By  on January 17, 2014

PARIS — For Giorgio Armani, joining the couture party with his Privé line in 2005 has burnished his global business — and expanded his design horizons.

“Privé has liberated a part of my creative energy, allowing me to explore a more imaginative and free dimension of my vision of style,” the Italian designer told WWD ahead of his “One Night Only” event here on Tuesday.

After parading his spring collection, Armani will stage a tweaked version of his “Eccentrico” couture exhibition — already featured at “One Night Only” events in New York and Rome — and host a seated dinner, all at the Palais de Tokyo at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

“I draw energy from the cities in which I present it, showing that my style is full of nuances,” he said. “Paris is definitely the capital of couture fashion: the top of expression and creativity.”

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Adding couture to the top of his luxury pyramid has had a “strong and positive impact on the whole business — even at the level of global notoriety,” the designer said.

While emerging markets continue to drive sales of all Armani products, including couture, Western markets are bouncing back, particularly the U.S. and the U.K., he noted.

“As the economy shows signs of picking up in many parts of the world, there is an opportunity to reengage with existing customers and established markets,” he said.

While couture is within the reach of only a small number of wealthy women, Armani said it resonates with the broader public.

“Something I am really interested in is the aspirational quality of couture as a symbol of the excellence of Armani,” he said. “That is why I am starting to offer Armani Privé accessories at retail — to try and spread a little bit of couture into more people’s lives. That is a new frontier, a new approach.”

According to the designer, the attraction of couture is that it “speaks of the dream of fashion, the craftsmanship of fashion.”

“We absolutely need to keep it in the public eye through media coverage,” he said. “We need to encourage the craftsmen who possess the skills required to make couture to engage with and train a younger generation to keep those skills alive.”

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