AMI: A Man’s Best Friend

Alexandre Mattiusi's hyper-cool menswear collection is redefining the modern man.

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With a scruffy beard and an infectious, seductive charisma, AMI’s designer, Alexandre Mattiusi, exudes an unmistakable je nais sais quoi…one we’re more than happy to import into the Saks Fifth Avenue men’s department. Flipping through the AMI fall lookbook is to peer into the state of men’s fashion: artfully disheveled, perfectly slouchy, teeming with requisite Parisian cool. And what of that Française à la mode? Mattiusi boyishly shrugs. “We are not perfect. We are not always shaven. We smoke. Basically, we are romantic and nonchalant – like a lover, like life.”

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With a scruffy beard and an infectious, seductive charisma, AMI’s designer, Alexandre Mattiusi, exudes an unmistakable je nais sais quoi…one we’re more than happy to import into the Saks Fifth Avenue men’s department. Flipping through the AMI fall lookbook is to peer into the state of men’s fashion: artfully disheveled, perfectly slouchy, teeming with requisite Parisian cool. And what of that Française à la mode? Mattiusi boyishly shrugs. “We are not perfect. We are not always shaven. We smoke. Basically, we are romantic and nonchalant – like a lover, like life.”

Who exactly is the AMI man?
AM: Ami means “friend” in French, so my muses are my friends, cool people on the street…I wanted to mix high-street with simple luxury.

One of those friends and muses is the fabulous model and icon, Caroline de Maigret.
AM: Caroline is like, my neighbor. I love her…she is amazing. And my clothes, my shoes: they fit her like perfectly – no tailoring needed!

Historically, fashion has looked to the British and Italians for menswear inspiration. How does the French man differentiate from the standard?
AM: The French have a certain je ne sais quoi: we are definitely nonchalant, sexy, romantic and confident. My collection reflects a man with a life. Someone who may have an important job, but who still enjoys a drink on a terrace, friendship…the things we all enjoy. The man I design for is multidimensional.

How are you reinventing the menswear wheel? How is AMI different?
AM: I know men, I know boys…many cannot afford a $2,000 sweater – I, myself, cannot! I want to reach people. I want to create something approachable. Something for real-life. I make clothes that I, myself, love to wear, that I want to see on people. My clothes have to be worn. I want to say as natural, normal as possible. I don’t want to be a ‘big brand’ where I am out of touch…

What are the must-haves for every modern man’s closet?
AM: A proportionate camel coat – it must be timeless! A navy jacket, a denim shirt, a great pair of jeans, a beautiful pair of white sneakers, a white oxford shirt, a grey sweatshirt…and of course, some tattoos!

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Viktor&Rolf’s Sweet Surprise

The Dutch duo unveil their BONBON fragrance at Saks New York.

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Viktor&Rolf
, masters of intellectually-provocative couture clothing, create a different kind of provocation with their fragrances: a more subversive and sensual allure. All of those dynamics were on display Thursday evening when Saks New York welcomed Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren for their unveiling of BONBON—their long-awaited fragrance followup to Flowerbomb—now available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue.

BONBON is exactly as it sounds: a sweet, confectionery treat for the senses, though it dries into something far more sensual and risqué. Its bottle, a sculptural bow tie, perfectly camouflages this Lady Danger aspect hidden within the scent. This was the Dutch provocateurs’ intention, they told us, as they took a moment away from their legion of fans and fashion insiders to discuss that intriguing play of “tension between things that don’t match.”

Your apparel collections are intellectually provocative, while your fragrances play to the edge of sensual provocation. Can you elaborate on the specific points of inspiration for your fragrances?
V&R: Perfume starts with language – we take an intellectual approach, first: playing on the tension between things than don’t match…perfume tells a story, and we enjoy being storytellers.

We understand that esteemed perfumiers, Serge Majoullier and Cécile Matton, helped develop BONBON. How involved were you in its creation?
V&R: We were very involved. We started with the name, which we settled on right away, and knew that we wanted something sweet…it was a pleasurable process for us. There was a precise direction around caramel, but then of course, we had to make a fragrance, and refine the scent to a perfect vision. Our scents may be successful because we feel as strongly about our scents as our customers do.

What are some key notes in BONBON for our Saks perfume connoisseurs?
V&R: There is an addictive and buttery caramel note with sexy undertones.

What are your most poignant fragrance memories, good, bad or ugly?
V&R: The old Shiseido and Dior perfume ads that we saw as kids were so impressive, and are the reason we went into fashion! They were poetic…they were stylized imagery.

Your couture collection was somewhat inspired by the new BONBON bottle. How do your fragrance and clothing businesses overlap aesthetically?
V&R: Fragrance is the border between skin and clothing. And like clothing, fragrance is conceptual and glamorous.

What’s on the horizon for a Viktor&Rolf Spring Break?
V&R: Surfing in L.A.!

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Lights, Camera, Fashion

The New York Fashion Film Festival unspools in Chelsea.

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Irreverence, fantasy, and an electrifying bass reverberated at the 5th annual New York Fashion Film Festival last week in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Filmmakers, photographers and the fashion crowd packed the SVA Theater, and our own Saks Fifth Avenue editors sat front and center.

Co-founded by photographer Bon Duke, he says the festival began “out of pure will to expose what was out there and show them on a big screen compared to a small device.” This year’s edition screened 16 films, followed by fashion stalwart and iconic editor/writer Glenn O’Brien’s panel discussion about whether the showcased works were, in his words, “really films or merely screen-savers”.

On the eve of New York Fashion Week, veteran fashion consultant Julie Gilhart deliberated on the intense and fast impressions the films make: “We all see so many runway shows, and when it’s over, it’s over. [Fashion Week] is a grueling schedule. I’d rather watch a film.”

So what were the panelists’ favorites? Steven Meisel’s Show Girl, featuring an anti-fashion burlesque dancer, proved to be O’Brien’s, while Gilhart’s pick was Pierre Debusschere’s abstract Holy Flowers – Fade Into You. Photographer Cass Bird endorsed Habib Yazdi’s Somewhere in America and Matt Lambert’s The London Collections for their documentary-like portrayals of fashion in “real life”, and Sylvain Labs founder Alain Sylvain, sheepishly smiled and professed to “enjoy the hip hop.”

Four panelists, each with their own favorites. Go figure: in fashion, film, and fashion films, everyone has a feeling, but no one has a magic formula.