'Fashion is not fashion anymore': Yves Saint Laurent designer on elegance, waistlines and his epic workload
Stefano Pilati who took over as head of Yves Saint Laurent in 2004 believes elegant women are a rarity these days
Yves Saint Laurent creative director, Stefano Pilati has a lot to say about the current state of fashion and the women who wear it.
In a recent interview the famously outspoken designer, who took over from Tom Ford in 2004, declared that fashion as we know it has come to an end and that elegant women are hard to find.
He told Vice magazine: 'Today when I go to New York and survey
art and fashion, I see smart women and the level is high. But there’s a
difference between this and saying a woman is elegant.
'My idea of elegance – and this refers to
women as well as men – is that someone is elegant when he or she shows a
good knowledge of what fits them,' he continued. 'Where you can find naturalness and
'Not showing off,' the designer elaborated. 'When you’re not thinking, “This is
fashion,” and you’re not buying clothes to create statements, you’re on
the right path.'
Hailed as a style pioneer and consummate risk-taker, the Italian came to Yves Saint Laurent facing the challenge of how to revive a company that was losing 75 million euros a year.
'I had to strike a balance,' he explained to Costantino Della Gherardesca. 'I was asked to be innovative while respecting the tradition of the maison, but I also had to be commercial and salable.
'People were expecting fireworks, but I never gave them any. I had to lay the foundation first.'
The business of fashion is something Mr Pilati feels strongly has not only changed the direction of the industry dramatically but also his personal life.
'Today it’s a real office job that
goes beyond any normal conception of what time one should devote to
work. I work 24 hours a day, essentially,' he confessed.
'I have to make a collection
every two months. You have to be in shape; you have to be more athlete
than rock star.'
Through the ages: Yves Saint Laurent in 1994 under the leadership of Saint Laurent (left), Tom Ford in 2002 (middle) and Stefano Pilati in 2012 (right)
Mr Pilati certainly seems to be on top form. Having well and truly staked his claim to the fashion house's legacy, he has been able to significantly influence the direction of the industry.
'I created a new silhouette,' he admitted. 'In 2004, everybody was hanging around with low-waisted pants and skirts. It was disgusting! You’d walk down the streets and see fat asses in low-cut jeans.
'So I said to myself, “Maybe we don’t have to keep on seeing that.”'
Explaining the ways in which real life influences his designs, he said: 'When I create a piece of clothing, I think of today’s life – dynamism, the role of women in society, and her behavior in given situations.
'I’m speaking of women who play leading roles in our society, not just the big-spender wife or lover who spends her days being fucked by her rich boyfriend. I try to include all of society in my creations. That’s the most challenging thing.'
But the challenges are far greater than this even. According to the sartorialist: 'Fashion is not fashion anymore. I am sure of this, but nobody realises this because the world is full of romantics like me – people who continue to believe in it.
'Now “fashionable” can mean anything. Everything is fashion. Anything can become fashion. Nowadays, it’s all business.'