HONG KONG — Giorgio Armani will visit Shanghai in April for the opening of flagships for his Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani brands.

The designer will also visit Beijing and Hong Kong during his China visit, slated for April 14-20, a company spokesman said.

In Shanghai, the Armani Group has signed a management agreement with House of Three, a new retail and entertainment venue located on The Bund. The development, called Three on the Bund, features an Evian Spa, Jean-Georges and David Laris restaurants, a multibrand fashion store and a music room. Armani will open adjacent Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani boutiques there, as well as Armani Fiori (a florist) and Armani Dolci (chocolates and confectionery) counters.

The two stores will cover a total of 11,880 square feet and will be in a seven-story building built in 1910 and restored by House of Three during the last two years. The Giorgio Armani store will be 6,025 square feet and, like other Armani boutiques around the world, will be designed by Claudio Silvestrin. Massimilano and Doriana Fuksas, who created the futuristic look of Armani’s cafe and Emporio Armani store in Hong Kong, will head up the Emporio Armani project in Shanghai.

The Armani Group plans to open between 20 and 30 stores in mainland China by 2008. An Armani spokesman said the company could potentially open other stores in cooperation with Three, although nothing is planned.

In a statement, Giorgio Armani said that by establishing a flagship on Shanghai’s Bund, along with stores in Beijing and Hong Kong, the firm “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.”

“The Bund is a new, luxury destination and everyone believes this will be the new Via Montenapoleone or Avenue Montaigne,” the Armani spokesman said. “The Three on the Bund building is a destination for locals and tourists, and we are arriving at the beginning of the development.”

The spokesman declined to reveal sales projections for the new store, saying, “China is on a roll, but is still a small percentage of our business, although we expect a substantial growth fairly quickly.”The designer will attend the opening of the Shanghai stores and will oversee a fashion show of his spring-summer collection to be held along the city’s famous river on April 17. A company spokesman said this will be the first time a designer will hold a fashion show at the location, which will be on the sidewalk between the river and the buildings.

Armani then will fly to Hong Kong, where he will conduct another fashion show and visit Armani/Chater House, which opened in November 2002. That complex, which features Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Armani Fiori, Armani Casa, Armani cosmetics and an Armani cafe, was the first in the world to feature both of the designer’s main ready-to-wear collections. It takes up 30,000 square feet, 20,000 of which are dedicated to retail.

Armani has other presences in China, too. Besides stores in Beijing and Hong Kong and the soon-to-open Shanghai shops, the company is in Dalian, Wenzhou and Shenzhen. Numerous other stores are in the works, including an Armani Collezioni store for Shanghai in October 2004 and Armani Jeans in Hong Kong this summer. Armani also will launch its cosmetics and fragrances in China next year.

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