MADRID — Sure, Penélope Cruz is a movie star, but she is also a budding retailer — and a hands-on boss, said Mariu Alvarez, who runs Cruz’s first venture, a Madrid shop called Amarcord.
The almost 1,000-square-foot, two-level locale is “her kind of store; casual fashion at decent prices,” Alvarez said. “And the name was Penélope’s idea. She loved the film.’’ (Federico Fellini’s Oscar-winning “Amarcord,’’ released in 1973, depicted provincial Italy in the Thirties.)
Located in the shopping-heavy Salamanca area, Amarcord stocks about 10 California-based and European ready-to-wear labels handpicked by Cruz, who lives in Los Angeles. Cruz shops the Italian and French markets with Mariu. They are longtime friends.
Key items include Juicy Couture’s velour separates, miniskirts, shrunken tops and T’s; Petit Bateau’s easy-care cotton basics; Earl Jean’s sexy ripped denim; European Culture’s flounced tube dresses and soft pants variations; Betsy Johnson’s playful party clothes; and Pompei Beach’s printed bikinis. “But Juicy (Couture) is the star,” Alvarez said.
In addition, the store features two accessories lines — one-of-a kind handbags by Barbarella, the only Spanish resource, and high-quality costume jewelry, mainly earrings, by L.A.’s Kaviar And Kind.
Prices range from 25 euros (about $31) for tanks and shorts to 105 euros ($129) for swimwear and more than 200 euros ($245) for dressier styles.
Launched in February, the shop appeals to various age groups, Alvarez said, from 20-year-olds up to a mature 55. Customers had better be small. Sizing is “what I call doll-clothes,” quipped a veteran fashion observer.
Although Cruz may be best known in the U.S. for her roles in “Vanilla Sky” and “Blow” and in Spain for the films “Live Flesh” and “All About My Mother” with ribald director Pedro Almodóvar, the so-called Almodóvar girls from his films are not regulars. But lookalike sister Monica Cruz, star of a “Fame”-like TV series “Un Paso Adelante,” best-friend and actress Goya Toledo; and Elena Cué, wife of financier Alberto Cortina, are customers. The stylish Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo and daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, has “stopped by,” Mariu said.
Amarcord is done up in Schiaparelli pink stripes and textured silk wall coverings the color of Dorothy’s ruby slippers with a curved retro sofa, oversized Baroque mirrors and grained wood floors by Mallorcan interior designer Guillermo Blanco. Downstairs original brick shelters a private dressing room for Penélope “far from the paparazzi’s prying eyes,” Alvarez said.
She declined to reveal the store’s daily sales or a first-year estimate saying, “It’s too soon to tell.” An official launch party for Amarcord will take place in the fall.