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Penelope Cruz Talks Her SAG Awards Look and Work as a Chanel Ambassador: “The Greatest People to Work With”

Penelope Cruz says she loved every look when Chanel’s Spring 2024 haute couture collection debuted in Paris on Jan. 23, but one dress leaped out as her favorite: a cigaline style dancing dress in a candy-hued pink, featuring a hand-beaded flounced neckline worn off the shoulders, sequined bodice and ankle-length full skirt. The design was undeniably among the highlights of the ballet-inspired collection by Chanel artistic director Virginie Viard.

Cruz forwarded the image to Chanel’s team, requesting to wear the dress at an upcoming event, and it was quickly agreed that the design would be perfect for the Feb. 24 SAG Awards — where she would be a best supporting actress nominee for Ferrari — and that crafting it in a different color also elevated the look to one-of-a-kind status for the actress.

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“We talked about the possibilities, and we all thought this tint of blue could be perfect,” Cruz, a Chanel ambassador since 2018, tells The Hollywood Reporter exclusively. “I think it’s a very special dress, so to wear it for such a special occasion, being nominated with a movie that I really love, and being nominated at SAG, which is always, for me, very special and makes me feel very grateful.”

Penelope Cruz - SAG Awards - Chanel Dress
Penelope Cruz

The dress also may have resonated with Cruz because it reminded her of her own ballet background, studying for nine years while she grew up outside of Madrid. Even then, to wear Chanel was high on her wish list.

“I have been a fan of the brand since I was a little girl, when it was not possible for me to wear anything, but I would dream about it and I would collect images from magazines and from the shows,” she says. “I always thought it was the most iconic brand because of what they have built over the years … I have been an ambassador of the brand for many years, but they have made me feel like part of the company since the 1990s, since the first show I went to see in 1999. I feel like our relationship started that day, and they are the greatest people to work with … amazing and very kind and very generous.”

Now crafted in navy blue silk with a sequin-embroidered bodice in a shade christened “neptune blue,” Cruz looked thoroughly elegant in the custom dress on Saturday night at the 30th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium.

“I’m very honored to be here and grateful for the nomination that comes from my own peers, my own colleagues,” she said on the SAG Awards carpet. “It’s an emotional, beautiful feeling, I really didn’t expect this.”

Penelope Cruz - SAG Awards - Chanel Dress
Penelope Cruz

To finish the look, Cruz again was inspired by the navy silk. “I thought about earrings from [Chanel’s] high jewelry collection that I had seen in blue and diamonds and knew these were so perfect for this dress,” she notes.

In addition to her Les Talismans Fascinante pendant earrings in 18-karat white gold, diamonds and blue enamel, the actress also wore a diamond and white gold ring from the house’s No. 5 jewelry collection and the Icône Ruban ring, crafted of white gold, diamonds and pearls, from the 2023 Tweed de Chanel high-jewelry collection.

Ultimately, Chanel is a house Cruz knows intimately, beyond being a fan and ambassador. She also treasured her friendship with Karl Lagerfeld, who elevated the brand from legend to superstar status during his tenure from 1983 until his death in 2019 — which also makes Cruz an ideal person to weigh in on Viard’s ability to guide Chanel into its future.

“Virginie, I always say the same thing,” Cruz tells THR. “She is the perfect person in the world to continue what Karl was doing and obviously that is what is being seen over the last few years in every single season. She is always herself with her own prints that are so personal and unique, but at the same time 100 percent Chanel. She keeps the essence of Chanel while bringing some fresh air, and I am a huge fan of everything that she does, her personality, how humble she is and her talent.”

Penelope Cruz - SAG Awards
Penelope Cruz

She also never loses sight of how lucky she feels to partake of an experience accessible to only a select few. “They work really, really hard, and their creativity is incredible, Virginie and all of her team,” Cruz says of the atelier. “It’s really a pleasure to be able to have this relationship with them, where I can see the process from the inside, visit the atelier before the shows. I feel very privileged to see it all.”

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