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A Look Back: The Designers of Yves Saint Laurent

Next Monday, Stefano Pilati will send his final collection for Yves Saint Laurent down the runway after eight years as the French house’s creative dir
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Next Monday,

After becoming an instant star, designing his first collection for Dior at the age of 21, couturier

Alber Elbaz, after about two years at Guy Laroche, was tapped by Yves himself to take over Rive Gauche, the women’s ready-to-wear line. At the time, the house was not doing well financially. His first collection for fall 1999 was met with mixed reviews. He improved with each subsequent showing. He is said to have rejuvenated the Rive Gauche collection with spring 2000 and fall 2000 is considered his best of all. However, Elbaz was ousted from the label a few months after Gucci Group took over in November of 1999.

Tom Ford

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While Tom Ford was still designing for Gucci, Gucci Group took over YSL, fired Alber Elbaz and promptly tapped Ford to replace Elbaz, naming him creative director for the entire house. His first collection for YSL Rive Gauche debuted for spring 2001. Ford is credited, more so than Elbaz, with rejuvenating the brand with his signature sex appeal and marketing skill during his 8 seasons there, as his collections were commercially successful. However, he reportedly did not get along with Saint Laurent and Berge. He also caused a stir with his provocative ad campaign for the Opium fragrance, which featured Sophie Dahl writhing around naked. Ford left YSL in 2004 because of disputes with PPR over control of the group.

Stefano Pilati

Tom Ford hired Pilati in 2000 as women’s design director for YSL ready-to-wear. In 2004, when Ford announced his departure and Alexander McQueen turned down Gucci Group’s offer to replace him, Pilati was promoted from within to replace him. Pilati designed both men’s and women’s wear for the label and while many of his collections were praised, others were not so critically successful. Likewise, Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge have both made their disapproval clear over the years.

Sounds like it. While he's never designed womenswear, he has a lot of fans and it will be exciting to see what he does as creative director at this iconic house. Expect an announcement next week.