She and partners Paul Cavaco and John Duka were

Monessen man finds success as PR guru to fashion’s elite

PARIS This is a success story, the kind you read about as a child self made men and women who rose up from poor, hard working families to achieve prominence in their fields; children of immigrants who had never seen a silver spoon, much less been born with one.

But we’re not talking about fake louis bag a turn of the century story in a yellowed history book. Edwin Filipowski was born 42 years ago in Monessen, the third child of Polish parents Edward, a replica louis vuitton steel worker, and Stella, whose various jobs included working at JC Penney.

Since he was barely in his 30s, Filipowski has been co owner high quality replica handbags china of KCD Worldwide, International Media Relations and Creative Services Agency. It’s one of the biggest and, arguably, best fashion public relations and marketing companies in the world. His clients are among the most stellar in fashion: Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Versace, Marc Jacobs, Louis replica louis vuitton bags from china Vuitton, Vogue magazine and Cartier, to name a few. His company produces the fashion shows of many of the best designers, plans parties such as Valentino’s 40th anniversary (at which Gwyneth Paltrow and Tom Hanks were guests), and organizes the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, the fashion industry’s equivalent of the Academy Awards.

You get the picture. But he’s the antithesis of the flashy fashionista caricatured on television style shows. Filipowski resembles a banker in his impeccably tailored dark suits and white shirts, wire rim glasses and quiet demeanor yet with a ready smile.

He is a behind the scenes type of guy, not the self serving frontman. Considering his down to earth upbringing in Pittsburgh, that’s understandable.

“Pittsburgh and Monessen had a big influence on my life,” Filipowski said in a recent interview in his expansive Paris office, located behind huge iron gates and a cobblestone courtyard. (He has an even larger office in New York, employing 45 full time people worldwide, and about 45 more part time.)

“It’s the work ethic, doing a good job at what you do, taking pride in what you do, whether you’re a steel worker or an executive.”

That’s not to say growing up in Monessen was a bowl of cherries. Far from it.

“My teenage years were a difficult fake designer bags time, being one of Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags the unpopular kids, one of the different kids, one of the kids on the outside,” he said. “I experienced a lot of peer alienation and abuse in junior high school and my early years at Monessen High School for not fitting in.

“I think there are many kids today who feel alienated , but the upside of that experience for me was incredible ambition and a need to overachieve. The alienation that was such a pervasive part of my formative years in Pittsburgh became an impetus for why I became so motivated to succeed.”

Almost a journalist

And succeed he did, even in high school, where he was an high quality designer replica handbags excellent student and editor of the school paper. He went to work in the ninth grade, writing a column about high school for the local Valley Independent newspaper. His older brother, Edward Jr., and sister, Janet Maund, went to high quality replica handbags china the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State, but Filipowski wanted to get farther away, so he applied to Northwestern University near Chicago, one of the premier journalism schools in the country.

“My parents are incredibly generous, but we couldn’t afford Northwestern cheap replica handbags , so I applied for every scholarship that would give money,” he said. Among those he earned was one from Scripps Howard.

In college, he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and chairman of a huge spring event known as Mayfest. He also worked for the college newspaper, the Northwestern Daily, where he produced the aaa replica designer handbags first fashion supplement.

“College opened my eyes to a world of opportunity, where I felt that anything is possible,” he said.

He worked his way through college, including a summer internship at Seventeen magazine in New York and a stint at the Wilmington News Journal in Delaware.

“But by senior year, I knew I didn’t want to be a journalist. I skipped commencement and flew to New York with $200 in my pocket, living on slices of pizza until a Northwestern alum helped me get a job at an ad agency as an account assistant. After a few years, I moved to its PR subsidiary, making $12,000 a year. But by then I knew I wanted to get a job in fashion.”

At the time louis vuitton look alike bags , one of the most exciting fashion and marketing companies was Keeble, Cavaco and Duka. Kezia Keeble has been credited with discovering uber fashion photographers Steven Meisel and Bruce Weber. She and partners Paul Cavaco and John Duka were trendsetters, part of the celebrity studded Studio 54 fashion scene.

“In 1985, I read that Keeble, Cavaco and Duka had just landed a big account. I knew no one there, but I found the name of the best florist in Manhattan and sent Kezia flowers, using what seemed like a high quality designer replica handbags wholesale good replica louis vuitton bags portion of my salary to do it,” he said with a laugh. “I congratulated her on the new account, and asked if she was looking for someone to work for her.

“I didn’t realize it, but I had sent her favorite flowers freesias so she called me and said, ‘I don’t know who you are, but since you sent my favorite flowers, I have to talk to you.’ I went in the next day for a three hour interview, and she hired me to run the new PR department, which she had been trying to develop.

“I was so excited that I ran across the street to a phone booth this was before cell phones and called my mother,” he said.

“Three weeks later, I was flying to Milan and Paris with Kezia and John Duka to cover the designer shows. I couldn’t believe it.”

Keeble became his mentor. “She had a wonderful outlook on life and work, that anything is possible,” he said. He was there in the ’80s when the agency exploded. A big milestone was landing the Gianni Versace account. And a big PR coup followed when they got Versace on the cover of Time magazine.

But then the bad days came. Duka died of AIDS in 1989, and Keeble died of breast cancer in 1990. “Even up to her death, she was optimistic,” he said.

Cavaco inherited the company, although a portion was given to Filipowski and Julie Mannion, who is his partner and co owner today.

“Paul’s heart was in editorial, so he left to go to Harper’s Bazaar and he gave Julie and me the company in 1992.”

From Monessen to Paris

Filipowski is in charge of the PR wing of the company, and Mannion is in charge of the production company, putting on the shows and special events. In the 11 years of their ownership, the company has expanded globally, hence the company name KCD Worldwide.

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