Communications Director Salvo Nicosia Dies at 52

MILAN — Salvo Nicosia, a highly respected and well-liked communications director, died on Friday after suffering cardiac arrest in Milan, aged 52.

The Sicilian-born Nicosia joined the Aeffe Group in 2019 as VIP and celebrities relations director for Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Pollini, operating from the London headquarters. In January 2021, he was appointed communications director of the Alberta Ferretti and Pollini collections.

“I am deeply saddened by Salvo’s death, a person with whom I have shared so many important moments in the recent years. For me and for our company as a whole, this is an extremely dramatic human and professional loss,” said Alberta Ferretti, founder of the Aeffe Group and creative director of the namesake brand. “In this moment of profound sadness, our most sincere thoughts go to Salvo’s family. We will always carry him in our hearts with immense affection.” 

Nicosia began his career at Anteprima as PR manager Europe in 1996, leaving at the end of 1999 to join Dolce & Gabbana as group celebrity director. Over 11 years at the Italian fashion house, he developed strong ties for the brand with several A-listers from Jennifer Lopez to Madonna.

In June 2011, he moved to Karla Otto, as worldwide celebrities services director. He contributed to the visibility of the Emilio Pucci brand, which at that time was designed by Peter Dundas, cementing relationships with the likes of Kylie Minogue and Beyoncé.

He could be spotted at all the major events around the world, from the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals to the Met Gala, but he was always a step behind, never seeking attention for himself.  “I am at the service of the brands, they and the celebrities wearing their designs have to shine, and my job is to make this happen,” Nicosia recently told this reporter. He would always facilitate a connection with the celebrities he was accompanying, even for a brief soundbite, never losing his temper or his poise, through selfies-mania and the media clamoring for attention.

Designer Fausto Puglisi recalled how he first met Nicosia when he was only a teenager in Taormina. “He was so humble, and he never lost that humility and lightness over the years. He was always willing to help out, and was incredibly professional, with a strong work ethic, but also had many different interests. Everybody was drawn to him, it was impossible not to love him. The pain is enormous now, he was a rare gem.”

“He was a true gentleman, and this is a huge loss for our Karla Otto family,” said Alex Werz, chief executive officer and partner of the international communication agency. “He was a brilliant person and we will miss him terribly.”

In June 2016 he was promoted to worldwide celebrity services and events vice president at Karla Otto, leaving three years later for Aeffe.

“He was one of those people from whom you would never wish to part — always kind, attentive and altruistic,” said Piero Piazzi, president of Women Management Milan model agency. “The word no did not exist in his vocabulary.”

“He was a dear and special friend for more than 25 years, and a true professional,” said Alessandro Maria Ferreri, chief executive officer and owner of The Style Gate consulting firm. “He was instrumental in creating a link between the brands and the celebrities. At Dolce & Gabbana, he was the one who first developed strong connections with actresses and singers. He was very generous, and despite his public job, he was very reserved and few knew him intimately. We spent a lot of time together and traveled a lot. This loss leaves me completely breathless and in incredible pain. We all lose a wonderful person.”

His Instagram post, under the Thebeardedpublicist handle, counted around 150,000 followers, sharing images of Nicosia with the likes of Jessica Chastain, Lady Gaga and Naomi Campbell.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.

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