Theodore Gonzalves, curator in the Division of Culture and Community Life at the National Museum of American History, said in a news release that the dress was no simple frock. “The film’s use of fashion is not merely decorative or secondary,” he said. “The cast’s clothing plays a crucial role in marking social class among its characters."
The museum noted the significance of “Crazy Rich Asians,” which was the first Hollywood production with a mostly East Asian cast since 1993′s “The Joy Luck Club.” It was a commercial success, too, the museum pointed out, its $238 million worldwide gross making it the highest-grossing rom-com in a decade.
The dress will be presented May 18 at a Los Angeles party hosted by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, celebrating the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans “to history and culture across industries.”
Director Jon Chu told the L.A. Times he’s been amazed by the impact of That Dress. “I remember seeing moms make it for their little girls, I remember seeing women wear it with a sense of pride,” he said. “It became literally a fairy-tale dress for people.”