Is Stefano Pilati Leaving YSL?

23 February 2011

If you go down Heathrow today you’ll find a tired-but-chic bunch of fashion editors making their way to Milan for fashion week round three. And if you tried to overhear their chitchat you’d soon find out that - yet again! - rumour has it that Yves Saint Laurent’s Creative Director Stefano Pilati is leaving/left/set-to-leave the French mega-brand!

This is nothing new, of course and the origin of the rumour makes it even more difficult to take seriously. Kenzo’s publicist posted two tweets on their official Twitter account yesterday – that were soon after deleted, saying the following: ‘Just heard BIG news about this being a certain designer at an established French house’s last season and being replaced by someone major!!’ It was closely followed by, ‘CEO has just left and now the designer replaced by someone who has moved away from design the last couple of yrs but stayed in fashion.’  

Now, we love nothing more than a good fashion guessing game so here it goes! It was recently announced that YSL’s CEO, Valérie Hermann, is leaving to work for Reed Krakoff so that’s one. There have been reports going around that management has not been happy with the apparel sale figures for a while and that Pilati is somewhat tricky to work with, and although the Italian designer has produced some best-selling shoes and bags, critical acclaim for his collections (Pilati replaced Tom Ford in 2004) has been inconsistent enough to unnerve those at the top, so that’s another one. And for the most intriguing clue; the designer-that-moved-away-from-design-in-the-last-two-years can only be Hedi Slimane, who left YSL’s menswear label to focus on his photography after single-handedly making everyone lust for his slim men’s suits that were the catalyst for Slimane Fan No. 1 Karl Lagerfeld to lose weight!

So, will Pilati’s A/W ’11 show less than two weeks away be his last for YSL? Or will his recently-signed new three-year contract remain unbroken, proving that tweeting for tweet’s sake can be silly now and then and simply unprofessional at the best of times?

-- Kiki Georgiou


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