MEET ALEXANDRE MATTIUSSI, CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF THE AMI LABEL
The decision to name his label AMI (meaning 'friend' in French) was conscious, of course. But it was only when meeting Alexandre Mattiussi at Le Bon Marché one summer's morning that this anodyne thought really made sense. Alexandre arrives smiling, tells us about his upcoming holiday, the friends he can't wait to catch up with and offers us coffee with characteristic kindness and natural ease.
Now considered a benchmark for men’s fashion, AMI is launching its first women's collection exclusively at Le Bon Marché and in the process, reaffirming its talent for producing modern and accessible pieces inspired by men and women in the street.
How does the first collection you are launching for women fit into what you are already offering for men?
Women have been part of AMI since the brand was launched. Lots of women wear AMI and visit our stores to pick out items of menswear they can incorporate into their wardrobes. Last season, I felt the need to launch the first capsule collection, comprising of a dozen pieces for women, exclusively on 24s.com. For AW19, I then naturally designed an entire collection using the same fabrics and materials as the men’s collection, but with more feminine cuts.
What is the basic idea behind this first collection for women?
Above all, it had to be 100% AMI; quality materials and casual chic styling, but with more feminine cuts. For this collection, I was really inspired by the natural elegance of the women around me and by all these women I admire for their retro, sophisticated style. I wanted quite faded, "macaron" colours, like pink, green almond, sky blue, as well as soft and cosy fabrics and classic patterns like houndstooth and Prince of Wales check. What interested me specifically was the combination of these different influences with what are very contemporary cuts.
"Faultless, beautiful, timeless and sophisticated, AMI clothes are my kind of clothes"
Who is the AMI woman?
There is no strict definition of the AMI woman, which would inevitably be somewhat reductive. I tend to say my clothes are for everyone, from 17 to 77. I want AMI to remain a very accommodating brand, where everyone can find something from the men's or the women's collection to mix and match with the rest of their wardrobe. Depending on what it is teamed with or how it is worn, a piece can look completely different from one person to the next. I encourage this freedom in fashion, I think it's only right for someone’s wardrobe to be very personal and unique.
Do you have a favourite piece from the new collection?
I particularly like the oversized two-button unisex coat in boiled wool. It’s basically a man's coat, which we’ve resized for women. It’s a sophisticated, comfortable, loose-fitting and charming piece you’ll want to wrap yourself up in. I can see myself wearing it this winter with a chunky knit beanie hat and a pair of trainers.
What’s the best fashion advice you could give someone?
Just being comfortable in your own skin. Nothing more than that. Of course, you can achieve that by looking after yourself, eating well, getting your rest and keeping active, but I think clothes help you feel good too. What I really enjoy is that magical moment when someone is wearing something and for whatever reason, you think "that suits them". It’s a funny expression, "that suits you".
What I really enjoy is that magical moment when someone is wearing something and for whatever reason, you think "that suits them". It’s a funny expression, "that suits you".
What I really enjoy is that magical moment when someone is wearing something and for whatever reason, you think "that suits them". It’s a funny expression, "that suits you.
Logos like the heart, the words AMI or WELCOME that feature on your pieces have come to characterise your brand. What makes kindness so important to your approach to fashion?
For a start, because I am naturally like that and my staff are too. Kindness, respect, sincerity and sharing are at the heart of our creative thinking and the concepts that inspire us day to day. I couldn’t make violent or aggressive clothing; I prefer to keep things soft, positive and cheerful. You often hear it said that "You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends". AMI is a bit like the family I chose for myself.
Why was it important to launch this first collection exclusively at Le Bon Marché?
Le Bon Marché was my first customer in France when the brand was just starting out in 2011. I remember we threw a cocktail party to launch the first collection, which coincided with my birthday, and the staff at Bon Marché brought me a birthday cake. I have a strong relationship with Le Bon Marché and so it was obvious to me that it should be part of this new chapter for AMI.
Where is your favourite place to go on the Rive Gauche?
I love going to the Café de Flore. All it takes is to sit outside and order a coffee, an orange juice and a plain omelette to make me feel as though I'm on holiday. I love watching people walking, going about their business in glorious Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It feels a bit like being a tourist again in my own city, just for a minute.
I have a strong relationship with Le Bon Marché and so it was obvious to me that it should be part of this new chapter for AMI.