It’s Not For The Faint Of Heart’: Vera Wang Talks 20 Years Of Designing Olympic Figure Skating Costumes


Inimitable fashion designer Vera Wang is behind some of the best red carpet moments ever, but she's also made her mark somewhere cooler: the ice.

An Icy Disposition

Wang creates wedding gowns so fabulous the bride must alter herself to fit them, but she's also had a hand in some of the most incredible figure skating moments of all time.

The designer has been making some of the most memorable costumes worn by skaters at the Olympic Games for the past two decades and counting.

"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," Wang explained to PEOPLE.

It would be difficult to imagine anyone more perfect, or iconic, creating these looks than Wang, a previous figure skater herself.

"I understand the physics. I think people are fooled by the nature of the costumes and the ease and the musicality and the choreography. It is an extreme sport," she said.

Wang was even, rightfully, inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame for her eye-catching work in the sport. In spite of how demanding the job can be, the designer relishes the challenge.

Making Her Mark

This year's contributions include costumes for American figure skating champion Nathan Chen, at the upcoming Seoul Winter Olympics on Feb. 9.

"I am so honored that Vera and her team will be creating my costumes. Vera's knowledge and understanding of figure skating along with her extraordinary talent for design make this collaboration incredible," Chen said in a press release.

Wang was primarily known as a wedding dress designer when she was initially tapped to create figure skating costumes for the legendary Nancy Kerrigan. Wang was apprehensive, upon being approached by Kerrigan's trainer, but ended up designing a costume for the skater for four years, including two notable Olympics appearances.

Their collaboration made headlines at the time, due to the insanely expensive costumes. It was a particularly big talking point considering Kerrigan's rival, Tonya Harding, was sporting handmade costumes for the competitions.

Wang subsequently designed costumes for Michelle Kwan, with the skater even wearing Vera Wang for her wedding in 2013, due to their super-close relationship.

The legendary designer had some difficulty in creating designs for male figure skater Evan Lysacek for the 2010 Olympics, as she struggled to figure out the shape for a man's costumes.

Wang saw it as a considerable challenge because she had to quadruple stitch the seams. Naturally, she aced it, hence, the task of creating Chen's costumes this year will be a cinch.

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