Ca­sual ap­proach to spring

The Canali man makes a con­scious de­ci­sion to go con­tem­po­rary while still main­tain­ing a so­phis­ti­cated air.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - STYLE - By PATSY KAM star2@thes­

JUST so you know, the orig­i­nal James Bond wore a Canali suit. That’s what it says in Ian Flem­ing’s book ap­par­ently, and so did another well-known spy, the Saint.

“We have had our share of gen­tle­man spies,” said Paolo Canali with a smile. The third gen­er­a­tion of Canalis in­volved in the close-knit fam­ily-run busi­ness, Paolo, 50, con­fessed that he was groomed to be ac­quainted with the busi­ness from an early age. “But when I was nine years old, I did dream of run­ning my own news­pa­per,” he quipped.

Founded by brothers Gio­vanni and Gi­a­como Canali in 1934 as a gen­tle­man’s out­fit­ter, the brand to­day spe­cialises in the de­sign­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing of men’s cloth­ing, in­clud­ing ac­ces­sories, and can be found in over 1,000 lo­ca­tions world­wide.

Syn­ony­mous with the quin­tes­sen­tial gen­tle­man dresser, the Canali name has long been as­so­ci­ated with im­pec­ca­ble suits, im­mac­u­late qual­ity and clas­sic el­e­gance. Once re­garded as the suit for the dis­cern­ing “older” man, the brand has been rein­vented to por­tray a more youth­ful and trendier im­age, yet still re­fined and so­phis­ti­cated.

The lat­est Canali Spring/Sum­mer 2014 menswear col­lec­tion re­flected th­ese mod­ern aes­thet­ics, with at­ten­tion to de­tails, bright colours, slim sil­hou­ettes, mas­ter­ful tai­lor­ing and top notch fab­rics.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view at the Canali head­quar­ters in Mi­lan, Paolo talks to Star2 about the new col­lec­tion, the Canali her­itage and a peak at what’s in store for the fu­ture.

Star2: What is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the Spring/Sum­mer 2014 col­lec­tion?

Paolo: Each sea­son, our in­spi­ra­tion comes from a dif­fer­ent city. We started with a trib­ute to Ital­ian cities and have gone around the world, in­clud­ing cities like Tokyo and Lon­don. This sea­son, we looked at Paris and con­cen­trated on the the ideal shade of blue (which we named Klein Blue).

Tell us more about the new col­lec­tion.

It’s re­ally about be­ing trendier and more ca­sual, while still look­ing so­phis­ti­cated. We’ve got com­fort­able jack­ets that are light, made with soft fab­rics, items that are el­e­gant but not rigid, which is es­pe­cially good for sum­mer. The jack­ets are shorter, has more waist. They look more mod­ern and re­laxed. At the same time, we be­lieve in com­fort and achiev­ing bal­ance.

Who is the Canali man?

He could be a busi­ness­man, an en­tre­pre­neur, a self-made man, a doc­tor. He is so­phis­ti­cated and knowl­edge­able about style and qual­ity, and ap­pre­ci­ates the in­trin­sic value of the brand. We’re not a “trendy” brand. The Canali man knows what he wants, and makes a con­scious fash­ion de­ci­sion.

We have a very loyal clien­tele. They say the world has changed all be­cause of a woman! (That’s a good thing for us!) As men want to dress younger, sharper and look more fash­ion­able for women!

In past few years, our for­mal jack­ets, knits and leather pieces have be­come more fun. There’s this per­cep­tion that men want to dress more ca­su­ally th­ese days. So, the look has be­come more con­tem­po­rary. We al­ways try to be more el­e­gant, so­phis­ti­cated, but we’re also propos­ing a fresher look, one that’s a lit­tle more edgy but not too ex­treme.

How do you view the cur­rent Malaysian mar­ket?

Canali has a long his­tory in Malaysia and a good ex­pe­ri­ence in the mar­ket. It was a well­con­sid­ered de­ci­sion to open in Pe­nang and we are con­fi­dent it will do well.

What of the Malaysian man?

In the early years, the men who were very tra­di­tional would look to what their fa­thers and their peers wore. Suits were only for spe­cial oc­ca­sions. How­ever, the world has be­come “closer” thanks to so­cial me­dia and In­ter­net ex­po­sure, mak­ing Ital­ian fash­ion more vis­i­ble to the new gen­er­a­tion.

In terms of trends, Canali has al­ways tried to un­der­stand lo­cal needs and we have catered to that by look­ing into lighter fab­rics (less than 200g), which are half the weight of what they used to be. It’s more dif­fi­cult to make suits of lighter fab­rics as

Canali suits are all hand­made, so we need re­ally skilled work­ers. The Malaysian man is quite dif­fer­ent and he prefers some­thing brighter. Colours like pur­ple and yel­low have be­come quite clas­si­cal colours in Asia.

In Italy, her­itage is a source of pride. What about Canaali?

Her­itage plays a very im­por­tant role for Canali. Our val­ues are rooted in the past, passed down from one gen­er­a­tion to another. The know-how is passed down, which is of­ten lost in to­day’s fash­ion. Such crafts­man­ship can only be kept alive when it is con­veyed though a small fam­ily-type of busi­ness. The idea of hav­ing ar­ti­sans and tai­lor-made clothes was very im­por­tant to fash­ion in the past. But af­ter the war, there was a huge trans­for­ma­tion in the cloth­ing in­dus­try, af­ter­which many busi­nesses went into mass pro­duc­tion.

Canali made a con­scious choice not to com­pete with the masses and chose to spe­cialise in the niche mar­ket (of elite menswear). Some com­pa­nies carry dif­fu­sion lines, but in or­der not to be­tray the qual­ity of our clothes, Canali will not do so. It is ex­actly what Canali stands for – an elit­ist view – which is why we will not em­bark on a women’s line ei­ther.

We will con­tinue to be tac­ti­cal in our ap­proach and are con­stantly shar­ing in­put with our de­sign­ers. The key is to keep fine- tun­ing the for­mula. Of course, it’s be­com­ing more of a chal­lenge th­ese days. For ex­am­ple, it used to be im­pos­si­ble to get qual­ity clothes through the In­ter­net, but that’s changed. Per­haps, we may look hav­ing into a stronger pres­ence in the dig­i­tal world in the near fu­ture.

red leather paired with salmon-coloured pants. dou­ble-breasted long jacket for the smart-dressed man.

red pullover sweater for that clas­sic preppy look.

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