Adapted from Kevin Kwan’s 2013 best seller, Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a young NYU professor who follows her beau Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his home in Singapore, to both attend Nick’s best friend’s wedding and finally meet the Young family. The twist? She has no idea that Nick comes from an unspeakable amount of wealth. Throughout, the tom-com smartly uses fashion to both articulate and poke fun at wealth, with Mary E. Vogt’s rich costuming doing much of the visual heavy lifting in defining the characters.
To bring the source material’s lavishness to life, designer Vogt closely worked with director Jon M. Chu, who referenced a number of fairy tales, including The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella, as his influences. “And a Wong Kar-wai movie, which is not a fairy tale, that he really loves: In the Mood for Love,” adds Vogt. “That movie was very influential on this film because of the colors.” On Chu’s advice, Vogt also reached out to Kwan to further understand the background of the Young family. “They are really ‘old money,’” Vogt says. “Peik Lin Goh’s family are ‘new money.’ They just made their money and are really enjoying [it]. They’re just flinging it around, wanting to show it [off]. The Young family is used to having money, and they are quiet about it. They dress in a more elegant way. Their house looks more like a museum, and it’s all very understated.”