George Kolasa, a fashion industry insider and former luxury fashion executive, has loss his battle to glioblastoma multiforme — an extremely aggressive type of brain cancer. He was 57.
Kolasa’s death was confirmed in a somber yet gentle post from his Instagram, captioned “He left as he lived – in peace, love, light, gratitude and with Justin by his side.”
Tributes immediately poured in from the fashion world and celebrity friends. Vogue acknowledged the “Beloved Fashion Marketing Executive” — as the fashion conglomerate has been following Kolasa’s journey with cancer. Andy Cohen, Bevy Smith, Rachel Zoe and Tracee Ellis Ross are just a few of many that shared their (love and) condolences for George.
Kolasa’s husband (married August 6, 2012), Justin Tarquinio, also shared a heartwarming post, “My dearest George….how lucky am I that you chose me.”
George shared his expertise with many luxury brands throughout his illustrious 30 year career — collaborating with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld. He seemingly worked hard and curated the perfect life; earning respect and access, marrying the love of your life, a place in the city and escaping to your home in the Hamptons during the summers to frolic in the sun amongst friends.
During a sailing trip to Florida, George’s health unfortunately took a rapid decline, as he felt that his balance was off and the left side of his body was paralyzed. Cutting the trip short, he immediately flew back to New York City and to the hospital. He was diagnosed in February 2022, following that trip. Doctors discovered a massive brain tumor in George’s brain. He began sharing his journey in November of that year via social media and started working with cancer charities to fundraise — specifically Cycle For Survival in conjunction with Memorial Sloan Kettering and Equinox — raising over half a million dollars to date. He has also released a short documentary, George’s Journey Facing Brain Cancer — detailing his experience with the disease.
In an interview with Vogue, George spoke a few words of wisdom as he battled the rare form of cancer:
“Gratitude is such an important word for me,” he told the outlet. “I am so grateful to be sitting here talking to you about this today…
To share my purpose and mission to beat rare cancers…
With whatever shall be the rest of my life and for as long as I can do it I want to raise a lot of money to fund new trials and research. It’s now my calling — to stay kind through it all and to help others.”
-George Kolasa via Vogue
George Kolasa is survived by his husband Justin Taraquinio and a brother. September 25, 1965 – August 9, 2023.