The fashion publicist who takes no prisoners also has some words about the future of the Internet
‘This is a hardcore show about hardcore chicks who are running a hardcore agency’ —Kelly Cutrone
Being on a press conference call with Kelly Cutrone is a lot like being tossed in the center of a cyclone of information, it’s a breathless whirlwind of wisdom, no-nonsense sidebars, on-topic free association, razor sharp quips, and provocative opinion.
The call with Cutrone, the straight-talking founder of the fashion public relation’s firm People’s Revolution, and her two business partners, Robyn Berkley and Emily Bungert was to promote their new fashion reality show ‘Kell On Earth,’ which premieres on Bravo February 1st.
In full disclosure, I haven’t exactly been glued to her appearances on ‘The Hills’ or ‘The City.’ When I do have the time to be filled in on what’s happening on scripted reality, it’s usually on ‘Talk Soup.’
But ‘Kell on Earth’ is different.
The show is the real deal. Like it or not, Cutrone is the real deal too. ‘Those shows have a bunch of blonde girls and now I am on a show with a bunch of black-haired girls and they are not fluttering around’– viva le difference, according to Cutrone!
‘Kell on Earth’ is not the glamorized pop culture fashion ideal that you imagine from your frilly bedroom in Pocatello. It’s a TVized documentary of what it is like to be in the fast-paced trenches of the New York fashion industry where, says Bungert , ‘you actually get a real glimpse into the real day in the life of what a fashion publicist does.’
The screener for the first episode of ‘Kell On Earth’ has them preparing for the Spanish designer David Elfin‘s Spring / Summer 2010 show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week New York, a crisp and minimalist collection with plenty of edge. The other show is the Chado Ralph Rucci show, the American haute couture designer, which Cutrone will remind you that it is not like Juicy Couture.
You will be reminded of a lot of things, including managing the pr expectations of her designer clients. Once those expectations are in place, ‘then the magic can happen.’
But then there’s the Internet…
A journalist seated at a show under one name, for one publication can have a hidden agenda. How can you know as a publicist that they don’t have a blog or web site called ‘I Hate Fashion Dot Com’ on the side, she asks? The duplicitous writer’s words can end up all over the Internet along with footage from their Blackberry. ‘So-and-so made a horrible collection. The girls looked like robots in an evil Convent and they suck.’ ‘And, we can’t even trace the hate,’ says Cutrone.
Which brought me to ask some questions about the ever-changing Internet, old standards and her thoughts about the new ‘no name’ genre of bloggers and what they are able to get away with by not unveiling themselves.
Sharon Haver: This goes back to what you said about bloggers writing under a different name and then shooting things off from their BlackBerry under whatever name it is. Coming from a background where accountability and integrity are the name of the game, I am astounded by this behavior. How do you think this is going to pan out?
Kelly Cutrone: I think that news and media as we know it is absolutely the world that we knew, let’s just say 5 or 10 years ago it does not exist anymore.
And it’s almost like being in the middle of an apocalypse and a new dawn. And we’re experiencing both things simultaneously and I don’t think that we even really realize because it is so huge what’s happening, what is really going on.
I don’t ľ I think it’s the Wild, Wild West and it’s free game and news. I mean, who would have thought that we would have paid $5 for a coffee and that you could get your news for free? And who would have thought about that the person creating that content, whether you’re a fashion designer providing free content for everybody at the end of a media riser right?
Or you’re a news writer with your own blog. If you look at the blogs, I mean 90% of what you see from New York comes off of ‘The Cut,’ so people just cut and paste. Could you imagine if the “Daily News” could go over and cut and paste the “New York Times” and stick it on the front of their newspaper and sell it?
All they have to do is put, “As reported” in. It’s like a joke. So I mean now it’s like pretty much what everybody’s saying is just the same thing over, over and over again. I’ve said this before my fear is that Twitter is the new American literature. It’s like you know you have 120 characters dude, what do you have to say?
When I started People’s Revolution in 1996, I was like Jim from “Taxi” mumbling to myself, “Fashion’s the new rock and roll.” I had been a music publicist and I didn’t even know what that meant. Fashion is the new rock and roll. But like the music industry and what we saw 10 years ago, the fashion industry is now in the middle of a huge, huge, huge, huge transformation.
And you know it’s going to be very interesting to see. Hopefully, we’ll be given the privilege of staying in business and working through this. These last couple years have just been mind blowing and ball busting– we’ve had to reconfigure a lot of our ideas about a lot of things.
And as far as adaptability goes, the way that we’ve had to adapt is as a branding company and in our thoughts and where we were taking our clients and how we were going to get them there. I mean this all had to be reconfigured in the last couple of years. I would have never ever, ever, ever, ever had seen this coming.
I knew I was afraid of the Internet and I knew what BlackBerrys had done to my life. You know and I knew that this thing called technology that was suppose to make our life easier, better and free was consuming us and taking us prisoner. But I never thought it would be this fast.
“Kell on Earth” premieres on Monday, February 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Photos, Bravo TV
For more of Kelly Cutrone, her self-help book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You available online at Amazon.com , is coming out on February 2. She will be doing book signing in New York at the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble on Broadway and 66th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.