________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 22. . . .February 11, 2011.


Vera Wang: A Passion for Bridal and Lifestyle Design. (Crabtree Groundbreaker Biographies).

Diane Dakers.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
112 pp., pbk. & hc., $14.95 (pbk.), $24.95 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2544-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-2535-0 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Wang, Vera-Juvenile literature.
Women Fashion designers-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Fashion designers-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Jessica Kluthe.

** /4



As crazy as the lifestyle was, Vera thrived on the challenge of it. She worked with the world's top designers and photographers, learning everything she could about clothing and accessories, cut and color, what looked good on women's bodies, and how to make a living in a high-pressure, competitive fashion industry. She met the world's top designers—people like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

This comprehensive book about Vera Wang, a high-end fashion designer well known for her wedding gowns, charts her life and career beginning with her involvement in the bridal world.

     While many know of Vera Wang's presence in the wedding industry, the book later details some of her other work, including her household items, such as bedding and china as well as her costume designs for figure skaters. While weddings are likely far from the minds of young teens, the challenges of designing clothing for athletes may appeal to this audience. A pop-out box details the challenges that Wang faces when designing for figure skaters, including the need to triple sew seams and the requirement that the garment must look formal but be functional like sportswear.

     While the language use throughout the book may be accessible to a younger audience in the 10 – 12 age range, with a helpful glossary for terms used in the fashion industry, the content, which references other designers, older celebrities, and includes much of the business side of the industry, appeals to those a little older.

     While other books in this "Groundbreaker" series have black and white photographs, the lack of colored images in a book about fashion, with snapshots of Vera Wang's gowns, is a huge disappointment. Some of the captions explain what color the grey-scale gowns really are. For example, the caption for one full page image of a runway model wearing Wang's gown reads: "This dress is a deep purple and, like so many of Vera's designs, challenges traditional notions about what a wedding dress 'should' look like." This groundbreaking quality of Wang's wedding gown is lost on the reader. Other captions provide details about the celebrities sporting the gowns but fail to mention the color of the garment, and the reader is left to imagine what Wang created.

     Overall, this book about a successful female designer who has penetrated so many areas of the fashion industry, from high-end gowns for celebrities to affordable clothing for working women, could be inspirational to young teens aspiring to be entrepreneurs in any field. Vera Wang is certainly an individual worthy of being a role model; however, the presentation of her clothing does not do her work justice.

Recommended with reservations.

Jessica Kluthe is an MFA candidate in Writing at the University of Victoria and is currently writing an Italian-Canadian memoir.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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