Vera Wang just received one of the nation's highest honors.
The Chinese-American designer, best known for her elegant wedding dresses, was one of the select few creators, advocates, scholars and writers who were awarded this year's National Humanities Medals and National Medal of Arts by president Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday.
The National Medal of Arts is an award created by the United States Congress. Personally handed out by the current president, it’s the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.
The 73-year-old designer told CNN it was “surreal” to receive the prestigious award and considers it “olympic gold.” Wang adds it was an “out of body experience” to receive the award and something she didn’t anticipate happening in “a million years.”
Since President Biden has taken office this was the first time he’s held this event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before handing Wang her award, Biden jokingly made a comment about how when he would open his and the First Lady’s closet he would always see Wang's clothes in there.
“I have to say that it’s such an honor to craft clothing. But, to see it really worn, and enjoyed and experienced by someone like the first lady, I don’t really think it gets better for any designer to tell you the truth,” Wang said.
Since designing her own wedding dress in 1989 and opening her own boutique on Madison Avenue in 1990, Wang has been in the fashion game for over 30 years. The National Medal of Arts award celebrates Wang’s lifetime of work.
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