>> Stefano Pilati is certain about one thing — he doesn't think his predecessor at Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, is gifted — and he wasn't alone. When he went to work for Ford at YSL, "I was being tested by everybody at YSL . . . Even the receptionist. They all hated Tom, and they were all telling me about Mr. Saint Laurent and what he used to do."
But as for how Stefano thinks of himself — that's where things get a little less black-and-white. In this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, the designer tells Lynn Hirschberg he had interlocking male and female symbols tattooed on his arm at 13 — as an act of defiance. The now out designer lived for many years as a heterosexual, surprising women with his switch. "He always had girlfriends, and I thought Stefano was open to anything, but that may have been wishful thinking on my part," one said. He's even been known to try on his women's collection to check the garment. Once, Valerie Hermann, CEO of YSL, walked in on him in a petticoat: "I said, ‘Stefano, take that off!"
This is Stefano on drugs . . . »
Perhaps the most personally debilitating blurring of lines Stefano committed was that of interchanging drugs with work — until he went through rehab twice because his creativity was affected, he worked on heroin: "It was integrated in my everyday life: in the morning, you take the drug, and then you go to work, and then again in the afternoon and evening. You can easily switch from the obsession of the drug to the obsession of the work."
He may play back and forth with gender, sexuality, work . . . but amongst all the confusion, one thing is for sure: Stefano Pilati is gifted.