Ed Filipowski, co-chairman of New York-based public relations powerhouse KCD, has died. The accomplished executive died at his home in New York on Friday after complications following a recent surgery, according to multiple reports. He was 58.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of our beloved co-chairman and chief strategist Ed Filipowski,” the firm posted on Instagram. “He leaves a legacy as a champion of the fashion industry with his unbridled optimism and spirit, and we will forever be grateful for his visionary leadership.”
Filipowski led the fashion PR company KCD for more than 30 years, alongside co-chairman Julie Mannion, helping independent brands and major fashion houses find success in the competitive industry. He was a global powerhouse, not only making a mark in New York, but also Milan, Paris and London. From fashion show production to media services, Filipowski and KCD worked with brands including Gucci, Versace, Chanel, Givenchy, Coach and many more.
In 2016, the agency played a major role in launching Tommy Hilfiger’s see-now, buy-now show with Gigi Hadid in New York’s Seaport district. Hilfiger said he worked with Filipowski since the start of his career.
“I met Ed 35 years ago when our brand was founded,” the designer told FN. “Keeble Cavaco Duka was my first agency helping me initially position the brand. Ed was very involved in every aspect back then as he was up until recently. His vision, passion and professionalism never wavered. He was an important part of our industry, respected by everyone. He was a loyal friend we will all miss very much. It is a sad day.”
Sandra Choi, creative director at Jimmy Choo, said Filipowski always supported her. “I have a huge place in my heart for him. He gave me really sound advice when I first took on my bigger role at Jimmy Choo back in 2012. He worked with us in an advisory capacity. He was a real pioneer in our industry,” Choi said at Milan Fashion Week today.
Tory Burch also shared with FN how respected he was in the industry. “Ed was a dear friend, an industry leader and a champion of everyone. We were honored to work with him for so many years,” Burch said. “Ed was a true gentleman and treated everyone with kindness and respect. I will miss him dearly.”
“Ed was a man amongst men,” Jeffrey Kalinsky told FN. “He didn’t ever take on an air of importance as many who are successful do. He was just Ed. He made everyone he came in contact with feel like they were just as important.” Kalinsky added, “Two years ago I had trouble getting through to The Met Ball. Ed left the venue and met me on the corner to walk me in. Imagine leaving the red carpet to walk me in. Wow.”
KCD has also been the CFDA’s agency of record. Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the CFDA, said in a statement on its site. “CFDA benefited so much from Ed’s insight, knowledge and creativity, and we counted him among our CFDA family. He was more than just a PR man; he was one of the smartest strategic thinkers in fashion. There wasn’t a major CFDA decision that did not have Ed’s involvement. He was usually right on what needed to be done.” —With contributions by Stephanie Hirschmiller