In the Eye of the Beholder

Stefano Canali on modern masculinity and inner beauty

Photography Scott Gallagher, styling Georgia Thompson

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” Found in one of the American poet’s many essays on art, this line touches on an aphorism that although may sound mawkish to the jaded cynic, rings true. Namely, that inner beauty illuminates the individual from within, leading them to encounter so much more of life. This concept lies at the heart of Canali’s AW22, a modern take on masculinity that celebrates beauty in the broadest sense of the term, both its “intrinsic and extrinsic values.” With this collection, the storied Italian house is dressing the gentleman of today; one who is kind, confident and composed, choosing dialogue over monologue. An accompanying campaign titled ‘Through His Eyes’ has selected talent expanding on these values – acting as ambassadors for Canali’s vision – and begins with CEO Stefano Canali. To mark the editorial series, Port spoke to the head of the family-run business about the hidden treasures of Torino and his hopes for the next generation. 

How do you think social media, with its proliferation of images, has impacted ideas of beauty, inner or otherwise?

This is a controversial topic. Social media is an extremely powerful medium. The accessibility of information has spread the concept of ‘inner beauty’ by generating greater awareness, activism, and participation on the part of new generations on very important issues that promote inclusivity. However, we cannot deny that it can also create and spread unrealistic aesthetic ideals.

How does AW22 inform and interpret the new phase of modern masculinity we’re in?

The AW22 collection, with its new, more relaxed approach to sartorial sensibility, introduces innovative items into the male wardrobe such the cuff jacket with knitted details, which combines the softness of knitwear and the cleanness of tailored shapes. Or the new sahariana safari jacket in cashmere – that paired with matching trousers creates one of the many ‘smartorial’ suits. I feel it is this casualness, this deconstruction, that runs through the collection and conveys both softness and character that can be considered the sartorial expression of the new masculinity. Where suiting no longer needs to be armour.

What are some non-fashion causes close to your heart?

Anything related to environmental sustainability. My personal curiosity and sensitivity lead me to take an interest in technological innovations involving experimental alternative energy sources, from deep geothermal to nuclear fusion to recycling plants.

Who are some of the ambassadors for this project?

For our ‘Through His Eyes’ project we have selected those who devote part of their lives to beauty in the broader sense. They describe how in their business or in their personal lives they promote beauty, positivity, kindness, care and respect. These include, among others, Thomas Ermacora, a regeneration architect and tech-for-good entrepreneur focused on urban sustainability and community resilience. Having worked with key iconoclasts in urban futures such as Frank Gehry, Jan Gehl, and John Norquist, he stands as one of the new strategic leaders helping transition cities towards more socially inclusive and resource intelligent designs – paving the way for increasingly distributed and open-source societies. Giampaolo Grossi is another, the General Manager of Starbucks Italy and co-founder of ‘Lusso Gentile’, an editorial project that has “care, respect and love” as its mantra and which aims to inspire – young and old – through the words and works of visionaries who have shown great talent in their professional and personal spheres. Our photographer for the campaign, Oddur Thorisson, is also part of the series. Oddur is best known for his work with Condé Nast Traveler and he lives with his wife, their eight children, and nine dogs in Piemonte, Italy. His life is devoted to beauty in his photographs and to his family, above all.

Has anyone close to you – family or friends – expanded your understanding of inner beauty?

I was fortunate enough to have parents and friends who taught me through daily examples what really counts in life, the real source of happiness: gestures of love, solidarity and respect that give meaning to our work and relationships with others, far beyond success and financial well-being.

Why was Torino chosen as the backdrop for AW22’s campaign?

What better backdrop for a campaign revolving around the concept of inner beauty than Torino, the city of hidden treasures. Only a city like Torino, that manages to hold so many jewels in its bosom and make such a discreet and gracious gift of them to its citizens every day, can call itself rich. But rich in rare treasures coloured by all the nuances of the human soul: from spiritual ones, like the Holy Shroud, to aesthetic and cultural ones, such as Guarini’s architecture. There are even treasures that delight the senses, the Turin inventions of gianduia and bicerin.

What do you think reveals a person’s inner beauty?

I think two things above all others: care and respect. In everything we do. For other people, for the planet. In business and in one’s personal life. There cannot be inner beauty without these.

How has your understanding of masculinity changed over the years?

I believe that masculinity has gradually softened, is less authoritarian and more authoritative in its assertion. Less bound to clichés of the past, of a phantomatic alpha male. More open to considering kindness as a strength, instead of a weakness.

At the moment, ideas around beauty and masculinity can be warped and weaponised. What gives you hope for the future, and the next generation?

Precisely the next generation is what gives me hope. Our children, despite the countless sources of disturbance, are also in contact with many positive stimuli; from a very young age they are confronted with the whole world, with cultures and disciplines different from their own. And this helps them to develop greater understanding, discernment, and awareness much earlier. This is then reflected in better capacity of taking responsibility when it comes to issues that affect our lives, such as ecology, gender equality, body positivity, minority rights – to name but a few. Obviously, it is up to us to ensure that our young refine their analytical capacities and sensitivity, but my hopes are high.

Photography Scott Gallagher

Styling Georgia Thompson

This article is taken from Port issue 31. To continue reading, buy the issue or subscribe here

Me by Canali

The luxury Italian house empowers its customers with a new range of clothing customisation

There is made to measure, and then there is the omnipotent creative control Canali has just handed over. No longer the preserve of its formal sartorial offering, Me by Canali has been expanded, giving customers a litany of choice when crafting their own casual garments.

Each item’s pattern, fit and finish can be tweaked; knitwear, denim and outerwear are now fully customisable, down to the granular detailing of buttons, inserts, lapels, linings and piping. The material possibilities are also innumerable, with clientele able to select from 500 fabrics – including permanent and seasonal fabrics from the formal collection – 10 knitwear patterns across cashmere, cashmere-silk-wool and Sea Island cotton in 20 colours, as well as 250 shirt fabrics and 20 different collars.

That many options would paralyse most civilians without a fashion degree, so the luxury Italian house is drawing on its significant experience in su misura and tailoring specialists dotted around the world. Available in all of its boutiques, once every measurement has been taken and the details defined together, the unique brief is sent to the Canali lab in Sovico, Lombardy. Just four weeks later, followed by an additional fitting session, the idiosyncratic creation will be ready to wear. And, to further reinforce an ever-closer relationship with customers, each season those who are most loyal to the bespoke service will be sent a customised kit, different and exclusive for each, with a selection of fabrics chosen for them by their Canali professional that best reflects their preferences.

With this level of input, the brand is making a compelling case for a more responsible mode of consumption. In carefully creating your own made-to-measure wardrobe – deciding on quality textiles, exact sizing – with the possibility of repairing them, your clothing’s lifespan is very likely to be extended. In the age of lightning fast and disposable fashion, this deliberate act of attention and care is something to be celebrated.


Hat CELINE Necklace CELINE Belt CELINE Trousers CELINE Vest HANRO Phone cover RIMOWA













Photography Marie Valognes 

Styling Lune Kuipers

Models Akachi, Nicolas, Idrisse 

Special thanks to Coline and Sarah

This article is taken from Port issue 30. To continue reading, buy the issue or subscribe here

Still Yawning


CANALI Sunglasses Stylist’s own





Leather jacket DIESEL Jeans VALENTINO Shoes Model’s own

Top CLAN Skirt Stylist’s own Tights Stylist’s own Shoes DIOR Skirt on rail BOSS Bag on floor TOD’S





Photography Moritz Tibes

Styling Julie Velut

Set design Anna Barnett

Hairstyling Moe Mukai

Make up Grace Ellington

Models Shu at XDIRECTN, Teddy at XDIRECTN, Maude at The Hive Management, Alec at IMM

Casting FOUND Casting

This article is taken from Port issue 30. To continue reading, buy the issue or subscribe here

Sartorial Lightness

Canali’s new portmanteau marries the shirt and jacket to create an entirely new garment

A portmanteau is both a travelling case that splits into two equal parts, and a shorthand splicing of words to create a new meaning – brunch, smog, podcast, camcorder, motel, bionics. This in-between state, or fusing of categories, has been brought to life most recently by Canali, the family-run, Italian menswear brand established in 1934. Enter the Shacket, a seamless blend of shirt and jacket that is the centrepiece to its SS21 offering, a collection built around imagination, escape and adventure.

“The pursuit of impeccable creation, selecting the finest materials, and close attention to detail are the brand’s core values, inspiring it to explore new tailoring forms for each season,” notes CEO Stefano Canali, when asked how the item came to be.

“To take our savoir-faire to an even higher level, we have been committed over the years to pursue ‘sartorial lightness’. Thus, new constructions and models take shape from the desire to offer our customers lightweight, enveloping, and versatile garments, in which comfort, sophistication, and fit perfectly embody our sartorial DNA.”

In many ways a companion piece to its 2007 unstructured KEI jacket, which innovatively stole the lightness and flexibility normally reserved for knitwear, it marries the best of both worlds. Sophisticated and practical shirt elements such as mother-of-pearl buttons, rounded cuffs and a locker loop sit alongside jacket details including patch pockets, visible stitching and a playfully bold contrasting inner lining. Available in blue – cotton, silk and linen – and light grey – the same precious blend but with added wool – both offer a seasonal sleekness, and due to their extreme lightness, take up minimal space when folded. The varied demands of a multi-tasking metropolitan routine have always required adaptability, and the piece is equally at ease when paired with a formal, polo or t shirt, slacks or suit trousers, just as at home in a zoom conference or formal meeting in town. 

Indeed, Canali’s thinking behind the garment goes further than a simple material object, stating it “embodies a style and a way of being.” Responding to the in-between state that the pandemic has foisted on many, I ask whether the design has taken on more relevance in our newly forged hybrid world that’s accelerated the trend where we, and the clothes we wear, are required to don multiple hats. Canali notes that, “We have been broadening our product offering toward casualwear and sportswear for many years. Canali is still renowned for a high quality, genuinely sartorial formalwear offering whilst we accommodate our customers’ needs that steer towards softness, deconstruction, casualwear.

“Tailoring will never disappear; it is simply exchanging fits, construction fabrics and details with the casualwear, even the most technical one. As a consequence of this cross fertilisation, the boundaries between formalwear and casualwear will be blurred, sometimes will even disappear. Mix and match between the two categories has been the rule for some time by now. In this world where the boundaries between home and office are less clear, it is a necessity to wear always something which you feel comfortable in and at the same time elegant and sophisticated.”

Like many brands working in our brave new world, Canali has demonstrated that blurred boundaries represent a fertile creative space, one in which clothing can be as skilfully interchangeable as our contemporary daily rhythms.

Have Love Will Travel

Canali’s SS2021 collection explores new worlds

Canali, the family-run company now in its third generation, is an Italian Maison distinguished by its sartorial tradition, invention and craftsmanship. For over 85 years it has built on the foundations established by Giacomo and Giovanni Canali in 1939 and their clean, sharp, modernist designs, spreading the gospel of Italian menswear to America, Europe, the Middle East – and in recent years – China and Oceania.

Exploration, an impulse smothered out of necessity this year, is the focus for the brands smart Spring Summer 2021 collection. It is animaginary voyage through the masculine wardrobe,” notes Canali. “A journey of self-discovery amidst distant places, tracing the path of an adventure…In this fluid context between interior settings that are becoming increasingly central in everyday life and outdoor spaces just waiting to be explored with new eyes, a new need emerges for pondered and reliable garments, rich in taste and usefulness.”


Three divergent personalities – but ones which can be mixed and matched fluidly – make up the offering. The first, Canali1934, reconstructs a smart wardrobe with reversibility and functionality. Responding to a greater need for versatility and interchangeability, garments are hybrid in nature – best expressed by the new ‘shacket’. Created with drapery fabric, the mix of shirt and jacket manages a formality and elegance without internal support. Reinterpreted raincoats and trenches in a number of fits and finishes are also comprised in a range of colours; wisteria, sage, brick red and Tuareg blue.

The Black Edition, meanwhile, represents the more innovative, experimental arm of the collection, coming direct from the brand laboratory. Punctuated by yellows, ergonomic cuts and unexpected silhouettes, the military is evoked with technical fabrics such as seersucker renewed in 3D Mesh. Stretch wool also adds a worn effect for wool denim, viscose and polyester, complimenting the contours of the segment.  

Finally, Exclusive marks a softer, relaxed response to the sense of adventure running throughout. Suits suitable for a discerning dandy have ample lapels enriched with pick stitching and hand embroidered eyelets, shoulders characterised by classic volumes and ruffled armholes synonymous with Canali tailors. The suave-safari palette is one of desert, rock and dunes, with pure silk used for knitwear, cotton-silk for carcoats and cashmere-silk for sand colour jackets.

If Canali’s SS2021 collection channels the discovery that travel brings, then it also represents hope. Hope that by next spring, we will emerge from the confines of inside and cross borders once more.

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.

Stories of Craftsmanship

In a series of six short films, Canali explores the craft and construction of some of its key designs

‘Where do stories come from?’ asks Italian writer and director Ivan Cottroneo. ‘Everything starts with a blank page – metaphorical or physical – or a blank screen in a cinema before a movie begins. This is a very significant image and despite everything that is said about writer’s block or director’s block, this image is inspirational to me. I get the urge to fill that blank screen, I want to fill that blank page.’

In a recent collaboration with Canali, Cottroneo – who co-wrote the script for Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love – came together with Luca Bigazzi, director of photography for Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, and Oscar-winning composer Dario Marianelli to create an exclusive short film. The result – Rewind – pays homage to the attention to detail involved in the making of a Canali blazer, from pattern-making to the final stitches. 

Now, this narrative continues with Stories of Craftsmanship, which explores the craft and construction of some of the other garments the brand is best known for. Six short films released over the several weeks each focus on an item from the Canali catalogue: The Shirt; The Tie; The Shoe; The Belt; The Sweater; The Trouser. The latest episode, released today, focuses on the construction of a Canali sweater. Watch it here