The actress and producer attended the National Museum of Asian Art Centennial Celebration Dinner wearing the bespoke gown that took 2,500 hours of hand embroidery Malhotra tells PEOPLE
The multi-hyphenate star, 43, celebrated the National Museum of Asian Art's Centennial Celebration Dinner in Washington D.C. wearing a standout couture number designed by renowned Indian designer Manish Malhotra, who shares with PEOPLE all the exclusive details on the "noir" ensemble.
"The inspiration behind this couture look was a fusion of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. I wanted to celebrate the rich heritage of Indian art while also showcasing modern design elements," he says of the set, which consists of a midriff-baring top and tailored skirt with a thigh-high slit.
Four thousand Swarovski stones and crystals, as well as the added sequins, were worked into a floral artwork representing the "beauty of nature often found in traditional Indian artwork." Meanwhile, the 300 ethically-sourced black feathers added to the floor-sweeping sleeves exuded "a touch of modern sophistication."
All-in-all the gown took Malhotra and his atelier 2,500 hours to hand embroider. "The design process was tenaciously intricate, with my skilled team working diligently to create a breathtaking final piece."
After posing on the carpet, Kaling later took the stage in the bejeweled set to present as a board member of the institution, a role she took on in 2022.
Malhotra's first time working with Kaling was for the National Museum of Asian Art's 100th anniversary event on Thursday. He says collaborating with the actress was an "absolute pleasure," adding, "Mindy has a fantastic sense of style and a warm personality, which made our partnership truly enjoyable."
Seeing the star in the complete look was equally as exciting. "Knowing my creation made Mindy feel beautiful and confident made all the hard work and dedication to the design process worth it. It was truly interesting and exciting to collaborate with her on this special occasion, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome."
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Kaling is having fun with all things fashion these days, including trying her hand at designing with a swimwear collection.
Just in time for summer, the Never Have I Ever executive producer and co-creator debuted her new 33-piece collection with Andie Swim, a brand she's been a fan of for many years prior.
"I've had six different iterations of my body in the past five years, and Andie has always been incredibly flattering," Kaling (who is mother to daughter Katherine Swati, 5, and son Spencer Avu, 2) tells PEOPLE exclusively, noting that she was "thrilled" to hop on board the collaboration.
She also opened up about incorporating her love for a cute swim piece into motherhood, noting: "It's not like you become a mom and you give up on looking cute and sexy and all you want to wear is a modest navy bathing suit. I don't need to have a skirted bathing suit. These pieces make me feel young and carefree — they're not too revealing, they give me support where I need it and the colors are gorgeous."
With a sense of newfound confidence, Kaling adds, "I really do love the ease with which I can get dressed in the morning. It doesn't take me a long time to get ready, which I love. And I feel great."
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