It’s official: Stefano Pilati is out at Yves Saint Laurent.
WWD reports that YSL will announce Pilati’s departure tonight. The designer — who has served as the house’s creative director since Tom Ford left in 2004 — will present his final collection for YSL one week from today. As rumored over the weekend, it is thought Hedi Slimane will take over his post. It would be a homecoming of sorts for Slimane, who designed menswear for YSL in the late ’90s.
The announcement of Pilati’s successor will likely occur after next week’s YSL runway show. However, it’s not out of the question that someone other than Slimane may end up taking the reins. In September, the Twitterverse was abuzz with talk that Raf Simons would be replacing Pilati. While that ended up being merely a suggestion on the part of Suzy Menkes, Simons’ departure from Jil Sander may have been not-so-coincidentally timed. It’s also worth noting that Slimane has never designed womenswear.
The greatest critique of Pilati’s work at YSL was its inconsistency. As Yves Saint Laurent (the man, not the brand) told WWD a year into Pilati’s tenure: “Some of what he does is good. Some of it is not so good.” Regardless, the company flourished under his design leadership, returning to profitability; sales increased by nearly a third in the last year alone. Rumors of Pilati’s exit have plagued his time at YSL, though differences with current CEO Paul Deneve were very possibly the last proverbial straw.
Pilati released the following statement to WWD:
“I exit the house with fierce conviction in all that we have achieved and deep gratitude to those who have supported me along the way. I wish the maison Yves Saint Laurent and its new creative director the very best for the future.”
There’s no word on where Pilati will go next, though his name has never been thrown in the ring for the still-vacant Dior spot. It’s possible he will strike out on his own, and perhaps take some time off to secure backing for his next project. We will, as always, keep you posted.