It has been recently confirmed that Stefano Pilati has left Yves Saint Laurent after serving as design director and eventually creative director for 11 years. Pilati will present his final collection for YSL on March 5th, coinciding with the announcement of the new creative director, rumoured to be Hedi Silmane, which will be within forthcoming weeks. The announcement comes after months of speculation and repeated denials from the house. No details as to where he will work next have been released however.
After lengthy stints at Giorgio Armani, Prada and Miu Miu, Pilati first joined Yves Saint Laurent in 2000, under the work of Tom Ford. It was not until 2004 however that he took over from Ford and held the position of creative director himself, establishing himself as ‘instrumental in the rebuilding and repositioning of an iconic French luxury band’, as stated by YSL in their press-release. Elaborating on the departure of the esteemed designed, the house insisted that it was ‘under Stefano’s guiding vision and artistic direction, the house has become a contemporary reference in high fashion’.
True to the credit of the house, Pilati is known for upholding Yves Saint Laurent’s reputation for timeless and elegant fashion. Much like the original designer’s creation of ‘Le Smoking’, Pilati has created other trademark items for YSL, in particular the tulip skirt he presented in 2004. Although many critics and women were first unconvinced by the piece, it went on to establish itself as a wardrobe staple, embodying classic femininity. Similarly, the Muse bag designed and introduced in 2005 also became a successful YSL staple. Despite admitting that he was reluctant to ‘name’ his signature piece, the bag continues to be a best-seller, well into 2008, in which two more designs were introduced, thus maintaining the designer ‘s prestigious position in a legendary house.
It is undeniable that the new shift in the label will be drastic. Although Yves Saint Laurent will always represent the mantra of the man himself, finding someone who has both the raw talent and an understanding of the label’s priority of preserving elegance will be a challenge. Pilati himself admitted that working under the legacy of Saint Laurent is intimidating. “Saint Laurent did everything,” he told the New York Times in 2008. “You go to the YSL archives, and you feel he thought of any idea I could ever imagine.’ Evidently, the role is a powerful one and considering the magnificence of the creations that Pilati has brought to the table, Yves Saint Lauren will inevitably experience a sense of loss now that the master of aesthetics has departed.