EXCLUSIVE: AMI A/W12

Dazed Digital meets Alexandre Mattiussi to talk about his very personal take on menswear

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AMI is a bookending of designer Alexandre Mattiussi's initials, but it also means friend. That's appropriate, given his personality-driven fashion, a belief of the man commanding the clothes and not the other way around. His fashion is based around style and the proposition of a wardrobe each season rather than an overbearing trend, and his informal A/W12 presentation, staged at an apartment over drinks, is a pretty good summary of him as a character, driven by things that are very human and very relatable. Like the dual meaning of his brandname, Mattiussi's clothes are very likely to become old friends themselves – chances are these pieces will still be worn and enjoyed in 10, 15 years' time.

Dazed Digital: Your winter collection was inspired by Normandy...
Alexandre Mattiussi:
When it comes to winter I love to visit my parents in Normandy. Sometimes it sounds a bit pretentious, because I’m saying that my parents have a house in Normandy – but it’s nothing special, it's just in the country! I grew up in Normandy and I used to be a very creative little boy. Kind of a Billy Elliot, as I was a dancer when I was young, from the age of four to fourteen years old I was dancing all at the time. Then I got into sketching and designing and doing creative stuff. I like the globality of fashion, the way you can be involved in clothes, in store concepts, packaging, styling, pictures, you can do presentations, it’s a kind of theatre story – and that’s what I liked when I was dancing.

Dazed Digital: How did you begin in the industry?
Alexandre Mattiussi: I went to the only public school in Paris and I spent three years there. I used to have Pierre Hardy as my teacher, who is now a friend and wears my clothes! I started at Dior, working with Lucas Ossendrijver on the classic 30 Montaigne line, then at 24 I was the first assistant of Ozwald Boateng at Givenchy, before Riccardo did menswear. I was then part of the team in the interim period before I worked under Tisci on his first collection, with the pink lace. That was great! And very shocking for me, from what we used to do before. Finally, I spent a year at Marc Jacobs, working with Joe McKenna. At 28, I realised I had to do my own collection: I spent two years thinking about the project, finding the suppliers to work with, trying to really create what I wanted to say and finding the right financial partners. We launched the one year ago and it went well, so I’m super happy.

Dazed Digital: And the collection rests on the type of clothes you want but can't find?
Alexandre Mattiussi: Exactly, clothes with the right twist. The way I design? It's about keeping the skills from luxury brands because of the quality of the fabrics, the way we cut the clothes, the way everything is made, but trying to make it more real. I didn’t find clothes that I wanted to wear because things were too creative or too expensive. And when they were less expensive they were too casual. I'm trying to keep it classical and chic, achievable.

DD: Men are very loyal in the way they shop, no matter what they're into.
Alexandre Mattiussi: Yeah definitely, very confident with their style and really know what they want to wear at the end. I really listen to my customers because sometimes they’re giving the best ideas – when they are interested in fashion they’re really interested for good reasons! They know their body and they know what they can buy again season after season. Sometimes we’re looking for something very precise. I’m into something more cool, in a way, inspiration comes from the street and my friends – we discuss what we want to drink, what we want to eat and what we want to wear.

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