Since 1934, Canali has favored understatement. The brand’s vision of menswear—and masculinity—puts aside power suits, bright satin ties and the attention-grabbing of most marquee fashion houses in favor of balance. This is luxury understood as refinement rather than opulence: Tonal cashmere rather than thick chalk stripes; platinum that could be stainless steel.
As you’d expect from a brand emphasizing fit and form above all else, made-to-measure has long been a central part of Canali’s offering. Now, the brand is expanding its custom tailoring from suits and shirts to casual-wear under the new banner of Me by Canali.
“Since the pandemic, and maybe a little bit before, I think men have changed,” says Bryan Drake, director of Canali’s Mayfair boutique. “It’s no longer a very traditional man with a traditional suit shirt, and tie. They’re more open to innovation now and they’re more open to customization.” The formalwear business has been Canali’s strength for 90 years, Drake explains, but unsurprisingly sportswear has been the growth area over the past few years.
“Generally men nowadays don’t need to be so formal, and they’re coming back to the office less formal,” he continues. “This may be a jacket with a smart pair of jeans and a shirt when previously, it was a suit and a shirt and a tie.” Me by Canali aims to bridge such gaps in a man’s wardrobe, offering relaxed styles made with the precision of a custom-tailored suit.
Made-to-measure is foremost a way of achieving better fit by adjusting a standard garment block to each individual’s exact proportions. Add the ability to choose from a much wider range of fabrics and finishes and it’s easy to see why Canali’s MTM suits and shirts have long been a popular choice. The new service, which is available at all of the brand’s boutiques, adds knitwear, jeans, outerwear and sports shirts to the mix. One of the strengths of this offering is a kind of consistency that’s hard to achieve in off the peg casual-wear. As the suit becomes more of an occasional piece than a daily driver for many, clients can create a casual uniform that doesn’t sacrifice tailoring’s polish. Indeed, the same pattern-cutters responsible for MTM suits at the brand’s Sovico, Italy headquarters are the ones tailoring the custom casual-wear.
Canali’s safari jacket is a particular favorite of Drake’s Mayfair clients. It’s slimmer and shorter than an overcoat, but shower- and crease-resistant, making it an ideal alternative to a tailored jacket for frequent fliers or anyone in temperamental climes. While the style has been a consistently strong seller, Drake says many customers were disappointed that they couldn’t order it in alternate colors or fabrics. “We have a very good customer who wears the safari jacket and he’s got a couple,” Drake says. “Now, he wants all the colors you can get in.”
As the brand incorporates more casual pieces into its top-tier service, Canali’s tailoring DNA is still evident. Clients used to picking out their favorite fabrics for suits and shirts can now choose from a rainbow of pure cashmere, Sea Island cotton and cashmere-silk-wool blends for 10 sweater silhouettes, 250 different shirt fabrics with 20 collar options and have jeans made from a classic cotton denim or one with a touch of silk—among countless other possibilities for buttons, lapels, linings and much more. The result is the same quiet luxury in new, more laidback forms. “Yes, we’re understated, but I think our clients want understatement,” Drake observes. “We offer elegance.”