MILAN, Sept 4 Italian luxury group Ermenegildo
Zegna has hired former Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) designer Stefano
Pilati as creative head of its menswear shows and womenswear
brand in a move aimed at infusing fresh appeal into the
century-old fashion house.
Pilati, instrumental in the repositioning of PPR's
YSL where he worked for seven years, will join Zegna from Jan.
1, 2013, the company said on Tuesday.
"We have been thinking about the brand's role in fashion for
some time. By appointing Stefano, we will be able to combine our
tradition in tailoring and our leadership in innovative
materials with a new vision for men's fashion," Chief Executive
Ermenegildo Zegna said in a statement.
Under Pilati's creative designs, particularly in high-margin
leather goods, YSL returned to profitability in 2008.
Pilati left YSL in February and was replaced by French
designer Hedi Slimane, former creative head at Christian Dior
Founded in 1910 in the Italian Biella Alps, the company is
run by the fourth generation of the Zegna family.
The group, whose tailored suits and suede jackets have been
worn by movie stars such as Tom Cruise, reported a 91.5 percent
profit rise to 115.1 million euros in 2011 on the back of record
sales of 1.13 billion euros ($1.42 billion).
Zegna said in April the group was confident about 2012
growth after retail sales in the first three months rose around
11 percent at constant exchange rates.
Luxury houses are resilient to economic downturns but are
under pressure to catch up with fast-changing consumers moods,
especially in Asia where young shoppers dictate trends.
Zegna exports 90 percent of its products, especially to
Asia. It also aims to boost its presence in the womenswear
business by making Pilati head of its Agnona brand.
The luxury industry is expected to grow 7-9 percent this
year after enjoying double-digit growth following the 2009
The 180-billion-euro menswear market, which makes up 40
percent of the global market, is expected to grow at about 14
percent a year, nearly double the 8 percent growth rate of
luxury womenswear, according to Bain & Co.
($1 = 0.7947 euros)
(Reporting by Antonella Ciancio; editing by James Jukwey)