By  on May 7, 2010

PARIS — The English gent is about to get a healthy dose of Italian style.

Canali, the luxury Italian men’s wear firm, will open its largest boutique to date at 126-127 New Bond Street in London today. The location will serve as the brand’s U.K. commercial headquarters and showroom as well.

“The U.K. is our third-strongest market after the U.S. and Italy,” said Paolo Canali, the label’s commercial director. “We wanted a much stronger presence in London.”

Covering 7,500 square feet, the fully owned boutique, which is the second Canali unit in the English capital, contrasts dark mahogany paneling with light marble floors. Sportswear, leisurewear, shirts and accessories are located on the ground floor, while the label’s tailored clothing claims space on the lower level. The Canali Exclusive line and a separate made-to-measure room equipped with a private VIP area also are located downstairs.

“Two-thousand ten started with a much more positive note. We’ve seen a 20 percent increase in the first quarter in our own stores,” said Canali. “Men are buying suits again.”

Canali added he expects the store to generate 6 million pounds, or $9.1 million at current exchange, in the first full year.

The opening is the latest in a series of initiatives the company is taking this year. Directly operated Canali stores already have bowed in Hong Kong and Shanghai since January. According to the brand, a total of 20 boutiques will open this year, bringing the total store count to 175 units.

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