It's a rare few people who want to spend more time in airports. But Ami's Alexandre Mattiussi, sunny glass-half-fullist that he is, sees past the aggravating aspects of air travel to the old glamour that used to be associated with flying: the early days of commercial aviation in the fifties and sixties when men and women dressed up to fly, and a star might be glimpsed making his suave way on board. He went so far as to set up an airport terminal at the Palais de Tokyo, and peopled it with the disparate travelers who would meet there: suited (but still scruffy) businessmen and casual holidaymakers in military jackets, the young guys heading outbound in bright tropical prints and tie stripes, their jackets knotted around their waists, the professionals on their way home.
Mattiussi loves the places where worlds collide: airports, last season's train-car presentation. It's a clever way of allowing sales-y breadth into the show, which otherwise might look a bit grab bag. Though the collection's dominant feeling doesn't change much season to season, he is introducing new categories (here, sunglasses and sneakers) and playing to his strengths. He scored a very palpable hit with the bird prints from his Spring collection, which have been appearing so widely you wonder if birding hobbyists have been thrown off their games; so the tropical botanical prints here seem tailored to continue the trend. They got at the slightly wilder, wackier Ami man brought out this season. "A bit more fun," Mattiussi said.
Fun is a key part of Ami's métier, and attending one of the label's chaotic standing-room-only presentations reminds you that his friends number in the thousands. With a growing business, a spot on the official calendar, and a powerhouse production firm behind the label, the feeling lingers that worlds may not need to collide as literally as this. But airport crankiness didn't, ultimately, define the mood, even for the weary travelers coming to the end of their three weeks of fashion journeying. It's heartening to see Paris, which can be inhospitable to young designers striking out on their own, rally to support a hometown hero.