Canali is planning a multipronged celebration of its 75th anniversary this year, one that includes its first runway show, the opening of a new showroom in Milan and the relocation of its U.S. headquarters.
This story first appeared in the May 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Italian luxury men’s wear brand, which was founded in 1934 by Giacomo and Giovanni Canali, will host a dinner and runway show for the spring/summer 2010 collection at its new Milan office on June 22 as the centerpiece of the birthday bash. Details are being kept under wraps but Giorgio Canali, president of the company’s North American operations, said the evening will also serve to show off the new showroom space, which is on Via Lodovico il Moro in a former warehouse district in the southern part of Milan. The building is close to 15,000 square feet, he noted, and was purchased by the company. He characterized the neighborhood as “younger, hipper and trendier. And we thought we could do the same thing in New York,” Canali said.
As a result, Canali will relocate from its home of the past 10 years, 712 Fifth Avenue, and move to the Meatpacking District. The company spent $10.6 million to purchase two floors in a building at 415 W. 13th Street and will leave Fifth Avenue when its lease expires next spring.
“This is a premier building and we love it here,” Canali said, “but we could use more space. We started looking when the euro was at its peak last year.” Although the exchange rate is not as favorable today, the fact the company could own the new location was the driving factor in the decision to move. “Do the math — it makes sense financially to find the right real estate and buy it instead of renting,” Canali said.
The company looked in Midtown and SoHo but settled on the Meatpacking District. The location, between Ninth and Tenth avenues, will be a short walk from the new High Line park that is being constructed, as well as all the boutiques, hotels and restaurants in the area. “We think the location is perfect,” Canali said.
The company will use 10,680 square feet on the second floor to showcase its collection and will have 4,000 square feet in the basement for storage. An art gallery in the space will continue to lease the spot from Canali until it moves. Canali’s office on Fifth Avenue is 9,600 square feet.
“These are tough times, but if you can find the right deal you have to go for it,” he said.
Canali said the New York headquarters will be fashioned after the new Milan showroom and will boast “open spaces with work stations, not separate rooms. It will be more modern.”
He said that although the main floor of the building is available, Canali has no intention of opening a retail store on the site. “That’s not the right thing for us,” he said. The company operates five stores in the U.S.