February 13, 1995 12:00 PM

As the designer of some of the dreamiest bridal dresses ever to float down an aisle, Vera Wang, 45, is responsible for Marian Carey’s fairy-tale wedding gown—not to mention Nancy Kerrigan’s skating costumes and Sharon Stone’s Oscar duds. In fact, one of the few people Wang hasn’t had designs on is businessman Arthur Becker, 44, who first spotted her at a Forest Hills tennis match in 1980. Soon after, “he wanted to get married, and I didn’t even want to live with him,” recalls Wang. “I wanted to be free for my career.”

But in time—nine years, to be precise—the relationship ended in a love match. Now the parents of two daughters, Cecelia, 4, and Josephine, 1, the couple enjoy a lavish lifestyle that includes a Park Avenue apartment, a house in Southampton, N.Y., and a converted 200-year-old Dutch barn in Pound Ridge, N.Y. Not that there aren’t problems—gift-giving, for instance. “It’s hard being married to a wife who is a fashion plate,” says Wang with a wink. “But he tries.” One Valentine’s Day, Becker, chairman of a golfing-equipment company, got it right. “He knows I love massages,” Wang says. “So instead of, say getting my masseuse to come for a week, he bought me a wonderful massage chair.” Says Becker: “I try to fulfill my husbandly duties.”

Despite their indulgences, the two have a practical streak. “We could take off any time for Barbados,” says Wang. “But we’re both workaholics. What’s romantic to us is having leisure time, period—even with our kids. To me, that’s sexy.”

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