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Costume Designers Guild President Salvador Perez, who dresses Mindy Kaling on The Mindy Project, has been lucky enough to see some of the original looks from My Fair Lady. “They are so beautifully made,” he gushes about the ensembles. Some of the costumes have been sold to private collectors, but others, like Eliza’s nightgown and the green jumper from the “Rain in Spain” scene currently are being preserved at the Warner Bros. archive in Burbank.
We sat down with Perez to chat about the film’s iconic costumes, which were designed by legendary costume designer Cecil Beaton.
Pret-a-Reporter: What historical relevance do Cecil Beaton’s My Fair Lady costumes have?
Salvador Perez: As costume designers, we design the costumes to suit the character for the scene, but sometimes magic happens, and costumes become iconic — they become part of our history. The costumes from My Fair Lady are legendary.
Why do you think it’s important to preserve these costumes?
They are a part of history and capture a moment in time. When the fans see the costumes from their favorite films, it brings an emotional nostalgia. At the recent Hollywood Costume exhibit put on by Deborah Landis, I saw many fans getting emotional seeing the costumes from their favorite films.
Why do you think people still love My Fair Lady and its costumes so much?
Well, of course, it starts with Audrey Hepburn’s performance, but the costumes were so exquisitely designed.
In your opinion, what do you think is the most well-known My Fair Lady costume and why?
Without a doubt, the ascot race dress and hat. The silhouette and the graphic detail of the black on white make the look so memorable.
If a film studio did a remake, who would be your ideal Eliza Doolittle?
I think Keira Knightley would have an interesting take on the role, and I think every costumer designer would love the chance to design the costumes, myself included! They would need to have a sense of whimsy in their design style.
Find out where you can watch My Fair Lady in theaters here.
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