Vera Ellen Wang is an American fashion designer based in New York City.Vera Ellen Wang was born and raised in New York City, and is of Chinese descent. Her parents were born in China, and came to the United States in the mid-1940s. Her mother, Florence Wu (Wu Chifang), worked as a translator for the United Nations, while her father, Cheng Ching Wang (Wang Chengqing), a graduate of Yanjing University and MIT, owned a medicine company. Her maternal grandfather is Fengtian clique warlord Wu Junsheng, who was killed by the Empire of Japan in the Huanggutun incident in 1928. Wang has one younger brother, Kenneth.
Wang attended Friends Seminary, graduated from The Chapin School in 1967, attended the University of Paris and earned a degree in art history from Sarah Lawrence College. Wang began figure skating at the age of eight. While in high school, she trained with pairs partner James Stuart, and competed at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd in the January 9, 1968 issue.When she failed to make the U.S. Olympics team, she entered the fashion industry. Wang continues to enjoy skating, saying, “Skating is multidimensional”.In 1968, Wang was presented as a debutante to high society at the International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf Astoria New York.
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