Stefano Pilati Introduces Random Identities
On Having No Fear In Fashion’s Changing Landscape, The Former Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent Is Going Solo
Stefano Pilati, the Italian designer now based in Berlin—and former creative director of Yves Saint Laurent—has been keeping a low profile. While rumors circled about where Pilati might land next, the designer was spotted, as reported by , attending shows and even making a surprise cameo on the catwalk, modeling for GmBH in Paris. Two summers ago, he was featured in an 18-page editorial for , photographed by Lukas Wassmann, featuring Pilati’s Berlin inner circle. The city, he told the magazine, has provided him with a welcomed sense of freedom—where the designer can follow his moods and explore less limiting approaches to his life and work. Pilati’s visionary impact on the fashion world and inimitable personal style—honed and lovely, smart, and somehow cursive in its appeal—has only made his recent reticence all the more intriguing.
That is until now.
Introducing Pilati’s new solo project, RANDOM IDENTITIES. According to him, the logo—a simple, black label—connotes a fresh start, abandoning all that came before. Speaking at length for the first time about his new venture, Pilati—unfiltered and bare—reflects on the state of fashion and the rise of amateurism; what it feels like to experience new codes, and new, more holistic attitudes, as old guard proficiencies demand flexibility in order to realize true change.
My line is called RANDOM IDENTITIES. Random stands for the randomness of existence, and Identities stands as a response to that randomness. The two terms define the space where people can identify themselves not with trends, but with personality, function, quality, and design. But above all, a confidence in integrating new codes indicative of the gender shift we are witnessing.My archive is vast. It isn't in fact an archive, it is my daily wardrobe. This is where I test the personality of the clothes, my interaction with it from a new perspective, based more on the relevance of the garment's functions than strictly consumption. That is my starting point and the core of my project. If I don't feel it, I won't do it.
Quitting my career in the luxury industry, I found myself confronted with a sense of freedom I didn't expect. My life has been so intensely defined by fashion, that I couldn't recognise myself without it. It was rather destabilising.I love fashion because I have learned the meaning of it. Fashion has an atavistic sense of inferiority towards the other forms of art or artistic expression, simply because it can be read as superfluous. I am cognisant of the fact that ”someone” can live rather well without it.If you choose to embrace it, my experience is that it will complement your personality. It can become a feature of your being, like your hair, eyes, legs, and voice, but especially, your manners, education, and taste.I dress up for myself first, and then, I appreciate when it is recognised by others.My personal style is a journey that refines itself daily. It expresses the different sides of me that could possibly be difficult to comes to terms with.In that sense, I enjoy the journey and I fear the day it will stop.Fashion for me is where I find myself the most inspired. It is my way to translate in clothes, my mood, my feelings, but especially my intuitions, my experiences, and my knowledge. Obviously, it requires passion, devotion, discipline, method, and technical skills.Presently, I am angry with the system because fashion skills have been reduced to applied ideas without method, but formats; pre-constructed formats. Everyone feels entitled to talk about fashion even if they have no sense of history or personal style or even experience, simply because they buy, wear, or watch it.It seems fashion designers have been replaced by entertainers.The new generation of designers are proud to be amateurs without realising the damage they do to the society at large.Offering status after status in an era where clothes should reflect it; an era of wars, regressions, demolition of values, corruption of the civic sense, and bad taste. My line wants to express my sensitivity to good taste and style. This is for what I am recognised.I have heard it said many times that “chic doesn’t sell." I’d say that chic cannot be sold, but definitely suggested.
I had to wash off many layers of my personality since I decided to go “solo.” Abandoning the corporate structure has pros and cons. A corporate structure or a factory, taught me life: creatively and personally. If you think big, than you need to know where “big” can happen and how. I do not look for recognition as an entertainer but rather as a designer, a vehicle, and perhaps an opinion leader.My life within the corporate structure has been formative and destructive at the same time.The isolation from fashion that Berlin has given me, creates more objectivity in what I do. I have no fear.
I’ve never been a club kid or a night life seeker. I've always been attracted by it, for all the conventional reasons, which I will sum up in a word: sexy. Being obligated to work in the morning, I didn't allow myself the luxury of night life.Later, I used the evenings to work, to focus, and to create.Berlin made me understand night life, from a “club” perspective.The club is a dynamic space where interesting encounters happen. Surrounded by a city with a beat, a rhythm, a pace and fashion of its own: more authentic, raw, unspoiled, un-branded, honest.I engage with it and the exchanges I have with it are very particular.I like to support, watch and feel my younger friends research and find themselves. To watch them hope and dream.I observe it, I process it, and I enter it with curiosity and enjoyment.Here the club culture occupies a large space and role in shaping the youth. There is freedom and transgression but confined and protected.I’ve learned that transparency is key and that is very inspiring. Malcolm McLaren once told me, “There is no fashion without a beat.” Since then, I look for a beat and its merger with fashion, which often changes my perspective and I like it.
All I know is that it inspires me; inevitably, no doubt I will translate it in my fashion.