Last season’s Ami collection was about normality. By contrast, Alexandre Mattiussi’s S/S 18 collection was about upcycling basic garments using prints, unique finishes and pops of colour. The label is entirely built on the premise of bringing a bottled up sense of Parisian cool and effortlessness to the wardrobes of global men. This collection was billed as a tribute to Paris - a reflection on the imposing design of Beaubourg, the green trees found on the Canal Saint-Martin and the Hawaiian flowers on the deckchairs of Paris Plage. Sounds nice. Mattiussi should bid for a place on the Parisian tourist board. The picture he paints is charming. But look closely, and there were influences far further than his home city creeping in. The tone set by Raf Simons at Calvin Klein could be felt strongly - notably in the grey plaid, the western shirts, the double denim. There were whiffs of Prada too.
Ami isn’t a brand that deals especially in innovation. It’s all about real clothes that can be adopted easily by men keen to look of the moment without stepping over the line. Usually that formula works - the shows can even feel refreshing in the face of fashion week’s many insular gimmicks and clichés. But this season strayed into territory that felt derivative. Last season, the collection had a certain pacy elegance - a sense of not trying hard at all. This felt the opposite. It was over-styled, and overworked, with too many glances elsewhere. The plethora of hues and patterns should have felt uplifting, instead one wished Mattiussi had dialled things back, and worked more instinctively. He’s at his best when he goes with his gut.