When I give a fashion show, in those eight or nine minutes there’s always a story line,” says Vera Wang, who will receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards on June 3. Whether her muse is a person, a painting, a film, or a TV series, ”I’m never literal, I bring a contemporary spin.” Here, the designer shares five big- and small-screen favorites.
KILL BILL — VOL. 1 (2003)
”I actually based one of my runway shows on Kill Bill. I loved Lucy Liu’s kimonos,” Wang says of the Quentin Tarantino film, which inspired the looks in her East-meets-West spring 2011 collection (top).
”I absolutely died for Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth. I’ve watched it about 30 times,” Wang says. ”It’s very hard as a modern designer to look backwards and appreciate period costume, but when you look at great quality and great vision, how suited it is to the actor, that’s kind of extraordinary.”
”I’ve done a show that was based on Deadwood,” Wang says of HBO’s Wild West drama, which set the tone for her spring 2006 ready-to-wear runway show. ”That was a very avant-garde series.”
FUNNY FACE (1957)
”She went against the grain. She was flat-chested, tall, and skinny while everyone else, like Marilyn Monroe, was sexy,” Wang says of Audrey Hepburn and her iconic screen style. ”When it’s the right dress on the right girl, that’s what makes for magic.”
THE TUDORS (2007–10)
”I don’t know what the budgets were for that,” Wang says of the Emmy-winning costume design on the Showtime series. ”I loved Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ clothes…. Everything was about the sophistication of what he wore. I was just in awe.”