After months of waiting — including a very fashionable press tour by Mindy Kaling — The Mindy Project has finally returned. With the third season premiere, airing Sept. 16 on Fox, we got to see what happened after Danny and Mindy’s very Sleepless in Seattle moment at the Empire State Building — and, of course, take in the mesmerizing style of Dr. Lahiri.
To find out the secrets to her style — plus what designers she’s actually wearing in each episode — Us Weekly caught up with The Mindy Project costume designer, Salvador Perez.
“Mixing prints has been my signature, but Mindy let me take it to a whole other level,” Perez, who is also the Costume Designers Guild president, exclusively tells Us. “She told me the other day, ‘I don’t want to be effortless. I want to be effort-full.’ And I love that about her.”
The third season premiere, “We’re a Couple Now, Haters!” did not disappoint with Mindy’s “hipster-eclectic-chic” style, which Perez creates by hitting up favorites like Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and J. Crew. “Occasionally I’ll include a Dolce & Gabbana, but it has to be perfect since I’m working on a TV budget,” Perez says. If he can’t find the exact piece he’s looking for, Perez, who has a background in stitching and construction, will make it. “If I’m going to do it, it has to be perfect.”
In fact, there’s just one hard-and-fast rule on set. “We do not reuse clothes,” Perez notes, joking, “Mindy’s a diva about that.”
Of the 11 (!) outfit changes in the premiere, we couldn’t take our eyes off of the gorgeous embellished cocktail dress by brand No. 21 with Salvatore Ferragamo black pumps. “We actually bought this dress for the finale of last season, but we didn’t have a place to use it,” Perez tells Us. “So when we needed a cocktail dress for the scene, we pulled it out of the closet.” The blingtastic earrings hail from Perez’s new collection with BaubleBar, which launches on Oct. 7. “Later in the scene we added her favorite Comme de Garçon cardigan, and it was the perfect layering piece,” he says.
This office-ready geometric dress has the simplicity of an LBD but with a splash of quirkiness thanks to the yellow and white geometric detail. “We loved this dress from Misook, but it was very boxy, so we added darts and a center back zipper to a make it easier to wear,” Perez tells Us. Yellow drop earrings by BaubleBar and Ferragamo heels completed the ensemble.
“Mindy is loving blazers this year, but they have to have an edge,” Perez explains. To transform the camel blazer by DKNY, Perez added a red blouse by Veronica, an aqua skirt by Karen Millen, and crystal BaubleBar earrings. “Because Mindy lives in color, the matching belt and Karen Millen suede shoes complete the look and add texture,” he says.
What was your favorite look of the episode? Tweet with @UsWeekly and @MrSalPerez using #stylebyUs! And click back to Us Weekly each week for Perez’s style breakdown of every Mindy Project episode this season!