LOVING SHANGHAI: Just back from a trip to China, Giorgio Armani said an Armani-designed hotel in Shanghai is next on his list. During the presentation of his new Armani Casa collection in Milan on Wednesday, the designer and his hotel partner, Mohamed Alì Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, showed a model of the Burj Dubai tower, the first Armani hotel due to open. Armani and Alabbar said the hotel in Dubai will open in spring 2008 and that 30 others were scheduled to open worldwide over the next 15 years, at a total investment of $3 billion.

DENIM APPOINTMENT: Brussels-based Levi Strauss Europe on Thursday named Philippe Lauga its new retail operations director for Europe. He succeeds Simon Stampe, who is leaving the company. Lauga reports to Mark Saunders, European vice president of retail, and will be responsible for the development of Levi's retail network through its franchise partners and company-operated stores. Previously, Lauga was export director for Celio, a French men's wear retailer.

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