A WIN FOR CINEMA AND COUTURE: Penélope Cruz in Chanel Haute Couture
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Chanel and Getty Images
Penélope Cruz won the Volpi Cup in a Chanel haute couture creation by Virginie Viard

Penélope Cruz is a born winner. Count her Oscar, BAFTA, Cannes Film Festival, and Goya Award as just some of the silverware that she has scooped in a stunning acting career filled with critically acclaimed films. Her superstardom started to take shape when she wowed the world in the role of a relatable working class woman protecting her young daughter in Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver back in 2006. It is with Almodóvar again that Cruz is earning serious plaudits at the conclusion of the 78th Venice Film Festival where her eighth collaboration with the 72-year-old Spanish director took place. Called Parallel Mothers, she again tackles the topic of motherhood, this time around in the point of view of a single mom. By trusting Almodóvar's process, Cruz was rewarded with the Volpi Cup for Best Actress in the aforementioned role. Like how Almodóvar is her lucky charm in the movies, Chanel has been in her corner for most of her career highlights. It comes as no surprise that Cruz was again kitted out by Chanel for her Best Actress win as she wore a haute couture look that she has been saving for quite some time, one that was inspired by look 57 from the spring-summer 2020 haute couture collection. Well, best we let her explain the deets.

Penélope Cruz matched her winning look with Chanel High Jewellery, a Plume 1932 ring and Signature Ultime earrings in white gold with diamonds

MANIFESTO: Why did you choose this Chanel dress for the Venice Closing Ceremony? Can you describe it, what does it inspire in you? How was it perfect for this unique moment?

PENÉLOPE CRUZ: This is very special because Virginie Viard created it specially for me based on one of the looks from the spring-summer 2020 haute couture collection – it has similar materials, colours, and shape. In fact, Virginie created two dresses for me to wear at the Oscars in 2020. I wore the other one then and was saving this one for a very special event… I couldn’t have imagined a better moment than yesterday.

M: How does it feel to have been accompanied by Chanel throughout this festival, from the opening ceremony for the Parallel Mothers premiere, to the Official Competition premiere and now for the closing ceremony with winning a prize?

PC: This festival, starting with the premiere of Parallel Mothers, then with Official Competition, and now coming back to receive the Volpi Cup for Best Actress, has been a dream. I remember being so scared the first time I came here when I was 17 with a movie by Bigas Luna, in which Javier (Bardem) played too… If somebody had told me at that time that I would live such a special moment in Venice one day, like the one I had this year, I would have never believed it. It has been incredible: the great reviews, being here with friends, seeing the hard work that Alberto Barbera and his team have put into this festival to make it happen. Thanks to their incredible organisation skills and effort, and the fact that things are starting to go back to normal, we can be here celebrating cinema. It makes me very happy. On top of that: winning yesterday! I’m still in shock, still digesting the news. I was very nervous during my speech because winning for a film by Pedro is special to me. Once again, he’s given me an incredible opportunity with this character – this prize belongs to him 100%. He has created a masterpiece.

The Chanel haute couture gown required 600 hours of work

M: How does it feel to win the Best Actress Award at such an important film festival?

PC: This is a very respected festival, the oldest one. It has an amazing history, and the Jury was full of people that I admire… Winning this award is a very big deal to me, even more meaningful because it’s for a movie by my beloved Pedro.

M: You mentioned how important it was for you to present Pedro Almodóvar’s film in Venice. Why is it one of your most beautiful roles – if not the most beautiful – ever?

PC: It is one of the most complex and challenging roles that I have ever had to play. I love this character so much. There are so many mothers in this movie and none of them is perfect. I love that he wrote these characters in a way that you cannot judge any of them. Billy Wilder once said: “Nobody’s perfect.” We all know that but sometimes when it comes to motherhood, it’s all idealised. What Pedro does here is showing that truth is imperfect and that it is beautiful, that it deserves celebration and acceptance.

This silver dress was inspired by a haute couture look in the spring-summer 2020 haute couture collection

M: Would you say Almodóvar is your lucky star?

PC: I was nominated for an Oscar for Volver and won the Best Actress Prize in Cannes for it, alongside all the actresses of the movie, but Pedro is my lucky star in so many more ways than this. He is not just a director who I work with, he is a master, a friend, he is part of my family. I love him. He has been so important in my life and my career since a very young age. This is always a blessing when a director can trust me this much and allow me to explore things that I’ve never done before, far away from who I am, and this is what Pedro has offered me every single time. Therefore, I owe him so much, I’m so grateful for his vision, trust, and bravery.

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