By now you've heard the oft-revived rumor that Stefano Pilati is on the outs with YSL. We started hearing it again before New York Fashion Week and of course it reminded us of our own posts on the subject exactly one Fashion Week ago, in which we detailed the various chain reactions that could take place if the rumor turned out to be true.
Well, our sources are now telling us that, after interviewing everyone from Raf Simons to Olivier Theyskens, YSL/PPR execs have indeed found a replacement for Stefano, whose fall 2011 collection would be his last. And it's someone who's already spent time at YSL, before making his name at Dior Homme. Voila! And the winner is... Hedi Slimane, who'd be in charge of both men's and women's. If, that is, what we hear is true, so take it with a grain of salt.
As we reported, the others turned down the job partly because of Pierre Bergé's control-freakish ways (he still owns the archives) and larger-than-life presence, but as it turns out, Pierre and Hedi are old friends. Plus, no doubt the higher-ups are acutely aware of the enormous amount of anticipation surrounding Hedi's return to fashion and his stated interest in designing womenswear. They must surely also see, as we do, how Hedi's androgynous, beyond-chic, rock-star aesthetic might be just the thing to turn up the charisma at the ailing house.
So there you go, the dénouement to the rumors, tied with a bow. But of course nothing is final until the announcement is made.
So why have YSL execs been shopping the position around? Because, according to our sources, sales have been worse than poor, a situation apparently not helped by former CEO Valerie Hermann, who we're told didn't just leave her post last week, as widely reported, but was let go. As for that three-year contract Stefano recently signed at YSL? Say our sources: "Contracts are made to be broken." Especially where three seasons of anemic sales are concerned.
Here's more juiciness. If Carine Roitfeld doesn't launch Harper's Bazaar in France, she'll most likely work with Hedi at YSL, probably in a consulting capacity.
So where, if the rumor is true, does this leave Stefano? Where will he go? First, don't worry, because he's talented, admired and devoted. And while it may seem like a long shot, consider the possibility he'd go to Armani, perhaps the plummiest of all jobs. Only when the time is right, of course.