Vanity Fair: The Crazy Rich Style of Crazy Rich Asians

Vanity Fair: The Crazy Rich Style of Crazy Rich Asians

This wasn’t just Sex and the City Asia,” said Crazy Rich Asiansdirector John M. Chu in a recent phone call. “This was, sure, high-fashion, high-style, but the stuff had to have a story being told.”

Since Kevin Kwan’s novel was published, fashion has been indispensable in the world of Crazy Rich Asians—characters repeatedly name drop the likes of Prada, Bottega, and Dior. They show up to a series of parties—even something as supposedly casual as a bachelorette party—in couture specifically chosen to ensure they make an entrance and outdo everyone else in the room.

To translate this world for the film adaptation opening August 15, Chu and head costume designer Mary Vogt carefully storyboarded every scene, making sure that the clothes consistently spoke to moments in the plot, from Nicholas Young’s (Henry Golding) white linen, Jay Gatsby–esque tailored suit to Goh Peik Lin’s (Awkwafina) golden closetful of animal prints and flashy outfits. As Chu said, “To me, all those [clothes] said stuff without saying anything at all, and it was so important because if you don’t get that, then you miss a lot of details in our movie.”

And beyond promoting Asian designers, Kwan said that obtaining a good mix of both international and “homegrown designers” is authentic to the Crazy Rich Asiansworld. “And whatever’s authentic to that world is authentic to my movie.”

“Although we may have used international designers for our principals, whenever we could we put clothes from the local designers in,” Vogt said. “Even though everyone was doing modern clothes, if you come from that part of the world there’s a little bit of a different flavor to the designs that you would get from a New York designer or a Paris designer or a London designer.”

Vogt enlisted the help of fashion consultant and former editor-in-chief of Elle Malaysia, Andrea Wong, for advice on the womenswear, with Malaysian designer Raf Choo giving insight on the men’s wear. The team spoke to Vanity Fair to contextualize some of the absolutely out-there looks featured in the film, and how they were given a more local flair.

“There were so many beautiful pieces that I wish I could’ve just inserted somehow into the movie, because there’s so much amazing talent, and there’s so many amazing pieces out there,” Wong said. “Maybe in the sequel!”

Khoon Hooi (Malaysia)

Designer Khoon Hooi has been in the fashion game for almost two decades now. His self-titled ready-to-wear line is recognizable because of his “modern designs, and a couture-grade detailing,” Wong said. “He does beautiful gowns, his beading, feathers, really luxe fabrics such as satin and brocade. This kind of really worked well in the big party scenes, or the wedding—a little bit more glamorous pieces.” Most of Khoon Hooi’s pieces are seen during the wedding reception on characters like Celine Lim (Constance Lau) a.k.a. “Radio One Asia,” who likes to flaunt her style.

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