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Couture as light as a feather at Valentino
Couture as light as a feather at storied Italian label Valentino
By The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) ' Loaded with beads, rhinestones and sequins, couture is generally a weighty business. But Valentino kept it whisper-light with a fall-winter 2011-12 haute couture collection of sheer chemisier gowns that were about as substantial as a feather.

A light touch has become the signature of the label's new design duo, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, who over the past two-and-a-half years have steered the label once known for its va-va-voom red carpet looks to an altogether airier place.

On Wednesday, they served up ankle-length chemisier dresses that were dreamy concoctions of flesh-colored tulle, chiffon, lace, feathers and lustrous metallic beads. Retro capes blossomed with flower petal appliques, and skirt suits were riddled with elaborate cutouts.

"That was sheer beauty," gushed actress Anne Hathaway after the show, which was held in the rambling, gilded salons of a Paris mansion.

"Those were the kinds of dresses you dreamed about when you were a kid."

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