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Stefano Pilati

Former Head of Design, Ermenegildo Zegna

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Stefano Pilati stepped down from his role as head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture on February 3rd 2016. In a statement the designer said, “I have given much consideration to this decision and after thoughtful conversations with Gildo Zegna , we have reached the conclusion that the mission he entrusted me with had been fulfilled.” Pilati's well received collections for the house were shown in Milan's menswear week, and were an extension of his casually elegant, personal aesthetic, made using the finest materials — expanding the Ermenegildo Zegna brand's high-luxury offering.

"We wanted to develop a strong point of view in fashion as well as style, and for Zegna to be a show not to be missed in Milan. We have reached this objective faster than expected. As we move on to write new chapters in Zegna’s development, I wish Stefano well for his future endeavours," said Gidlo Zegna, chief executive officer of the Zegna Group. Pilati's next move is currently unknown.

Prior to stepping down from his role at Ermenegildo Zegna, he was also creative director at Agnona, a luxury women’s brand part of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group , but left the post in July 2015. 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.

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