Fashion publicist legend Ed Filipowski dies at 58
Jan 13, 2020
Ed Filipowski, the single most influential fashion publicist of the past two decades, has passed away. He was 58.
Filipowski was found dead in his home in New York, apparently having died as a result of complications of surgery he underwent in December.
Filipowski was the co-chairman, and main driving force of KCD, the leading New York-based fashion PR agency, which in the past 35 years has represented many of the most important designers in fashion – including Gianni Versace, Louis Vuitton, Helmut Lang, Chanel, Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.
Filipowski quietly oversaw the massive pier show and fragrance launch of Marc Jacobs on the night before September 11, 2001, diplomatically handled Tom Ford’s final show for Gucci in Milan in 2004, and stage-managed the debut of Tommy Hilfiger x Gigi, and their mammoth See Now Buy Now show at South Street Seaport in 2016.
"It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of our Co-Chairman and Chief Strategist Ed Filipowski. He leaves a legacy with his unbridled optimism and spirit, and we will forever be grateful for his visionary leadership," read a statement on the KCD Instagram account.
"Loved Ed he was the best xxx," commented Kim Jones, in one of over 500 comments.
"My condolences to his family, to Julie and the whole KCD family. Shocked and heartbroken," said Zac Posen.
Helmut Lang posted five black heart emojis, while Giancarlo Giammetti wrote, "All our condolences! Valentino and GG".
Filipowski was also the single greatest mentor of fashion publicists in the entire industry. It is practically impossible to attend an important show in London, Milan, New York or Paris without encountering an alumnus of KCD, individuals whose careers were marked by Filipowski.
Born near Pittsburgh, Filipowski graduated in journalism from Northwestern University before moving to New York in the early 80s. Within a couple of years, he had crossed into PR after meeting Kezia Keeble, who, together with partners Paul Cavaco and John Duka, represented emerging stars like Stephen Sprouse.
After the deaths of Keeble and Duka, Filipowski effectively took over the running of the KCD agency, while Cavaco left to join Liz Tilberis, when she took over Harper’s Bazaar.
Ed, as he was universally known, was a principled and self-confident publicist, not afraid to tell his clients hard truths. No matter how powerful. Under his leadership, KCD grew to have a global network of 100 staff in New York, LA, Paris and London, partnering with clients with a long-term strategic approach.
Two years back, Filipowski and his co-chairwoman Julie Mannion created seven global partners for KCD in a radical redrawing of the company. Promoting the very people he had mentored for so long.
His name, subtle humor and the memory of his impeccable manners will live wherever fashion professionals meet.
Eheu, fugaces labuntur anni.
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