Bridge Over Troubled Water

Canali’s AW21 collection reinvents the 1970s

As Julian Barnes notes in his Booker prize winning novel The Sense of an Ending, “most people didn’t experience ‘the sixties’ until the seventies.” Experimentation, psychedelia and rebellion bled into the latter decade, reaping the fruits of the previous, and this spirit is realised in Canali’s newly launched Autumn Winter 2021 collection.

For the family-run, Italian menswear brand established in 1934, 70s fashion created a “freedom that, faithful to the nonconformist spirit of the period, mixed different styles and cultures, creating a set of distinctive features that are still a source of inspiration half a century later.” It’s three differing ‘segments’ – Canali 1934, Exclusive and Black Edition – are bound together through the concept of ‘cocooning’, a reality for many of us these past 12 months. Tricot and jacquard workmanship, geometric patterns, as well as leather, full-grain nappa and suede feature in the refined knitwear and outerwear built for the bracing cold.

In Canali 1934, sober yet warm colours play out across houndstooth motifs that transform into macro graphic symbols on Saharienne jackets and carcoats, while iconic staples such as the brand’s trench coat are renewed with velvet and a period-inspired wool-cashmere blend.

Exclusive continues to combine sartorial tradition with Dandy styling, and this time its three-piece suits with gilets and suits with soft shawl lapels are adorned with silk, cashmere, leather, fur, inlays, braids, rhomboidal geometries and zigzags. Classic peacoats are presented with curly-haired brushed sheepskin, quilted parkas in water-repellent wool-cashmere twill and leather blazers are treated with nubuck to achieve a soft, silky finish.

Meanwhile, Black Edition – the line geared towards material innovation and functionality – takes its cue from the world of 70’s speed sports. Bold, block colours and quilting taken from racing, mountaineering and ski suits feature across wide corduroy quilted overshirts, padded gilets and bi-material wool-nylon outerwear seen in wide tracksuits and hooded sweatshirts. Combat boots suitable for colder climates, alongside argyle and fair Isle patterned knitwear, neatly encapsulate the 70s brief.

Altogether, Canali’s AW21 offering skilfully channels and updates the vitality of its chosen period through its use of materials and tailoring. There is a tentative hope too, that this latest offering marks the sense of an ending to our collective cocooning.