Vera Wang has expanded rapidly over the last few years, what with the Kohl's lines and the Serta mattresses and the newly launched David's Bridal collection, and oh! They're also having Leighton Meester model for a yet-unnamed fragrance out this fall, and adding menswear to the Kohl's merchandise, and possibly working on a cosmetics deal with Estée Lauder. So it makes sense that the Wang team would like some more help, and that they'd tap Michelle Kessler Sanders, who, like Vera herself, has worked on both the editorial and retail sides of the business. A Vogue veteran (like Vera), she spent several years as the fashion director at Juicy Couture before heading to Donna Karan as their senior vice-president. Last summer, Sally Singer recruited her to become the fashion director at T, which proved to be short-lived: "I realized fairly quickly that the skills I have developed in my 22-year career are much better suited for building a global brand and developing product," Sanders told Women's Wear Daily.
Vera Wang Group president Mario Grauso said that they've been trying to poach Sanders for years: "Finally our business is big enough for her to do it.” It's her combined background of "high and low" that makes her well-suited for the wide-reaching brand (read: Vera Wang's collection pieces, which retail for well into the four digits, versus the Simply Vera stationery sold at Kohl's). Said Sanders: “I’ve worked at Vogue and Juicy Couture. I’ve done the super-high-end and contemporary. I get both, I love both and I appreciate the value of both so that is thread that won’t break.”