In this part of the world, there really is no bigger attraction than a new 'big name' – be it in the worlds of high finance, hospitality, fine-dining or fashion.
Big names bring kudos, gravitas, credibility, quality, all of which form the bedrock on which the development of the UAE is built.
Until recently, for instance, it seemed like Michelin-starred chefs were opening restaurants here with the same gusto as McDonald's or Costa Coffee.
But in the image-conscious Emirates, where the brand is king, there is one name that will always stand head and shoulders above the rest – and that name is Armani.
This white-haired legend of the fashion world is a name synonymous with fine tailoring, classic and timeless lines and designs, and peerless quality.
And, probably, for these reasons, Emirates Business' exclusive interview with the Italian stallion caught more online readers' attention last week than any other story.
Armani is aged in his mid-70s, but shows no signs of slowing down or relinquishing control of a company he has built from nothing over the past 30 years.
With the launch in Dubai of his latest venture, home-furnishings store Armani/ Casa, he spoke with the enthusiasm of a debut designer about to showcase his first catwalk show.
"When I launched Armani/Casa in Milan, my aim was to bring my style philosophy to the world of home interiors and create the concept of a complete Armani lifestyle," Armani told reporter Aimee Greaves.
"I present my ideal for living, my dream of the perfect environment – an intimate and sophisticate space in which to relax, unwind and entertain guests, surrounded by beauty manifested through furniture and objects for the home."
From any lesser mortal, such words would smack – somewhat! – of the pretentious. But this is Armani, a man for whom the word 'compromise' has been excised from the dictionary.
But such comments also suggest he is more than a little aware of the standing he has, the reputation he holds, and the power of the brand.
Armani/Casa, which has opened in The Dubai Mall, will soon be complemented by the Armani Hotel Dubai, in Burj Dubai.
"[Armani/Casa] has the same philosophy as the hotel but the difference is that there are more practical materials in the latter," he said.
Elsewhere in our top five (see column left), Dubai last week hosted the International Property Show, a vast exhibition of what's on offer in both established and emerging markets, in places as diverse as Eastern Europe, Africa and East Asia.
As the expo drew to a close, the feeling among companies, delegates and visitors was thatr there were some serious bargains to be had. Experts said UAE-based investors were being lured like never before to buy property in cities such as London, Paris and New York, where the effects of the financial crisis mean it is possible to capitalise on a strong dirham.
"Cities such as London have always been resilient during recessions and have been able to bounce back after one," said Vincent Easton, Sales Director of Sherwoods Independent Property Consultants, one of the exhibitors at the property show.
"New York has the same dynamic as London. It will feel the effects but things have a habit of recovering."
So, if cash is king, now is a good time to buy, it seems…
- Read more at www.business24-7.ae/weekend
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