Today is Mindy Kaling’s 38th birthday, and we’re using the special day as an occasion to honor her vibrant style, from the red carpet to the set of The Mindy Project. InStyle spoke with Salvador Perez, the Emmy-nominated costume designer of Kaling’s Hulu show who also designs for the star on the red carpet, to get his favorite looks on this total #girlboss.
While Kaling shares a first name with her character on the show, the effervescent and ever-confident ob-gyn Mindy Lahiri, don’t assume that they have the same fashion sense. “Mindy Kaling is very chic and sophisticated,” Perez told us. “Her regular look is very classic.” But when it comes to her character’s style, nothing is off limits.
“Mindy Lahiri is very whimsical and colorful and kind of over the top,” he said. “What I love about Mindy is that she’s very bold. Nothing scares her. It’s so great to work with because there’s always a confidence in Mindy. She goes, ‘Let’s try it.’”
Perez both styles and designs custom clothing for the star, which can mean slightly altering a high-fashion piece to better flatter her figure or creating an entirely new gown for a red carpet event. The latter “makes her very happy” because of the way his designs hug her curves.
“This job is the dream job,” Perez told InStyle. “Most of my career it’s been like, ‘Oh, too much color. Too much sparkle.’ And she’s like, ‘Oh, I want more color. I want more sparkle,’ and the little kid in me loves that.”
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The costume designer first turned down the gig when he heard The Mindy Project was set in a gynecologist office, but quickly learned that Mindy Lahiri does not dress like your stereotypical doctor. “Who knew that it was this fabulous spectacular world where I get to play with clothes, we get to custom-make so much and it’s so great.”
In honor of her birthday, join us in browsing Perez’s six favorite looks on the hilarious star, and learn just how these styles came to life, whether on the show or on the red carpet.