30 Seamstresses Spent Three Weeks Creating the Incredible "Crazy Rich Asians" Wedding Dress
Which, in fact, wasn't a "dress" at all!
Ten seconds into the trailer for Crazy Rich Asians and it's clear that the film lives up to its title. And we're not just talking uber expensive luxury cars, jets and mansions, but also the characters' lux fashion choices-and we have costume designer Mary Vogt to thank for that.
Though Vogt was tasked with building the entire Crazy Rich fashion world, it's the extravagant wedding moment that stands out. Dare we say it: the wedding is so lavish that it puts Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding to shame (the bride literally walks on water. Sorry, Meghan.)
But what you might be surprised to know is that not everything was as easy as a trip to Bergdorf's with an unlimited credit card à la Blair Waldorf. In fact, Vogt revealed that the budget for the costumes was low (could've fooled us).
Here, Vogt tells InStyle seven more secrets that'll make you want to watch that wedding scene a little more closely next time.
It took three weeks and 30 people to stone the wedding dress with gold Swarovski crystals.
There was a painstaking amount of labor that went into making sure the wedding moment was a showstopper.
"We made the dress in Kuala Lumpur and there were 30 women putting crystals on the dress for 3 weeks," said Vogt. "And then I took the dress to Singapore, and we kept fussing with the dress every day until it worked, adding crystals to it and adding embroidery on the skirt."
She added, "I can't even imagine [how many crystals were used] because people who are beaders are really fast. There had to be several thousand crystals."
It's not actually a wedding dress at all.
Leave it to this movie to create a wild fashion wedding moment that doesn't involve a real wedding dress. Despite the convincing appearance, the "dress" is actually a trick of the eye. In reality, the blushing bride wears a bodysuit and attached skirt combination, more akin to a jumpsuit than a poofy gown.
"It's a jumpsuit that we made out of stretch tulle and it's studded with gold Swarovski crystals, and the skirt goes on top of it, we basically attached it to the bodice," Vogt confirmed.
The outfit was inspired by ballet and Swan Lake.
Vogt was heavily influenced and inspired by actress Sonoya Mizuno-who wore the dress while playing Araminta Lee - and her background in ballet."
Sonoya was a dancer, she was a ballerina, and she's a very fun character and playful, so she could pull off a fun and playful, eccentric dress. She's really graceful, she walks beautifully and has little dancer's legs," Vogt said.
"In the first row, there is a row of marabou [feather trimming] that we dyed to match the dress, just to give it a little more of a Swan Lake feeling to it," she added. "We had this ballet Swan Lake kind of strange wedding going on. And Sonoya was able to walk very gracefully in water, which is no easy thing to do."
Mizuno walked down the aisle without shoes on.
Because the wedding moment required Mizuno to literally walk through water, the prospect of having wedding shoes was grim.
"I said 'Are you going to walk barefoot?' She couldn't walk in heels [over the water] or she'd be falling all the time," Vogt said. "So we made her this bodysuit out of a stretch tulle and then studded it with a lot of the Swarovski crystals and it went all the way down to her feet, so her feet had knitting and stones on them."
It was all so expensive that it required security.
While everything was insured, the jewelry still required extra eyes to watch for thieves ... because Vogt couldn't afford costume jewelry on their movie budget. Strangely enough, borrowing real jewelry was the cheaper option.
"With our budget, we couldn't afford the really high end costume jewelry, because that gets expensive. We had one piece by Marni which we used on Peik Lin [Awkwafina]. So what we could do was use real jewelry, because the real jewelers were willing to lend us jewelry," she said. "Bulgari and Chopard were willing to lend us jewelry, and they said well you have to have your own guards because we can't be responsible."
"There was a lot of real jewelry on set, and we did have to have security. Everything had to be insured, even like dresses that came from different designers, we had to insure the dresses because some of those dresses were like $20,000. So if something happened to those dresses, we'd be in big trouble. So when they came in, we'd insure it."
But the movie costume budget was "low," and they didn't get every piece they wanted.
You wouldn't know it from the pictures, but even though the movie looks opulent, the budget didn't reflect that. While Vogt and her team designed and created the wedding dress themselves, at other times they were at the mercy of discount outlets and designers' willingness to lend fashion pieces for the movie.
Sometimes, this worked out, as Vogt said it did with a Marchesa dress and a slew of Ralph Lauren pieces, but other times, they weren't able to get the clothes they wanted. The big missed opportunity that comes to mind? A furry Michael Kors backpack.
"There's a black and white Michael Kors fur coat that one of the girls wears in New York that is a very expensive coat, and we bought it at the 90 percent off sale for $300. So it was like, 'Yay!' Michael Kors made a backpack to go with it out of that same fur, and it was like, 'Oh my God. That's the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life.' So we called Michael Kors and asked, 'Could we get that backpack?' And they were like, 'No,'" Vogt admitted while laughing. "It was like, 'Oh goodness!' But Michael Kors was really great to us, they sent us stuff and said we could keep it as long as we want. But they wouldn't give us the backpack."
Vogt thinks that any sequels will probably have an easier time rounding up clothes. "It was not a big budget movie, so we really had a modest budget, so it was like one dress at a time. In the sequel they'll probably have an easier time, but we really had to sort of convince people, like 'Oh can we borrow your dress? We'll give it back and we won't wreck it.'"
Vogt wouldn't actually recommend the wedding dress.
Though a lot of time and effort was put into the wedding creation, Vogt doesn't actually recommend it highly for others.
"There's not many people that could wear it. I would not recommend that dress for anybody. It's a really hard dress to wear. She's really tall, Sonoya, she's really tall, she's really slim, she moves like a dancer. Unless you're really tall, really slim, and move like a dancer, I would say stay away from this outfit. Go with something that is more forgiving," Vogt said.
"A lot of the clothes in the movie are kind of hard to wear, but our actors, the ones who wear the really hard clothes, just have the most perfect figures. Tall and slim and can walk in 5 inch heels like angels, I've never seen anything like it."
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