Men have a lot to look forward to this fall, thanks to Paris-based designer Alexandre Mattiussi. His debut collection for AMI (which launched exclusively at Barneys New York) boasts a wealth of wardrobe staples in materials that are as comfortable as they are classic.
Barneys New York: You began your career working at Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Dior Homme. What were the most important ideas you took away from these experiences?
Alexandre Mattiussi: I was definitely lucky to start working in prestigious houses. For me, Dior was more a time of observation, Givenchy was experimentation, and at Marc Jacobs, execution. I knew that I had to understand the [global picture] before starting my own brand.
AM: Ami means “friend” in French. We usually say that “we choose our friends, not our family.” My friends are my icons. I want to stay connected with reality. Paris is a fantastic place to live and it is very inspiring to cross the city every morning when I go to the studio. We are always outside. The way people dress here is very interesting. I always prefer to talk to or observe someone I know, [rather than getting ideas] from old books.
BNY: Who is the AMI man?
AM: Most of all, AMI is for people we see every day in the street. It’s for [the guy] you sometimes see on the “terrasse d’un café,” and you say to yourself, “Mmmm, cute!” The AMI guy is you, your boyfriend, your best friend, your father… I don’t want to dress only one type of guy.
AM: I don’t want to be fashionable. I am just trying to deliver a clever collection with timeless pieces, beautiful fabrics and affordable prices. It sounds simple, but it is easier to do an expensive collection with crazy ideas. Sometimes, I just want to wear a nice white shirt, but trust me, it’s hard to find. So that’s the concept: Doing a collection with pieces we need, always keeping in mind “nice fit, nice fabric, nice detail, nice price.”
BNY: Does the AMI aesthetic reflect your own personal style sensibility?
AM: I have always said that I am like a cook. I taste the food before putting it on the menu, meaning I wear what I design and I design what I want to wear. Most of the guys I know are really intimidated by high fashion menswear collections, and I don’t want to intimidate anyone. When I think about AMI, I think of a real man in his real life. An elegant wardrobe for a cool guy.
BNY: Do you think there is a difference between how European and American men dress?
AM: I am not sure that we are so different anymore. For a long time, it was really hard to define the “French style.” Italian or English styles are quite easy to describe. American clothing sometimes echoes with sportswear. The French style is more a question of attitude. We probably have this kind of nonchalance that makes French guys irresistible.
BNY: What are your three favorite pieces for fall?
BNY: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
AM: A cook! But I never tried. My friends would laugh reading this.
- Jennifer Alfano & Tory Hoen