Stefano Pilati stepped down from his role as head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture on February 3, 2016. 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. After a three and a half-year hiatus, Pilati launched his latest endeavour, Random Identities, which he started through Instagram in 2017. It is sold through the likes of Ssense, Dover Street Market and Ginza.
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 an 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. 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.
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."