Star qual­ity

Em­po­rio Ar­mani courts the Asian mar­ket with Chi­nese ac­tress Shu Qi as its brand am­bas­sador.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By OLIVIA LEE startwo@thes­tar.com.my

CHOOS­ING an Asian face seems the nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for pres­ti­gious brand Em­po­rio Ar­mani, as it con­tin­ues to build on its ap­peal in the Asian mar­ket. For the com­ing fall/win­ter col­lec­tion, the brand has se­lected Chi­nese ac­tress Shu Qi to be the fashion house’s tes­ti­mo­nial in China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Re­plac­ing fel­low Chi­nese ac­tress Zhang Zi Yi (who was last sea­son’s am­bas­sador), Shu Qi gives a dif­fer­ent un­equiv­o­cal edge and ex­plicit style to Em­po­rio Ar­mani’s lat­est col­lec­tion. Be­fore Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro was the first Asian male face to ap­pear in an Em­po­rio Ar­mani ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign for its spring/sum­mer 2009 col­lec­tion.

The ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign fea­tur­ing Shu Qi, which was shot on Madi­son Av­enue in New York by world-renowned pho­tog­ra­pher Mario Sor­renti, rolled out last month in fashion and life­style mag­a­zines.

Sor­renti feels that Em­po­rio Ar­mani picked the right can­di­date to pa­rade the brand’s sexy, ver­sa­tile and beau­ti­ful range of clothes. This is ap­par­ent when brows­ing through her var­i­ous cam­paign shots and the be­hind-the-scenes video posted on youtube.

The 34-year-old sul­try su­per­star, who has been mes­meris­ing fans since her break­through per­for­mance in Hou Hsiao Hsien’s Mil­le­nium Mambo in 2001, has al­ways been a fan of the brand and feels “great plea­sure and hon­our” to be en­dors­ing the la­bel.

“I have al­ways been a great fan of Mr Ar­mani, not only of his ac­com­plish­ment in fashion but I very much re­spect his con­tin­u­ous sup­port to the film in­dus­try.

“I love their (Em­po­rio Ar­mani’s) pre­cious fab­ric and per­fect cut­ting. I’ve got many Ar­mani clothes in my wardrobe,” she tells StarTwo in an

ex­clu­sive e-mail in­ter­view.

Born in Taipei as Lin Li-Hui on April 16, 1976, Shu Qi cer­tain-cer­tainly has come a long-long way since her first en­dorse­ment for jew­ellery brand Mauboussin (Asia) in 2005.

Her other no­table en­dorse­ments in­clude Kenzo Flower per­fume, watch brand Fred­erique Con­stant, Red Earth and Lux.

As an ac­tress, Shu Qi’s star­dom would have eas­ily been fast­tracked, had it not been for her then man­ager Man­fred Wong’s de­ci­sion to pull her out of Ang Lee’s

Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Dragon six weeks into its shoot­ing for a Coca Cola com­mer­cial in Ja­pan. (The role then went to Zhang Zi Yi.)

It was def­i­nitely the break the star needed to dis­pel her rep­u­ta­tion as an ac­tress in B-grade films.

That lost op­por­tu­nity is some­thing she doesn’t wish to speak about any­more but the mul­ti­tal­ented Shu Qi still has plenty to shout about.

She has a stel­lar list of prom­i­nent Chi­nese and Hollywood movies to her name. With her triple roles in Three

Times, the Cannes-nom­i­nated film di­rected by the le­gendary Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Shu Qi re­ceived much ac­cred­i­ta­tion in­clud­ing be­ing Best Ac­tress at the 42nd Golden Horse Awards in 2005. She was in­vited to be a mem­ber of the jury at Ber­li­nale, the Ber­lin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in 2008, and to be a part of the eight-mem­ber jury panel at the 62nd Cannes In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in 2009.

Her cred­its in­clude play­ing the fe­male lead op­po­site Ea­son Chan

and Leon Lai in City of

Glass (1998) and Jackie Chan in Gor­geous (1999), star­ring along­side rugged Ja­son Statham in Trans­porter in 2002, be­ing a part of New York, I Love You cast (with Natalie Port­man, Ethan Hawke, Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper and Mag­gie Q) in 2009, and now shar­ing the sil­ver screen with Don­nie Yen in Leg­end of the Fist: The Re­turn of Chen Zhen.

De­spite missing out on Ang Lee’s award-win­ning movie, Shu Qi caught the at­ten­tion of Em­po­rio Ar­mani.

This en­dorse­ment will un­doubt­edly pro­pel and ex­pose Shu Qi to new fashion heights. She be­lieves this to be an ex­cel­lent part­ner­ship be­cause her im­age “is some­what matched with the brand’s, and I’m cap­ti­vated by the im­pec­ca­ble style and so­phis­ti­ca­tion.”

To her, Em­po­rio Ar­mani is a “fash­ion­able and mod­ern brand” and she def­i­nitely loves this sea­son’s col­lec­tion. “It pos­sesses a cos­mopoli­tan mood that is con­veyed through the in­ter­play of line and colour,” de­scribes Shu Qi.

Shu Qi ex­udes sexy glam­our in Em­po­rio Ar­mani’s new col­lec­tion. – Pho­tos cour­tesy of Em­po­rio Ar­mani

Sul­try: Shu Qi is the new Em­po­rio Ar­mani

am­bas­sador for China, Singapore and

Malaysia for the brand’s Fall/Win­ter

2010 col­lec­tion.

Be­hind the scenes of Em­po­rio Ar­mani’s Fall/Win­ter 2010 ad cam­paign.

‘I love their (Em­po­rio Ar­mani’s) pre­cious fab­ric and per­fect cut­ting. I’ve got many Ar­mani clothes in my wardrobe,’ says Shu Qi.

Shu Qi and Chang

Chen in Blood Broth­ers (2007).

With Ja­son Statham in ac­tion flick TheTrans­porter (2002).

As poker dealer and cabaret dancer in LookForAS­tar (2009).

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