It took 300 hours to create the Chanel haute couture gown that Penélope Cruz wore to the premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers at the 78th Venice International Film Festival earlier this month. Take a pictorial behind-the-scenes tour of the making of the dress as the Spanish actress talks about her romance with the French fashion house.
Photos credit: Virgile Guinard for CHANEL
1999; that was when Penélope Cruz wore Chanel for the very first time, when she received an invitation to what was to be the first of many Chanel shows to be graced by her presence. It was the start of a beautiful and loyal relationship, as Chanel became Cruz’s constant favoured choice when she stepped on to the red carpet of film premieres and prestigious events the likes of the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, the César and, of course, the Oscars. And how the relationship blossomed, when in 2018, a year shy of two decades after her first Chanel show, Penélope Cruz became an official ambassador of the House, recruited by Karl Lagerfeld to be the face of the Chanel Cruise 2018/19 campaign.
“I love everything about Chanel,” says the Academy Award-winning actress, “the attention to details, the artistic way of working, the fact that I’ve been so lucky to know so many people there since 1999 when I attended my first show. Every time I’ve been able to visit the ateliers, I’ve become friends with some of the seamstresses that I admire very much—some of them have been at Chanel for more than 40 years! When you see that closely, you have even more respect and admiration not only for the talent of Virginie Viard, and Karl Lagerfeld before her, but for fashion and the hard work behind it, the crazy hours, the passion and dedication of all the people involved. Chanel is a big family, I see the same faces from the beginning, it gives a lot of credibility to all of it.”
That relationship between the actress and the creative team at the Chanel ateliers, as well as with current creative director Virginie Viard, continued earlier this month when Cruz opened the 78th Venice International Film Festival with the premiere of her latest film with director Pedro Almodóvar, Parallel Mothers. Pedro Almodóvar himself is no stranger to the House. Much like Cruz, Chanel too has played recurring roles in Almodóvar films, dating back to High Heels in 1992, then in more recent cinematic fares including Broken Embraces in 2009 and The Human Voice in 2020.