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.”