Lucio Di Rosa has his share of nail biting, last-minute celebrity dressing tales he could easily turn into a best-selling book.
There was the time he was working with Sharon Stone, in Monaco nearly two years ago, to walk the red carpet for the second world premiere of the James Bond movie “No Time to Die.”
To fit in with the Bond vibe, Di Rosa thought a dress made of Swarovski crystal mesh would be perfect. “I made it very fitted, incredibly figure hugging, but I forgot to have her try to sit down,” the veteran fashion expert remembered.
She went downstairs to meet her ride, Prince Albert II of Monaco, who arrived in a vintage Mercedes-Benz convertible to pick her up. But her dress was too tight for her to sit down in the car.
So, the passenger seat had to be pulled back for her to recline. Once at the Monte-Carlo Casino where the premiere was being held, the movie star had to figure out how to walk up the stairs. “She basically had to be taken up the stairs by two big security guys who grabbed her under the arms and literally lifted her while she was faking a walk up the stairs,” Di Rosa recounted. “In the end, the pictures came out really great, and she was very happy.”
Di Rosa has spent years pairing the right brand and the right dress for celebrity events while doing last-minute alterations, figuring out how to fix a broken zipper with only minutes to spare or dealing with someone who decides at the very last minute she isn’t wearing the dress she originally picked. (Di Rosa always comes with a back-up dress.)
Now, after many years of working for Italian fashion houses, Di Rosa has started his own company. At the beginning of the year, he established LDR22, a strategic branding agency based in Monaco and Milan to match luxury brands with celebrities and other VIPs.
“I decided to go out on my own to broaden the audience of the people I work with and to work with different clients,” said Di Rosa, who recently paired actor Tessa Thompson with the Off-White label for a front-row runway show appearance during Paris Fashion Week. “I always say you never stop learning about things.”
This is just the latest chapter for a man who has been totally enthralled with fashion ever since he was a middle school student in the Italian seaside village of Forte dei Marmi.
In particular, he was consumed by the Versace brand and everything to do with it. “I was obsessed, obsessed with Versace. My dream job was to go to work for Versace,” Di Rosa recalled in a recent Zoom interview. “I remember going through the phone book and calling the Milan switchboard of Versace just to listen how they were answering the phone.”
Years later, after studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the recent graduate got an internship at Armani working in the London press office processing returns. Later, he was transferred to Milan where he worked on filling editorial requests for Emporio Armani.
Then the head of Armani’s communication department moved to Versace and took Di Rosa with him. “She said, ‘I know this is your dream job,’” he recalled.
Soon after, Donatella Versace came into his office. “She said, ‘You must be the new one, right?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘OK. No more detours for you. You are going next door to the VIP office.’“
In the VIP office, one of his first tasks was to help attire seven actresses in Versace gowns for the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. “I was so scared. We had to dress Uma Thurman, Hilary Swank, who was just out with ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba, and I think Madonna. Donatella came to the Oscars to check on what I was doing.”
Di Rosa stayed with Versace as the head of celebrities, VIPs and haute couture clients worldwide relations for nearly 15 years and gained quite a following. “Lucio is a force in the world of celebrity dressing,” said Donatella Versace in an email. “He has a unique understanding of how people want to be dressed and how a brand should be represented.”
Di Rosa left Versace in early 2000 to work at Dolce & Gabbana as its head of worldwide celebrities and VIPs relations, and used his connections to woo celebrities back to the brand after a series of major missteps.
Putting the right people together is all part of Di Rosa’s style, which combines a diplomat’s finesse with an army general’s steel nerves.
Los Angeles celebrity stylist Karla Welch has seen him in action and is excited about his new endeavor. “Lucio is not only one of the best in the business at what he does, but he is an amazing human being,” she wrote in an email. “When you see how a brand can go from no placement to a lot, that is testimony to how respected and loved Lucio is.”