The Story Behind Mindy Kaling's Costume Designers Guild Awards Dress (Exclusive)

Mindy Kaling Sal Perez - P 2015
AP Images

The 'Mindy Project' costume designer, Salvador Perez, dishes on the gorgeous green sari he designed for the actress.

Whether he's dressing Mindy Kaling or her sartorially savvy onscreen character, Mindy Lahiri of The Mindy Project, costume designer Salvador Perez never shies away from making a fashion statement.

But in the three years that they’ve worked together, Perez and Kaling have "never explored her Indian roots," he says. Until Tuesday night, that is, when presenter Kaling made a showstopping entrance at the 17th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards in a gorgeous bright-green-and-gold embroidered strapless sheath, fashioned from traditional sari fabric.

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"I proposed the idea to her this time, and she went with it," says Perez, who had the idea in mind for a while.

On a mission to find the perfect fabric, Perez headed outside Los Angeles to Artesia, which boasts a strong Indian community, where he sourced several sari materials and accompanying traditional Indian jewelry from Highglow Jewelers to match.

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"Sal is one of the best designers working right now, who can make an actress who isn't a size zero look like a glamorous and fashion-forward leading lady," said Kaling, who shone onstage as she introduced Perez, president of the Costume Designers Guild, to the audience.

And if you cant get enough of Kaling in brightly hued Indian fabrics, there’s more: One of the textiles Perez sourced will be worn by Kaling’s character as a traditional sari in an upcoming episode of The Mindy Project.