The Flawless Fashion of Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians, which was released on August 15th, continues going strong through its fourth weekend of release, pulling in another $13.86 million to make a total of $136 million since its opening, making it the tenth highest grossing film of the summer. It’s also the highest grossing romantic comedy in nine years and boasts the first all Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club was released 25 years ago.
This movie, which is based off Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel of the same name, tells the story of Rachel Chu, an economics professor living in NYC who gets invited to Singapore to attend a wedding with her boyfriend, Nick Young. Little does she know that Nick is from an incredibly wealthy family, and that his family is less than pleased to discover he is dating her.
Crazy Rich Asians offers a rare glimpse into the life of the insanely wealthy living in Singapore. The movie takes it time to fully show the viewer the beauty of Singapore; everything from the skyscrapers and street markets are featured here, with an emphasis on all the many beautiful food dishes that Singapore has to offer. But the real beauty featured here comes in the form of the clothes. This is, after all, a story about the crazy rich. So how exactly did they pick out the clothes for the movie?
In an interview with HuffPost, Mary Vogt, the costume designer for the movie, described her process of working with the author, Kwan, to select specific designers for each of the characters based on their personalities.
Eleanor Young, the elegant yet often overbearing mother of Nick Young, is featured in a number of incredible looks throughout the film, from the halter neck Valentino gown she wears when first meeting Rachel to the embroidered blue Elie Saab dress she wears at Araminta Lee’s wedding. Everything she wears is understated yet classy, never ostentatious or too colorful.
“The old money families are much more subtle and sophisticated in their approach to dressing than the new money family. If she wore Armani, it would be Armani Privé, and if it were Yves Saint Laurent, it would be old Yves Saint Laurent,” said Vogt. “If it wasn’t custom-made, it would be couture, and she would never have the designer’s name on her clothes… that was more of a new money thing that people did.”
In contrast, the new money families—particularly the Gohs, who have modeled their house after the Palace of Versailles—are always featured in bold patterns and colorful print.
“[The Gohs] were very joyful in their acquisition of things that had designers’ names on it,” said Vogt. “They’re a really fun family. I did a lot of Versace on them because Versace is very bold and playful and it’s got a lot of gold in it. Eleanor would never in a million years wear anything that has a lot of gold in it.”
Peik Lin, played by Awkwafina, is “really happy, she likes her money and she likes dressing up and she’s having a great time,” Vogt added.
Then there’s Rachel Chu, the film’s main leading lady. When we first meet Rachel, she is dressed in a chic, yet simple, outfit. But her style quickly evolves after she arrives in Singapore, mostly thanks to her friend, Peik Lin, who understands the importance of dressing to impress.
Of course, no rom-com would be complete without the quintessential Cinderella moment. Just when Rachel, who has been subjected to Eleanor’s cruelty and a borderline psychotic prank by a few of Araminta’s friends, decides to return home, her friends convince her to stay and slay at Araminta’s wedding.
With the help of Peik Lin and Oliver, Rachel tries on several gorgeous gowns. She models a silver mesh dress by Michael Kors (“the day disco died,” quipped Oliver) and a sheer Dior gown that has hands embroidered all over the bodice.
“I wanted to give [Chu] a lot of dressed that had a lot of personality of their own, so she could play with them,” said Vogt.
In the end, Rachel decides to go with complete with a flowing light blue tulle gown, designed by Marchesa, complete with a sparkling tiara. Heads turn to face her as soon as she arrives.
“I love that she’s in this dreamy blue dress and she feels and looks fabulous and then she runs up against Eleanor, who’s also in a blue dress, but Eleanor’s is a little more regal, stiffer fabric,” commented Vogt, who went on to say that Rachel “blows her away.”