When you think of contemporary filmmakers who are particularly keyed into the art of costume design, you might name Baz Luhrmann, Tarsem Singh or Xavier Dolan — but Judd Apatow probably wouldn’t be among the first names to come to mind.
Still, take a closer look at his work as a director and producer, and you’ll find several films in which contemporary or casual costumes add much to the storytelling: think those class-defining bridal designs in the Apatow-produced “Bridesmaids,” or Steve Carell’s neatly fitted but utterly hopeless wardrobe in “The 40 Year-Old Virgin.”
The Costume Designers’ Guild clearly feels that way, as they’ve announced that Apatow will receive their Distinguished Collaborator Award at their annual ceremony on February 22. The Guild cites his “support of costume design across his many remarkable projects,” and singles out his collaborations with designers Leesa Evans (a Guild nominee for “Bridesmaids”), Jennifer Rogien (a Guild nominee for the Apatow-produced “Girls”) and Susan Matheson (the woman responsible for styling Ron Burgundy himself in “Anchorman 2”).
Meanwhile, veteran costume designer April Ferry will receive the Guild’s Career Achievement Award at the ceremony. The 81-year-old’s career in film and television spans four decades, with credits ranging contemporary work in 1980s favorites “The Big Chill” to “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” to, more recently, the British period piece “The Edge of Love” and the oddball oeuvre of Richard Kelly, “Donnie Darko” included. She’s still hard at work too: this year, she designed Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium” (for which she could find Guild recognition in their Fantasy category) and has “RoboCop” and “Jurassic World” to come.
She has twice been reward by the Guild for her work on TV’s “Rome,” for which she also won an Emmy. Her lone Oscar nomination, meanwhile, came in the 1994 race for the nattily dressed Mel Gibson western romp “Maverick.” (That was an unusually fun year for the category: other nominees included “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Queen Margot” and “Little Women,” while they all lost to “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”)
Costume Designers’ Guild nominees will be announced on January 9.