Italian fashion designer Stefano Pilati is head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna and creative director of Agnona. He is responsible for the design of Ermenegildo Zegna’s runway ‘couture’ collections. His debut show for the brand was widely praised by the press.
Pilati is best known, however, for the eight years he spent helming the Yves Saint Laurent design studio. Hired by Tom Ford in 2000 as design director, Pilati was promoted to head of design in 2004 when Ford left the company. Pilati has a unerring ability to design ahead of the curve. His designs, including the tulip skirt of 2004, are often initially met with skepticism, before going on to be widely imitated.
Prior to Saint Laurent, Pilati gained experience with many of Italy’s finest houses. Following Milan’s fashion boom in the 1980s Pilati chose to quit his studies to join Nino Cerruti as an intern. Pilati told the New York Times that his father’s criticism made him an unhappy child. “When I was sketching something, I didn't feel alone. Eventually, I said, ‘Enough - I'm going to belong to another world instead.’ And the fashion world looked beautiful."
In 1993, Pilati secured his first significant role in fashion as a menswear design assistant at Giorgio Armani, a role he left in 1995 to become head of research and development at Prada.
In 1998 Pilati was appointed assistant designer at Miu Miu, working on the label’s womenswear and menswear collections, reporting directly to Miuccia Prada. Pilati stayed at Miu Miu for two years before joining Yves Saint Laurent.