“It became a Cinderella dress for people"
Constance Wu’s Crazy Rich Asians dress will be donated to Washington’s Smithsonian museum
In time for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, the gown is being donated by Marchesa to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington.
It will be presented in LA at the first annual ‘The Party: A Smithsonian Celebration of Asian Pacific Americans’ on Saturday.
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu said the blue wedding gown has become a fairy-tale dress, which appears at a pivotal movement in the film.
“It became a Cinderella dress for people,” he said. “I remember seeing moms make it for their little girls, I remember seeing women wear it with a sense of pride. It became literally a fairy-tale dress for people. We talked about how this would make her feel and how powerful it would be for her — and that it’s also her choice to wear.”
Theodore S. Gonzalves, curator in the Division of Culture and Community Life at the National Museum of American History, explained why the dress is so important.
“The film’s use of fashion is not merely decorative or secondary,” Gonzalves said. “The cast’s clothing plays a crucial role in marking social class among its characters — from multi-generational moneyed elites of Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese immigrants), to the nouveau riche strivers of Singapore, to working-class Chinese immigrants in the United States and their Asian American model minority progeny.”
Additionally, the timing of the film’s release just preceded the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations. Weinstein is Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman’s ex husband.
“I think that it represents this moment of arrival,” said Lisa Sasaki, director of the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center. “There’s a sense of arrival for Asian Americans into the mainstream.”