French designer Alexandre Mattiussi, only 30 years old, is at the forefront of an exciting new moment in menswear. His collection — AMI Alexandre Mattiussi — was only launched this year, but is already being carried internationally at the best stores, and was recently previewed at Barney’s New York in San Francisco.
The French designer, who had previously worked as a design assistant for Dior, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs, named his label AMI because the letters form both his initials and the French word for “friend.” Indeed, the clothing is friendly — not stuffy, not so sophisticated, not too slick. And that’s exactly what men are looking for today.
“This collection is not about fantasy. It is a proposition of real clothes for a real man,” explained the designer on his brief visit to San Francisco recently. He was on a whirlwind tour across the United States to show the collection to Barney’s menswear customers (he just arrived from Chicago, and went to Los Angeles the next day.)
For the event in San Francisco, Barney’s made it more fun by dressing some of the City’s most prominent, attractive young professionals in AMI: Maximillian Armour, Paul Pelosi, Jr., and Alexander Turner (who told us “I love the clothes. He’s a great designer.”) Onlookers would have thought the three guys were models (they certainly could have been), but they truly represent today’s well-dressed, active man and what he’s looking for in a wardrobe.
The most exciting moments in fashion occur when a designer’s vision is perfectly in sync with the times — not a reaction to the times and not ahead of them, but truly of the time. In menswear this happens rarely because the evolution of menswear is so slow. It happened in the ’80s when Giorgio Armani re-invented the suit. It happened in the last decade when Hedi Slimane brought a new sophistication to the suit. And it’s happening now, with designers largely ignoring the suit, and creating a new form of luxurious daytime dressing.
In San Francisco, where the casual tech culture has slowly integrated with the more sophisticated culture of the City, the new style of dressing is especially visible. Men like Jeremy Stoppleman, Jack Dorsey and Sean Parker have set the new standards — they dress in a casual yet polished style, easy but not sloppy, in clothing that is well-made, of quality fabrics, but lacking any sort of flashiness or pretense.
And for those men, they have a new friend — a new ami — in AMI Alexandre Mattiussi.