Who? Vera Wang is widely considered the most respected and influential wedding dress designer in the world. She single-handedly revolutionised the bridal gown industry, replacing traditional and often garish frocks with elegant and sexy numbers, making her a favourite among such Hollywood celebrities as Sharon Stone, Meg Ryan and Charlize Theron. How did it happen? The daughter of affluent Chinese immigrants, Wang was born and raised in New York. Her love affair with fashion began at a young age when she would accompany her stylish mother as she shopped for Parisian and American couture. When she was unable to realise her dreams of becoming a competitive figure skater, she decided to devote herself to her other passion: clothes. Following her education at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and the Sorbonne University in Paris, she joined Vogue and soon became the magazine's youngest fashion editor. She continued contributing to the sport she loved by making costumes for Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (a commission that brought her much attention from the fashion world). After 16 years at Vogue, she decided to take her creative talents to Ralph Lauren as design director, overseeing 13 lines of accessories for the company. When it came time to prepare for her own lavish wedding, Wang became frustrated with the limited choices available to modern brides. She decided to open her own salon in the Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in 1990. Her bridal collection followed in 1992 and she hasn't looked back since. To date, Wang's empire includes fragrances, eyewear, shoes, jewellery (Sarah Jessica Parker wore her debut collection to the Emmys last year) and a home collection, designed in collaboration with Wedgwood. She also released a book, Vera Wang on Weddings, in which she shares her knowledge. What do the clothes look like? Keeping with the tradition of Paris couture, Wang creates slim silhouettes using rich fabrics and luxurious details such as sashes, ribbons and bows. Fabrics range from modern techno twills to layers of romantic silk organza. Her dresses are sophisticated and understated, adding a modern touch to traditional styles. A similar, pared-down aesthetic is found in her evening dress collection. What does the designer have to say? 'I adore the challenge of creating truly modern clothes, where a woman's personality and sense of self are revealed. I want people to see the dress, but focus on the woman.' Where are her designs available? Her collections are sold at her flagship store on Madison Avenue and at Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and other stores around the world. Locally, her evening collection is at Joyce Boutique in New World Tower, Central.