MILAN, Italy, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Armani Group announced today that Giorgio Armani will make his first visit to China when he travels to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong between 14th and 21st April. During this historic trip, Giorgio Armani will celebrate the opening of a 1,100 square metre multi-brand Armani flagship store on Shanghai's Bund with an exclusive fashion show and party. He will then present a second fashion show in Hong Kong three days later in a first anniversary celebration of Armani/Chater House, the 3,000 square metre multi-brand Armani store -- the second largest in the world after Milan -- that opened at the end of 2002. Mr. Armani will be accompanied on his tour of China by a group of leading international journalists, Hollywood Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino (who graduated in Chinese Art and History), Armani-ambassador Lady Helen Taylor and the acclaimed current affairs reportage photographer Roger Hutchings. Giorgio Armani's first stop will be the capital Beijing where he will visit the Giorgio Armani boutique at the Palace Hotel (the Armani Group's first retail store in China opened in 1998) and where he will be the Guest of Honour at a cocktail party attended by 150 specially invited guests at the Italian Embassy, hosted by Ambassador Menegatti. In anticipation of his visit, Giorgio Armani, who is President and Chief Executive of the Armani Group, said, "The culture and customs of Asia have always been an inspiration to me. This is a much overdue trip to one of the world's most remarkable countries." Armani continued, "Today Shanghai certainly qualifies as the world's most talked about city. I am therefore delighted that we have secured such a prestigious and significant location for a flagship store there. With the opening of the Beijing Giorgio Armani boutique in 1998, Hong Kong's Armani/Chater House in 2002 and now Shanghai's Armani/Three on the Bund this month, the Armani Group will have successfully established a signature retail presence in China's three principal cities. This demonstrates our long-term commitment to this fast-growing market, in which we plan to develop comprehensive distribution and retail channels for each of the Group's main brands and product lines. As part of this expansion strategy, we would expect to have a network of between 20 and 30 freestanding stores throughout China's most important cities by 2008." Armani/Three on the Bund will be managed under an agreement with House of Three. It will be divided between a Giorgio Armani boutique covering 560 square meters and an Emporio Armani store covering 420 square meters on the ground floor of Three on the Bund, a recently opened retail lifestyle destination. There will also be Armani Fiori (florist) and Armani Dolci (chocolates and confectionery) counters within the development. As with Hong Kong's Armani/Chater House, Giorgio Armani will collaborate with the architect Claudio Silvestrin on the Giorgio Armani boutique and the architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas on the Emporio Armani store. Later this Summer a second Shanghai Emporio Armani store will be opened on the ground floor of Plaza 66, in collaboration with the Chinese fashion retail company Envols. On 14th April, in celebration of the opening of Armani/Three on the Bund, Giorgio Armani will present an exclusive fashion show to 1,000 specially invited guests, including celebrities and journalists from around the world, in a tent specially created for the occasion next to Shanghai's Huangpu river in Pudong opposite the new store. He will show his top line women's and men's collections for Spring/Summer 2004 and a sneak preview of the coming Autumn/Winter 2004/5 collection. The fashion show will be followed by a first viewing of the Armani flagship store and a party at the Shanghai Gallery of Art on the third floor of Three on the Bund. Giorgio Armani will then travel to Hong Kong where, on Tuesday 20th April, he will present two fashion shows, sponsored by Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank Private Banking, previewing the Autumn/Winter 2004 collection to a total of 1,200 guests at Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank's Norman Foster-designed headquarters building in Hong Kong's Central District. This will be followed by a party on the second floor of Armani/Chater House. In all three cities at each event, Giorgio Armani will present the "Faces of Sport" photo exhibition, celebrating the publication of a book by the same name, the proceeds from sales of which benefit Special Olympics, the international movement founded by Eunice Shriver in 1968 to support people living with intellectual disabilities. Armani/ Chater House is located on three levels at Hongkong Land's Chater House development in Central and has dramatic fagades onto both Chater Road and Pedder Street. A unique multi-brand retail environment, it was the first Armani store in the world to showcase the designer's two main runway fashion collections -- Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani -- together under one roof along with AJ|Armani Jeans, Armani Casa (home interiors collection), Armani Fiori (florist), Armani Libri (bookstore), Giorgio Armani Cosmetics and an Emporio Armani Caffe. The Armani Group is already well advanced with its stated plan to open between 20 and 30 stores in mainland China by 2008. As well as the stores already mentioned in Beijing (The Peninsula Palace Hotel), Hong Kong (Armani/Chater House) and Shanghai (Armani/Three on the Bund), there are Emporio Armani stores in Dalian (New World Department Store) and Wenzhou (Huaqiao Hotel) with a new opening planned this Autumn in Shanghai's Plaza 66; one Armani Collezioni store in Shenzhen (Tian An International Plaza) with a Shanghai store opening in October, 2004 at Citic Square; an Armani Jeans store in Hong Kong opening in Summer 2004 to replace the existing Emporio Armani on Causeway Bay's Russell Street; six A/X Armani Exchange stores in Hong Kong (Fashion Island, Canton Road, Festival Walk, Pacific Place, City Plaza and IFC). Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, recently launched very successfully in Hong Kong and soon to be launched in mainland China, will provide the make-up for the fashion shows in Shanghai and Hong Kong. And, as part of its ongoing strategic collaboration with the Armani Group, Mercedes-Benz will be providing vehicles for all VIP transportation throughout Mr. Armani's tour of China. The Armani Group is one of the world's leading fashion and luxury goods groups with 4,600 direct employees and 13 factories. It designs, manufactures, distributes and retails fashion and lifestyle products including apparel, accessories, eyewear, watches, jewellery, home interiors, fragrances and cosmetics under a range of brand names: Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ | Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Armani Junior and Armani Casa. The Group's exclusive retail network currently comprises: 58 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 11 Armani Collezioni stores, 121 Emporio Armani stores, 70 A/X Armani Exchange stores, 13 AJ | Armani Jeans stores, 6 Armani Junior stores, 1 Giorgio Armani Accessories store and 15 Armani Casa stores in 36 countries.
SOURCE The Armani Group