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Canali Marks 90th Anniversary

MILAN Canali turns 90 this year but Stefano Canali, president and chief executive officer of the Italian menswear company, underscores that the milestone is “not a moment of self-celebration,” but one that should emphasize the values of the family and project them into the future.

The interview taking place at the company’s showroom in Milan, located in the super-modern business district of Porta Nuova Varesine, all glass and steel, reflects this forward-looking approach. Yet, for Canali, the craftsmanship, the storied tailoring tradition are not forgotten, just made more contemporary. “We must never bask in the past, and we have to keep our feet on the ground, fuel our ability to react to the changes around us and to constantly renew ourselves in line with our values,” Canali said.

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Asked to elaborate on these values, he said “authenticity, respect and responsibility toward people and the environment, durability and quality of the products all made in Italy” were key to the family and to the business. “We have maintained our know-how locally, assisting the territory even during difficult times,” including the pandemic, he said.

Starting Friday, the company will kick off its celebrations with an event in Milan at the storied Palazzo Reale, in front of the Duomo cathedral, showcasing an exclusive anniversary capsule collection and an art exhibition featuring a collaboration with young artists from NABA Nuova Accademia delle Belle Arti, reinterpreting Canali garments through an installation and a digital element.

Looks from Canali’s 90th anniversary capsule collection.
Looks from Canali’s 90th anniversary capsule collection.

Canali briefly touched on the three key phases of the company, as he cited founder Giovanni Canali, who joined his brother Giacomo’s tailoring shop in Triuggio, Brianza, and the ensuing growth. After World War II, the second-generation Canali brothers — Giuseppe, Genesio and Eugenio — restarted the business, focusing initially on raincoats, and later expanding into tailoring and formalwear. The last turning point was the pandemic “with all the difficulties and opportunities” it brought, leading to further evolution, “raising the positioning of the brand, investing in marketing drive, a new store concept and communication.”

Now in its third generation, Canali remains an independent family-run business that retains tailoring at the core, integrating technology into the artisanal process.

The third-generation Canali family, from left: Nicoletta, Maurizio, Maria Grazia, Paolo, Stefano, Giorgio, Elisabetta and Gianni.
The third-generation Canali family, from left: Nicoletta, Maurizio, Maria Grazia, Paolo, Stefano, Giorgio, Elisabetta and Gianni.

The company is marking the anniversary on an upbeat note as it closed 2023 with revenue climbing 10 percent to 207 million euros and Canali expects the same increase for 2024. In the first quarter, organic sales were up 6 percent.

The company has 150 boutiques, of which 40 are directly operated, and counts more than 1,000 points of sale in more than 100 countries around the world.

Exports account for 90 percent of revenues. North America represents 50 percent of sales. Asia Pacific accounts for 20 percent and Europe, the Middle East and Africa for 30 percent of the total.

“We have very deep roots in North America, since we’ve been present there since the end of the 1970s, and we continue to invest in that market, there is still a lot of potential,” Canali said. Another market that is expected to grow is Greater China, “home to half of our stores,” he added.

This year, after the opening of a store in Mumbai, Canali in June will inaugurate a unit in Wuhan at SKP mall and one in New Delhi in September. “We have seven boutiques in India and they are performing very well,” the executive said. The company inked a joint venture with Reliance Retail 10 years ago to develop its business in India.

The original Canali logo
The original Canali logo

Following the renovation of the Milan store in Via Verri, which was unveiled during the city’s Salone del Mobile in April with an expansive garden and lounge, the company will remodel its Beverly Hills store between the end of 2024  and 2025.

Another development for the brand was the first Caffè Canali in Beijing, followed by a second one in Shanghai. “This is in line with our aim to further extend the brand experience and respond to a customer request of a lifestyle concept,” Canali said.

For the anniversary capsule, Canali reinterpreted the brand’s original logo featuring a swan holding an overcoat in its beak. Reflecting the brand’s expertise and core business, a key garment is a merger of the overcoat with the suit. Hidden inside the collection is the Cimosa, or selvedge, spelling Canali 90th. The capsule comprises overcoats and suits, both single and double breasted, chunky or fine knit cardigans, cashmere zip-up hoodies and drawstring trousers. The palette combines gray and Brianza green, the area north of Milan that is home to Canali. Worsted wools, lighter versions of archival materials, were employed on suits and bonded with waterproof membranes for overcoats, but also on bags and sneakers. Sweaters and jersey pieces are available in cashmere or cashmere-silk blends. The fall capsule will be in stores in September but can be preordered now.

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