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.

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
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: In House Counsel - Contracts

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

    Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

    £24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

    Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat