A French male model who has fronted fashion campaigns for Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Versace and Hugo Boss, died after falling four floors from his apartment window in Milan on Friday, according to police in the city.
Tom Nicon, 22, had been due to take part in Milan Men's Fashion Week, which began on Saturday. He had attended a fitting for Versace in the morning and was due to attend a meeting with his modelling agency, Success, in the afternoon, but never arrived. He was found dead at the foot of the building shortly afterwards.
It is understood that Mr Nicon had been depressed following a split from his Italian girlfriend. Police in Milan confirmed that they were treating the death as suicide and investigating claims that he suffered from a "complicated affair of love". Organisers of the fashion week said the shows would go ahead as a tribute to Nicon.
The model's body was found by a concierge at the courtyard apartment building in Papiniano Avenue in the centre of the city, where he had been staying with friends. He is understood to have left no suicide note.
Donatella Versace, chief designer at the Italian fashion line, said: "Tom was with us on Friday morning for a final show fitting. He seemed fine and calm. He had already done three or four shows with us and he was a sweet boy. I just can't understand why he did what he did. We would never have thought he would do something like this. When we heard the news we were all so upset and we still are so very sad."
Mr Nicon was yet to establish himself as a household name in the industry, but as a "face" for top UK fashion house Burberry Prorsum, his career was already off to an auspicious start. Earlier this year Harry Potter star Emma Watson was photographed for Burberry's campaign by leading fashion photographer Mario Testino. Miss Watson and Mr Nicon had not been photographed together.
Kate Moss was one of the faces of Burberry in 2005, when photographs of her taking cocaine appeared in the press. She was dropped by the label, but signed a new contract a year later.
Mr Nicon's agency in Milan, D'management group, published a tribute to Mr Nicon on its website which read: "A friend to all of us. Always so special, always so brilliant and such a great model and human being."
Re:quest Model Management, which represented Mr Nicon in New York, posted his picture on the front page of its website with the message: "And there was a beautiful boy named Tom with a mere glance a subtle smile and eyes that spoke by themselves told me a story ... he will be missed."
Mr Nicon's death is the latest in a series of suicides in the fashion industry in recent months. In February, designer Alexander McQueen took his life in London, after apparently struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother, Joyce.
In May, French model Noemie Lenoir, the ex-girlfriend of former Chelsea footballer Claude Makelele, with whom she has a son, attempted suicide. She was found unconscious by a dog walker in a forest on the outskirts of Paris.
Last year, the South Korean model Daul Kim, who had worked for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Gap, was found hanged in her Paris apartment after apparently suffering from depression. She was just 20 years old.
Source: UK Independent