02/27/2012 07:25 am ET

Stefano Pilati Out At Yves Saint Laurent -- Is Hedi Slimane In?

The giant game of Fashion Musical Chairs continues: Stefano Pilati is out at Yves Saint Laurent.

After months of speculation and an especially buzz-filled week regarding his role as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, Pilati will be exiting the brand after his final show on March 5, reports Women's Wear Daily.

He has been with the famed French house since 2000 and served as head designer since 2004. But in recent seasons, particularly the Spring 2012 season during which Suzy Menkes reported he was being replaced, Pilati's spot at the top has seemed tenuous.

With Pilati’s latest contract due to expire this March, word arrived on Saturday that a replacement in finally in the wings: Hedi Slimane.

Previously Raf Simons, who today makes his formal exit from Jil Sander, was rumored to have been Pilati's replacement.

But WWD reports today that, according to "sources," former Dior Homme designer Slimane is the "frontrunner" to succeed Pilati. It would be a return for the French designer to YSL, as Slimane applied his skills in sleek, skinny-trousered menswear to Yves Saint Laurent men's in the late '90s.

The shift from Pilati, who recently lamented to the lack of modern "elegant women," to the androgynous, rockstar-influenced Slimane would be a true shift in the design mandate of Yves Saint Laurent.

But it seems YSL is ready for a change. "We are all at Yves Saint Laurent grateful to Stefano for his important achievements in advancing the mission and success of this historic and treasured fashion house,” Paul Deneve, CEO at YSL, told WWD.

Pilati told WWD:

“I exit the house with fierce conviction in all that we have achieved and deep gratitude to those who have supported me along the way... I wish the maison Yves Saint Laurent and its new creative director the very best for the future."

We are still awaiting confirmation that that new creative director is, indeed, Slimane, as YSL and parent company PPR are remaining quiet until after Pilati's show on March 5. Stay turned and read more at