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Alexandre Mattiussi
À savoir | 2 avril

Buddies cloakroom
I can picture myself growing old with AMI. The key to longevity for me? Keep renewing yourself without ever betraying the identity of the brand. – By Alexandre Mattiussi, founder of AMI.

When I launched AMI, my intention was to create a buddies cloakroom. With my red hat on the head, I would catch myself dreaming of a brand that would dress my friends for their everyday life. In short, AMI five years ago was this:
 © Pluris
My previous experiences with great creators, Dior, Marc Jacobs then Givenchy, taught me the reality of the job, from the choice of the raw materials to the distribution. Most importantly they taught me that I did not want an outfit that would be too disconnected from reality, designed for fashion shows, too exclusive and non-accessible. I wanted a male outfit, fairly classical and that exists in the streets.
When I think about my collections, I precisely try to integrate the outfit in this context of reality. Our fashion shows actually tell stories of daily-life: “AMI in the métro”, “AMI by night”, “AMI at the market”… And our models must leave the podium and walk on the pavement without anyone finding it odd. This narrative is essential to set this authentic, reassuring and family-like dimension of AMI.
Through this staging, the aim is to never lose sight of the original identity of the brand. In the outfit itself, it is the same: we have to stay credible compared to the initial line we set. The moments of poetry when we satisfy a creative impulse, like when I launched a 2000 euro sequin jacket, have to remain exceptions to preserve the balance of the collection. I would never have done it in the first five years for that reason, we first had to win the customer’s trust to afford to do that.
The whole stake is to be able to renew ourselves, to surprise sometimes without ever disorienting the client. I admire, for instance, a creator like Paul Smith who continues to exist after forty years while staying simple. I am often asked if AMI could open-up to women. I love when they wear my clothes and I am very proud of dressing Christine and the Queens or Florence Foresti for the Césars for instance. Yet, I like the idea that AMI stays a male ready-to-wear brand because it is its DNA. And in order to last I think that a brand has to stay faithful to its initial story.
Bearing this golden rule in mind, 2016 will be an important step in our development abroad. Already established in Tokyo, we will open a shop in London in April, another in September in Asia and a third one in the United States by the end of the year. This year’s reshaping of our website, integrating international deliveries, will also participate in our expansion.
My (other) advices for creators launching their brands:

1. Properly frame your story
Naturally, I am a very changing person. So in the first ten years of my career, I had to learn how to make choices and how to be precise. When I started AMI, I wrote a book explaining the brand’s identity from A to Z: who it targets, how, what is the graphic charter, what is an AMI shop. I drew everything: the rails, the hangers, the suit sack… It is primordial to define a framework. You can actually find a double-frame on the labels of my clothes, which is an allusion to that principle.
2. Start only when you have all the pieces of the puzzle
The reality of fashion is multiple, it is creative but also financial, judicial, logistic, marketing, commercial… Each of these dimensions have to be thought through and one must jump in only when one has taken all these parameters into consideration.
3. Surround yourself cleverly and know how to delegate
When you don’t have a good feeling about someone, run away. You must trust your intuition. I have met people who could have brought me down and I have always had this survival instinct which made me walk away soon enough. It is risky to work with family or with close friends. It is often healthier to surround yourself with people from the outside, recruited for their skills only. It is important to trust people but never to the point where you no longer know what is going on.
4. Be ready for the worse but also for the best
When you start, you are often stuck in small ideas and you tend to expect the worse. But you must also be able to think big and to organize to face a potential success.
 © Pluris
 © DR
 © DR

Parisian shops

AMI SAINT-HONORÉ - 14 rue d'Alger, 75001 Paris + 33 (0)9 82 44 40 20 / boutique.alger@amiparis.fr

AMI BEAUMARCHAIS - 109 Bd Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris + 33 (0)9 83 27 65 28 / boutique.beaumarchais@amiparis.fr

AMI SAINT-GERMAIN - 22 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris + 33 (0)9 82 30 96 77 / boutique.grenelle@amiparis.fr

The London shop (opening in April)

75-77 Duke St. Mayfair, London W1K 5PB, Royaume-Uni
Crédits photo : Pluris, DR
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