Anyone in doubt of the rising prominence of the men’s wear market, take note: super-dapper designer Stefano Pilati, who was rather unceremoniously dumped as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent just before his runway show last season, has found a new job as creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna and Agnona. It’s new role for the group, and it’s being announced with much hoo-ha. As well it should: it signals both an aggressive move to up their menswear designer profile, and a potential big move in womenswear.
It never rains but it pours, and so on. In those terms, this month the fashion world is experiencing a deluge. After the departures of Stefano Pilati and Raf Simons from YSL and Jil Sander respectively, and the expected departure of Derek Lam from Tods at September and the end of his contract, come two more announcements: Lucy Yeomans is leaving as editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK and Amanda Brooks has left as fashion director of Barneys New York. This is, as they say, a moment of change.
Yves Saint-Laurent’s designer, Stefano Pilati, holds his last show for the line today in Paris, just a week after Raf Simons put on his farewell collection in Milan for Jil Sander with a triumphant display that was about as much of a diss to those who let him go as I’ve ever seen, demonstrating as it did what they were giving up.
These two departures have caused a lot of navel-gazing in the fashion world (and yes: mea culpa, by writing this I know I am guilty too) about the tensions between the creative and business sides of the industry, the demands of the cycle and designers being dumped.
Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, wrote about this last week. Then, yesterday, Cathy Horyn, the New York Times’ fashion critic – and another fellow fashion week traveller and friend – also weighed in on the topic:
“We Are All Guilty for this Mess,” according to Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune. In a heartfelt piece in her newspaper, my fellow Fashion Week traveller and friend took the fashion industry (herself included) to task for the very public soap opera that is the current round of designer switcheroos, in which bystanders gossip and place bets and tweet about real jobs and real people like they are characters in a reality television game.
It’s tough and honest and has people buzzing at the shows, and I recommend you read it, but I’m also not sure I entirely agree with it. I think she’s right about the situation, but doesn’t fully get to the cause.
Stefano Pilati. Image by Getty.
And so yet another designer departure is official: Stefano Pilati is leaving Yves Saint Laurent. Finally, the years of rumours about his impending demise (at the house, natch, not really) can stop! They are no longer exaggerated!
The timing of this announcement was as weird as that of Raf Simons’ recent departure from Jil Sander – this one comes a full week before Pilati’s last YSL show. My guess is the reasons were similar: news had leaked, gossip was rampant. Word on the street (and in my ears) was Hedi Slimane, who long ago ran YSL men’s wear to much acclaim, was on the way back. WWD published it. When I emailed Paul Deneuve, YSL’s chief executive, he made non-committal noises about “rumours,” and didn’t corroborate – or actually deny – any of it.
OK, John Galliano made her actual wedding dress, which was pretty, but also pretty unsurprising (inspired by the beautiful and damned Zelda Fitzgerald, who was also the theme of Kate Moss’s famous 30th birthday celebration). But – and this a big But — Stella McCartney made six – count ‘em! – dresses for the Kate Moss wedding extravaganza that began yesterday and is continuing through the weekend. Now, who do you think is going to get the most press pictures sent round the world, and thus the most profits?