Backstage at CHANEL in Dubai With Penélope Cruz

Oscar-winning actor Penélope Cruz is dually known for her scene-stealing roles and her standout red carpet style, which have both propelled her into the upper echelons of fashion and film royalty. Having joined CHANEL as house ambassador in 2018, the Volver star and the storied Maison have built a strong fashion connection that intersects seamlessly with the world of cinema. Most recently the House accompanied and documented the Spanish actor as she travelled the globe in support of her latest film Parallel Mothers. The video follows Cruz at the premiere of her latest film at Venice Film Festival, as well CHANEL’s Cruise 2021/2022 show in Dubai. We caught up with Cruz to chat about the collection and her ultimate CHANEL staple.

How does this cruise collection resonate with you?

“I know this collection very well because I’ve been wearing it since it came out. I’ve been wearing different looks to the Venice Film Festival, in New York, in Madrid, and different events for Pedro Almodovar’s film Parallel Mothers. I know it by heart and I love it, the personality of Virginie [Viard] is very present in this collection.”

In what way?

“In terms of how rock and roll she [Virginie] is, but also how cool and chic but free she is. You can be wearing one of these gowns, but you feel like you’re wearing jeans. I’ve worn ten or twelve of the outfits and it’s amazing how something that looks so good and cool can also feel incredibly comfortable.”

What has been a favourite look you’ve worn from the collection?

“The black velvet short dress with the cape, and also the one I wore last night which is the long flowy pink dress with the black logo and letters.”

How does fashion empower you? How do you use fashion to express yourself?

“It helps me a lot to create my characters—it’s not about what looks good or bad, but rather thinking about what would that person wear and why. In terms of red carpet and events, I think CHANEL’s marriage of cinema and fashion, as well as their combined history just works, they feed off of each other.”

How do you feel Virginie captures that?

“I think Virginie Viard, Bruno Pavlovsky, and everyone involved in CHANEL really care about the relationship between the Maison and cinema. There are so many iconic moments in movies where a character was wearing CHANEL. I think they also do a lot for the restoration of old films in France which I’m learning about more and I think that is something to be grateful for.”

If you had to have one CHANEL piece in your closet, what would it be?

“It would be one bag, probably the classic 2.55 bag in a strong colour, and I’d mix it with jeans—it would work with anything.”