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Gucci creative director Frida Giannini kicked off her first visit to Mainland China on Thursday, visiting a children’s eye hospital the fashion house supports and taking in some sights of Beijing before a low-key dinner with local artists and musicians. Giannini is in China along with chief executive Patrizio Di Marco and other company leaders to toast the opening of the brand’s new flagship store in the heart of Shanghai. The company now has 28 stores in Mainland China, a number Di Marco said he’s certain will grow in the coming years. He and others spoke with great optimism about the Chinese market, seen as a bright spot amid the world economic downturn. Giannini said she found Beijing surprising and energizing, and is certain this won’t be her last visit.  The dinner was hosted by Vogue China at Daniel Boulud’s Maison Boulud restaurant, set in the newly renovated Legation Quarter. Among the guests were actress Zhang Ziyi, and members of the pop band Super VC.  Several in attendance noted the somber mood in Beijing on Thursday, the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. The square, which was under heavy security and police patrols all week, sits just around the corner from the Legation Quarter.

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