In Paris, A New Friend Steps Up-------
For a guy who paid his dues at Dior, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs, Alexandre Mattiussi doesn’t have much time for directional fashion. “It’s a collection for real people,” he said in his Paris studio. “For my friends, who are my inspiration.” He was talking about the new label he’s debuting for Fall: AMI, French for “friend.” He was so committed to the concept that his debut presentation, staged in a local Paris watering hole during the menswear shows, confused some of the editors who attended. It looked just like some guys hanging out in a bar, drinking. That, the designer laughed, was exactly the point: “Just a Friday night in Paris with the boys.”
If those boys happened to be better dressed than most, all to the good. Mattiussi’s collection, which ranges from T-shirts through suiting and even formalwear, emphasizes the kind of wearable, affordable pieces that made like-minded lines such as A.P.C. such a success. Versions of the standards are all on offer—suiting separates, single- and double-breasted coats, jeans, knits—though here distinguished by clever touches, like mixed fabrications. They’re more subdued than some of Paris menswear’s louder gestures, but no less welcome for that. Mattiussi’s jean cuffs are lined in gray flannel; his wool hoodie boasts jersey sleeves.
Going forward, Mattiussi hopes to open his first shop in Paris in the next year. (In the meantime, several big-ticket retailers have already been through the studio with an eye to picking up the first collection.) At the shop, he’ll invite pals to collaborate with him to design limited-edition pieces—amité in action.