Leave it to Alexandre Mattiussi to stage a great Ami show after a chaotic Thursday in Paris of strikes, marches and locked metros, with a swish collection inside the Bastille Opera.
Hard to believe that the Bastille was packed with tens of thousands protesting the Macron government’s plan to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 just a couple of hours this show. By 8.30 p.m. inside the opera, all was nonchalance and refinement, in a show that climaxed with a final look – an elegantly draped oversized midnight blue jacket over matching pants. Worn by Charlotte Rampling, it won a spontaneous burst of applause.
A show staged on the truly giant, football-field-sized stage with the auditorium as the backdrop. Everyone who is anyone in Paris fashion sitting on four long lines of old wooden school chairs.
The actual collection marked a significant maturing in Mattiussi’s style, all rather grown up from the sense of majestic volume to the increasingly expensive fabrics.
Precisely because it all seems so effortless, Alexandre does not get the credit he deserves for being such a great tailor. His ingeniously simple trick of displacing hems of wide arms made them hang flawlessly, to cite one example.
“I called this collection ‘Prelude’, as if I was starting again. I told my team to treat me as if I was the new creative director of Ami, and that the old one was fired,” explained Mattiussi, who added that the sudden illness of his 84-year-old father this past summer had completely inverted his worldview.
All about good basics, worn by a cast of new faces and many esteemed veterans: Mariacarla Boscono in a putty-colored boyfriend’s jacket with billowing pants; Saskia de Brauw in a white military flannel Eisenhower jacket; Audrey Marnay in an easy ankle-length trench. All the way to Scott Barnhill, the chisel-jawed supe who was the world’s leading make model back in the late 90s, in truly chunky boots and a massive Prussian grey spy coat.
Though it’s an industry often accused of being obsessed by youth, in Paris at least, they love a veteran – from a movie star to a moody model.
“I love my job, I’ve had a great year: Festival of Cannes; Met Gala; opening stores; showing at the Sacré Coeur, but I wanted to begin a new chapter – kindness, love, whispers and warmth,” he added in a private pre-show preview with FashionNetwork.com in the Marais.
Changing too in his softer palette – pale or pigeon blue, soft sand; faded lemon; putty or dried mud. And toned way down the Ami logo. Like the new version of the Paris handbag, with the Ami heart logo reduced to the size of the cufflink.
All things considered, it felt quintessentially French, in the sense of being chic without ever looking like you are trying too hard, or even making an effort at all.
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