From the Magazine14.05.2014

Exclusive interview with Paolo Canali

In a special interview for PREMIUM Lifestyle, Mr. Paolo Canali, Sales & Marketing Director at Canali, is sharing thoughts about the history of the brand, the details behind the management of a family business and the vision of an optimist in this dynamic world.

Martina Zaharieva
Exclusive interview with Paolo Canali

Interview by Martina Zaharieva, Editor-in-Chief

What are the challenges and the benefits to run a family business such as Canali?

I’m very proud to belong to a family with such strong tradition in the Italian style and elegance. As I grew up in a very creative and stimulating environment with solid roots, tradition and innovation have always been our key words. I, with my siblings and cousins- the third generation, are bearer of a timeless tradition and we, of course, benefit from what our grandparents created 80 years ago but, at the same time, we have to face more challenging markets, stronger competition and customers’ different needs and tastes than our ancestors. In the last 10 years, as Group Commercial Director, I’ve seen major changes in the internal dynamics of most countries and a big challenge is to find the best and most profitable strategy to increase visibility, brand awareness and sales. Running a family business is satisfying, very laborious, varied and extremely involving.

As a child – what was your dream job?
I made up my mind that, when I would grow up, I wanted to join the family business when I was ten: the epiphany happened while taking a walk in a pine trees forest. Should I have walked the other path, as Robert Frost said, I would have liked to become a journalist or an aviator: these were my dreams as a child

How has the Canali brand been evolving since its founding in 1934?
Canali was founded 80 years ago and from that moment has never stopped its growth. Three different generations have totally devoted their know-how and expertise to build what Canali represents worldwide today: a design and manufacturing group with its own Italian production centers, more than 236 boutiques and 1000 retail store in more than 100 countries. In these 80 years we have always strived for perfection thanks to our strong roots in craftsmanship and Italian style and elegance. Focusing on promoting the same strong values and philosophy the third generation is constantly working to implement and maintain an exclusive brand awareness investing on research and development.

Which are the most intriguing and distinguishing elements of the brand? What makes the brand unique?
The uniqueness lies in our suits, in our garments. Through our tailoring tradition we are specialized in high quality products, sewn by expert hands and characterized by perfect wearability and sophisticated elements giving an extraordinary comfort. Unique and exclusive is the entire process, from fabrics selection, through our craftsmanship to the shopping experience

What’s the piece of clothing that every discerning gentleman should have in his wardrobe?
A blue blazer is certainly a must have, a statement of elegance that can be adapted for different occasions. Thanks to its versatile soul it’s really a key component of men’s wardrobe. You can wear it over formal trousers as well as a chino or a pair of jeans. It’s the distinctive element that adds a stylish twist to your look.

What is the modern Canali man like?
The Canali man is a Millennial Modernist, extremely classic in his innermost being he is now attracted by a new style that combines formality with a modern twist. Besides the strict rules of classic elegance he is willing to play, to feel free and more lighthearted. He pays more and more attention to details and dare with colors and patterns. Extremely self-assured he appreciates quality and innovation, elegance and uniqueness, without being a trends obsessed.

Canali has been associated with quite a few Hollywood celebrities - who best embodies the brand?
We are proud of all the Celebrities who have chosen to trust Canali as they totally embody our ideal men. Some of them, not only the Hollywood one, are so close to the brand that have decided to participate in our “200 Steps”- an online key project where each month a refined man, with the Canali sharp and cutting-edge style, will reveal the secrets of his creativity, the steps behind his craft.

What inspires you in creating the collections? Do you have different items in the collections for the different markets?
Through our collections we like to tell imaginary stories that let people dream as they are on an amazing journey. Our creative team takes inspiration from art, from extraordinary paintings and from nature in its choice of colors while it concentrates on different historical eras for styles and shapes. All this elements are then mixed together to create a collection permeated by the typical Italian Canali’s elegance and style. Our collections are so wide and follow the tastes and needs of the contemporary men that usually we do not create specific items for different markets.

How is the Bulgarian market performing and is there something specific about it?
We are very pleased with our performance in the Bulgarian market: we have a nice and loyal following that appreciate our products. The key has been the human people: we have fantastic people in the Sofia boutique that really understand the brand and its values and provide an excellent service to their consumers.

What does the phrase “Made in Italy” mean to you?
We always say that Made in Italy is not just a label on a garment but means design, creativity, passion and tradition – values that are well recognized worldwide. It’s an integral part of the brand that really encompasses all the different “small pieces”, we are proudly 100% made in Italy that means that our garments are produced in our own Italian production centers , fabrics are sourced by the best Italian mills as well as all the other parts of a suit. Nevertheless, once fabrics are received in our warehouse we still proceed with a long series of product checks, to eliminate any possible blemish, for example. The ability of our tailors and the fact that this tradition is handed down from one generation to another reinforce and guarantee the highest standard of quality.

Since this is our Optimistic Issue – are you an optimist yourself and how do you maintain your positive attitude in your work and everyday life?
I like to see the glass half full and to pay attention to the solutions, rather than the problems. I believe that persistence and hard work will always lead you to better things. This is my mantra, the inner guideline. Then… singing under the shower in the morning and some chocolate in the evening are the best way to start and end the day in a positive mood.

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