Stefano Pilati was the designer of choice to speak at this week's French Institute Alliance Française as a part of their Fashion Talks series and as you would expect, the event pulled in a full house.
It's not clear whether they bagged him to talk at the event after the announcement of his departure was confirmed but either way, it was perfect timing. Everyone from Joseph Altuzarra to Derek Blasberg attended the event and naturally, his departure from the brand and his plans for the future were the main point of conversation.
On working with Tom Ford at YSL:
Let’s not go there. Challenging is not the right word. It was traumatic! It was tragical. No, no, it was great, of course, it was great. You know what, Tom has such a self-confidence that you can really absorb it — he has enough for everyone around him, and I definitely got it. I was like, yeah, give it to me! I question every single moment of my life — about myself, what I do, what I say, what I didn’t say, if my idea is good or not good, you know. So imagine, somebody who actually brings me there and gives me a lot of responsibility. It was an amazing relationship.
On his greatest achievement at YSL:
[When] Tom left, the company was not in good shape; actually, it had a lot of losses. And the aim was to have the house profitable … so, I focused on that, I put aside my ego, I put aside my freedom, and I work hard to also respond to what the market was asking for … I started to do [accessories], and it was successful, but also I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the design aspect … I was in the learning process. I think what happened between 2004 and 2012 is that there were an amazing eight years of a learning process. The house [has been] profitable since 2008, and I don’t feel like I sacrificed [any]thing.
On his lowest point at YSL:
No low point. It would be blasphemy to say there’s a low point. I live an amazing life in Paris, I’ve been loved by many colleagues and collaborators. I have the chance to work in fashion — to be in fashion is a privileged place.
On criticism from the press:
I think it’s normal. I think it’s the way it has to go. I mean, to be controversial makes people think. That’s important … At least controversy makes people stop and have a few questions. It’s not synonymous with mediocrity to be controversial. I think it fits me … I’m controversial with myself … Obviously, you do a collection and you think you’re the best; in the world, there’s no comparison. Then it doesn’t happen, and you need to re-settle a bit, come to terms with your reality. Obviously it doesn’t make you happy.
On what’s next:
Lots and lots of vacation. No, what’s next is important. Again, I find myself with this amazing experience, and I want to use it for something that makes me feel that I’m part of this moment and era … I’m pretty sure that I have the energy and the knowledge at least to try to do something relevant.