When Raf Simons' departure from Jil Sander was reported early last week, the news was followed by speculation that the Belgian designer would replace Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent. As it happens, Simons' next step is still unclear, but the legendary French fashion house will indeed be welcoming a new designer, and all signs point to Hedi Slimane.
WWD reports that Yves Saint Laurent will formally announce the departure of Pilati on Tuesday, and even though it hasn't yet been confirmed by YSL or the designer himself, Slimane will join the fashion house.
Pilati has been with Yves Saint Laurent since 2004, but his relationship with the house was notoriously contentious. Critical reception of his collections wavered from season to season, and Saint Laurent himself once told a reporter that Pilati's work was inconsistent: “Some of what he does is good. Some of it is not so good.”
Slimane is stepping in to YSL with no previous experience designing womenswear, but his tenure at Dior Homme, from 2000 to 2007, was critically acclaimed. Slimane was the first menswear designer to be recognized with CFDA's award for International Designer, and a true golden boy in the eyes of top fashion bigwigs like Karl Lagerfeld.
Suzy Menkes, who this weekend wrote a missive about the fashion poison that is internet gossip, would kill me for saying this, but I can't resist: now that Stefano Pilati's a free agent, maybe he could be persuaded to fill the vacancy at Dior left by John Galliano's scandalous departure? Last March, shortly after Galliano was sacked, Pilati was considered a front-runner for the opening. The designer's relationship with YSL might have been less than solid, but he leaves the house on a financial high note: in the past decade, Yves Saint Laurent made a turn for the profitable, and Pilati's widely credited for the house's recent commercial success.
Image via NYMag