“Madonna is a talented person, but she is not gifted. She’s not Pina Bausch or Margot Fonteyn. And Tom is talented but not gifted. That’s the way he managed the business. Tom would say: We can’t do this silhouette because she looks fat. Or, Oh, no — women don’t like this fabric; we can’t use it. That mentality was something to learn but was so far from my way of thinking. Why do you want to be safe? I’m more like, Why don’t you wear gray flannel for an evening dress? I find that fantastic! Not Tom. Never.”
Impressive hit job by Lynn Hirschberg, this profile of YSL mastermind Stefano Pilati in today's New York Times Magazine (interestingly, it was not run in "T" magazine or in the Style section -- ah the magic of chance). The Fonteyn/Madonna slam is funny because at least that Milanese smartypants, Pilati -- unlike other, more practical colleagues of his -- can be bYotchy with style, and it keeps things supergay the way we like our fashion designer catfights, but arguing that Tom Ford is a hack is like arguing that Valentino doesn't understand red or Bellini didn't understand melodic lines -- simply unreasonable and against all evidence.
And as much as OC digs (and owns some precious specimens of) Stefano's stuff -- she really does, he is indeed very talented -- this is clearly personal, not professional, and someone who runs a house as important and historical as YSL should know better than that.
The 1990s -- blissful 1990s when OC was quietly growing up between piano lessons and marathon reading sessions of dogeared copies of Italian Vogue during class -- are Prada and Ford. Everything that influenced what people wore outside of movie premieres (there, it was Gianni Versace's domain) and photo sessions with Mario Testino, it came from Miuccia & Tom, not necessarily in this order. Going all Fonteyn vs Madonna and holding one's breath until Lynn Hirschberg will say you're right can not even change this fact.