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Armani mixes classic couture with exotic panache

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THOMAS ADAMSON | January 22, 2013 05:09 PM EST | AP

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PARIS — Only a few living designers can execute a couture show where almost every look glistens as much with classic timelessness as it does with innovation.

Fashion legend Giorgio Armani, 78, is one of them.

Proof was Armani Prive's spring-summer 2013 show on Tuesday: a finely balanced affair contrasting the classic with the exotic.

In 54 looks, the designer tastefully combined luxurious materials _like Mikado silks, clean satins, organzas and silk jacquards – alongside Africa-style patterns, geometric zigzags and bold color like saffron yellow, ruby red and orange.

A huge lightning bolt down the catwalk added to the eclectic energy coming from ethnic-style jewelry, art deco hats and mysterious wands.

The statement was loud and clear: this season it was about intensity.

There were cheers at one point for one funky full skirt with its loud geometric pattern and bold grosgrain effect waistcoat.

The taste of the ensemble was maintained with black satin pants underneath that featured on high rotation throughout the show in a looser slimline shape.

Rhinestones, sequins and fringes in black jet added the Armani-style class, which periodically attracts stars such as Hilary Swank, Uma Thurman and Claudia Cardinale.

They were seen, loyally, watching from the front row.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP