Fit for Purpose

Canali’s global communications director and third-generation descendant of the Italian fashion house’s founders, Elisabetta Canali, considers the status of tailoring in the 21st century

Obviously fashions change, silhouettes evolve and tastes shift, but one of the biggest trends we’ve noticed in tailoring recently is the influence of technology. We are now able to develop new fabrics that are lighter and more performance focused, stretch naturally and are crease and stain resistant. These materials offer something that better reflects the lifestyle and needs of the people wearing Canali. It’s why we try to offer a wide range of fit and finishing options as well.

In the modern era, the distinctions between different regional styles of suit-making have become less marked than in the past – style is now a global consideration. Yet, despite this, it is still possible to recognise approaches that are typical of certain traditions.

British tailoring is influenced by military costume and generally characterised by a more formal look: highly structured shoulders, heavy full-canvas construction and a slim silhouette. The American suit tends to be less structured, soft shoulders, looser fitting, with a more generous cut and often a single back vent and a more relaxed trouser. We Italians, on other hand, want to combine style with wearability, so our suits tend to be less structured, with softer shoulders, but remain streamlined and graceful; the trousers are a slimmer fit.

And, of course, it still comes down to the tailors, whose skills will never change. They have an unparalleled knowledge of their craft and perfectly understand the principals of human anatomy and garment construction; this goes without saying. But they must also be a good listener. The key to ensuring a satisfied client is understanding his needs, and catering to them, sometimes before he himself knows what it is he wants.