to buy Lola something else, she always wants that nylon thing. I just want her to be happy, so if that’s what she wants, whatever.
My eyes are weak after too many years of staring at my phone, computer, and TV screens. I am obsessed with sunglasses. I have a collection of over 1,000 pairs that I’ve added to since I was an accessories editor at Vogue back, my God, 1973. It’s been a long time! I collected them as much as Elton John. And now I have many eyewear lines, which I love. But we don’t make blue light blocking glasses yet. I think glasses designed to protect your eyes from television and computers are very, very important. Glasses are not just decorative or ornamental or a creative expression, they are protective. You must keep your irises and pupils. And we all stare at screens all day; we have to be careful because the damage will eventually catch up with us.
I’m a hosiery fanatic. I love waders and knee pads. I love tights. I want them all. I’ve been making my own ready-to-wear tights for about 28 years, and own many pairs from Wolford, which I think offer phenomenal quality for both basics and fishnets. But one of the biggest designers and influences on me since I was design director at Ralph Lauren has been Miuccia Prada. It has been the center of socks for over 30 years. Whenever Prada releases socks, I always buy them because they are so well made. I think they are very cool to wear all year round. In mid-season, you can always wear shorts and combine them with cycling shorts. Or you can make a really adorable mid-calf skirt with a peeking boot and a bit of a boyish sock. Hosiery is one of the most eye-catching and creative things you can wear. Put something on and it changes the whole look.
I eat a lot of McDonald’s. You can ask my team. I get a one or two patty burger with pickles, ketchup and fries. The fries are the best. When I splurge, I also add the Oreo McFlurry. Also, the Chicken McNuggets is a great meal to have. They come in a pack of four, and I never go hungry afterwards. I also like the ones with a Coke fountain. It depends on the time of year for how often I will get it. The last time we shot for days, I ate McDonald’s for lunch every day, because we were so busy I couldn’t bother looking at the menus. And before a show or the Oscars or dressing Nathan Chen for the Olympic trials last weekend, food just wasn’t a priority. I know people say everything is bad for you, but I don’t think that’s the case. It’s not much worse than a lot of other stuff out there. And I balance it out by having a really good dinner. I have always loved McDonald’s. When my kids were growing up, I brought them Happy Meals, and all the other kids wanted to stay with me because they could have McDonald’s, which they never had. Many mothers would be furious.
I prefer Dunkin’ over all the other donut chains because it has more cake. I love all the crazy flavors: powdered sugar with cream instead of jelly inside, coconut anything, crazy-terrible-chemical-pink-frosted with sprinkles, chocolate cream filling, classic honey glaze, vanilla frosting with sprinkles. I buy the six packs with a variety of flavors. When I was 8 and skateboarding, I could fit 12 easily. But I’m 72 now, so I’m only buying six. I don’t eat them all at once. I want to be very clear. I cut them in half so I could taste them all. I only do it twice a month. I try to limit myself. Also, before we had a show, my design director’s husband would bring donuts the night before while we were working, and it became kind of a ritual because we were all superstitious.
I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for 33 years. I drink a fair amount. This is a well known fact about me. Although I’m starting to think people might think I’m an alcoholic based on my Instagram. I never drank when I was young. After my second daughter, I started having cocktails in the evening. Raising two daughters is a challenge – there’s a lot of drama. Now I’m 72 and I deserve it. I love champagne, but at weddings everyone drinks Prosecco. It’s the #1 drink. It felt like a direct link to my work. There is something so fresh and modern about using Prosecco for weddings. It is a very happy drink, a happy alcohol. At weddings, people try to celebrate, but I’m giving them an option that won’t break the bank if they want to have a good time. It’s fancy enough where it can be festive, but not so fancy that you think it has to be a special, special, special occasion to open a bottle. I love my Prosecco mixed with Aperol and a slice of orange. It’s a bit like drinking a soda. And it’s very colorful. It’s nice.
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