With his assured take on contemporary luxury, Stefano Pilati is a fashion force to be reckoned with. The designer, who took the creative director helm of Yves Saint Laurent in 2004, has dexterously steered the direction of the classic brand back to its French roots. He left YSL in March this year, and today, after months of speculation, it has finally been announced that he is to join the Ermenegildo Zegna group fold. Effective 1 January 2013, Pilati will be head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna, as well as creative director of Agnona, the Group's luxury womenswear and accessories brand.
A Tom Ford recruit at YSL, Pilati took control of the company after Ford resigned. Through the years, Pilati has often been ahead of the curve, sending out new ideas into a market that has not always been quite ready for them. Towards the end of his tenureship at YSL, he had learned, and his timing becoming more and more impeccable with each collection. His swan song for the brand's A/W 2012 collection earned him a standing ovation.
Pilati grew up in Milan. He started out as a fabric specialist and, after spells at Cerruti and Armani, arrived at Prada in 1995, before Tom Ford took him in to YSL in 2000. Stubborn and cerebral, Pilati takes design seriously, with an unmatched sense of material and form. Returning to Italian fashion with his post at Ermenegildo Zegna, there is little doubt he will be a dynamic vision to a brand already rich in tailoring and material innovation.
Pilati's appointment marks a new era for the group, which just last year welcomed former Jil Sander head of menswear Paul Surridge to another member of the Zegna family, Z Zegna. Surridge, who made his creative director debut for the younger, more fashion-forward brand's A/W 2012 collection, is profiled in our October issue (W*163). To see how Surridge is bringing a slick, fuguristic edge to the Italian tailoring house, pick up a copy of the issue - on sale from 13 September.