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ALL ABOUT YVES: Truth does not get in the way of Twitter. Asked Thursday about wanton online speculation of an imminent designer change at Yves Saint Laurent, PPR chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault firmly denied any plans to dislodge the incumbent, Stefano Pilati. A blizzard of articles and blog entries — ignited by a tweet posted on a Kenzo p.r. account Wednesday — made it sound as if a designer, possibly Hedi Slimane, was poised to unseat Pilati. On the contrary, Pinault has been unequivocal in his public support of Pilati, credited with helping YSL swing back to profitability in 2010, registering operating income of 11.6 million euros, or $15.4 million.
Last week, Pilati sat front row at PPR’s results presentation, where Pinault praised him and YSL ceo Valérie Hermann for the French firm’s current momentum. Disclosing plans to enlarge YSL’s retail network, he even ribbed Pilati good-naturedly about filling all the new stores with merchandise.
No doubt Hermann’s imminent exit — she will become ceo at Reed Krakoff in April — helped sparked the rumor mill. This isn’t the first time YSL has had to silence gossip mongers. In 2007, the house revealed the renewal of Pilati’s contract at a time when he was rumored to be headed to Valentino, or about to be replaced.
Meanwhile, a Kenzo spokesman said Wednesday he did not know who posted the incendiary tweet, which has since been removed. “This is not at all the kind of information that we would have access to or would have any interest in spreading,” he added.