Valentino courts new young couture customer

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Valentino s new design team continued to reach out to younger consumers, ratcheting up hemlines on the neon-saturated runway at Wednesday s spring-summer 2010 haute couture show.

After a timid debut one year ago – when they sent out rhinestone-covered satin overcoats and A-line dresses that looked like they d just stepped out of the label s archive – designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli continued to forge their bold vision for the new Valentino woman: She s wild, she s daring, and most of all, she s young.

After all, how many woman past their teenage years can pull off translucent, bead-studded tulle leggings with an equally sheer … dress? Or was it a shirt? And who besides an adolescent could wiggle into an ultra-mini bustier in fluorescent pink ruched chiffon bands?

We think that to keep a future in couture, it s necessary to bring a new customer who wants something cooler, Chiuri said in a backstage interview with The Associated Press.

Piccioli added, We tried to make new strategies for going forward. To do that we have to experiment with new silhouettes … because we want to call the young girls. They can be new customers for couture because they want beauty, they want personalized things.

Models, some of them wearing blindfolds in shimmering chiffon, sported pantsuits in neon organza, or asymmetrical draped goddess gowns in dusty shades of mauve and pink. One standout look was a boxy coat covered in fluorescent flowers and worn with opalescent fingerless gloves.

The designers said the collection represented their vision of Eden, abloom in riotous flowers and birds, with an innocent sensuality.

It s about a woman wandering in this beautiful Eden, Piccioli said. It s a dream. Couture is a dream.

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