ITNY Honors Vera Wang

January/February 2004

ITNY Honors Vera Wang

"Vera was very talented, very hard-working and very dedicated", said Sonya Dunfield, who coached renowned clothing designer Vera Wang as an amateur. "That's why she is so successful."

On Nov.5, Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY), the oldest ensemble skating company in the U.S., honored Vera Wang, known for revolutionizing the style of contemporary wedding gowns as well as for designing costumes for such skaters as Nancy Kerringan (who wore Wang creations at both the 1992 and '94 Olympics), Peggy Fleming and Michelle Kwan.

There are those who remember Wang from her skating days.

"I first met Vera when she was summer skating in Denver with the Dunfields and I was summer skating at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs," said Ken Shelley. "To all of us, skating is such a connection."
Back then, there were clearly signs of future accomplishments.

"When I was starting to skate at the Skating Club of New York, I remember Vera not so much on the ice—although she was a beautiful skater - but I though she was so elegant off the ice," recalled Robin Wagner. "She always dressed perfectly."

Over the years, Wang has attended numerous ITNY performances and seen people from her life—such as Sonya and Peter Dunfield and Nancy Streeter—honored. Around the time of the 2002 Olympics Winter Games ITNY founder-director, Moira North read an article about Wang in which she talked about feeling despondent that her skating career had ended unfulfilled. The article also spoke about how Wang found herself as a designer.

"I thought it was such an inspirational story," North said. "Her excellence in what she has done is very inspiring."

To prepare for the gala as well as ITNY's home season, the skaters rehearsed several days a week from 5 to 8 a.m. for three weeks. The end result greatly moved Wang.

"For someone like myself, to whom skating was not only a competitive sport but an art form, it is an even more significant tribute to receive this award from Ice Theatre New York," Wang said. "Their tireless devotion to artistry and the importance of creative expression have opened up all of our minds and imaginations to the limitless possibilities skating can inspire."

Among the guest artists were Elena Leonova & Andrei Khvalko, Oksana Baiul (who said she hopes to wear a Vera Wang wedding gown) and Lu Chen, who taught Wang's daughter Cecilia Baker, who was joined on the ice by sister Josephine at the performance.

"To see the girls presenting the flowers," said Chen, "how perfect for Vera."
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