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At the 22nd annual Costume Designers Guild Awards on Tuesday evening, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, host Mindy Kaling wore a special dress custom-designed for her by CDG president Salvador Pérez Jr., The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned.
“It’s the most glamorous night of awards season; Oscars schmoscars!” Pérez told THR on Tuesday. He has worked with Kaling on costuming for The Mindy Project, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Never Have I Ever, as well as personal appearances.
The gown the Late Night producer-director-star wore on Tuesday evening is navy velvet with a built-in corset, finished with an iridescent blue chiffon cape, Pérez told THR, adding that it is decorated with over 2,000 Swarovski crystals.
Kaling and Pérez have been working on the dress since just after Thanksgiving, and it was cut, fit and hand-embellished by Sivorn Price, who also worked on The Mindy Project. (“The very first fitting was flawless; Sivorn’s talent is unsurpassed,” adds Pérez)
“Mindy has always been my queen!” Pérez says. “I was inspired by a velvet gown worn by Kate Middleton, so I designed a very regal gown for Mindy — navy velvet, plunging neckline, chiffon cape, a train, and Swarovski crystals!”
Kaling accessorized the gown with Neil Lane jewelry.
In 2014, Pérez asked Kaling to attend her first CDGAs and designed her an aqua lace, one-shoulder custom gown, as she had nothing to wear, “and it kind of set a precedent for our relationship, because she had never had a custom gown made before,” he says.
She liked it so much that she asked Pérez to create a gown for her to wear to the Vanity Fair Oscars party five days later. Since then, he has created two other dresses for her to wear to present at the CDGAs, three black gowns for her to wear to the Academy Awards, and the gown she will wear tonight to host.
“I think the only reason she agreed to host is because I haven’t been able to make her a gown for a couple years because we’ve been so busy,” Pérez says, with a laugh. “She was literally saying, ‘I want the gown!’ She’s spoiled by custom-made gowns!”
“It’s such an honor to host the Costume Designers Guild Awards in a gorgeous custom gown by Salvador Pérez, the president of the Guild,” Kaling told THR in a statement. “I guess it helped that I insist he design it!”
As for the Oscars costume design award, Pérez tells THR., “You know the Oscars give one award for costume design and you cannot compare the different genres. You can’t put a sci-fi movie like Maleficent next to Joker and Little Women. They’re different genres. And I think, by us separating the categories, it really shows the diversity of talent to each project. Twenty years ago, most films were contemporary … and look now at how many studios are sci-fi or period.”
Pérez also pointed out the growing importance of television, with Netflix, Apple and others creating content: “We used to get 40 submissions for television and now we get about 400! There is so much content being made that the competition is fierce to get noticed in that field.”
“It’s funny, because I looked at the list of presenters, and it’s literally the history of my career!” says Pérez, who is in his third term as president of CDG and has been on the board for over 22 years. “I guess I’m not new anymore. I’ve been doing this a long time!”
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