By Calynn M. Lawrence
Kelly Cutrone is one of the most powerful women to date in fashion public relations. In fact, listening to her speeches and interviews brings me much joy and creative stimulation and motivation. She’s a middle aged boss lady worth well over $10 million dollars who is not here for anybody’s games. Nah-uh honey. The self proclaimed tactless brunette feminist who refuses to wear makeup or style her hair has proved the industry dead wrong. You don’t have to look like a fashion model in order to be a hit in the industry.
Kelly was born in New York to a very conservative family who pushed her to be a first generation college graduate. She went to nursing school, graduated, but didn’t enjoy it at all for her career. She claims that although psychiatric nursing helped her to become able to deal with people in the fashion industry, it did nothing for her creatively. Thus, after a very short lived nursing career, she moved into public relations. This was due to a suggestion by her friend, Anthony Haden-Guest.
Cutrone became Susan Blond’s assistant for a year and went on to become director of PR at Spin magazine for Bob Guccione. Less than a year later, Cutrone launched Cutrone & Weinberg with partner Jason Weinberg. Some of their clients included Eartha Kitt, CC Music Factory, Nile Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Cafe Tabac, Hollywood Palladium, The Roxy, The Limelight, Dee Lite, The William Morris Agency plus some. Cutrone has been married twice. At 21, she married artist Ronnie Cutrone, and at 28 married actor Jeff Kober. Both marriages ended in a divorce. She has a daughter named Ava Cutrone with Italian Ilario Calvo.
In 1991, Cutrone sold her half of the Cutrone & Weinberg for small value and moved across to Venice Beach where she lived a very modest lifestyle and studied various forms of sudo science and the arts. After a few years doing such, she founded People’s Revolution in 1996. The company amassed a very impressive list of brands such as Longchamp, Vivienne Westwood, Valentino, Jeremy Scott, Paco Rabanne, Thierry Mugler, Bulgari, Agent Provocateur, KTZ, Francesca Liberatore and more all over Europe and The United States. On September 11, 2002, her company broke the record for the most shows produced on one day during New York Fashion Week, largely because they were one of few companies bold enough to produce shows on the 9/11 anniversary.
She has also gained a following for her television presence. She has appeared on MTV: True Life, The Hills where she employed Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port as fashion interns, and The City, where she was the mentor and employer of Port and consulted on Port’s clothing line. Cutrone also produced Bravos’s Kell on Earth. The series was a reality show about Kelly and People’s Revolution that followed Cutrone as she balanced being a CEO, a Fashion Week producer and a single mom to her daughter. In addition to that, she served as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.
She is also a top selling author, claiming that her books are meant to help show you a different side to working in fashion. A side that is different from the glamorous image portrayed on televsion. In 2010, she released her memoir, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. In 2011, she released her second book Normal Gets You Nowhere.
As another form of community service, Kelly does motivational speaking to students and aspiring talent in the fashion industry. She is a tough as nails businesswoman but she always delivers great encouragement. She even offers unlimited internships to anyone who is qualifies and willing to work hard. She claims that keeping an open door to people who wish to intern is her way of giving back. But, she makes it clear that she takes no nonsense and expects them to put their best foot forward. Since her beginning, she has produced many successful fashion personell and she plans to continue doing so throughout her career. She is the true definition of a girl boss.
Kelly Cutrone is someone who inspires many people who want to get their foot in PR, as well as the fashion industry. Unlike many of the people who show only the luxurios side of things, she is applauded for keeping it real and demonstrating that you can be prosperous without being phony. That is why she has built herself up to the level that she is and is not quitting any time soon.