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Pinault-Printemps-Redoute is expected to announce today that Alessandra Facchinetti, Frida Giannini and John Ray will succeed Tom Ford at the design helm of Gucci, heading women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and men’s wear, respectively. Also, Stefano Pilati will be named the new designer at Yves Saint Laurent.
WWD was the first to report the names of the new designers on March 4.
The prospect of replacing an international design star with four unknown members of Ford’s design staff has prompted a divisive debate in the fashion world that is bound to rage on for seasons to come. More immediately, it unleashed a round of mudslinging between Ford and PPR chief executive Serge Weinberg.
In an interview in these columns March 5, Ford said that “a fashion brand has to have a single, focused point of view.” Meanwhile, Weinberg has insisted the brand is more important than the personality behind it.
That said, it is understood that PPR does not plan to keep its hidden talents under wraps, but groom them as tomorrow’s design stars and brand ambassadors. Here, WWD takes a look at the four people who will chart the future of two of the biggest names in international fashion.
Almost everyone had filed out of Tom Ford’s farewell show for Yves Saint Laurent Sunday night at the Musee Rodin here when a gleaming black Range Rover made a slow advance across the black carpet guests had tread upon only minutes before.
Behind the wheel, wearing a tweed newsboy cap, smoking a cigarette and smiling contentedly, was Stefano Pilati, a discreet and dashing 38-year-old who is about to be thrust into the international fashion spotlight.
Today, Gucci Group will announce that Pilati is Ford’s successor at YSL, ending months of speculation and beginning a new chapter in a storied, and lately struggling, fashion house.
Pilati may not have been first choice for the YSL brand. As reported, Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, which controls Gucci Group, had initially pursued negotiations with another inside candidate, Alexander McQueen. Gucci Group owns 51 percent of McQueen’s fashion house. At that point, Pilati, one of the group’s chief unsung talents, had been tipped to take over the Gucci reins. At the time, he was even rumored to be searching for an apartment in Milan.