Europe might still be the fashion design centre of the world, but Asia may well be its biggest market. One of the biggest attractions of cities such as Hong Kong andSingapore is the shopping, where boutiques from the world's largest fashion labels rub shoulders with stalls selling cut-price fakes.
To tap into the lucrative and high-potential Asian market, Europe's top fashion houses have been making a considerable investment in new or revamped stores. The new Armani superstore in Hong Kong is one of the latest examples.
The three-storey Armani/Chater House is the company's second-largest retail outlet in the world, after its flagship store in Milan, Italy. Its 2000m² of retail space includes the fashion lines Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans along with accessories, cosmetics, books, flowers, the label's new homewares range and an eye-catching cafe.
The Armani Group says the new store symbolises the commitment the company plans to make to the Chinese market in coming years, including the opening of a restyled boutique in Beijing and a new store in Shenzhen. The Hong Kong store is positioned in the city's Central District. The Giorgio Armani boutique faces onto Chater Road, while the Emporio Armani boutique and cafe face onto Pedder Street.
For the 1020m² Giorgio Armani display area, the eponymous designer worked with minimalist architect Claudio Silvestrin, who has designed the fashion house's recent stores in Europe, Asia and South America.
In the Giorgio Armani men's and women's collection areas, Silvestrin specified French St Maximin stone, a signature element of the label's boutiques elsewhere. The stone is also used on the exterior of the building, presenting a windowless fae§ade on the Chater Road side.