The Art Of Authenticity: Alexandre Mattiussi Makes His Mark On Miami

Alexandre Mattiussi Haute Living CoverPhoto Credit: Luc Braquet

FASHIONING A DREAM: ALEXANDRE MATTIUSSI, FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR EXTRAORDINAIRE BEHIND THE CONTEMPORARY PARISIAN BRAND AMI, HAS MASTERED THE ART OF AUTHENTICITY BY CONNECTING THROUGH CLOTHING.

BY ADRIENNE FAUROTE

PHOTOGRAPHY LUC BRAQUET

GROOMING RICHARD BLANDEL AT B-AGENCY

ALEXANDRE MATTIUSSI HAS ALWAYS BEEN A DREAMER. In fact, that’s exactly how he found his footing in the fashion industry. Recently returned from his childhood home in the quaint French countryside of Normandy, Mattiussi marveled at how he could dream so big at such a young age and in such a small bedroom. It’s a common perspective we share that as you grow older and re-see childhood fixtures through a mature lens, everything seems so small. Yet, “small” was never in Mattiussi’s vocabulary growing up — he lived for the big show.

Mattiussi spent his younger years as a ballet dancer, on and off the stage. “I loved the idea of getting on the stage and just dancing. [But] I danced everywhere, from school to work and back to my house — I was always dancing in the streets. I was really into this world,” he says. When Mattiussi became a teenager and began to let go of dance, he clung to the one idea he loved about it: “le spectacle.”

“I wondered how I could keep the thing I loved most about dance in my life, which was the moment when the curtains opened, and music started. So fashion seemed to be the natural extension of the world where I could be at ease and happy,” Mattiussi confesses.

And so, he dreamt again.

When Mattiussi stepped into the dynamic world of fashion, it was the height of the industry in the ’90s. In France, designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler dominated the scene — a time when those in the industry were passionate and creative like never before, drawing Mattiussi in. He arrived in Paris in 1997 at just 17 years old. He would soon land his first job at the House of Dior in 2000, then Givenchy in 2004, and finally at Marc Jacobs, where he worked globally across the world’s biggest fashion capitals — New York, Milan, and Paris — in menswear.

Alexandre Mattiussi Haute Living CoverPhoto Credit: Luc Braquet

Then, on his pivotal 30th birthday, Mattiussi was ready to, as he put it, “sauter dans la piscine,” or dive in head first. “When I turned 30 years old, I was ready to go for it,” he admits. “It was going to be hard, but I knew this was the only way for me; I did not have a plan B, only a plan A. So, in 2011, AMI was born.”

Built on the Parisian “je ne sais quois,” AMI is the quintessential French brand. “In Paris, we have a very natural approach to fashion,” explains Mattiussi. “I always say I am not a revolutionary designer nor a conceptual designer. I love beautiful clothes. For me, clothing is something you’re going to wear and live your life in; it doesn’t need to be a fashion show every morning.”

Just as AMI is the ultimate French brand, Mattiussi is the epitome of a French man; his style is simple, and his swagger is unmatched yet palpable. “Less is more is definitely my mood right now,” Mattiussi reveals about his style. “There is this ‘Parisian chic’ identity I don’t know how to describe,” he adds. Fortunately for him, AMI describes it perfectly.

It was the extravagance of his early career that led Mattiussi to create a modern, minimalist brand. “Back in the day, even 15 years ago, menswear fashion was a niche,” he says. “At the big design houses, I felt very disconnected in the design; it was too creative, too out of this world, or too expensive. Even as a designer in-house, it was hard to connect with the clothes as I did not see myself wearing them. My early design ethos was — since the day I was able to design things for myself and my brand — I will need to wear it myself,” he explains. “I was and still am the first customer. So I had a very sincere, authentic approach to being the designer of a brand I would wear, and I love simple things.”

Mattiussi dreams of his collections — quite literally. “I have my eyes open 24 hours a day,” he explains. “I dream my collection by night a lot. When I close my eyes, I create the collections and the inspirations, and I wake up taking voice notes at night to remember.” Mattiussi has dreamt of a world where he and his inner circle of friends are the main characters wearing sharp, tailored pieces and classic silhouettes reinterpreted through a fresh (and incredibly French) perspective.

In fact, the French word “ami” translates to “friend” in English. “The translation of AMI was the purpose of everything in the beginning,” Mattiussi explains. “I wanted to see my friends in the clothes and eventually my friends’ friends in the clothes. I want to be connected to the clients and their desires. And while it’s always evolving, my taste and the things I love remain. The authenticity of the pure connection is where I feel most comfortable.”

The admirable beauty of Mattiussi and the AMI brand is though it remains true to its mission and namesake, it is intimately growing on a global scale. “Now AMI is on the map, and people know the brand better.” Yet, Mattiussi approaches the growth of the business similarly to his personal style of “less is more,” with his next city focus being on Miami.

Alexandre Mattiussi Haute Living CoverPhoto Credit: Luc BraquetAlexandre Mattiussi Haute Living CoverPhoto Credit: Luc Braquet

For Mattiussi, Miami is a part of his American dream.

“You have to imagine me,” Mattiussi explains when speaking about expanding his presence in Miami. “For me, it’s a dream come true. From the French perspective as a designer, America is still the dream; it is still something you hope to achieve in your lifetime.”

Mattiussi opened an AMI store on the highly coveted corner of Greene and Spring streets in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, and in 2023, AMI will open its doors in the Miami Design District, a neighborhood that stands at the intersection of art, design and fashion — not to mention the near future, with plans to open in Los Angeles.

Ahead of the inaugural AMI Miami boutique, Mattiussi is fully immersing himself in the Magic City culture by bringing Family, a traveling art exhibition showcasing the collaboration between AMI and Magnum Photos, to Art Basel Miami Beach this year. The two came together to commission 13 members of the renowned photography agency, along with two guest video artists, to interpret the theme of family. “When we approached the artists, we gave complete carte blanche,” says Mattiussi. “I am here to support, help guide and understand — it truly became a beautiful exhibition about family.” Family also took the physical form of a book housing the artists’ works, published by Flammarion.

There’s no denying art is an integral part of his creative process. Throughout our Zoom interview, I couldn’t help but notice a stunning painting propped up against the wall behind Mattiussi —and he immediately lit up when I asked about it. “This is a painting by a Romanian painter, Alin Bozbiciu,” he said, pulling it back to show another painting behind it. He then panned his video to reveal other artwork in his studio space, like a quirky, cool sculpture with the signature AMI heart logo. “I have more pieces in my home,” he coyly admits. “I am really starting to collect [art] a bit; for me, it’s love at first sight. Sometimes, you just fall in love with a picture.”

Alexandre Mattiussi Haute Living CoverPhoto Credit: Luc Braquet

Coming full circle with the AMI Paris x Magnum Photos project, Mattiussi admires the art of a photograph. “Photography, for me, is life. It is the moment of time, a moment of now and never. It’s frozen time. That is why the partnership with Magnum Photos is so great; the agency came together to give an intentional interpretation of family through the photo medium,” he says.

Fashion is Mattiussi’s medium for capturing time. Mattiussi measures success by seeing real people in his clothes. “As a fashion designer, to be successful is to see people around the world in my clothes, living,” he starts to say — the energy through the screen shifts, and Mattiussi softens. “I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love the most,” he adds.

“You see the greatest reward when you are connected with your own desires and own creativity, and to be able to make something from it,” he explains with the utmost gratitude. “I do not take that for granted.”

Alexandre Mattiussi Haute Living CoverPhoto Credit: Luc Braquet

It’s inspiring to feel Mattiussi’s passion pour through my computer. He has a true hunger for creating, especially in the world today, where he notes that people no longer feel ashamed and want to dress well — powerful and sexy. There is no question that Mattiussi’s vision is clear. “I have had the great opportunity to try a lot of things [in my design career]; I had a lot of experiences and made a lot of mistakes. But now, I am at a very special point in my life where I can focus and go in straight on my ideas,” he says.

Indeed, if there is one thing I know, it’s that while Mattiussi continues to make his American dreams come true, he will never lose sight of his most authentic self and ideas.

Alexandre Mattiussi Haute Living CoverPhoto Credit: Luc Braquet