(L-R) Actors Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell in "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues." Costume Design by Susan Matherson. Photo credit: Paramount Pictures.

 

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

December 20, 2013

Ron Burgundy is back, and he’s as classy as ever. The Dec. 18 debut of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” resumes the zaniness that began with the 2004 cult classic, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.”

Produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Adam McKay, the sequel stars Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner and Christina Applegate in all of their 1970s polyester glory. Though ‘70s finery fills many costume shops and vintage stores, Costume Designer Susan Matheson rented nothing and stopped at nothing to capture the precise moment when fashion began taking its stylistic cues from “Saturday Night Fever” and Nancy Reagan’s Adolfo wardrobe.

The much maligned style of the decade challenged Matheson to make the well-known characters believable and fresh. Of course there are leather jackets, fur coats and collars, white loafers and plaid pants, and, always, three-piece suits. For Burgundy’s all-important wardrobe, she aimed for authenticity, not parody.

“One of the iconic things in the original ‘Anchorman’ that was done so well by [Costume Designer} Debra McGuire was Ron’s beautiful, burgundy suit,” Matheson said. Cut longer and leaner, Matheson’s 1979 version is both a signature and a storytelling device.

“It was really important to keep the burgundy suit for the beginning and the end of movie to make it a framing device for the character,” she said. “He uses the suit as a superhero would use their superhero outfit. He uses it only when necessary, and only a few times when he needs to feel like Ron Burgundy.”

Made of vintage polyester gabardine, the burgundy suit includes, like all of his suits, a vest, and the kind of wide, bold and chunky tie common to the era. The suit is so iconic, it’s spawned Halloween costumes and an action figure.

Matheson built all of Ferrell’s 55 costume changes, constructing each item from vintage fabrics that she sourced online “from home sewers who happened to have small bits of fabric left over from the ‘70s. I spent huge amounts of my time finding these home sewers. I would stay up until 3 in the morning, contacting little old ladies to get fabric,” she said. Matheson scoured Eastern Bloc countries to find scarves for Applegate and searched Europe for Rudd’s vintage YSL suits. At Los Angeles fabric wholesaler B. Black and Sons, she purchased every bit of vintage material that matched her vision.

Sourcing for the movie was, she said, “a treasure hunt.”

Matheson has worked with Ferrell on three previous movies, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Semi-Pro” and “Step Brothers.”

“I’ve worked with Will Ferrell so many times and David Koechner that it’s almost like a psychic connection. I know what they like and don’t like, and what looks good on their bodies,” she said. “I had such a simpatico relationship to this group of people that I got the closest I’ve gotten in my entire career to free reign. It was creatively a magnificent experience. I don’t think as a designer you can ask for anything more than that.”

 


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