Crazy Rich Asians: costume designer Mary Vogt shares film’s fashion secrets

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Anna Fielding
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Mary E Vogt, costume designer for the film of the moment, reveals how she put the characters’ looks together…

Since chatter started over a month ago about Hollywood’s latest film Crazy, Rich, Asians it’s yet to cease. Not only is it the first major Hollywood studio film with an all-Asian American cast in 25 years, but it also comprises of a wardrobe that only most of us could dream of. 

Which is why we caught up with the film’s costume designer Mary E Vogt to get the lowdown on all of the looks. 

Astrid (Gemma Chan)

“Gemma is a doll to work with and can wear clothes no one else can. The first time we see Astrid, she’s in a Dior dress. I asked the Dior shop in Kuala Lumpur if they’d ever sold one and they said, ‘No, it looks terrible on everyone!’ Everyone but Gemma. The movie has 25 significant roles so distinctive costuming was vital.” 

Rachel (Constance Wu)

“There’s a red dress Rachel intends to wear to meet Nick’s family for the first time. Her mother picks it out for her in a vintage shop, as red is a lucky colour in Asia. It’s pretty and simple, a little Miu Miu dress,” says Vogt. 

“In New York, Rachel’s clothes are black and grey, slightly more edgy, but in Singapore we wanted her to look more vulnerable, so she wears softer colours and florals. She has her Cinderella moment at a wedding, wearing a soft blue Marchesa dress. It was two feet long with massive sleeves. Constance is very delicate, so we had to scale it back to fit, including removing the sleeves.”

Peiklin (Awkwafina)

“Peik Lin is such a fun, insane character. We wanted her to have a distinct look. She has a different hair colour to everyone else and her outfits are so full-on. There’s a scene where she shows Rachel her wardrobe – a whole room. We filmed it in an art museum where you couldn’t wear shoes. I had a $1,500 (£1,100) pair of Gucci shoes for her I couldn’t use. But it worked. Her family are nouveau riche, and while in many Asian households you’re expected to remove shoes, the super-rich tend not to. So although they live in a mansion, it looks like they’re new at it.”

Araminta (Sonoya Mizuno)

“This gold catsuit is from Araminta’s bachelorette party. It’s one of my designs and I took the idea from the book. It’s similar to one Yves Saint Laurent designed in the Seventies. A dressmaker in Kuala Lumpur, Carven Ong, made it. We also created the wedding dress. We had a whole room of people working on beading. It was so heavy! The scene involves Sonoya walking through water, so the weight was even greater. She’s a ballet dancer, so she was strong and graceful enough to pull it off.”

Crazy Rich Asians is in cinemas from Friday 14 September 

Images: Getty