Stefano Pilati Leaving Yves Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane To Take Over?

Stefano Pilati
Photo: Imaxtree
Stefano Pilati on the YSL Spring 2012 runway.

Stefano Pilati is "here to stay"? Yeah, not so much.

Despite repeated denials from Yves Saint Laurent that its Italian-born creative director was on his way out, the label has confirmed that it will indeed be parting ways with Pilati after 12 years, Women's Wear Daily reports.

The designer will show his final YSL collection on March 5 during Paris Fashion Week, capping what has been seen as an inconsistent career marked by instant, now-iconic successes like the Tribute heel and Muse bag as well as mixed reviews from the likes of late label namesake Yves Saint Laurent, who said in 2005 that "some of it is not so good."

"[I am] incredibly proud of what I have accomplished with my teams over the past decade at Saint Laurent,” Pilati tells WWD.

“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. I wish the maison Yves Saint Laurent and its new creative director the very best for the future.”

"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,” adds YSL CEO Paul Deneve, while PPR chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault says he "personally wish[es] him all the best."

It remains to be seen where Pilati, who joined the fashion house in 2000 as design director and took over for Tom Ford in 2004, will land, especially considering that Raf Simons' own departure from Jil Sander appears to have all but secured him the top job at Dior.

And while YSL has declined to comment on a replacement for Pilati until after Paris Fashion Week, former Dior Homme designer Hedi Slimane is the name on the tip of everyone's tongues. Though Slimane has been making his living as a fashion photographer since leaving Dior in 2007, he has a history with YSL (he designed their menswear before resigning in 2000) and seems poised for a return to the runway.

Known for his slim-fitting, androgynous designs, Slimane has also been linked to several rumors—which YSL dubbed "unfounded" at the time—naming him as a replacement for Pilati. Last year Kenzo PR's Twitter account stirred up drama by teasing that "[a] designer [would be] replaced by someone who has moved away from design the last couple of years but stayed in fashion," though YSL was quick to issue a denial.

Of course, Simons has also been tipped as a possible successor for Pilati. Could this game of fashion musical chairs end with Simons at YSL and Slimane back at Dior? At this point, anything is possible.