Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Styling for Mindyx2

Salvador Perez Jr. is a costume designer, not a stylist - he'll be the first to tell you that.

Sal Perez works on the FOX sitcom The Mindy Project and is responsible for creating the signature style of the cast. Mindy Kaling, the showrunner, plays Mindy Lahiri, an exaggerated character known for her bold fashion sense and colorful style. According to Perez, "I probably put Mindy in close to 1,000 outfits over three years." About twenty percent of those outfits are custom-made by Perez for the show. The looks that he creates are designed specifically to align with the story-line and to fit Mindy’s unique personality.

His work is a collaborative effort between his personal stylistic ideas for the fictional Mindy as well as the opinions of the real-life Mindy, culminating to create one of TV’s best-dressed characters. According to Sal, “It's a great collaboration. I love dressing the character and Mindy personally has a love of fashion.” The duo’s work reminds me quite a bit of the “Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem” article by Brian Uzzi and Jarrett Spiro. Spiro and Uzzi discuss the implications of working in an environment with a high cluster of individuals influencing your work. Although Sal and Mindy work together to create a lot of pieces, each of them has other outside influencers that shape the looks that end up on air.

Perez does not restrict himself simply to styling or creating his own looks. He is well-known for creatively mixing designer prints and sometimes restructuring pieces made by other designers. One example of this creative take on pre-made looks is the outfit shown on the right, which Mindy posted on Instagram with a caption explaining the unique spin.

Both Perez and Kaling are influenced by experiences outside of the show. Mindy Kaling has a strong sense of risky personal style, which she often showcases on Instagram. Perez has worked as a costume designer for many other big projects, most recently for the upcoming Pitch Perfect 2. These interactions outside of the show’s design team has increased their circle of influencers and makes it possible to integrate more creative concepts into the show. This has an effect both on the inspiration for custom-made pieces and the pieces selected for the wardrobe that Perez puts together from other clothing designers.

Since designing for the show, Perez has also custom-designed gowns for real-life Mindy to wear for red carpet events. If he ever gets time to explore new ventures, he hopes to create his own collection of outerwear similar to the custom-made coats that Mindy wears, such as the one below (coat and blouse custom-designed by Perez for Kaling's Nationwide Superbowl commercial).

"Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem"
Mindy Kaling's Instagram

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