New York Fashion Week happens twice a year - in February and again in September. Each event boasts an attendance of 100,000-plus people during the eight-day period. Planning, overseeing, and executing one of the 60-plus Bryant Park extravaganzas is a feat to be admired.
Taking charge of over a dozen of these fashion shows requires a PR pro who is a bit quirky, totally original, and somewhat of a fashion PR dynamo. Kelly Cutrone is a good fit.
Cutrone, the founder and president of People's Revolution, often makes headlines herself for her sometimes brazen removal of unwanted fashion-show attendees and her protective nature concerning Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Cutrone is always out to create a lasting impression for her clients that include designers Jeremy Scott, Alexandre Herchcovitch, and naughty lingerie line - Agent Provocateur, to name a few.
With New York Fashion Week taking place the first week in February, Cutrone and her staff of 29 have been in preparation mode since the start of the year, getting ready for the 10 shows they are doing off-site and the five that will take place in the Bryant Park tents.
Cutrone cautions that Fashion Week can be the fashion world's equivalent of the one-hit-wonder phenomena of the music business. As such, she stresses that she does not want any of her clients getting too much publicity up-front without being able to follow it up with success at future shows.
"We feel it's very dangerous for a client to show in the tents unless they can do it for four seasons and they can make the financial commitment," she says. "We want our clients to be consistent and be able to grow their brands."
Regardless of where the show is taking place, responsibilities run the gamut and include choosing the pieces that best represent the line, printing and mailing invitations, designing the proper lighting, as well as handling publicity and media placements. "I am, at the end of the day, a publicist," says Cutrone. "When I see something I love, I get excited about it. I want people to know about it."
During the month prior to Olympus Fashion Week, People's Revolution staffers pull shifts that often take them into the wee hours of the morning and require them to give up part of their weekends. Cutrone expresses pride and appreciation for her coworkers' dedication, a trait for which she has become well known.
Richard Rubenstein, president of Rubenstein Public Relations, remembers Cutrone dedicating late nights and long hours to clients when she was at her previous firm, Cutrone & Weinberg.
"All of the things I learned in the first part of my career I've been able to apply to how I run my company now," says Cutrone of her earlier agency work, as well as prior experiences as a psychiatric nurse and a brief stint as a recording artist for Atlantic Records.
As the fashion shows kick into high gear, Cutrone will be manning the front of the house; herding fashion media, fashionistas, buyers, and stars to their proper places, as well as overseeing backstage activities, where she will direct the models and make sure that everything goes smoothly.
"Our backstage procedures are very relaxed; it's like going to someone's house," Cutrone reports. "You want the energy of the collection and the vision of the designer to be appreciated. That's how we go about the shows and the management of the company."
Cutrone is also proud about the equality and togetherness of her team.
"It's a different way of doing PR," she says. "[Our] policy is that we never do things because of the money." Cutrone admits that hers might not be the best business model, but it works best for her, her team, and the agency's clients.
Founder and president, People's Revolution
Cofounder, president, Cutrone & Weinberg
Director of PR, Spin
Assistant, Susan Blond