Stefano Canali On The Importance Of Tradition And Tailoring

You may have heard the proverb ‘the suit makes a man’ a million times. But to really understand what it means, you need to put on a suit that’s well-tailored and made with the best fabrics. Then, watch your personality transform with that newly-attained confidence boost.

The Italians are known to take their fashion and tailoring very seriously and so, it comes as no surprise that Canali is a popular choice when looking to invest in a great suit. The brand, which was among the first luxury houses to bet on the Indian market, opened its first store in the country 15 years ago. However, India doesn’t shop like the rest of the world. The brand was committed to understanding its customers‘ demands and so, in 2014, it came up with the ‘Nawab’, a contemporary take on the traditional bandhgala, which was their only country-specific customisation.

Last month, Canali inaugurated it’s seventh store in the country at the Jio World Plaza in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex with a grand party that was attended by some of Bollywood’s most suave men ranging from Kabir Bedi, Arjun Kapoor, Aparshakti Khurrana and Gurfateh Pirzada, to name a few. The brand’s President and CEO Stefano Canali also made his way from Italy to Mumbai for the grand event and we had a chance to catch up with him amid the pomp. , read an excerpt of our chat with the man who carries the brand name with him around the world:

In Conversation With Stefano Canali

HELLO!: What is it like to run a family business with a global footprint?

Stefano Canali: “Running a family business with a global footprint is both a privilege and a responsibility. As the third-generation leader, I am entrusted with the task of carrying forward a legacy of excellence. This entails navigating contemporary business challenges while steering the brand towards future success. It’s a dynamic journey that requires balancing tradition with innovation, and fostering growth while staying true to our core values. Despite the challenges, it’s incredibly rewarding to see the impact of our brand worldwide and to uphold the legacy built by previous generations.”

H!: What is the one piece of advice passed on by your father that you will always carry with you?

SC: “The invaluable advice from my father that deeply resonates with me emphasises humility, leadership and care. He underlined the importance of never resting on one’s laurels and always leading by example, valuing every team member’s contribution. This extends beyond business to embrace every member of the Canali family, our community and the planet. This guiding principle shapes my leadership approach and reinforces the values of hard work, integrity and the pursuit of quality instilled in me by my father and grandfather.”

H!: How would you describe your connection to India?

SC: “Canali recognises the rising significance of the Indian market, which indicates the expanding appreciation for luxury fashion. The inauguration of our seventh store in India underscores our belief in the market’s potential, we have entered the market as first movers. In such a nuanced market, we prioritise offering products and styles that resonate with local preferences while staying true to our brand identity. Upon entering the Indian market at the beginning of the last decade, we creatively reimagined the traditional Bandhgala suit, typically reserved for ceremonial occasions, into a more versatile and contemporary version called the ‘Nawab’. This innovative approach was met with immediate success, given that we blended Indian heritage seamlessly with Italian style and craftsmanship expertise. Today the market is evolving and demands more and more such looks, a request we are meeting with increasing satisfaction.”

H!: What are some of your favourite things about the new store in Jio World Plaza?

SC: “The Canali Jio World Plaza store in Mumbai showcases the innovative lifestyle store concept that the brand first introduced in Madison Avenue, New York, in 2023, and has since been implemented in all new boutiques around the world. Designed as a hybrid blend between a boutique and an elegant Milanese home, each space radiates a welcoming yet refined atmosphere, capturing the elegant essence of the brand.

The VIP room in the Mumbai boutique, an exclusive space dedicated to me by Canali, will permanently showcase a significant artwork by New Delhi-based visual artist Vipeksha Gupta, resonating with Canali’s core value of ‘Inner Beauty. It captures the essence of both Italian and Indian traditions, symbolising profound introspection and a search for self-awareness.”

H!: Can you share some tips for men who want to elevate their sartorial choices?

SC: “Prioritise fit and construction. A well-tailored garment, crafted with top quality fabrics and attention to detail, will always stand out and enhance the body’s natural shape. It will also be more durable and so, more sustainable. Consider the versatility of each piece and choose items that seamlessly transition from formal to casual settings, reflecting the modern lifestyle. Invest in timeless pieces that embody whispered luxury—elegance that speaks through subtlety and sophistication. Finally, don’t shy away from personalising your wardrobe.”