Canali, an Italian brand best-known for its men's suits, dates back to 1934, but it's a relatively new addition to the runway calendar in Milan (until two years ago, the label had been showing its collection in Florence at an event called Pitti Immagine Uomo), and since so much of suiting is in the details, I've always found it hard to get a good bead on where the brand is headed as it moves down the runway.
But not this time -- Canali clearly has its eye on Mumbai.
Acknowledging the brand's recent growth -- and growth potential -- in the Indian market, Canali's spring and summer 2012 collection was inspired by all things India (much the way the Chinese-themed fall and winter 2011 collection from Ermenegildo Zegna was an homage to its fastest-growing market).
The result was a Canali collection brighter and lighter than anything I can remember from the label in a long time. Standouts were the brightly colored silks -- fuchsia, emerald green, turquoise, orange, red and pink; and patterns that ranged from bold geometrics and tone-on-tone stripes to floral micro patterns and mandala-inspired designs.
In addition to the sea of silk -- a fiber that's commanded more than its share of attention on the men's runways this season -- there were more traditional fabrics such as wool and linen, as well as more Western-style silhouettes. But after serving up flourishes like the Nehru collar, the aforementioned mandalas and the tote bag emblazoned with the image of Ganesh, it's clear that this collection was Canali's love note to India, plain and simple.