Vera Wang says ‘I do’ to the Philippines

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Famous bridal fashion house now open in Rockwell
Hers was a story of a bride choosing to break out of the mold.

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When fashion maven Vera Wang [a former professional figure skater turned Vogue magazine senior fashion editor, and later Ralph Lauren design director]was preparing for her wedding to now estranged husband Arthur Becker in 1989, she realized that no selection could satisfy the preferences of a modern woman like herself.

“I was using common sense and thinking, ‘Well, everybody doesn’t want to wear the four-inch cap-sleeve where you can’t lift your arms, and a bodice of sequined lace with a big pouf skirt and stuff around your hair dangling down.’ I just thought there was another vision,” Wang told businessoffashion.com in a 2013 interview.

Vera Wang brides

Vera Wang brides

The fashion expert then went on sketching her gown and commissioned a dressmaker to tailor it for $10,000. This experience led to the birth of what is now a globally recognizable fashion label that has dressed brides among the world’s rich and famous, Hollywood, and now the Philippines.

The Vera Wang experience
Wang’s story and her A-list clientle that includes Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump, to name a few, are just some of the reasons why her label’s arrival in Manila delighted the local fashion scene.

Modern brides who want a wide array of ready-to-wear gowns—from minimalist shift dresses to fairytale-esque ball gowns—now have the opportunity to browse Vera Wang and Luxe collections the brand’s flagship store in 8 Rockwell, Makati City.

Some of the most notable designs available for fitting are the Diana gown which Clinton wore, the Aster gown worn by Trump, and the famous Bride Wars gown that Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway’s characters fought over in the 2012 movie.

For Vera Wang Manila, soon-to-be brides can thank Valerie Villa Zayco and her team—the same people who brought in the European ready-to-wear (RTW) bridal label Rosa Clara.

“After five years of educa­ting the Philippine market about RTW bridal gowns and seeing the enthusiastic response of brides, we realized that Vera Wang, the most prestigious bridal house, had to come in,” Zayco told The Manila Times during the brand’s official launch on November 11.

The businesswoman revealed that while Vera Wang, the company, was right away in favor of opening a Philippine boutique, realizing their agreement took some time.

“We were supposed to open many months ago but Vera Wang was quite particular; like they’d say that the wall was not gray enough or the sofa needs to be larger,” Zayco detailed, adding that they were also very meticulous about location. Eventually they decided to go with 8 Rockwell for its exclusivity.

This kind of quality in building the 170-square-meter store made it not just a mere copy of a Vera Wang boutique. “What we are bringing is the whole Vera Wang experience. If you go to Vera Wang Hong Kong or Rodeo Drive, this is the exact same store you are getting—we have the same fabric on the sofa or glassware for the champagne. This is not ‘a version’ of Vera Wang—when you step inside, you’re stepping into her home,” Zayco intimated.

Vera Wang brides
With a long list of clients, it’s easy for one to say that Vera Wang can only cater to particular types of women or body but Zayco, who has worked closely with the brand, refuses to believe the notion, most especially when Wang herself broke out of a mold 27 years ago.

“I think a Vera Wang bride has no particular mold. If you look at her list of clients, it’s very diverse. But one thing that’s common among them is that they possess an innate sense of style—they are sure of themselves. I feel like you need confidence and the fierceness to wear a Vera Wang gown.

Asked what makes Vera Wang gowns—priced between P200,000 to P700,000—remarkable, Zayco cited quality.

“You know that it’s her dress based on the quality of the production. Everything is hand embroidered. When we were in the workshop in New York, I saw that every piece is really thought out and handled delicately. Filipinas are very particular, very discerning about quality, and that’s what Vera Wang has to offer,” Zayco elaborated.

The process of becoming a Vera Wang bride starts with a visit to the flagship store. After going through the selection, enjoying multiple fittings, and finally selecting the perfect gown, Zayco’s team will then send the client’s specific measurements to New York where every gown is made, and then have her choice delivered to the Philippines in six months’ time.

“Filipinas are excited about the concept and I think they are ready for Vera Wang. In fact, one bride has already purchased her gown merely two weeks after our soft opening in October,” Zayco related.

Indeed, after finding “The One” worth marrying, finding “The One” worth wearing becomes the next big task of brides-to-be. And now, Filipinas can easily run to fashion heavyweight Vera Wang for help.

“Filipinas definitely deserve this option,” Zayco concluded.

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