Zoolander, Zoolander, Zoolander. If you haven’t heard that the long awaited Zoolander sequel is finally out, perhaps you, like Derek Zoolander, have been hiding yourself away in the remote mountains of New Jersey. If so, you’ll have missed out on Mr. Valentino’s cameo in film—he plays himself, as a member of a cabal of style masterminds. That part of the movie is no satire. The fashion illuminati exists. It’s totally true. How else did Derek Zoolander and his one-time modeling nemesis Hansel wind up on the Valentino runway in Paris, a few seasons back?
OK: So there’s no such thing as the fashion illuminati. But what is fact is Mr. Valentino’s longstanding relationship with Zoolander 2 star Penelope Cruz, who turns up in the film as a drop-dead-sexy Interpol agent. Over the years, Cruz has stood out as one of the cinema world’s best wearers of Valentino red—check her out in a gown from the Fall/Winter 2004/2005 ready-to-wear collection, a strapless number with rosettes at either hip, or in a spaghetti-strapped column gown from the Spring/Summer 2003 haute couture collection at the premiere of The Last Samurai. There’s a poetic appropriateness to Cruz’ love for Valentino red: After all, Penelope Cruz hails from Spain, the place where Mr. Valentino fell in love with the color early on in his career. He traveled there from Paris, and saw women standing outside the opera dressed in red, and decided there and then that it was his lucky color. Penelope Cruz has gotten to share in that look—and now she’s sharing screen-time with Mr. Valentino, too.