Eugenio Canali: Sprezzatura

Elisabetta Canali speaks with her father Eugenio, about taking the reigns on the iconic family business

Eugenio Canali, President and C.E.O of Canali
Eugenio Canali, President and C.E.O of Canali

Classic tailoring brands, like Canali, have spent decades refining the Italian knack for looking dressed up and casual at the same time. The secret, we’re told, is in the fabrics. The spirit of sprezzatura, the Italian word for effortless cool, comes alive when the finest possible cloth is used for suits, shirts and trousers. To help explain Canali’s charm and never-ending allure, we asked Elisabetta Canali to sit down with her father, Eugenio Canali, to discuss the pros and cons of taking over the family business, and what challenges lie ahead for a modern tailoring house based on tradition and craftsmanship.

Elisabetta: What would you say defines Canali in 2016? 

Eugenio: Canali today is very different from the company my father and uncle founded 80 years ago. We are much larger, more diverse and more international, but I’m certain that they would still recognise the same company. 

There is a series of values that they placed at the heart of their company, which remain at the core of Canali today and continue to guide us in moving forward. They are: quality, excellence, craftsmanship and the ‘Made in Italy’ ethos, with a constant attention to the needs and changes in the market and in our customers. 

What has changed since Giacomo and Giovanni started Canali in 1934? 

The decades that have passed have seen the arrival of new generations with new ideas, new energy and new visions for the future of the company, but through all this we maintain the same approach. Obviously, the means we have at our disposal have changed with the arrival of new technology, exclusive new blends and fabrics, new markets and new customers, but our feet remain proudly planted in our heritage. 

In what ways do men dress differently now compared to then? 

There is a new sort of dress code these days, focused more on freedom and spontaneity. There is more room for a personal point of view too. I think men expect more from their clothing – it has to be elegant, comfortable and fit in with today’s lifestyle. That’s why we developed the Travel collection of garments and accessories using new blends and special treatments to give fibres and cloth a resistance to creasing and crumpling, while making sure our clients look impeccable at any time of the day – even after a long-haul flight! 

How does Canali continue to honour the traditions and heritage of Giacomo and Giovanni? 

By taking their ideas and developing them, and pushing ourselves with the same spirit of adventure and desire to grow as they did. 

What is the next frontier of fashion and what are the challenges facing Canali in 2016? 

Like any moment in time, the current situation is not without its complexities and difficulties, but these challenges need to be looked upon as opportunities, offering new stimuli for change and spurring on creativity and performance. We are always looking for innovative new ways of showing our clients our product – helping them to understand and appreciate it fully. 

What’s more interesting to you: style or fashion? 

The two are strictly linked. We aim to create fashion with style, with attention to detail, quality, functionality and form. 

What do you think gives Canali the strength to pull through? 

A genuine passion for what we do, and a profound sense of shared satisfaction when we understand that we are doing the very best we can. 

How has the aesthetic and business model changed over the last season or so? 

Every season we change, offering new shapes and fabrics and new colour palettes, but we’re always faithful to our brand’s identity and our image. 

Intro David Hellqvist
Interview Elisabetta Canali 
Photography Stefan Giftthaler

This article is taken from PORT issue 19, out now.