5 may 2023

Interview: how Alexandre Mattiussi returns to the essence of his label AMI

He founded his brand 12 years ago with the goal of creating the perfect wardrobe for his friends. Today AMI is a French success story like no other, adopted by the (wo)man in the street and sold the world over. After conquering hearts and pulling off some masterful publicity stunts, Alexandre Mattiussi decided to get back to basics this January when he launched his new collection on Paris’s podiums. This month of May, AMI collaborates with the American photographer Andrew Bush. Los Angeles meets Paris in a capsule collection composed of 3 exclusive pieces limited to 500 items available since May 3rd. These 3 unisex pieces from AMI’s celebrated wardrobe — a t-shirt, a sweatshirt and a hoodie — featuring three of Andrew Bush’s most iconic photos 

interview by Delphine Roche.

NUMÉRO: Your runway show in important to take some time for myself in the light of recent per January marked a return to the sonal experiences. I told myself it essential, with fewer logos and a softer palette. You even deleted was something I could and should do. The idea was to start afresh all the old images on your brand’s with a blank page in order to Instagram account…

ALEXANDRE MATTIUSSI: I felt the come back to the essence of AMI, something I’ve aimed for right need to do a bit of tidying up in from the start, which is an every- my head and concerning my relationship with the label. AMI has been going for 12 years now, it’s an international brand with outlets all over the world. I felt it was important to take some time for myself in the light of recent personal experiences. I told myself it was something I could and should do. The idea was to start afresh with a blank page in order to come back to the essence of AMI, something I’ve aimed for right from the start, which is an everyday wardrobe, simple, classic, intelligent and beautiful without too much fuss. The fashion business sometimes pushes you to do things that aren’t really you, and I wanted to break free from those obligations.


Did you feel you’d been tricked by the system?

What happened is that my father be-came very sick last summer. Today he’s much better, thank goodness, because he was very well looked after. But in the face of illness, reminded of the brevity of life, I no longer felt I could pander to the more superficial side of fashion. I make sure to keep the energy positive, I love my team and my job, I feel very spoiled by life, but sometimes we get carried away by our obligations and we no longer know why we’re doing certain things. So I wanted to get back to the essentials: less PR, fewer collaborations, fewer celebri- ties, fewer clothes, just putting the energy and passion at their most pure into the heart of AMI.



“AMI is a popular brand, (…) generous and caring, family friendly, and my approach remains that.”



Over the past 12 years, you’ve made a mark with some fabulous publicity stunts, in a way that no other independent French brand has managed for example the giant posters shot by Jean-Paul Goude that showed you flying over Paris in a heart-shaped bal- loon, or AMI’s appearance in the series Emily in Paris.

For me AMI is not an elitist brand, which is fantastic, but it is sophisticated, because I come from the luxury sector. I worked for Dior, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs. So I want to offer well-made clothes, but in a more real context. People adopted AMI very quickly. When I look at most runway shows today, I find that it all seems very exclusive, whereas nowadays everyone is talk- ing about inclusivity. AMI is a generous, welcoming, friendly, family brand… That has always been my approach. As for the campaign shot by Jean-Paul Goude and the appearance of the AMI logo on a bal- loon in Emily in Paris, those are more to do with a kid’s dream!

“In the face of my father’s illness, I could no longer embrace the more superficial side of fashion.”



You’ve talked about the joy you feel when someone wearing your brand recognises you in the street and stops to talk to you or smiles at you knowingly…

It’s a question of mutual recognition. I recognise my client, and in the glance we exchange there is a lot of tenderness, love and benevolence. Fashion gets into people’s intimacy, into their everyday, into their life story. That’s what we were trying to do with the last runway show. I went back to my friends and asked them what they needed in terms of clothing, what made them dream. We reworked pieces that are now staples in our wardrobe, because these are clothes that should last forever. It’s not about making fashion but about intimacy, comfort, proximity, quality and trust.


Has this new departure, this return to the essential, been welcomed by your clients?

Reactions have been very positive. The runway show itself was very pared down, with a lineup that included Charlotte Rampling, who I adore. It ended with a performance by the singer Moses Sumney. The whole thing gave off a feeling of love. The show was put on at the Opéra de Paris, a very special place that makes me dream, because I used to dance as a child. I felt that everything was just how it should be.


There are a lot of celebrities who support the brand, and they all seem to be your friends…
Yes, I do try to build sincere relation- ships with the famous people who follow us. It happened with Christine and the Queens, and more recently with Isabelle Adjani, Xavier Dolan and Audrey Tautou. We run into each other, we have dinner together, we send each other messages.

You’ve coproduced several films. Is that a natural extension of your friendship with movie stars?
It’s true that I have a very natural affinity with actors and directors. I watch a lot of films, I love the idea of narration, of the storyboard, of the emotion of cinema, the fact that it’s an art that can aim for eternity, unlike fashion. So it was almost natural that I found myself coproducing movies, among them a short by Yann Demange called Dammi [the trailer was shown at Cannes in 2022 with Isabelle Adjani, Riz Ahmed and Souheila Yacoub]. And I have to say that for me, right from the start, AMI was almost a pretext for storytelling.



“I recognise my client, and in the glance we exchange there is a lot of tenderness, love and benevolence”


Has AMI’s womenswear, which you launched in 2018, found its place at the heart of the brand?

Yes, at last. It took me a while to get there. I needed to work out who the AMI woman was. At the start she was very masculine, she wore men’s clothing. After that I tried to make her very feminine, a bit awkwardly no doubt, but I did it sincerely. For the January show, I started over again from scratch: AMI woman is like AMI man, she wears the same jackets, the same trousers, she likes to borrow her clothes from the menswear wardrobe.


What’s the next step for you?

In act 1, scene 1, my story continues in much the same way, but with some small changes. I want to find a bit more time to think, to create, but also to live. I’m very lucky to have such great people on board. When I took the decision to do a reset, the team was enthusiastic: my director agreed without hesitating to go easy on highlighting AMI’s heart logo [the initial “A” joined to a heart, the whole thing in red], even if it has been extremely successful. Now people are saying I should launch a childrenswear line, because girls and boys are borrowing AMI clothes from their elder brothers and sisters. But the brand’s main goal is to offer the right pair of trousers, the right jacket. I’m now 43, which is great, and I still have a lot to say.


The AMI x Andrew Bush collection is available since May 3rd at AMI stores in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.