Salvador Perez is sort of a big shot around here. Some, in fact, say he is a living legend. Not only is Perez the prolific wizard behind Mindy Kaling‘s fabulous and empowering costume designs on her eponymous show, he inspires women everywhere to be confident.
Before The Mindy Project, Perez was designing on the 2012 made for television movie, Liz and Dick with Lindsay Lohan. He explained that well, after THAT experience, he vowed to “Never work in TV again!” And this is coming from someone who survived working with Jim Cameron on Titanic (1997). However, he said when he first met with Kaling, “she was just so lovely, and enthusiastic,” he couldn’t turn her down. They were immediately simpatico. “Usually you have to deal with showrunners, producers, directors, – Mindy is the boss. She’s in the editing room, and involved in every aspect of the show.” He went on to note, “She really doesn’t get the credit she deserves.”
After one twenty two minute episode, Mindy changed costumes thirty one times. “Every time we think we’ve outdone ourselves, we want to do it again.” Of course he had no idea what the show would become. Mindy’s audience’s response to her outfits was in fact, so dramatic, that Perez went on to design a line of clothes for the public, inspired by Mindy’s character, Dr. Lahiri. Fans especially loved her coats, so Perez made available a very limited line of bold, colorful, slimming coats that were shown at The Grove in Los Angeles in 2015. Gilt teamed up with Perez, who designed his first ever apparel collection under his own label. Coats play such a big role in the show, because although they shoot the show in Los Angeles, the story takes place in New York. The collection ranged from vivid tweeds to classic styles such as houndstooth. Featured for sale during season four, the sumptuous coats nearly sold out of the first offering.
Perez was also able to team up with BaubleBar to launch a full jewelry collection. It’s a 12 piece collection, which includes custom designed necklaces, earrings and one bracelet. His main intention was to share A-list work with the real customer. Being able to work on this collection, especially has been a dream come true for him.
Mindy’s costumes are so important to her, because she wants the fans to see her character be confident in her own skin without having to be a size zero. She’s proud to wear bright colors and not have to hide her body. She has said, “The show is a celebration of women who aren’t waifs.” In fact, Mindy wished she had someone like Dr. Mindy Lahiri on the air when she was younger. The audience agrees, and the hit show has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy for comedy or writing six times. Perez himself was nominated for an Emmy last year for Outstanding Costumes.
Both Kaling and Perez love to inspire women. What means the most to Perez is that,“The audience and fans have been so wonderfully generous with their support.” Other than making colorful working wear the norm, Perez also dresses Mindy for special events such as the Met Ball. When I asked the designer what fans can expect next, he added that his priority is the show and, “Fashion takes nine months… but maybe a cocktail collection?”