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Behind the brand: Italian luxury menswear label Corneliani

By Jyoti Balani on 4th June 2020

Starting as a specialist maker of raincoats and overcoats, reputed Italian brand Corneliani has grown into one of the world’s leading luxury menswear labels.

In the 1930s, Alfredo Corneliani established a craft company making raincoats and overcoats. By 1959, his sons Claudio and Carlalberto set up Corneliani. It is now in the hands of the third generation and Corneliani remains committed to quality. In June 2016, Arab investment group Investcorp acquired a majority stake in Corneliani for an enterprise value of about $100 million.

Each item is still crafted by experts who are rigorously trained to meet the standards that keep the brand at the forefront of luxury Italian menswear. Alongside high-end ready-to-wear clothing and accessories, Corneliani offers an excellent made-to-measure service which is available in store. Combining skills that have been passed down through the generations and the benefits of the latest technologies, Corneliani can craft the perfect suit for each customer.

In this feature, we speak to Prem Dewan, retail head, OSL Luxury Collections Pvt. Ltd – Corneliani’s Indian partner about current fashion trends, the future of fashion and how it will undergo a change given the current situation.

What do you think are the current and future trends in fashion?

I think Covid-19 will reshape the industry and we would have to reinvent and reimagine everything. Power augmented reality and live video shopping will be introduced. 3D printers also hold a strong potential. 3D printing is allowing people to create new fabrics with properties like anti-wrinkling too. One of the things we can predict from both fashion and changing attitudes today is that we are probably going to see a more androgynous look favoured in the next decade or so.

Corneliani has been a paradigm of tailor-made Italian luxury and men’s elegance for more than 60 years

How would you define fashion?

Fashion, to me, represents life. Any attire that makes me more creative, more interesting, that’s when I feel the most alive and have that adrenaline rush. The purpose of fashion is to make one feel alive in the present.

How would you describe your brand’s style?

Family run business Corneliani boasts of a grand tradition of Italian tailoring, renowned for its elegant, high-end menswear which focuses on the customer experience rather than just the product.

How do you see the future of fashion in the light of the current situation?

It will take some time to come back to normalcy. The Covid-19 pandemic will bring a major change in the consumer’s mindset and the value system that underpins their luxury buying decisions. This change in behaviour may become the ‘way of life’ and ‘new normal’ for consumers. Consumers may be driven to buy luxury for conscientious value rather than conspicuous value. We’d have to work to understand this and adapt accordingly by redesigning our strategies.

How do you plan to change the way you work?

Post pandemic crisis has resulted in a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour. We are re-defining our business models to curate products that are authentic and responsible, to unravel what my brand stands for now and what it can mean in the future. We are looking to re-think how we can serve the needs of affluent consumers purposefully and create meaningful content to inspire, engage and entice them.

How long does it usually take your brand to construct a piece?

Our made to measure suits and shirts are handcrafted in Italy and allows you to create custom garments that are inherently unique and catered to your distinct tastes from your favourite fit, style, and fabric from over 500 options, many of which are exclusive to Corneliani. It takes six weeks to curate and reach the customer. The off the rack merchandise can be purchased or home-shopped at one’s convenience.

Corneliani has a classic sartorial style, updated with a modern twist for comfort and ease

Who are the brand’s favourite models to work with?

Corneliani has been a paradigm of tailor-made Italian luxury and men’s elegance for more than 60 years. It is a modern-day design and manufacturing group with it’s own production centres all located in Italy and all marketing campaigns are brought to life in Italy.

Where do you source your fabrics and other sewing materials?

Corneliani has been promoting the values of Made in Italy excellence through its artisanal know-how, creating sartorial masterpieces of exceptional wear ability and comfort in manufacturing based out of Italy.

What do you believe makes a good quality article of clothing?

For me, sartorial expertise, innovation, and attention to detail along-with embodiment of my personal style makes for a quality garment.

How would you define the style your brand exemplifies?

Corneliani has a classic sartorial style, updated with a modern twist for comfort and ease. Beyond the main line, we have Corneliani Travel Tech. The practical yet elegant line is dedicated to the constant traveller who wants to look stylish but not fussy. Another addition is Corneliani Adaptive, a capsule collection of ultra-lightweight, casual blazers made with a high-tech patented exclusive material with high-performance standards and a smooth, cool look.

What is it that inspires your brand?

A 70’s spirit, free from any nostalgic and vintage vibe, inspires the Corneliani Spring/Summer 2020 collection. Looking to the archives, the brand rediscovers a hyper sophisticated allure, which is projected into the contemporary world through fabrics and high-tech technologies. Everything revolves around an impeccable, masculine, refined yet spontaneous and comfortable style.

Future plans?

We’re reshaping our strategies to be competitive and have a cutting edge post this pandemic. We’re also looking at new opportunities to expand and capture the market.