Designers Pay Tribute to a Fashion P.R. Giant

Ms. Wintour, who wore a black-and-white puff-sleeved top, used the occasion to talk about Mr. Filipowski’s Zelig-like role at major fashion events like the Met Gala, her annual fund-raiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. “He had the most marvelous way of understanding and responding to whatever we needed,” Ms Wintour said. “His advice was always to the point and perfect.”

John Galliano, the designer whose career Mr. Filipowski helped resuscitate after a well-documented fall from grace, also spoke. “He understood my frame of mind in a time when understanding meant the world,” he said. “He was compassionate and understood an important lesson: that true empathy transcends perception and that the biggest rewards in life come from impacting the lives of others.”

Mr. Galliano wore what was arguably the most striking fashion statement of the virtual memorial. With a black notch-collared coat draped over his shoulders, hair pulled back with a shiny black hair band, and a thin cream-colored scarf tied insouciantly around his neck, the designer, who stood in front of glass-fronted bookshelves, looked like an ersatz host from an old episode of “Masterpiece Theater,” cast by Tim Burton.

The tribute was originally intended to be an in-person event, to be held in May, a few days before this year’s Met Gala. The pandemic put an end to that plan. By the summer, discussions were underway for an online version, timed near Thanksgiving, Mr. Filipowski’s favorite holiday.

While the film made references to Mr. Filipowski’s love of theater and watching “American Idol,” the memorial shied away from his personal life. None of his family spoke, for example, including his ex-husband, Mark Lee. At one point, Mr. Filipowski’s beagles (Sam, Charlie and Dudley) were described by Ms. Saltzman as “his truest loves.”

The focus on his professional life seemed appropriate, given Mr. Filipowski’s propensity to deflect the spotlight onto his clients.

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