AMI UPS ANTE: Hot French men’s newcomer Ami, which specializes in well-proportioned, contemporary classics that don’t burn the wallet, is already in expansion mode. Tapping into females who likes to borrow items from the wardrobes of their male friends, designer Alexandre Mattiussi next season plans to introduce smaller sizes geared to women, under the Ami(e) label, with kids’ and premium lines to be added in the near future. The brand’s first corner will open in Paris department store Printemps next spring, with a Paris flagship in the cards for next year. In the meantime, the brand has taken over a gallery space for one month on Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Paris, opposite Christian Louboutin’s new men’s footwear store. For Mattiussi, keeping close to the customer is key for developing his collections. The designer, who is also working on a fragrance and candle and is currently developing an Ami wine with a winemaker friend, plans in the future to invite pals to collaborate on lines, “in the same way one might invite a friend to dinner,” and has even placed an ideas box in his temporary store, whose contents will be used to develop a special line as part of next season’s collection. Mattiussi said he likes the idea of his future flagship resembling a Paris apartment, “with a fireplace, a sofa with a cat on it, areas where people can read the papers.”

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