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27-09-2011
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There's an article about these rumours in today's Independent

Marc Jacobs: the $10m man with designs on Galliano's old job at Dior
On the eve of Paris Fashion Week, the talk is all about who will take over two of the biggest names. Susannah Frankel reports

Paris may be home to the most spectacular shows, courtesy of the world's biggest brands, but the intrigue bubbling away just beneath the catwalk on the eve of the city's collections look like having as high an impact as the clothes. The rumour mill has gone into overdrive over who will be taking creative control of two of French fashion's biggest names: Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.

Only hours after John Galliano was sacked as creative director of Dior, having been accused of racism and anti-Semitism (he has since been found guilty on both counts) it was suggested that everyone from Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci to Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton and Balenciaga's Nicolas Ghesquière might succeed him.

Last month, however, the fashion trade paper, Women's Wear Daily, reported that Marc Jacobs, currently creative director of his own label shown in New York earlier this month, and of Louis Vuitton, is the frontrunner. It is expected that his appointment may be announced imminently.

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With less fanfare but significant nonetheless, at the top of her review of the designer Raf Simons' collection for Jil Sander, shown in Milan last Saturday, the respected International Herald Tribune fashion editor, Suzy Menkes, said that this designer is believed to be moving to Yves Saint Laurent.

"If Raf Simons ultimately takes over the helm at Yves Saint Laurent – as those familiar with the situation in Paris suggest," Menkes wrote, "the designer will have found a sweet spot for his meticulous modernism."

But first, Jacobs. His signing by Dior would be a smart move. Both Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton are owned by France's largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH, and it is well known that the company's chairman and CEO, Bernard Arnault, is a huge supporter of Mr Jacobs' work. Indeed, it was Arnault who put both Galliano and Jacobs in their respective positions in the first place. Of all the designers working today, it is Jacobs who is considered to have the Midas touch.

An American-born talent who shot to fame – not to mention some degree of infamy – when he dared to put grunge onto the Perry Ellis catwalk in the early Nineties, his shows are both critically and commercially successful season after season, and he is one of few in possession of the sheer energy and audacity required to take on such a demanding and high-profile role.

Since Galliano's departure, Dior has been designed by his studio, with Bill Gaytten, who worked alongside his mentor for 23 years, at the helm. Gaytten himself, who formally took over the John Galliano signature line in June, was just one of the names in the frame for the top job at Dior. Following a lacklustre haute couture collection in July, however, his appointment as creative director of the far bigger name appears highly unlikely.

The powers that be at Jil Sander, meanwhile, deny claims that Simons may be moving, but fuelling this particular fire is the fact that, for the past three seasons, the designer has branched out from his hitherto androgynous style and monochromatic colour palette to embrace an overblown couture silhouette and the sort of unlikely colour juxtapositions Yves Saint Laurent himself was best known for.

Those occupying the front rows in Paris will wait to hear if rumour becomes fact but, in the meantime, the publicity generated around the fashion industry's protracted game of musical chairs does none of the brands in question any harm. Nor is it a coincidence that stories break at this time of year. Instead, such sustained media interest only serves to ensure a label's position in the limelight even before any movement has been made official or indeed any clothes have been shown.

independent.co.uk

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27-09-2011
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I like Pilati for Yvs but if Raf would also be great...

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25-02-2012
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The twitterworld is now talking about Hedi Slimane replacing Stefano Pilati according to this article: http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-eco/201...nt-laurent.php

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25-02-2012
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^ that's absolutely random (or better, it's a story that's been going on since forever, it's random that it's coming up these days) but i would be both highly disappointed and rather excited if that was the truth

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25-02-2012
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Phew..(for now) from wwd.com

Quote:
MILAN - If Jil Sander can come back to Jil Sander, could Hedi Slimane return once again to Yves Saint Laurent?

According to a Paris source, Slimane, who exited as the designer of Dior Homme in 2007, is poised to take over the design helm at YSL, where he burst on to the fashion scene in the late Nineties with his modernist, androgynous men’s wear.

A spokesman for PPR, parent of YSL, had no comment.

As reported, YSL has yet to indicate if it will extend its relationship with Stefano Pilati, who succeeded Tom Ford as the brand’s chief designer in 2004. Pilati’s latest contract is due to expire next month. The fall-winter YSL show is scheduled for March 5 in Paris.

Earlier this month in reporting 2011 results, PPR chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault lauded that YSL made a “giant step” forward in terms of profitability, and that growth prospects are “very good.” Full-year sales at YSL advanced 31.4 percent last year while operating income grew more than fourfold.

Asked about renewing Pilati’s contact, he replied: “I won’t make any comments about any designers.”

The Italian designer has been dogged by replacement rumors throughout his YSL tenure, even as the business has demonstrated continual improvement, fuelling by his winning handbag and shoe designs. Pilati’s fashions also continue to enjoy a high profile in fashion magazine.

Since exiting Dior, Slimane has devoted himself to photography and relocated to Los Angeles. Although he has never designed a women’s collection, Slimane has long enjoyed the support of YSL’s old guard, including the likes of Pierre Bergé, Catherine Deneuve and Betty Catroux. During his Dior days, he did small quantities of his slim suits in small sizes for his female fans.

Slimane could not immediately be reached for comment.

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25-02-2012
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I really have my fingers crossed that Pilati isn't going anywhere. I really love his work and I think it's a perfect suit for YSL. And his last collections were so great...

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25-02-2012
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A source told the AFP “[Silmane] will become the new creative director at YSL,” and that “the contract has been signed by both parties.” According to the AFP, the appointment will be formalized during Paris Fashion Week, which starts Tuesday, February 28. WWD is also citing a “Paris source,” as saying that Slimane “is poised to take over the design helm at YSL.” PPR, the parent group of YSL, would not comment to WWD but the French Twittersphere seems to indicate that a confirmation from PPR is forthcoming.

Slimane started his career with a bang as the creative director of YSL in 1996, where he stayed until 2001. He then left to serve as creative director for Dior Homme until 2007, where he revolutionized menswear with his slim androgynous aesthetic. Since then his talents have been missed in the design world as he’s pursued art and photography.

Rumors of PIlati’s departure from YSL have dogged him for years, despite his showing a series of strong and well-reviewed collections the last few seasons. (Remember that back in September, Suzy Menkes reported Raf Simons would succeed Pilati.) But, as WWD points out, his contact is up in a month. When asked about renewing Pilati’s contract, PPR chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault told the paper, “I won’t make any comments about any designers.” Maybe this is why Pilati seemed so unfiltered in a recent interview with Vice UK?
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Here's original article : http://www.lepoint.fr/culture/exclus...-1435116_3.php

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25-02-2012
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And what about Stefano Pilati?

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25-02-2012
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Stfu, a possibilty of Hedi going to YSL?

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25-02-2012
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this is so sad, first Raf, now Stefano (probably) leaving hope it isn't true. he was PERFECT for YSL

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25-02-2012
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Oh, great...Looks like we are having some fashion issues here...

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25-02-2012
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Today isn’t the first time we’ve heard a rumor suggesting that designer Hedi Slimane is going to take over the creative director’s chair at Yves Saint Laurent, but for some reason, the industry is now taking the prospect a little more seriously.
On Saturday, Women’s Wear Daily quoted an unnamed source in Paris as saying that Slimane, who was director of men’s design at YSL from 1996 to 2002, is primed to take over as YSL’s creative director when Stefano Pilati‘s contract with the company expires next month. The French fashion label hasn’t decided yet whether it will extend its contract with Pilati, but his tenure at the company has been plagued with consistent rumors that his days there are numbered.
As far as anyone can tell, though, Pilati is doing a good job and has been for years. PPR, the company that owns YSL, Gucci and Alexander McQueen, reported earlier this year that Pilati’s strong handbag and shoe designs helped YSL take a “giant step” in its profitability — and his clothing has been selling well since he took over the job from Tom Ford in 2004. Why the company would want to mess with a winning formula is a mystery to us.
What further complicates things is the fact that Slimane has never really done a women’s collection before. When he left YSL in 2002, he became the design director at Dior Homme and popularized the super skinny aesthetic that has dominated the menswear market ever since. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t do the job — he’s clearly a capable designer — we just think it’s strange that such a big brand would replace a successful women’s designer with an untested men’s suit expert.
But there you have it. People are talking, but we’ll wait on official word before we start buying into the idea.
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25-02-2012
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^ That last statement, about Slimane being untested in womenswear, is beyond strange. I mean, that was the case with Raf Simons at Jil Sander and the collection he showed today will likely be the talk of Milan fashion week.

Personally I'd love to see Slimane at YSL. I've never been able to fully embrace Pilati's work, there's always been something about it that keeps me at arms length. I've never felt he was a perfect fit. Slimane, while not an obvious choice, would be so exciting to see heading the house. If his women's collection looked or felt anything like the work he did in menswear for YSL, I'm fully on board.

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26-02-2012
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I look forward to the Raf at Dior and Hedi at YSL face off!!! We need it. The new Chanel-Schiaparelli!

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27-02-2012
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Quote:
MILAN — It’s been an electrifying season of surprising fashion comebacks: First Jil Sander back to Jil Sander — and now Hedi Slimane poised to return to Yves Saint Laurent.

On the eve of Paris Fashion Week, which kicks off Wednesday, YSL will today announce the departure of its creative director Stefano Pilati, WWD has learned.

The development marks the end of a fruitful, if turbulent, tenure for Pilati, who succeeded Tom Ford as YSL’s chief designer in 2004. The fall-winter YSL show on March 5 in Paris will be his swan song.

Sources said men’s wear star Slimane, who pursued a photography career since exiting Dior Homme in 2007, is seen as the frontrunner to succeed Pilati, as reported. It would be a return engagement for the Paris-born designer, 43, who burst on to the fashion scene in the late Nineties with his modernist, androgynous men’s wear for YSL.

YSL and PPR have declined all comment on the future designer leadership at the French house. It is understood the company will remain mum on the subject until after the upcoming YSL show.

“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,” Paul Deneve, chief executive officer at YSL, told WWD.

“I join Paul Deneve and the house of Saint Laurent in thanking Stefano for his dedication and contribution to the story of Yves Saint Laurent. I personally wish him all the best,” added François-Henri Pinault, chairman and ceo of PPR, parent of YSL and other luxury brands including Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Stella McCartney.


Pilati’s exit marks the end of a topsy-turvy, often challenging stint at YSL. While he earned acclaim for some of his collections, with his bulbous-and-belted debut show proving particularly influential, Pilati also took his share of lumps.

His shows were inconsistent — garnering raves one season, barbs the next — and he was at times maligned for making clothes that were lacking in color and modernity.

He was also dogged by replacement rumors throughout his tenure — with Slimane frequently touted as the heir apparent — and endured a frosty reception from the old-guard YSL camp, up to and including the founder. Asked about Pilati’s designs in 2005, Saint Laurent told WWD: “Some of what he does is good. Some of it is not so good.”

Former YSL boss Pierre Bergé made his disapproval plain by attending the fashion shows of other designers, particularly Slimane and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, and trumpeting their talent in the media.

Bergé also excluded Pilati from important events, notably the opening gala for the blockbuster YSL retrospective exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2010. By contrast, Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel, Kenzo Takada, Valentino Garavani, Alber Elbaz and Tisci were all invited to attend.

Yet Pilati was instrumental in establishing YSL as a go-to brand for handbags and shoes — sketching out hit styles like the “Muse” and “Downtown” bags and the “Tribute” shoe, a sexy platform sandal that continues to sell briskly five years after its introduction.

In fact, the YSL business demonstrated almost continuous improvement since Pilati arrived — even if well shy of the Gucci-esque rejuvenation miracle Ford once touted.

The company achieved breakeven while under Pilati’s creative watch, a feat reached without opening any new boutiques.

After acquiring YSL in 1999, Gucci Group immediately applied its then-mantra of direct control for production and distribution, terminating more than 150 licenses and establishing a global network of stores in top locations. That radical development strategy drove the company deeply into the red.

In 2003, operating losses ballooned to 76.4 million euros, or $94 million.

YSL reached breakeven in fiscal 2008, when revenues rose 18.8 percent to 263 million euros, or $328.7 million. At the time, management credited growing sales of high-margin leather goods, with tight cost controls playing a supporting role.

Pilati steps out of YSL on a business high note.

Earlier this month in reporting 2011 results, Pinault lauded YSL’s “giant step” forward in terms of profitability, and said growth prospects are “very good.” Full-year sales at YSL advanced 31.4 percent last year to 353.7 million euros, or $493.2 million, while operating income grew more than fourfold to 40.9 million euros, or $57 million. Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates for the periods in question.

PPR also provided the breakdown of YSL sales in 2011: leather goods accounted for 35 percent; footwear, 25 percent; ready-to-wear, 24 percent, and accessories and royalties, 16 percent.

Pilati told WWD he’s “incredibly proud of what I have accomplished with my teams over the past decade at Saint Laurent,” particularly the fashion house’s return to profitability.

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

Pilati received strong reviews last month for the fall YSL men’s collection, in which he merged details of the leather motorcycle jacket with formal clothing and handsome wool outerwear.

Insiders describe Pilati as a tempestuous talent, but also a hands-on one, who sketched out most designs, selected the leathers used for the handbags, and who played an active role in helping to bring more commercial traction to the YSL business.

He is said to have formed a strong rapport with former YSL ceo Valerie Hermann, an executive renowned for product and merchandising prowess. The duo was able to increase sales density in its existing network, despite a too-dark design concept that was a holdover from the Ford era.

Hermann exited YSL last year to take up the management helm of Reed Krakoff in New York, and was succeeded by Deneve. Sources said Pilati has not meshed as well with Deneve, a reserved and methodical executive who had previously held management posts at Lanvin, Nina Ricci and Courrèges.

Pilati crafted a strong advertising image for YSL, employing iconic models including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, along with up-and-coming talents such as Arizona Muse. His designs also continue to enjoy a strong profile in magazine editorials.

The Milan-born designer emerged from fashion’s shadows in March 2000, when Ford named him women’s design director for YSL rtw. Before that, he worked in senior design and fabric development positions for a number of Italian design houses, including Miu Miu, Prada and Giorgio Armani.

When Ford exited as Gucci Group’s creative director in 2004, Pilati was seen as a key internal candidate to succeed Ford at either the Gucci or YSL brands. Lee Alexander McQueen, also part of Gucci Group, was courted for the YSL job, but declined it in order to concentrate on his signature fashion house.

Pilati showed his debut collection for YSL in October 2004.

“I hope that women will find easiness and joy and freedom to dress up and look chic in a natural way,” he told WWD at the time. “In the end, Saint Laurent was very easy to wear. It was never contrived. You can wear a little dress and feel very chic and Parisian because of the way you accessorize it or because of its proportions.”

Slimane’s expected comeback to YSL is likely to be greeted with excitement from editors and retailers.

Since exiting as Dior Homme’s creative director in 2007, Slimane has devoted himself to photography and relocated to Los Angeles. But he has often hinted he would return to the fashion fold.
The designer was spotted on Sunday in Paris shopping the famous Clignancourt flea market.

Although he has never designed a women’s collection, Slimane has long enjoyed the support of YSL’s old guard, including the likes of Bergé, Catherine Deneuve and Betty Catroux. During his Dior days, he did small quantities of his slim suits in small sizes for such female fans as Nicole Kidman and Linda Evangelista.

Slimane could not immediately be reached for comment. But in an interview last year, he told WWD that he was merely taking a pause from fashion.

“I had enough time to define my style precisely,” he said. “It would have been different if I had left fashion before having defined it. I also never intended to give up on design, but to take a necessary and healthy distance. I do still love design, and somehow have protected my passion for it. I’ll catch up with it in time.”

Slimane had a broad impact on men’s fashion, making skinny suits and tight, low-riding jeans the epitome of cool. Designer Karl Lagerfeld famously shed 60 pounds simply to be able to shimmy into Slimane’s spare, graphic threads, and rock stars from Mick Jagger to Pete Doherty have belted out tunes decked out in Dior Homme.

An art history graduate from the Ecole du Louvre, Slimane was initially hired at YSL as an assistant in fashion marketing and three years later, was promoted to designer, revving up the men’s department with leather trenchcoats, pinch-waisted suits and plunging shirts.

But when Gucci Group acquired YSL in 1999, Slimane balked at a hierarchy that had him reporting to Ford. In spring 2000, he resigned from YSL to pursue talks about a Gucci-backed signature collection. Prada Group also courted Slimane to take over Jil Sander, but he ultimately accepted an offer from Arnault to join in the rejuvenation of Dior.
wwd / february 25, 2012


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