West

Vera (1900-1947). American costume designer and fashion designer. Called “the high priestess of Universal,” for her long career in science-fiction and B movies. Originally she was a fashion designer (just before her premature death, she reopened an atelier in Beverly Hills), from 1926 till 1947 she was in charge of the costumes for the production house, supervising the look of countless monstrous heroes: from the bandages of The Mummy (1932) to the cape worn by The Phantom of the Opera (1943), to Dracula’s cape (House of Horrors, 1945). She created the exotic clothing worn by Maria Montez, and applied the same style (veils, costume jewelry, frills, and feathers) to Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again (1939) or Mae West in My Little Chickadee (1940). When necessary, however, she was perfectly capable of designing sober, spare outfits like Ava Gardner’s black suit, in which she played the legendary dark lady of The Killers (1946), or underscoring the adolescent innocence of Deanna Durbin at the height of her popularity.

Waikiki

Hawaiian shirt, as loose-fitting as a kaftan, worn outside the belt, with side vents, broad, open neck, brightly colored tropical patterns. It takes its name from the beach in Honolulu and is also known as an “Aloha shirt.”

Woolman

Chase Edna (1877-1957). American journalist. She was a crucial figure in the development of the magazine Vogue. Hired at the age of 18 as a circulation clerk, she joined the editorial staff in 1914. Six years later, she was already the editor-in-chief of the American, English, and French editions of Vogue. She was one of the promoters of American fashion. In 1935 she was awarded the French Legion of Honor. She retired in 1952, but continued to serve as the head of the editorial board. She wrote an autobiography, Always in Vogue.

Weber

Bruce (1946). American photographer. He was responsible for the new image of beauty in fashion photography. Born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, he studied in New York with Lisette Model. Here he met the photographer Diane Arbus, who would leave a deep impression upon his artistic sensibility. He began his career in the 1970s: his first personal show dates back to 1974, at the Staley-Wise gallery in New York. Weber presented a collection of photographs of body builders, showing that he had an avant-garde eye for male aesthetic trends. The physiques of men and boys depicted in the gym, with modeled muscles and glistening skin, would become standard fare only a decade later. In 1985, he took part in the major photography show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, entitled Shots of Style. His first fashion coverage was commissioned by Vogue (English edition) in 1980. Clothing takes on the value in his images of emphasizing bodies and faces. Expressions and movements took on life in his lens, and outfits became an integral part of a cinematic sentiment transferred to paper. Weber excels at portraits and in the depiction of male beauty, which he immortalized over the course of the years, establishing an evolutionary scale of men’s aesthetics. It is no accident that in 1983 he photographed some 250 athletes who would be participating in the Olympics the following year. The first monographic work on the American photographer came out in 1989. He works frequently with the most important visual magazines on earth, from Vogue America to Vanity Fair.

Winston

Harry (1896-1978) American jeweler. The son of a modest watchmaker, he founded with capital of 2,000 dollars his first company, The Premier Diamond Company. He understood the importance of assembling unique and rare precious stones, to create a stock, which he recut and reset in a more modern style. During the war he obtained as many historic pieces of jewelry and important diamonds as he could. His collection was shown in the United States as “The Court of Jewels” and Winston was nicknamed the “King of Diamonds.” A 45-carat blue diamond from a statue of Shiva, the “collier de l’inquisition” in emeralds and diamonds, whose history dates back to the Incas, are among the most important items. In 1954, he opened his shop on the Fifth Avenue in New York. He donated to the Smithsonian Institute the renowned Hope Diamond. After his death, the company was taken over by his son Ronald, who had graduated from Harvard. He opened shops in Europe and became the most important jeweler in America. For his father’s centennial, Ronald presented the American Rainbow Tiara (100 carats), worn by Brooke Shields and valued at over 40 million dollars. Currently, the company has five shops, in Tokyo, New York, Geneva, Paris, and Beverly Hills.It sells to wholesalers and retail. It has 1,200 employees, working with ultramodern processes of classification and cutting of the diamonds. It mines diamonds in Africa and in America. The company has handled some of the lovelist precious stones on earth. Winston’s great innovation was in the art of setting stones, so as to allow the light from one stone to be reflected from another. The settings are so simple and discreet that it appears that the stones are directly on one’s skin.”

Weston

French label of men’s footwear created in 1926 by Eugène Blanchard. It has always distinguished itself for its painstaking manufacturing and the quality of materials used: only fine leathers, artisanal workmanship, and Goodyear components. One fan of these shoes was Franµois Mitterand. Among the other admirers, we may list Jacques Chirac, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Johnny Hallyday and, since 1985, when the women’s shoe line was founded, Catherine Deneuve and Vanessa Paradis. Weston shoes were worn by the student protesters of May 1968.

Wada

Emi (1937). Japanese costume designer. Winner of an Oscar for the extraordinary mediaeval costumes in Ran (1986) by Akira Kurosawa, a warrior saga in which the armies wear symbolic colors: red for violence, light blue for innocence, and yellow ambiguity. Born in Kyoto, she was also active in theatrical set design. In 1987 the festival of Cannes awarded her a prize for her creations.

Weill

French dynasty of the apparel industry. It dates back to 1892, when the Alsatian Albert Weill created in Paris, in the Sentier, the first house of non-custom ladies’ wear. His grandson, Jean Claude, in 1949, after a trip to the America of ready-to-wear, convinced his father Robert to adopt the American systems and, the first to do so in Europe, to call his apparel prêt-à-porter, putting his name on them and adveristing them. The Weill company (two plants, in Lens and Provins) is still completely family operated. In 1972, Jean Claude took his father’s place. His children, Bernard, Jean Pierre and Viviane, work for the company.

Walkjanker

Tyrolean jacket made of boiled wool, trimmed in a contrasting color, with double button made of metal. Its particular feature is the absence of stitching. The traditional model (much loved by Grace Kelly) was developed by the Austrian Hofer company. The item was recently subjected to a restyling, entrusted to the Italian Olmes Caretti.

Weisel

Heidi (1967). American fashion designer. Her main focus is cashmere, which, far ahead of many other fashion designers, she used in evening wear, mixing it with silks or organdy. At the early age of 23, she opened her fashion house in New York and began to supply various Hollywood actresses. Fashion has long been her passion: as early as the age of 5 she was using old fabrics to stitch outfits for her dolls. After attending the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology, she graduated in 1994 and began immediately to work in the Garment District, the general headquarters of fabrics.
&Quad;For Oscars Night 2003, the actress Lisa Kudrow chose to wear one of her red dresses.