Alexandre Mattiussi talks more personal taste

The Ami artistic director concludes his list of likes with a ravishing Roman restaurant, a Galápagos getaway and the ideal Frenchman

Alexandre Mattiussi at home in Paris
Alexandre Mattiussi at home in Paris | Image: Ed Alcock

My style icon is the actor Louis Garrel. He represents my ideal of a Frenchman: nonchalance, elegance, a beautiful way of moving and a very simple and classic way of dressing. He has a bit of stubble and I can imagine him smoking a cigarette in a café. He doesn’t try too hard.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a big bouquet of roses. I go to Marrakech two to three times a year to rest and take a break, and stay at the Beldi Country Club, which is surrounded by a big field of roses. Every time I go I bring a bunch back – the blooms are huge and smell amazing. Km 6 Route de Barrage, Marrakech 40000 (+212-5243 83950;

Actor Louis Garrel
Actor Louis Garrel | Image: Getty Images

The sight that inspires me is Le Jardin du Palais-Royal in the middle of Paris, which is a historic and special place. You really feel the architecture, the garden, the fountains and the trees. It’s where my office used to be and I would go there for lunch, sit on a bench, enjoy the romance of Paris and have a moment to myself. I’m always moving quickly from point A to point B and this is somewhere I can really stop and enjoy the city around me. Rue de Montpensier 8, Paris 75001.

The books on my bedside table include photography books by Juergen Teller and Richard Avedon. There’s also a novel a friend recommended called Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman – it’s the love story of two boys, set on the Italian Riviera, and he told me it was the best book of his life. The best book I’ve read in the past year is probably To Build a Fire by Jack London, a breathtaking story of a man and his husky dog trying to survive a winter in the Yukon.


The thing I’m eyeing next is a holiday. I’m joining my best friend who’s travelling around South America for a year – we’re going to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. He had a big break at work and I’m very proud of him; we all work very hard and sometimes you have to have the courage to stop and take some time just for you. The idea of joining such a good friend in a new place is quite magical.

A recent find is the restaurant Le Ventre de l’Architecte in Marseille, in Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse, where I went a few months ago for dinner. It’s filled with 1950s furniture by Prouvé and Jacobsen and the menu changes daily. The building was completed in 1953 and the huge brutalist design is a concept for a global building where everything is available – there’s a supermarket, apartments, even a hairdresser. It was a modern way to think in the 1950s and the way it’s done is beautiful – it’s a piece of art. Boulevard Michelet 280, 13008 Marseille (+334-2831 3922;

Le Jardin du Palais-Royal, Paris
Le Jardin du Palais-Royal, Paris | Image: Hemis/Alamy Stock Photo

An indulgence I would never forgo is French red wine, especially Côtes du Rhône. I always drink a glass of red wine at dinner, and sometimes at lunch too. I don’t drink anything else – beer or whisky – but sharing a good glass of red wine with friends is a charming experience.

An object I couldn’t part with is my iPhone 6. It’s my life, my third arm – a little piece of technology that connects us all. I have a computer, but don’t use it. I break my phone all the time, and lost it recently while riding my scooter, but someone called and brought it back to me, thankfully.

The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador | Image: Westend61/Getty Images

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Alexander Calder. I’m inspired by the playfulness of his work, especially the classic blue, yellow and red mobiles. I’m fascinated by the way everything balances – it’s perfection.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose where I live in Paris – between Pigalle and Saint Georges. Debeaulieu, to buy fresh flowers; Causses, an independent fruit and vegetable shop where everything is very natural and fresh; and several restaurants, including the one in Hôtel Grand Amour, which has a beautiful café/bar with a terrace; Le Mansart, a classic Paris café with tables on the street; and L’Annexe, a relaxed French restaurant on Rue Chaptal, the road where Serge Gainsbourg grew up. I like the area because it’s very much a village with classic Parisian architecture. The streets are small and there’s not much traffic – or many tourists. And people live there, rather than there being too many offices. Because I’ve lived there for the past 10 years, I have a particular relationship with the vendors and I say hello to everyone in the street, which I think is important. Causses, Rue Notre Dame de Lorette 55 (+331-5316 1010; Debeaulieu, Rue Henry Monnier 30 (+331-4526 7868; Hôtel Grand Amour, Rue de la Fidélité 18 (+331-4416 0330; L’Annexe, Rue Chaptal 15 (+331-4874 6552; Le Mansart, Rue Mansart 1 (+331-5692 0599).

Ciampini restaurant in Rome
Ciampini restaurant in Rome | Image:

The people I rely on for wellbeing include Claus, whose La Table du Petit-Déjeuner café is great for a complete, healthy breakfast, with fresh fruit juices and everything homemade. He has a grocery shop opposite the café too, so you can take things home. I also see a hypnotist once a month; I went for the first time two years ago to quit smoking – it only took one session – but now I address a lot of other things as well. After an hour’s session I feel very different. Claus – La Table du Petit-Déjeuner, Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau 14, 75001 Paris.

The last meal that truly impressed me was lunch at Ciampini in Rome with some friends. We had the best mozzarella and tomato starter – it’s amazing that in Italy the produce is so beautiful you can just have tomatoes with olive oil and salt and it’s perfect – followed by escalope Milanese; it’s a classic dish, and the last dish I want to have before I die. Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina 29, Rome 00186 (+3906-687 6606;


My favourite room in my house is my bedroom; I love going to bed – it’s the best moment of the day. My room is very bright and minimalist, with white walls, white linen, big mirrors and a view of Montmartre from the window.

In my fridge you’ll always find oranges to make fruit juice. There’s not much else apart from maybe milk, eggs and yoghurt, as I don’t cook – I’m not very good and don’t usually eat at my place.

My favourite websites and apps are for fashion shows, the Météo-France weather app, and Instagram, because it’s a brilliant way to connect and communicate; people can tag you in a photo and say they love your work. It’s a very modern way of doing things. I’ve met a lot of people through it that I really admire. I don’t use Twitter.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a singer. I sing all the time – unfortunately for my friends. While the fashion process is very long, taking time to produce, to deliver and to see someone wearing my designs, with music it’s instant. Musicians wake up with a melody in their head and within hours it can be online and you can reach people directly. And performing on stage is very special.

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