What Is Canali Up To These Days?

Words by: guest writer

Canali has been a leader in the men’s luxury suiting world for over 80 years. The family-run brand has been creating stunning artisanal Italian-made garments since 1934. The Canali brothers Giacomo and Giovanni started the company in Triuggio, a small town north of Milan, and the company has now expanded to have factories all over the country. They are proud of their culture and heritage, using their own tailoring principles to consistently update their classic designs. It’s not hard to find a Canali suit, being carried in over 1000 stores and owning 180 of their own boutiques worldwide. But what’s going on in their Milan headquarters today?

Canali is now run by the third generation of the family, namely Elisabetta Canali as the Global Communication Director and Stefano Canali as the general manager. They maintain their family values but are always looking to stay on top of not only the menswear game, but the fashion industry as a whole. They treasure their classics but know that there is always room for improvement. Since the third generation has taken over the company, they have been working with their fabric mills to update their classic fabrics and create amazing new blends each year. 

In January 2017, Canali switched up the way they participate in Fashion Week to present their SS18 collection. They had been putting on traditional fashion shows for nine years but decided to switch over to a presentation, deciding this was a more challenging and intimate option. The Canali family believes their designs need to be seen up close to truly be understood. They also justified their decision by saying that a presentation is a more cerebral experience. The designers must be more substantial during the creation process but the viewers become much more involved in the collection. A runway show creates a certain mood with the music and atmosphere, but with a presentation you are able to see the superior craftsmanship up close. A greater sense of appreciation for the designs is established. In the collection they debuted their new Impeccable 2.0 cloth, a crease-resistant, waterproof, and ultra lightweight natural fabric. It was created with travellers in mind, with the ability to easily be folded into a suitcase.

In January 2018, Canali hired South Korean designer Hyun-Wook Lee as their new collection designer. He had been in the fashion industry for 17 years, working for prestigious brands including Gianfranco Ferre, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Berluti. The Canali family believed he would be a perfect fit to bring the brand into the future, with his expertise in menswear and tailoring. He debuted his first collection in June 2018 to rave reviews. He updated the brand’s classic designs with sophistication and just the right amount of modernity. Lee split the collection into four parts: Equilibrium, Dynamism, Steadiness, and Inspiration. Each grouping had a specific colour palette that created an overall impressive range for the entire collection. He also introduced a very mild introduction to branding, with subtle logo spread throughout the accessories and hardware.

For the SS19 campaign, Canali worked with French photographer Karim Sadli to create a cinematic ambience around the collection. He used warm tones and shadow play to highlight the soft colour palette. The model elegantly lounges in what appears to be a vintage hotel room, always near the windows. He has the air of a 1970s businessman waiting for his next client meeting, wearing light-coloured suits with pinstripe accents and a short sleeved pink sweater. The photographs epitomize classic Italian elegance.

Lee presented his second collection in January 2019. Canali decided to return to Florence to present the Autumn/Winter 2019 collection after years of presenting at Milan. They chose a presentation again rather than a fashion show, with viewers able to see the amazing craftsmanship of the luxuriously comfortable designs. This time around the brand opted for more pieces inspired by leisurewear, like turtlenecks, cashmere coats, and corduroy trousers. Fashion editors were still very impressed with Lee’s designs the second time around.

With a talented new designer and innovative, fresh fabrics always around the corner, Canali’s future looks bright. The brand has a loyal base of customers that range from businessmen and politicians to celebrities and sports personalities. Canali has a keen eye for design and they know the importance of blending tradition with new technology. We look forward to seeing what they will come up with next!