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A Marriage of Culture and Style

Men’s fashion brand Canali continues to excel in its ‘made in Italy’ bespoke tailoring for the Indian men’s market…but is it only for India or for the entire world?

Men’s fashion brand Canali continues to excel in its ‘made in Italy’ bespoke tailoring for the Indian men’s market….but is it only for India or for the entire world?

Cinecitta met Bollywood at Milan Fashion Week from the first scene on the catwalk, as Canali knows how to fully capture the attention of its audience, and produce a collection that is both bold and innovative.

The journey started in 2009 when Canali initiated its new voyage in the Orient Express to India. At the crossing of the ‘Nawab Collection’, which targeted a new culture, the brand had imposed to the West the novelty of the ‘revised Maharaja’s luxury dressing’, giving its customers the royal feeling of being incontestably fashionable.

The Canali strategy to dig into the Indian luxury dress code is so rich, that it can only appeal and fascinate the international fashion capitals. The brand is a leader in a strong emerging market and has to be saluted for its vision to conquer the Indian luxury retail market.

Canali follows in the steps of Pierre Cardin, who in 1968 modernised the famous ‘Mao Look’, and imposed its style to an entire generation of fashionable men. The new Canali Spring/Summer 2012 collection aims to address the large Indian population with its theme: India – a mystery and adventure, colours and aromas.

To capture the large Indian audience and become a beacon of style in this growing market, Canali has draped its branding around celebrities. And who is the best male actor for this role? The one and only Anil Kapoor, the golden boy of Indian movies, and a man of many facets with a strong charisma. International readers will certainly connect him to the Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.

The Canali family showcased their collection at via Savona, with Mr Kapoor and his wife Sunita in front row seats, enveloped by the entire Indian Consular delegation, celebrities, business people, Bollywood stars and press.

The runway begins with oriental music adding to the flavours and colours of India which represented subtlety, harmony, mystery, adventure and luxury. A cohort of young men, each dressed better than the other, allured with a creativity of materials and evolution in style. The collection played with less rigidity and more flexibility to showcase the real Indian man of today.

It was a strong theme where shapes of clothes played with mandarin collars, shaped waists were complimented by long flowing silken scarves and cuffed pants fell softly around the ankles accentuated by laced espadrilles. All themed by embroideries, colours and styles of India, the collection brought back to life the splendour of luxury made for the 21st century, never neglecting its deep Italian roots and personality.

Although the heritage and royalty of Indian princes belong to history, not fashion, a new breed of princes headed by Bollywood royalty headed to the Canali after show dinner party in honour of Anil Kapoor, who represented the global face of India, dressed intricately by the Italian brand. Your humble servant, representing LuxuryFacts, had the pleasure to participate at this dinner party hosted by the Canali family. The sit-down dinner was held in the palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi, now a museum, where culture was at ‘rendezvous’ with a twist of simplicity and real grandeur.

This dinner was an opportunity for Italy to intersect with India, and bridge “vieille Europe” with an emerging Tiger, with luxury at the heart of this rendezvous. A handpicked number of illustrious guests, hosted by Mr Eugenio Canali and family members Elisabetta, Stefano, Paolo, and Giorgio, included Consul General of India in Milan S.K. Verma, Dino and Shilu Bhattessa, Concetta Lanciaux (former LVMH adviser to Bernard Arnault), Judi Jarvis, Givoanni Gastel, Jas Arora, Elena Masnini, Roasie Ahluwalia, Aindrila Mitra and more.

In a warm summer evening, with splendid Indian saris floating lightly in the wind contrasting with the latest European fashion, the Canali elegance of the gentlemen was a tribute to taste.

However, nothing of the sort could have been possible without its protagonist; Mr. Eugenio Canali, the founder of the brand. With a true sense of vision and leadership, Mr Canali has given the extraordinary chance to carry on the family name around the world to Canali’s second generation, which is consolidating on their savoir-faire and unique heritage brand. Such a fashion name needs nurturing and constant control in re-shaping its objectives. As a market leader in bespoke tailoring, an eminent step to move forward in the global market is to move fast forward into the digital world, where social media is the key, and e-commerce is an added value to best practice.

Not only is having a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube presence an obligation, but e-commerce gives the consumer a choice to buy something of true value. At present, in Europe, few luxury brands have gambled on e-commerce sites. Only a few have taken the first step towards it. However, the American blueprint can help them in gaining customers and digital presence, particularly when the aim is to appeal to a new dynamic market such as India. With Elisabetta Canali and her brothers Paolo, Giorgio and Stefano having an increased influence on the direction of the fashion label, it will bring a wind of youth that will appeal to the younger Canali fashion generation.

Be bold, be brave, be Canali – the ever new generation of fashion through the digital culture of style.

Russian and Spanish aristocrat, HH Alexandra Orloff, is the CEO and owner of Sacha Orloff Ltd, a consultancy offering services and products in luxury jewellery, watches, and fashion industry. Having worked in numerous prestigious luxury brands, she has enormous expertise in strategy development for luxury brands across emerging markets.