Designer Stefano Pilati Is Out of His Second Women's Wear Job

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Stefano Pilati

The former designer of what was then called YSL is leaving the Italian knitwear brand Agnona but staying on as the menswear designer for Zegna.

Former YSL designer Stefano Pilati is leaving Italian women's knitwear brand Agnona after just four seasons. The spring 2016 show, taking place in Milan this September, will be produced by the design team there, and no other designer has been named. Pilati's departure was first reported by WWD.

At Agnona, Pilati's designs consisted mostly of dark wool coats and architectural clothes with relatively tough shapes and a more masculine feel. Sold on the luxury site Net-a-Porter (and hard to find in the U.S.), Agnona pieces usually run in the thousands — a cashmere coat is currently priced at $7,000 on the site. 

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Agnona is owned by the same Italian company that owns high-end menswear giant Zegna — Pilati designs its famed sleek suits, shirts, jackets and outerwear. He'll stay on with Zegna, where his styles have been hailed. (Oddly enough, his styles at Agnona were hailed, too, by fashion critics but perhaps not by stores.)

Pilati has let it be known that he will be announcing a new venture in women's wear soon, so it's not quite clear if he left Agnona or was asked to step down. The one-time Armani designer was hired at YSL in 2000, became head designer in 2004 and left in 2012, when the company changed its name to Saint Laurent and hired Hedi Slimane as head designer. Pilati was first recognized for his architectural ladies' looks for YSL, where he designed the famous YSL Muse bag and the YSL Tribute sandal. But the accessories were more accessible than the clothes, which seemed not quite sporty or street enough for the U.S. market.

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We don't know know if Pilati is simply not cut out for women's wear — and has a much more masculine eye (makes sense) — or if, in fact, he might end up as the successor to Giorgio Armani, as it's been rumored on and off for years. Armani refuses to name a successor (as does Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel), having once made it clear that Pilati would not be his choice, saying in 2013, "Pilati is already doing Armani." But the rumors have resurfaced recently, so it could be that Armani has changed his mind.