You could say it was inevitable.
Boy meets girl. Boy names character after girl.
That’s exactly what happened when mega producer Darren Star came to Paris to shoot Season 1 of the Netflix global hit, Emily in Paris.
Star met and became close friends with the unofficial “Mayor of Paris,” Mindy Prugnaud.
So, when it came time to name Emily’s best friend on his then yet-to-be-released show, he chose – you guessed it – Mindy.
Mindy and her husband, Jean-Philippe Prugnaud, are powerhouses in the world of fashion.
Fashion is its own character in Emily in Paris as it was in Darren Star’s other big hit, Sex and the City.
So, you could say it was inevitable that Darren Star and Mindy Prugnaud would join forces on a major project – one that allows fans of Emily in Paris to buy the fabulous fashion they see on the show.
ALINA CHO: How did you get involved with Emily in Paris in the first place?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Well, I met Darren Star.
ALINA CHO: The creator [of Emily in Paris].
MINDY PRUGNAUD: We became very good friends and then I was very surprised that he named a character after me.
ALINA CHO: I know that.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: As you know, it's Mindy [played by Ashley Park].
I don't think it's based on me. It's just an homage.
ALINA CHO: It's just the name.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: I know exactly how Darren works; it's not based on one person. It's basically a [compilation] of many people's lives and that's the genius of Darren. But that's how I got involved.
ALINA CHO: So, you obviously knew [that a character was going to be named after you], but you did not know this was going to be a worldwide global hit.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Oh, yeah. Oh, for sure.
ALINA CHO: 58 million people watched Emily in Paris [around the world]. Were you freaking out?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Yeah, I was freaking out a little bit. I was freaking out. I remember I was at the Rick Owens store at the Palais-Royal. And the salesperson was like, "Are you the Mindy from Emily in Paris?" That was really the first time. I was like, "Yeah, kind of."
ALINA CHO: Isn't it crazy?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: It's crazy.
ALINA CHO: Did that happen a lot?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: No, just once.
JEAN-PHILIPPE PRUGNAUD: It was the beginning and the end.
ALINA CHO: Your first and last brush with fame.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Yeah, exactly. But it was perfect.
ALINA CHO: So, fashion is obviously…
MINDY PRUGNAUD: A big part of [the show].
ALINA CHO: The fashion [featured on the show] is almost its own character...
... much like it was in Sex and the City, [another popular series Darren Star created]. So, what happened? How did this idea [to be able to shop for clothes and accessories featured on Emily in Paris] come to be, how did you present it to Darren [Star] and how did it come to fruition?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: I was like, Darren, Sex and the City…
ALINA CHO: It changed fashion.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: It changed fashion.
ALINA CHO: Yeah.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: People were wearing sexy shoes. Jimmy Choo.
ALINA CHO: Manolo Blahnik.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Manolo Blahnik.
ALINA CHO: Yeah.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: He made [those brands world] famous.
And I was like, "Why didn't you do something associated with Sex and the City?"
ALINA CHO: Meaning take the fashion from the show and make it available for sale.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Exactly. Can you imagine, even if it was just perfume or cosmetics.
JEAN-PHILIPPE PRUGNAUD: So, the idea with Emily in Paris was that it's in the DNA of the series. [Emily] works with [luxury fashion] brands [on the show].
ALINA CHO: Right.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: I was like, "Darren, it will also help Emily in Paris.”
ALINA CHO: It'll elevate it.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Emily in Paris is like a brand. If you want to make it luxury, you have to associate yourself with luxury brands.
ALINA CHO: After they decided, "Yes, let's go with it," it was your job to reach out to the brands.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Yes, we reached out to a lot of the luxury brands.
ALINA CHO: Chanel.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Chanel was number one. I knew it was going to be a hard sell because the first time [you do anything], a lot of the luxury [fashion] houses, they're not ready to take that risk. It really takes somebody [who is] really forward thinking.
ALINA CHO: So, once you got the brands [like Chanel] on board, you had to work with the costume designer of the show, right?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Yes. For example, when we went to Chanel, [Marilyn Fitoussi, the costume designer] would pull items [for the show] and I would work with the merchandising team [so we could] pull the [same] things for the [Emily in Paris] boutique.
ALINA CHO: Of course, that's the whole idea. You see the character, you see Lily Collins as Emily wearing it on the show and you're like, "I want it."
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Exactly.
ALINA CHO: So, are there going to be items that [the characters] will be wearing on the show that will be available to buy?
JEAN-PHILIPPE PRUGNAUD: About 25 items total, if you count all the styles for the sunglasses, the jewelry, etc.
ALINA CHO: There’s a range of products and a range of prices.
JEAN-PHILIPPE PRUGNAUD: Season 2 is out [today].
JEAN-PHILIPPE PRUGNAUD: The [individual] brands [will have the products] in their stores and on their own websites, [too].
ALINA CHO: I'm curious to know, what was it like suddenly to be immersed in this world of Hollywood. Was that fun?
JEAN-PHILIPPE PRUGNAUD: Of course, Mindy reveled [in it].
ALINA CHO: What's not to love?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: What's not to love?
JEAN-PHILIPPE PRUGNAUD: Yeah. It was so inspiring and fun.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Here's the thing — I think Hollywood and fashion, they always go hand in hand.
ALINA CHO: You've been on [the] set [of Emily in Paris] many times.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Yes.
ALINA CHO: What is it like to be on that set?
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Well, I have never been on a set like that before, so I was so happy to go on the set.
ALINA CHO: Yeah, of course.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: But after 20 minutes, Alina, can I tell you? I'm not made for that business. They just repeat themselves over and over and over again. When they're shooting [a] dinner [scene], they have to do it from every single…
ALINA CHO: ... angle.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: You're like, "Oh, my God. Does that mean you have to do eight [takes] because there's eight people?
ALINA CHO: I know.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: Actually, the [scene] that I remember most is when Camille [Razat] and Lily [Collins] in Season 1, they met each other in front of a flower shop.
They walked up and down that alleyway I don't know how many times. We went out to lunch, we came back, they're still walking up and down [the alleyway]. You're like, "Oh, my God. This is endless. Endless."
ALINA CHO: I was going to say you don't have the patience for that.
MINDY PRUGNAUD: I don't really have the patience.