Fashion Business. Kelly Cutrone on the New PR.

June 26, 2008 • Fashion


Many people would only recognize Kelly Cutrone as Whitney’s new boss on The Hills— yes, the one who told her that by working for People’s Revolution she was signing a deal with the devil and giving up her life. However, the TV show PR hard ass is really a industry insider with years of experience. In this article from Media Bistro, Cutrone discusses the changing fashion and PR worlds, as they move from functioning on controlled secrecy to blog-driven exposure (here’s where WE got interested…). Clearly, Cutrone has bought into some level of mixed media PR exposure, even though she bans bloggers from fashion shows that her company produces. By putting herself and her company on a popular reality show, she is essentially turning herself into the next Miranda Priestly-esque Dragon Lady. But in this article, she seems to have the know-how to market herself as well as her clients. Highlights below.

On the internet:
"With the Internet… I think it’s like the Wild West now, and all of
the templates of entertainment no longer are serving anyone. They’re
all breaking down, whether it’s record labels or the old-school fashion

On fashion industry:
"Back in the day, the formula used to be, make really beautiful clothes,
create an inspiring image, keep it very pure, don’t ever let anyone
who’s not in the fashion world in to see it, stay super exclusive and
then you’ll have this master license five to 10 years down the road,
that will be worth a lot for licensing. Or, some great head-hunter from
Paris will come and find you on your island and bring you to Europe and
have you head up a fashion house, and they’ll also support your own
independent line. What we’ve seen over the last five to seven years is
that the French and Italian companies have done that, they’ve brought
in different people, and then they bring these people in for three
seasons and they go, "Oh well, you’re really great and all these people
write about you, but you don’t know how to manage a team of 60-100
people, nor can you carry a $100 million company.""

On odd combos, like Karl Lagerfeld at H&M:
"You have these incredible infusions and injections of what some
people looking at it might call confusion. What I see is powerful
pioneers seeking new distribution outlets and changing the laws and
rules of how things work."

On image control:

"I think the important thing is that PR is not something that can be
controlled, especially not now… With the Internet and the
increased attention on fashion and the fact that with fashion shows,
lets say there’s 400 or 500 people at a fashion show, maybe 25 to 125
of those people are valid and going to make a difference in the
designer’s work, and God only knows the other 300, who might be younger
market editors, who might have a blog under another name, who take all
of this as a fashion expert and they start blogging. So, this ability
of controlling the image is completely changed."

On celebrity branding:
"Do I think any brand should depend solely on celebrity? No, because
it’s just going to look like an L.A. "celebu-tart" brand and it’s not
going to have the legitimacy and the read with the fashion guard, the
true fashion guard coming from New York and Europe."

On the popularity of The Hills:
"Then what happens for these girls, their next installation is, guess what, The Hills.
And they’re just old enough to start watching MTV, they’re hormonally
in place, and they see these four young, beautiful girls who really in
my mind are a continuation of a Disney princess, because they live in a
world that most people will never live in. And, on top of that, you
pick up the extra market of people who do live in that world who want
to see themselves reflected back, like the fashion and entertainment
people who kind of watch it like it’s something like they can’t really
believe that they’re watching, but they are watching and they’re
enthralled because they can’t believe they’re watching what they’re
watching but they’re also narcissistic because they see their own world
reflected back to them."

Girl’s got a lot to say, and most of it makes a lot of sense. To read more from the industry insider, click here.

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