MILAN  If Jil Sander can come back to Jil Sander, could Hedi Slimane return once again to Yves Saint Laurent?

According to a Paris source, Slimane, who exited as the designer of Dior Homme in 2007, is poised to take over the design helm at YSL, where he burst on to the fashion scene in the late Nineties with his modernist, androgynous men’s wear.

A spokesman for PPR, parent of YSL, had no comment.

As reported, YSL has yet to indicate if it will extend its relationship with Stefano Pilati, who succeeded Tom Ford as the brand’s chief designer in 2004. Pilati’s latest contract is due to expire next month. The fall-winter YSL show is scheduled for March 5 in Paris.

Earlier this month in reporting 2011 results, PPR chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault lauded that YSL made a “giant step” forward in terms of profitability, and that growth prospects are “very good.” Full-year sales at YSL advanced 31.4 percent last year while operating income grew more than fourfold.

Asked about renewing Pilati’s contact, he replied: “I won’t make any comments about any designers.”

The Italian designer has been dogged by replacement rumors throughout his YSL tenure, even as the business has demonstrated continual improvement, fuelling by his winning handbag and shoe designs. Pilati’s fashions also continue to enjoy a high profile in fashion magazines.

Since exiting Dior, Slimane has devoted himself to photography and relocated to Los Angeles. Although he has never designed a women’s collection, Slimane has long enjoyed the support of YSL’s old guard, including the likes of Pierre Bergé, Catherine Deneuve and Betty Catroux. During his Dior days, he did small quantities of his slim suits in small sizes for his female fans.

Slimane could not immediately be reached for comment.