By Anna Wyckoff | September 11, 2019
Four Weddings and a Funeral
At the beginning of the television series Four Weddings and a Funeral, producer and longtime collaborator Mindy Kaling told Costume Designer Salvador Perez, “I want what you did for me on the Mindy Project, but for everyone in the cast. I want everyone’s look to be heightened.” With that directive, Perez knew that working in London on would present certain challenges, but the job escalated quickly into an homage to Costume Design itself. “It was a pilot, so there was a tremendous amount of work to do to establish characters. There’s a massive wedding in the first episode and Mindy adds, ‘By the way, there’s going to be a costume party. The theme is Romantic movie characters.’” As quickly as that, the project became a Costume Design tour de force, referencing not just the film that inspired the mini-series, but a gamut of other iconic movies.
True to form, Perez took the challenge as an opportunity to express the characters and their context in the story. “I’m a Costume Designer and I can build anything, but I had to believe that these people went out and found or made these costumes. So I designed them so they didn’t look like they went to a professional to have their clothes made. “Recreating the looks established by so many of his friends and colleagues was a challenge and a responsibility, Perez spoke to many directly about how the original garments were constructed. “I didn’t want to parody them. I wanted it to look authentic, but with the amateur’s eye to it.”
Being in London meant Perez had access to some of the world’s best fashion and several of the characters required a fabulous wardrobe. For example, Ainsley Howard (Rebecca Rittenhouse) is an interior designer with flawless taste. “I got to be very extravagant. We went to Boyy London and Chanel and got bags, and got an entire collection of Jimmy Choo shoes. I bought every belt I could from Dolce & Gabbana to Oscar de la Renta. Nothing was left to chance. Everything was impeccable.”
This is not to say working overseas went without a hitch. “Nobody in London could make me a basketball uniform,” Perez chuckles. “They don’t do basketball. I had them made it for me in Los Angeles over Thanksgiving weekend and shipped it overnight. And I couldn’t get basketball shoes. If you shop in LA, there are walls of them. In London, they’re like, ‘Here’s the shoe.’ THE shoe.”
Having a long-standing working relationship with show creator Mindy Kaling gave Perez the freedom to delve into characters. She paid Perez high praise when summing up the final project. “I knew it was fabulous when we were shooting, but to see it all put together, it’s incredible. I’m so jealous that I wasn’t in that show.”