You just can’t miss the crazy-stylish clothes in Crazy Rich Asians, can you?
In his book Crazy Rich Asians, author Kevin Kwan doesn’t leave a single detail spared when it comes to the wealth and opulence of the Singaporeans. He describes palatial homes, decadent interiors, ethereal weddings, and, of course, fashion, down to the minutest sparkle. No, really. Take a look:
Rachel couldn’t help but notice the enormous canary diamond flashing on her hand like a translucent egg yolk, and the pair of three-carat solitaires in her earlobes, identical to Peik Lin’s. Like mother, like daughter—maybe they got a two-for-one deal….Rachel quickly registered two versions of the Venus de Milo, one in white marble, another in gold, of course. There was a huge round dining table that seated eighteen comfortably covered with a heavy Battenberg lace tablecloth and high-backed Louis Quatorze chairs that were, thankfully, upholstered in a royal blue brocade.
So naturally, an avid reader and cinema fan like me would expect the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians to feature striking fashion that brings Kevin Kwan’s vision to life.
The fashion scene in Crazy Rich Asians
Set amidst the ultra-glam world of uber rich Singaporeans (the kind who spend $40 million on weddings), Crazy Rich Asians features classy settings, and lots of high fashion and haute couture clothes, but with a strong Asian touch.
Costume designer for Crazy Rich Asians Mary Vogt along with Andrea Wong (consultant and senior costume buyer) sourced clothing from a range of designers, such as Ralph Lauren, Elie Saab, Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Valentino and Dior, along with several Asian designers.
The actors in the film wear clothes suited to the Asian sensibility, and style themselves according to Asian standards of style and beauty.
Which means you will be delighted and surprised to see fashion choices most Hollywood actors would not make on-screen. In most of Asia (including India), fashion, accessories, jewellery and makeup choices are as much about aesthetics as they are about showing your wealth.
In most western cultures including Hollywood, less is generally more, but in Asia, the rule is “less is too less, go for more”. Hence you will see multiple accessories in a single look, splash of colours and embellishment, and daring prints.
Peik Lin is quirky and funny, she knows it, and she dresses for it. In a sea of Singaporean Asians with long, dark hair, she chooses to go short and blonde. This spunky gal also dresses like she doesn’t care. Her outfits feature quirky prints, bold colours and mix-and-match separates that seem to be just thrown together in the morning.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Peik Lin is a fashionista in her own way. She has a closetful of pricey designer dresses, and she carries multiple outfit and accessory options in the trunk of her car for fashion emergencies like a sudden cocktail party invitation.
Constance Wu As Rachel Chu
Rachel Chu is a New Yorker, so her signature style is laidback and casual. As an economics professor and humble upbringing, she doesn’t care much for high fashion. Even when thrust into the world of crazy rich Singaporeans, Rachel maintains her style sensibilities and sticks to her simple aesthetic style. Meeting with her boyfriend’s mother and grandmother? An “auspicious” red dress. All-expenses-paid shopping spree? An understated cotton outfit.
But her dear friend Peik Lin helps her up her fashion game when it’s time for Rachel to show she can be classy too. Peik Lin chooses a multi-hued shimmering gown for the first meeting with the formidable mother, and a baby blue tulle Marchesa dress with a tiara for a grand wedding.
In a critical moment in the film, Rachel opts for a game of mah jong with her boyfriend’s mother Aunty Eleanor. In this scene, Rachel shows Aunty Eleanor what a New York gal can really do. Dressed in a flattering floral print dress paired with subtle makeup, Rachel stuns Eleanor with her grace and class in terms of style and as a human being.
Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young
As one of the richest women in Asia, Eleanor Young (played by Michelle Yeoh) epitomizes elegance in every frame. As a woman with impeccable manners and taste, her fashion choices are always accurate and her looks are perfect down to the finest detail.
My favourite Aunty Eleanor look is the cocktail party at her mother-in-law’s home. She wears a pleated burgundy floor-length Valentino gown with a gorgeous brooch and matching earrings. Her hair is in a classic updo and her makeup is just right. Perfection!
Gemma Chan as Astrid Young Teo
Astrid is an heiress with a passion for all things rare and beautiful. She has an eye for vintage, a big heart and a contemporary outlook. On ordinary days, she wears silk blouses with high-waist trousers, form-fitting dresses and loads of oomph.
My favourite Astrid look is her introductory scene- a stylish Dior dress with a high draped collar, oversized sunglasses and a cute designer handbag.
Which is your favourite look from Crazy Rich Asians?
All pictures courtesy Warner Bros (from Crazy Rich Asians official Facebook page).