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United Fashion Company (UFC), a United Development Company subsidiary, today (Sunday, January 25) opens Gianfranco Ferré, the first in a series of luxury brands to be launched on The Pearl-Qatar in the coming weeks.

“This is a very exciting venture for us,” said Michela Piva, CEO of Gianfranco Ferré Spa: “The opening of this Gianfranco Ferré boutique reinforces our presence in the Middle East, a strategic area for the luxury goods industry. We chose The Pearl-Qatar because the Island represents the ideal environment for a luxury brand like ours. We are proud to have joined forces with UFC, the perfect partner for the expansion of our brand in this important market.”

Malik Awan, UFC general manager, said: “This is a very proud moment for the UFC team. UFC is making history with the opening of the first luxury store on the Island and the first Gianfranco Ferré in Qatar.

“The strength of the retail scene on The Pearl-Qatar lies in having both first and second line products of the same high-end designer in the same place.

“What makes The Pearl-Qatar unique is the way it has been designed to be a lifestyle experience, rather than simply a shopping mall. We are creating and inspiring the culture of designer brands, which is why, in a year, UFC managed to secure 10 major international brands and the promise of many more to come.”

Eric Lebrun, executive vice-president assets management The Pearl-Qatar, explained: ” Brands are being seduced by our winning mix of an ideal waterfront shopping experience, luxury marinas, and superb retail outlets in an eclectic mix of Italian, Spanish, and Moroccan styled architecture, and colours and themes redolent of an Arabian Cote D’Azur.”

Gianfranco Ferré’s fashion boutique has been designed and fitted by the company’s Italian experts. The 220 sq m store is dedicated to its women’s, men’s and accessories collections.

The store is luxuriously furbished with marble floors, walls in lacquered wood and leather, in shades of ivory-beige and black.

Each area is divided by walls of light running through Plexiglass tubes, and the clothing collection is presented in lacquered mirror or wood-backed frames, with leather-illuminated shelves. Two entrances to the boutique lead to the main arrival area and the boardwalk’s beautiful sea view.

In the coming months a number of other exclusive luxury brand stores will be opening on The Pearl-Qatar, with famous names including Stefano Ricci (January 28) Harmont & Blaine, and Missoni (in February) Armani, Christian Lacroix, Domenico Vacca, and Hermes, among others.


GIANFRANCO FERRÉ:

Gianfranco Ferré is the Italian fashion brand with a particular propensity for excellence which has been creating for thirty years clothes and accessories of high quality dedicated to a clientele that is attentive to the new trends. The brand expresses an elegant style where the sense of sophistication is at once contemporary and timeless.

Its present and the future are characterized by some distinctive values that influence every project: creativity, quality, exclusivity, innovation, culture.

The brand was founded in 1978 by Gianfranco Ferré (Legnano, August 15th 1944 – Milan, June 17th 2007) who launched in the same year his Women’s Prêt-à-Porter collection. His menswear collection followed in 1982 as well as the creation of an exceptional range of accessories and products made on licence.

Now the GIANFRANCO FERRÉ brand is an absolute guarantee of exclusiveness and quality and it is identified with a constantly growing enterprise following its integration in IT Holding, which was completed in 2002. The new structure offers a base for the launch of major cutting-edge

projects to define the brand identity wich encompasses three “worlds” – GIANFRANCO FERRÉ ‘, FERRE’ MILANO and GF FERRE’ – expressed by well articulated product lines: clothing collections for men and women; accessories collections for men and women (bags, shoes, leather goods, silk products, umbrellas etc.); underwear and beachwear collection for men and women; furs collections; clothing and shoe collections for children; eyewear; fragrances; watches.

On April 1st 2008, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi were appointed co-Creative Directors of the Gianfranco Ferré Women’s collections and debuted with the Spring/Summer 2009 collection. Further to their new recent appointment as co-Creative Directors of the Gianfranco Ferré menswear line, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi recently presented their first men’s collection for the Fall/Winter 09-10 season.

UNITED FASHION COMPANY

Incorporated in February 2008, the United Fashion Company (UFC) is a wholly owned UDC company with a vision that sees great potential in the international language of major fashion brands. Beginning this year at The Pearl-Qatar with The Royal Avenue luxury department store, by 2017 an additional planned network of stores will extend throughout the Middle East and into Central Europe and Asia, carrying the world’s most prestigious fashion labels in an elegant and sophisticated retail environment. The emphasis will be on controlled distribution and skilled merchandising, ensuring that the most profitable balance between exclusivity and volume is achieved.

UFC is a perfect example of the kind of mutual benefit in the relationship between UDC and its subsidiaries: association with UDC and The Pearl-Qatar opens doors for UFC to international brands at the highest levels.

During 2008, UFC has already secured exclusive relationships with an enviable roll call of famous names including Gianfranco Ferré , Christian Lacroix, Missoni, Stefano Ricci, Domenico Vacca and Harmont & Blaine. Significant opportunities for further expansion await in 2009.

THE PEARL-QATAR
UDC’s flagship project, and one of the largest urban developments in Qatar, The Pearl-Qatar is achieving international recognition as the Middle East’s most prestigious and glamorous location, renowned for excellence in design and construction. With an area of 4 million square metres and a 32 km coastline, this reclaimed island has been developed with funds in excess of QR 50 billion (US$14 billion). It is at once a residential destination and luxury resort, shaped by the vision to create an asset and a way of life with lasting quality and value: a jewel at the heart of the Gulf.

The first development in Qatar to offer freehold and residential rights to the international community, The Pearl-Qatar continues to attract unprecedented interest from buyers and investors in more than 52 countries. On completion in 2012, it will accommodate more than 41,000 residents in approximately 15,000 dwellings divided between 10 distinctive precincts. In and around them, exquisitely landscaped parks, state-of-the-art marinas and pristine beaches will vie with a captivating world of upscale shopping, dining and leisure opportunities to bring each unique neighborhood to vibrant life.

UNITED DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
United Development Company (UDC) is one of Qatar’s leading public shareholding companies. UDC’s mission is to identify and invest in long-term projects contributing to Qatar’s growth and providing good shareholder value. The company, established in 1999, has an authorized share capital of QR 1,072 billion (US $294 million), and was listed on the Doha Securities Market in June 2003.

The Company targets a growing range of sectors for development, including hydrocarbons and energy, infrastructure and utilities, maritime and environmental related businesses, urban development, property management, hospitality and leisure, fashion and marketing services.

Among other initiatives, UDC established MEDCO, a joint venture with the State of Qatar and Belgium’s Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering NV, which is soon to start work on the projected Bahrain-Qatar causeway – the longest in the world.


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