Paris. Ami SS23

For spring-summer 2023, Ami went for the timeless, effortless and somewhat cliché, but always très cool theme: the Parisian chic. For the fashion show, the guests were at the top of Paris, in the grounds of La basilique du Sacré-Cœur with the city laid out below, gleaming in the sunny dusk. Catherine Deneuve and Carla Bruni were in the audience alongside Naomi Campbell and Jonathan Bailey. Extraordinarily, Audrey Tautou – Sacré-Cœur’s Amelie herself – was lured out of her long public retreat to open the show. Other key cast members included Liya Kebede, Karen Elson, Precious Lee, Cara Delevingne, and Kristen McMenamy. We were in menswear week, yes, but hey. This was a power play as well as a Paris play. Ever since budget has allowed, Alexandre Mattiussi‘s shows have been elaborate, but last year Mattiussi took a clearly very significant investment from Sequoia Capital that ratcheted up the production values several levels tonight. “They’re young, cool, easy, and they let me do whatever I want,” he said: “they are super supportive.” This was reflected in the casting, the location, and the after-party, but also, most crucially of all, in the clothes. Ami was an exclusively menswear label from its founding in 2011 until as recently as 2019, when it expanded into womenswear. Mattiussi expanded his Ami wardrobe – the presentation of carefully idealized observational fashion via looks and pieces based on real Parisian types and stereotypes but then applied with a cleverly restrained patina of enhancement. There was a formidable array of bags, a new category, and shoes all intricately detailed with the logo that Mattiussi first doodled as a student. Multiple dialects of bourgeois archetype were gently mashed together to create a beguilingly approachable and good-natured French wardrobe. “It is still about sharing the values of love, friendship, fraternity, and kindness. And not trying too hard. This is what is natural for me as a person and designer. And it is a postcard again – the latest episode of Ami in Paris.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited

Parisian Crowd. Ami AW22

This was one, big, star-studded Ami collection. “We have done two digital shows and now we’re back. It’s a kind of resistance,” said Alexandre Mattiussi backstage at his autumn-winter 2022 fashion show. “We wanted to stay brave – because it feels like [in Paris] we can still go to the restaurants, we can still go to the cinemas and theaters, why would you want to cancel a show?” He chose as his venue Palais Brongniart, the old stock exchange building at Place de la Bourse. Mattiussi had the Métro on his mind. “It’s the only place today in a city where everybody is on top of each other. There’s an old lady, a guy coming out from a party, a guy who is on the way to work, kids, grandmothers, different vibes, different cultures. This is the only place where you don’t have the choice of who you will be seated with,” he observed. “It’s a democratic thing. And Ami is about dressing everyone.” So, in the Ami world, Isabelle Adjani commutes with metro, just like Emily Ratajkowski, and wear clothes that draw heavily on the French wardrobe tropes. Trench coats, shearling aviator jackets, slip dresses, black blazers, and tweedy skirt suits – all the timeless essentials, mainly kept in elegant black (and from time-to-time contrasted with neon colours, which wasn’t that necessary). Meanwhile, the big casting shots continued to ring out: Sage and Paloma Elsesser, Ben Attal (son of Charlotte Gainsbourg), and the most gorgeous Laetitia Casta, all brought charisma to the outing. Isabelle Huppert sat front row, chatting to Catherine Deneuve. That’s a very Parisian collection with a very Parisian crowd.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Chic and Cool. Ami SS21

There are seasons when I love Ami. And spring-summer 2021 is definitely a highlight in Alexandre Mattiussi‘s repertoire. “Doing a physical show is a kind of political thing,” the designer said, elaborating that amid the pandemic and crumbling political situations around the world, he thinks “fashion needs to find humility in the situation.” The Ami version of humility might sound quite dramatic: veside the Seine, Mattiussi held a fashion show on a black wood runway complete with a soundtrack by DJ Jennifer Cardini and a cast of famous models like Clement Chabernaud, Amalia Vairelli, Audrey Marnay and Georgina Grenville. To counter the evening affair, Matiussi sent out clothing with a relaxed spirit. He described his co-ed, spring-summer 2021 men’s and women’s collections as “sophisticated but not pretentious.” The slim plaid maxiskirts and black wool LBDs proved the point for women, the louche seafoam and chocolate suits and baggy shorts did it for men. A series of mesh tanks, styled throughout with vacation-y beaded necklaces, emphasized the chill vibes.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Bourgeoisie. Ami AW19

Haven’t written about Alexandre Mattiussi‘s Ami for a while. But when I saw the brand’s womenswear, now getting bigger and better than ever, I kind of fell in love with this brand again. The Ami man and woman walk together, shoulder-to-shoulder, very, very well. Mattiussi called the collection “an homage to the bourgeoisie” and said he imagined his men and women as the sons and daughters of old Parisian money who were going for tea with their grandmothers, but planned big nights ahead. The many shades of beige, from coffee noisette to ecru, looked quintessentially Parisian, and the pink-ish and green-ish colour drops well added up to the palette. The boys wore shearling jackets and hoodies with Eiffel tower prints, while the girls had masculine coats, blazers and floor-sweeping shirt-dresses on. CHIC.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.