Stefano Canali on Running Ship at One Of The World’s Most Prestigious Fashion Houses
Stefano Canali on Running Ship at One Of The World’s Most Prestigious Fashion Houses

It explains why Canali continues to reign supreme

In the current fashion landscape, there are a handful of family-run businesses that manage to maintain their heritage, while appealing to the current zeitgeist. The luxury Italian house Canali manages to do both—sit in the sweet spot between traditional and modern, without ever compromising on quality and the highest order of craftsmanship. Case in point, Canali’s spanking new store at Mumbai’s luxe hotspot Jio World Plaza where you’ll see a sumptuous leather bomber displayed against a tailored-to-perfection single-breasted jacket; or the sharpest dress shirts sharing rack space with printed summer iterations. What you’re continually promised is a variegated portfolio of clothes and accessories that sum up everything a well-dressed man needs in his wardrobe—age no bar.


(L-R) Stefano Canali with Kabir Bedi for the Canali Jio World Plaza Store Launch (2).jpg

(L-R) Stefano Canali with Kabir Bedi for the Canali Jio World Plaza Store Launch


Add to this, Canali continues to lay emphasis on CAre: a global project that actively promotes sustainability as a strong narrative of the house. A large part of the brand’s multifarious approach to stay ahead of the fashion curve can be credited to President & CEO Stefano Canali—who besides embodying the spirit of the brand by way of his impeccable style—is a third-generation leader, carrying with him the DNA of Canali as well as a modern approach that allows the brand to do it all.


Over time Canali’s evolved from being a classic Italian tailoring house to now occasionally more relaxed in its demeanour. How would you say the brand’s evolved? 

Stefano Canali: While we remain committed to our heritage and values, we recognise the necessity of adjusting to the changing needs and preferences of our audience. We evolve constantly, and it’s led to a broader range of offerings—catering to every aspect of a modern man’s lifestyle as boundaries between formal and leisurewear are becoming increasingly blurred. We consider ourselves to be a complete lifestyle brand— where incorporating comfort and versatility into our style is key. We take pride in our ability to apply our tailoring skills to every aspect of a man's wardrobe, from formal to casual wear, offering a seamless blend of sophistication and ease.


Canali - JWP Store Hi-Res Assets.jpg


Three words to describe what Canali stands for today? 

SC: I’d say excellence, inner beauty and sustainability. Canali’s garments are rooted in authentic craftsmanship, involving meticulous processes that require rare skills and dedication. From exclusive design to premium materials and expert sewing, each Canali jacket undergoes nearly 200 steps, showcasing our commitment to perfection. With 100% Made in Italy craftsmanship and a focus on research and innovation, Canali offers a comprehensive range of sartorial mastery across the entire men's wardrobe. We aim to cultivate a renewed masculinity where men prioritise composure, self-awareness, and empathy, embodying a positive aura and elegant spirit that respects oneself, others, and the environment. The brand’s commitment to sustainability transcends mere necessity; it embodies a comprehensive ethos aligned with its core values, identity and production. CAre is a global project that encapsulates all our sustainability efforts, and it manifests through a rigorous ethical code and a dedicated sustainability committee focused on minimising consumption and emissions and increasing product durability. 


Tell us more about CAre. 

SC: Sustainability is deeply ingrained in our brand ethos, as reflected in our CARE initiative, which embodies our longstanding commitment to respect and responsibility towards taking care of people and the environment, which is woven into everything we do. We harmonise our commitment to sustainability with commercial viability, by strategically focusing on enduring quality, product longevity, and ethical practices. Our products are meticulously crafted using top-quality materials and sartorial construction techniques. By prioritising longevity and durability, Canali's products are designed to minimize environmental impact over time, ensuring a sustainable approach to luxury fashion.


How do you maintain Canali’s house codes, while still catering to a new menswear audience? 

SC: In steering Canali towards the future, our strategy involves embracing a full omnichannel approach to meet the new menswear audience wherever they are—speaking their language and engaging through their preferred digital platforms. While our efforts focus on attracting newer generations with contemporary collections that resonate with their tastes, the core of our brand—our dedication to Made in Italy excellence—remains the same. This balance ensures that while we evolve and adapt to the changing landscape, Canali's unique selling point continues to anchor our identity. This synthesis of tradition and innovation allows us to maintain our house codes while appealing to a broader, more diverse clientele.


Canali - JWP Store Hi-Res Assets-2.jpg


Your childhood memory of Canali? 

SC: Every Saturday, my mother and I would visit my father at his office, where the hallway exuded a distinct seventies vibe, adorned with glass walls, dim lighting, and doors lining either side. At the end of the corridor lay my father's office, nestled on the left. The atmosphere within was serene, almost sacred in its tranquillity. Immersed in his work upon our arrival, my father remained oblivious to our presence. After a gentle knock, he would graciously provide me with a token for the vending machine. Despite its simplicity, the machine held a sense of enchantment for me, with its glass Coca-Cola bottles and the metallic levers activated by the token. 


You’re part of one of the few family-run fashion houses in the business today. What’s the dynamic like behind the scenes?

SC: Running a family-owned fashion business with a worldwide presence is both a privilege and a responsibility. As a third-generation leader, I carry forward a legacy of excellence and Italian craftsmanship, while navigating the complexities of the modern fashion landscape. It's a dynamic journey where tradition and innovation intersect, guiding our growth while remaining steadfast to our core values. My father's teachings emphasise the importance of humility, leadership, and care. His guidance underscores the need for continuous improvement, setting an example for others, and recognizing the significance of each individual contribution. This philosophy extends beyond our business to encompass our entire Canali family, community, and the world around us, shaping our unwavering commitment to hard work, integrity, and the pursuit of quality.


How do you think men perceive tailoring today? 

SC: I view men's fashion today as an exciting field of limitless creativity and expression, marked by a blend of traditional values and modern sensibilities. It has evolved beyond strict conventions to offer a broader palette of choices. The craftsmanship and quality inherent in tailored pieces remain valued, but the way they're styled and worn now reflects a broader range of influences and occasions. Tailoring has adapted to the modern man's life, combining elegance with comfort and functionality, signalling a shift towards a more relaxed yet refined approach to menswear. This evolving landscape embraces the concept of whispered luxury, a hallmark of Canali, offering a relaxed yet sophisticated aesthetic that aligns perfectly with a modern man's pursuit of understated excellence.


Tell us about the direction and vision for Spring/Summer 2024.

SC: The SS24 collection is titled Mediterranean Craft. While being based and produced entirely in Italy—promoting the virtues of Italian craft—Canali openly and happily welcomes the craft produced across other cultures, marking objects and accessories that are meant to be part of one’s daily life for men of all ages and walks of life. The collection is gentle in its adaptability. It is made to be interpreted as anyone wishes. Spring/Summer 2024 articulates our commitment to artisanal craftsmanship and the softest constructions. Our collection, deeply rooted in the finesse of Italian tailoring, showcases garments that softly trace the body's contours, offering an adaptable wardrobe that resonates with the modern plurality of masculinity.


Arjun Kapoor for Canali (1).jpg

Arjun Kapoor for Canali


Your take on how men dress in India versus the world?  

SC: In India, the fashion scene reflects a growing appreciation for luxury, where Canali strategically positions itself by blending local preferences with its brand identity. With an eye on cultural nuances, we introduced innovative adaptations like reimagining the traditional Bandhgala suit into a versatile version, resonating with Indian heritage and Italian craftsmanship. Our commitment to India extends beyond mere adaptation; we embrace cultural specificity through offerings like the Nawab collection, showcasing our dedication to meeting local desires. Recognising the importance of customisation, we offer bespoke services, empowering Indian consumers to express their unique style. This dedication to local trends, materials, and design philosophies ensures our pieces seamlessly merge the Canali aesthetic with Indian preferences, evident in creations like the Nawab jacket.


Your plans in 2024 in India.

SC: Canali's trajectory in India signals a period of substantial expansion and advancement, with a strategic focus on strengthening its presence and product offerings within the luxury menswear market. Over the past five years, our operations in India have experienced impressive growth. Presently, we boast a formidable presence across seven stores, with Mumbai and Delhi emerging as pivotal contributors to our revenue and the inclusion of new outlets like Jio World Plaza in Mumbai and Mall of Asia in Bengaluru to strategically expand our reach to growing urban centres. Our product assortment primarily encompasses formalwear, casualwear, the Nawab collection, and accessories, aiming to augment the casualwear segment to cater to both our loyal clientele and a broader base of prospective customers. The Me By Canali collection has witnessed remarkable growth, emblematic of the escalating demand for exclusive and personalised offerings among discerning luxury consumers.

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