Over the weekend, a seemingly unassuming article by Suzy Menkes popped up in the New York Times style section, "At Jil Sander, Raf Simons Plays with Modernism." Ostensibly a Milan Fashion Week report and glowing runway review, Menkes' piece opened with a startling bit of news: the talented Belgian designer, Raf Simons, would likely be taking over at Yves Saint Laurent. Menkes didn't offer any details, didn't even mention Stefano Pilati (the current creative director of the legendary French label, probably relevant to the story) in passing. She just wrote the sentence, "If Raf Simons ultimately takes over the helm at Yves Saint Laurent — as those familiar with the situation in Paris suggest — the designer will have found a sweet spot for his meticulous modernism," and moved on to praise Simons' Spring 2012 Jil Sander collection and discuss emerging fashion week trends for another 1,250 words.
If you've been paying any kind of attention to fashion news for the past several months, you know that observers are foaming at the mouth to find out who will replace John Galliano at Christian Dior, and how the open position will change the high fashion landscape. This season, you aren't stylish unless you're blowing hot air about designers' employment prospects. (Bernard Arnault, I think you're a good man, but if you don't hire someone for the position like, yesterday, the universe might implode from all the dramatic tension.) And so the Raf Simons story blew up on Twitter over the weekend because fashion never sleeps and I guess there weren't any good parties? Oh, and Suzy Menkes also happens to be one of the most high profile fashion journalists around: from her lips, gossip instantly becomes gold.
Before the world spun irreparably out of control, YSL released a statement. Rolling its eyes, the French fashion house dropped the name that had been missing from Menkes' original report and edged Raf Simons out of the picture: "Yves Saint Laurent disclaims and regards as unfounded the current rumors concerning the creative direction of the house. Stefano Pilati continues to dedicate his talent and energies to Yves Saint Laurent and the coming fashion show." Elle UK had a talk with Jil Sander, and was able to confirm that Simons had renewed his contract for another two years.
So here's what we know about the current state of YSL: there are some rumors that Raf Simons will take the helm at the label, but the label remains committed to its relationship with Stefano Pilati. Raf Simons is renewing his contract with Jil Sander.
Nothing to see here, move along.