PARIS (AP) - Valentino put its typical Italian aristocratic look on hold this season to channel Balkan-style ethnic patterns in its spring-summer 2014 preview show.

PARIS (AP) Valentino put its typical Italian aristocratic look on hold this season to channel Balkan-style ethnic patterns in its spring-summer 2014 preview show.

It was clear from the discordant musical mix in Paris which flitted between arias from Bellini's Norma and Puccini's Tosca to syncopated contemporary bass beats that designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were determined to try something new.

"Opera blends with the street," the program notes said.

With a clean white shirt and a couple of pairs of shorts, it felt like the designers were trying to loosen up their silhouette a bit Tuesday to show some street cred. A rather incongruous series in leopard print lost this message, however.

The show was dominated by patterns such as vivid blue-and-yellow lines and oval shapes which the designers say were "borrowed from imaginary ethnic groups" on full skirts with Eastern decorative patterns in browns and greens.

It meant that the austere feel of their previous ready-to-wear collections remained in Tuesday's show, heightened by the silhouettes' high necks and thick fabrics.

What the collection did reveal is that Valentino is, at its heart, a couture house.

There were some great looks that benefited from their unique savoir-faire, such as an embellished black jacket and a long black dress with a full skirt that featured beautiful multicolored patterns and embroideries.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP