Is Stefano Pilati Really Leaving Yves Saint Laurent?

A few months ago when we reported that there might be a major shake-up among the Paris-based fashion houses, the likeliest option seemed to be that Stefano Pilati would leave Yves Saint Laurent for greener pastures. And now that both YSL’s chief executive Valerie Hermann and her boss, Gucci Group CEO Robert Poulet, have left the company, that rumor has started to look more and more like fact. But in light of the company’s recent improvement in sales, does it really make sense that Pilati would leave the company, too?

KenzoPR tweeted that a designer at a French fashion house would be replaced by someone who “has moved away from design the last couple of years but stayed in fashion.” Those tweets have been deleted (of course), but the good people at Racked got screenshots before they were taken down. The tweets mentioned that the CEO of this company just left, which points directly to Yves Saint Laurent, which points to Pilati. The person who moved away from design is a little trickier, but it would make sense for Hedi Slimane to come back to the house. After all, he did a stint at Yves Saint Laurent’s menswear division before he revolutionized the cut of the traditional suit at Dior Homme. (Ever since then, he’s been some kind of photographer or something.)

People have said in the past that Pilati’s clothes aren’t as salable as Slimane’s would be, but WWD recently reported that YSL has finally swung back into profitability. The brand posted a sales increase of 24 percent during the fourth quarter of 2010, and the PPR, the company that owns YSL and Gucci, anticipates that it will do similarly well in 2011.

It seems to us that Pilati is hitting his stride again as the economy turns back to normal, which is why we suspect that this rumor is just a rumor. We don’t know of any other CEOs who have left French fashion houses recently enough for this to apply to anyone else.

So what’s the lesson here? Be careful what you tweet.

Will Fall 2011 be Stefano Pilati’s Swan Song at YSL? [Racked]
PPR Reports 55.8 Percent Surge in Net Income [WWD (Suscription Required)]

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