MILAN — Penélope Cruz has landed a new ambassadorship role.
On Wednesday, the Academy Award-winning actress touched down in Milan to reveal her new partnership with Italian brand Geox, which has selected her as its first-ever brand ambassador.
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Cruz not only fronts the label’s global fall 2023 advertising campaign to be released this month but also developed a capsule collection for spring 2024 that was codesigned with her sister Mónica and flanked by a dedicated campaign.
Wrapped in an off-the-shoulder tobacco dress accessorized with cream sandals from the limited-edition capsule, Cruz praised the technological slant of the company, which specializes in footwear and casual apparel for men, women and children that boasts innovative, patented solutions delivering breathability, waterproofness and cushioning.
“I’ve been a fan of the brand for so long, especially for their shoes for children. [Geox] is very big in Spain, and now it’s in 100 countries around the world,” said Cruz. “They have this technology, that is actually patented by them, in the sneakers or the boots, which is from where the Respira [‘breathing,’ in English] claim comes from. It makes them very special, because they have a great combination of comfort, beauty and coolness,” said Cruz.
The brand’s blend of practicality and innovation inspired the “Geox designed by Penélope & Mónica Cruz” collection that will drop in Geox stores and on its e-commerce in February.
This includes loafers in suede or leather with metal detailing on the front; pumps and moccasins with chunky soles; white sneakers with differently colored detailing and shoe laces, as well as outerwear ranging from trenchcoats with animal-printed lining to quilted zippered jackets.
“I’m very grateful that I could do another collection with my sister, because we’ve done this on and off with different brands over the last 20 years… and we continue to learn from these great brands,” said Cruz. “For example, the design team of Geox is amazing and we learned a lot about why the technology of these shoes is different from all the others and what happens with those little holes in the sole: water can’t come in, but the shoe can breathe, which is brilliant.”
The Cruz sisters’ passion for fashion traces back to their childhood, said Cruz. They both have influenced each other’s style choices through the years “to the point of taking a lot of clothes from each other’s closets or sometimes wearing exactly the same thing when we were little girls.”
Cruz also recalled how they used to “hide in the bathroom together, sit on the floor with magazines and draw on top of designs to change them. That was always our main game and a fantasy… But now we [design] from a very humble place. We are not professional designers, but we’ve worked over the years with more or less six different brands and with some of them for like three- to four-year periods… We love doing this because we have a respect for what it is and we are surrounded by people that always teach us something new.”
For the actress, fashion is a combination of elements. “Of course, there’s the creativity — as a dreamer and a fan of fashion since I was a little girl I’ve always been aware that it’s like another art,” said Cruz, mentioning that working with high-end brands like Chanel that also have a haute couture line enhanced her appreciation for it.
Then, there’s comfort, which becomes key especially when you have children, said the actress. “My life is like running around all day with them and also because of my work, I think that [comfort] becomes very important. Of course, I will always like some heels, but it’s not my everyday life now,” said Cruz, taking pride in the sneakers she codesigned for the capsule collection.
Asked about the most prized piece of clothing in her wardrobe, Cruz pointed to a mantón de Manila shawl (known for being part of the costume of flamenco dancers) hand-embroidered by her grandmother and gifted to her she was when younger.
“It’s so valuable that I don’t wear it a lot because I’m afraid of ruining it. It’s red, full of flowers in yellow, blue, white — it’s really beautiful,” said Cruz, stressing “the level of perfection” of the embroideries. “I wish I would have told her. With everything that I know now about fashion, I valued it when she gave it to me and when I saw her doing it, but it’s almost like I didn’t know how amazing and how difficult it was [making it] because I was a little girl.
“I think I should wear it to some premiere with the right dress someday, because it has so much history to me,” continued Cruz.
She recalled how her grandmother taught to her how to sew and knit, and how she’s now passing down those skills to her daughter. “I think it’s a great thing to do and a great meditation… We have to pass that kind of tradition to the newer generations not to lose [them]. It’s also so good for the mind — to be working with hands to develop brains.”
The family ties extended to the Geox ad campaigns, which were shot in Madrid and flanked by a commercial featuring music composed by Cruz’ brother Eduardo.
Capturing various moments of the actress’ daily life, the images were lensed by photographer and film director Gray Sorrenti.
“I’ve worked with her father [Mario] for so long, over the years, and I think she has the same talent,” said Cruz. “She’s so young, but really one of the best and cool and funny. I love her sense of humor and her eye. She kept everything very alive and [dynamic] and I think she did a very fresh, beautiful campaign.”
The appointment of Cruz is part of a bigger acceleration strategy in marketing activities that Geox has implemented over the past few years with the goal to boost its offerings for women.
Without disclosing specific figures, Geox founder and chairman Mario Moretti Polegato said the company saw 20 percent growth in sales last year. “Our biggest market is the women’s market. We think we can do even better… We think we can acquire a larger chunk of the market in terms of age bracket and lifestyle,” he said. “We expect to increase our market share, but especially the desirability of our brand for this segment.”
Cruz will help the company achieve this, Polegato believes. She “will convey our new brand positioning to the world because she embodies a style evolution which blurs the line between beauty, well-being and comfort — a winning philosophy that has always underpinned our product designs.”
The company’s chief executive officer Livio Libralesso echoed that the actress’ “strong, credible image” is expected to “bring immense value to the impact of our communications.”
“Penélope embodies professionalism, simplicity, strength, grace and character, all values that we believe in and wish to express,” concluded the CEO.
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