Italy’s Valentino, whose founder dressed the Hollywood set and European royalty, wants to make the luxurious brand accessible to the more price-conscious consumer, the group’s CEO said recently.

Founding designer Valentino Garavani, who retired in January after the group was bought by private equity firm Permira last year, became a byword for glamour during the nearly half-century he dressed the rich and beautiful.

His trademark red evening gowns and sleek black and white outfits were aimed at the stylish wealthy who attend chic luncheons and gala dinners.

“We want to open up the brand to a different consumer,” Stefano Sassi, CEO of Valentino Fashion Group which includes Valentino and Hugo Boss, told a meeting of foreign reporters.

“With respect to a clientele that is traditionally richer and not very price-sensitive ... We want to open up to a more modern, also more international, more price-conscious consumer.”

Valentino has followed many fashion groups in brand extension and launched a watch collection in April.

“Our strategy is aimed at keeping Valentino at the same level it was put on by (its founders),” he said.

“The excellence of Valentino cannot only be in haute couture and pret-a-porter. It also has to be in ... perfume, a watch.”

Despite fears for a slowdown in spending for premium items, Sassi said “things were not going badly” for Valentino.

Valentino is looking to open new stores, and Sassi cited China, India, Europe and U.S. as locations.

Latest From ...