Puma x Ami Is ‘a Real Love Affair’

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Update: The Puma x Ami collaboration is now available on Puma.com. If this release goes anything like the last one on Ami’s website, these pieces won’t stick around for long. Start shopping now to nab your favorites before they’re gone.

Keep reading for the original story on the collab from March 15, 2022.

If you ask Alexandre Mattiussi, the designer behind Paris-based brand Ami, creating clothing is a lot like baking a pie. You take the component parts (dough and apples or sketches and fabric, depending), combine them in the right proportions, introduce a catalyst (an oven, a sewing machine), and after a little while, you’ve got something greater than the sum of its parts.

Except when it comes to making clothing for popular consumption, you don’t set a timer for 45 minutes. You have to wait, anticipating what’s coming, for weeks. When that box does arrive with the completed garments, Mattiussi explains on a video call from Ami HQ, “it’s a magical feeling.” Unless, of course, the clothes are a dud. “You can feel it in the room,” he says of the tepid reaction that accompanies a misfire, whether in design or execution. It was a good sign, then, that when the shipment of the first samples of Ami’s collaboration with sportswear giant Puma arrived at the company’s Parisian office, “everyone was jumping in the box like cats. You know, when cats jump in a box? It was like that, trying things in the samples.”

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It’s an image that can’t help but elicit a smile. And that kind of enthusiasm and glee pervades everything Mattiussi says about his work. He’s enamored by the idea of fashion, sure. But he loves the nuts-and-bolts realties of it, too. “I can say after 11 years,” he explains of his own label, “that it has been always made with a passion, the love of the garment, the love of the clothing, the love of the fabrics.” And it was that sincerity that was at the core of the partnership with Puma.

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“It’s a real love affair,” says Heiko Desens, Puma’s global creative director and the third participant in our video chat. He cites the inclusivity of Mattiussi’s team—the rejection of top-down decision-making in favor of creative cooperation—as a complement to the way Puma likes to do business. And he points out how that sort of design philosophy can lead to a refreshingly simple approach to collaboration, a space in the fashion world that seems especially prone to seeking attention in all the wrong ways.

“I think you guys encourage us to dare to do a little bit less,” Desens tells Mattiussi. Business pressure and a crowded competitive field have a nasty habit of encouraging ill-advised maximalism. “Sometimes you lose the courage to just keep it classic and simple,” Desens continues. “And Ami just said, ‘We need a nice material, we need a stunning silhouette, and we need the beautiful logo.’ You don’t need to mess around much because you have those strong ingredients.”

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The resulting collection ($40-$325), more than two years in the making, is available on Ami’s website starting on March 16, and hits Puma’s site in May. Both Mattiussi and Desens mention that they hope any given item—a sweatshirt, a jacket—will become a customer’s favorite version of that thing. And there’s a very good chance that will happen. Because this first installment of Puma x Ami (there were a few hints of the potential for more down the line) is full of pieces that don’t skimp on fun but always speak to the sense of restraint and good taste that guided the project from the start.

There are sneakers, of course, all rooted in understated creams and whites but punched up with paneling and the occasional hit of color. There are also pullovers, hoodies, and tees; track pants in wide-leg cuts; even a lightweight parka. They come in colors like black and heather gray, but also bright blue, blaze orange, and kelly green. And they all bear a dual logo that puts Puma’s leaping big cat at the center of the heart in the “Ami de Coeur” graphic pretty much any fashion fan will recognize. (“Both of our logos are beautiful,” says Desens. “I say we have the nicest logo in the sportswear industry, and I think Ami has the nicest logo in the fashion industry.”)

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“I wanted, with humility, to bring my little touch of my Ami feeling. Because in the end, Ami and Puma, I wear it already,” Mattiussi says. “It’s about a good product with two brands you love and you cherish and you put together, and it’s very soft and nice and colorful and easy and not pretentious. And it’s going to be a nice sweatshirt, a nice T-shirt, a nice cap…That’s all. And you know what? I’m fine with that.”

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