Fashion Business. Kelly Cutrone on the New PR.

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 systems."

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.""


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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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