Following reports this weekend that Stefano Pilati would show his last collection for YSL this week, to be replaced by Hedi Slimane, comes confirmation from the house that Pilati is indeed, out. YSL released the following statement today:
Yves Saint Laurent today announces the departure of Creative Director Stefano Pilati, who since 2004 has stood at the creative helm of the maison and has been instrumental in the rebuilding and repositioning of an iconic French luxury brand. Under Stefano’s guiding vision and artistic direction, the house has become a contemporary reference in high fashion.
Stefano will show his final collection for Fall/Winter 2012-2013 womenswear on March 5, 2012 in Paris. In the coming weeks, the maison will announce a new Creative Director.
Yves Saint Laurent and PPR would like to thank Stefano for his extraordinary contributions and wish him the very best with his future endeavors.
Commenting on the announcement, Yves Saint Laurent Chief Executive Officer Paul Deneve said ‘We are all at Yves Saint Laurent grateful to Stefano for his important achievements in advancing the mission and success of this historic and treasured fashion house.’
PPR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer François-Henri Pinault echoed these sentiments: ‘I join Paul Deneve and the house of Saint Laurent in thanking Stefano for his dedication and contribution to the story of Yves Saint Laurent. I personally wish him all the best.’
“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,” Pilati told WWD. “I wish the maison Yves Saint Laurent and its new creative director the very best for the future.”
But who is the new creative director? PPR is keeping it close to the vest for the moment. Yesterday rumors surfaced that Hedi Slimane, who helmed the design team at YSL starting in the mid-90s, and subsequently left in 2001 to be creative director at Dior Homme until 2007, was the frontrunner, and it seems likely that he'll step in. YSL and PPR have refused all comment, and from the above release, we won't expect anything to happen until after the show.
Despite a famously tumultuous relationship with YSL and mixed collection reviews over the years, Pilati is leaving the house in good stead. WWD reports that the brand is breaking even, and accessories that Pilati introduced, like the Muse bag and the Tribute shoe are still selling well. He's also been lauded for developing "strong" advertising images.
Stay tuned to see how the game of fashion musical chairs progresses.