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Planners of the Year: The Runway Pros

Julie Mannion and Ed Filipowski, fashion show production company KCD's discreet leaders, continue to run one of the city's event powerhouses.

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Using a pretty basic fashion metaphor, you could say KCD—fashion’s first-tier PR and event production firm—is like a team of couture-house artisans without a camera-ready designer happy to walk the runway and pose for photographers. While fashion folks know that a KCD-produced event will be a well-run extravaganza, and its clients get plenty of press, the firm’s employees keep a strict off-the-record profile. Its namesakes are gone (Kezia Keeble died in 1990, Paul Cavaco now works at Allure, and John Duke died in 1989), but Ed Filipowski and Julie Mannion have run the firm since 1991, maintaining offices in New York and Paris while producing some of the biggest runway shows and over-the-top events in both cities. Regular New York gigs include Marc Jacobs’ biannual Fashion Week presentations and the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s awards. And this year brought two giant blowouts: In April, KCD remade Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield into a sleek theater for Swedish retailer H&M’s fall fashion show. In September, the firm transformed Liberty Island into an exotic environment with decadent Russian touches to celebrate the launch of Imperia vodka. And just like a star designer, they always leave us wondering what they’ll come up with next.