Ready To Wear: The fashion merry-go-round takes yet another turn

 

The rumours surrounding Paris's major brands may do big business no harm, but one can only feel for the designers who are forced to complete collections while the rest of the world wonders who may – or may not – step into their shoes. This applies more than most to Stefano Pilati, who will stage his show for Yves Saint Laurent in Paris this evening.

Six months ago speculation concerning Hedi Slimane's imminent arrival as his successor filled the news pages. That never happened, clearly. Now, and at the time of writing, it is the turn of Raf Simons to take over, according to insider gossip at least. The motives behind all of this are unclear and, given the cloak-and-dagger, behind-the-scenes politics of the fashion industry, chances are that they will remain that way. But should Pilati move on – whether it be by choice or at the behest of his management – it would be a great loss to the label.

The designer has been at Yves Saint Laurent since 2002 and has single-handedly given it a new lease of life. Given the reputation that surrounds the name, it's all too easy to forget that when he took the helm it was floundering. After Saint Laurent's retirement from the ready-to-wear arm in the late 1990s, Alber Elbaz was initially employed but lasted only two seasons before being unceremoniously ousted. Later, and having found considerable success at Lanvin, the designer made no secret of the crisis of confidence he had suffered while there.

Elbaz was cast aside by none other than Tom Ford, of course, then creative director of the Gucci Group, which acquired Yves Saint Laurent in 1999. Ford wanted Yves Saint Laurent for himself, the story went, but the world watched on as he failed to revitalise it in the way he had done at Gucci.

And then came Pilati, who from day one demonstrated an understanding of the Yves Saint Laurent heritage on so many levels and duly re-invented it for a modern audience to great – and entirely deserved – critical acclaim. And he has continued to do so.

From Rive Gauche polka-dot frills to grande bourgeoise elegance, and from the almost ascetic purity of oversized tailoring to the grace of this autumn's languid Le Smoking Pilati, he has more than delivered season after season, and for that alone he should be applauded.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own