In the fast-paced fashion world, innovation and audacity often steal the spotlight. Kelly Cutrone, the renowned fashion PR icon behind People’s Revolution, knows this all too well. In this exclusive interview, she unveils the thrilling story behind her collaboration with the scandalous Anna Delvey and the talented designer Shao Yang during New York Fashion Week. Their venture, powered by Magnetiq, created waves not just for its unconventional approach but also for its undeniable success.
Join us as Kelly shares the backstage secrets, unconventional strategies, and plans that made this fashion spectacle a global sensation.
So what happened? How did the Kelly Cutrone & Anna Delvey team begin?
Sure. Well, my daughter Ava was listening to this podcast called Call Her Daddy, and they were interviewing Anna Delvey, who claimed I was the reason she moved to New York. She had seen me on MTV, and that sparked her interest. After hearing about this, I met Anna, and we hatched the idea to start an outlaw agency. It was an opportunity to work with individuals convicted of drug dealing or fraud, whose sharp minds often go unnoticed. We named it Outlaw, and the collaboration was born.
How did you identify the designer to launch?
We chose designer Shao Yang. We aimed to spotlight young talent, who often struggle to garner press amid the chaos of bigger shows during Fashion Week. By merging our platforms, we could generate more interest in the event and translate that into coverage. And that’s what happened.
How was the collaboration with Anna Delvey and Shao Yang?
Everybody got along great. We understood that for this event to work, the collection had to be exceptional, and the clothes had to shine. Given our concept’s punk and irreverent nature, it would be a joke if we had a bad collection.
But we knew Shao Yang’s work was great, and Anna also delivered on her end. And we had a great team: Kabuki, a makeup artist with credits like Gaga and Rihanna; Ted Gibson, the famous American hairstylist who worked with Angelina Jolie; Jules Wood, a British stylist known for her work with Ellen Von Unwerth, now part of Worth; the photographer Oliver Hein, who had recently moved from London to New York; a supermodel named Irina Pantaeva, who is now in her fifties, but back in the day worked with Lagerfeld and Chanel. It was an incredible ensemble.
Anna worked tirelessly, even under house arrest, proving her dedication. I handled a lot of the logistical aspects, and my daughter Ava played a pivotal role in assembling and managing the production teams and the guest check-in.
Could you provide some context about the police interruption during the event?
The truth is, the police didn’t really interrupt anything. Our security, who were also off-duty NYPD cops, kept them off the roof, which was the goal. So, the cops didn’t interrupt the show. They didn’t shut it down. The show was over by the time they got there. So it was even better that they came because it helped get everybody off the roof. And also, it looked cool. So we were happy. I mean, it was great to start with a tour bus full of models getting off and doing that big bad show, and then it just ends with free pizza and wine downstairs at the restaurant for everybody. It worked out very well.
You knew there could be issues, given the context. How did you anticipate potential issues?
To avoid problems, we created the look book in the designer showroom, located in another part of the village. Our goal was to be prepared for anything, whether unexpected rain or a run-in with law enforcement. We had invested significantly in our models and couldn’t afford to miss the opportunity to capture these beautiful people in our clothing. So, even before we embarked on the bus to the show, we had already completed the entire look book shoot.
You had limited space on Anna’s rooftop. How did you work on the selection of attendees?
Well, we used Magnetiq for that! (laughing)
Ava Cutrone played a significant role in this aspect. She’s the brains behind all the connections and every facet of our strategy, the driving force. Some people hire young talent; I nurture the next generation right at my doorstep. I’m like the Mom in charge now.
Given our already established fame and influence, we felt free to rely on something other than celebrities or influencers. We realized our real influence was already evident, so we shifted our focus to the press. We strategically identified the press we wanted to target.
It all started with a single announcement in the New York Post. From there, things snowballed. New York Magazine, CNN Style, Dazed and Confused, and Interview magazine were all eager to be a part of it. We received multiple coverages from Us and People Magazine. Women’s Wear Daily reviewed the event, and it was even featured in The New York Times online and in print. Prominent names like Vanessa Friedman and The Washington Post covered it. USA Today also contributed to the chorus of press coverage.
Is Kelly Cutrone / Anna Delvey – Outlaw agency a temporary operation, or will you do more projects in the future?
We’re considering an Outlaw cruise around Manhattan as our next venture. Generally speaking, we’re open to it evolving naturally. I’m sure many designers will express interest after seeing the success of our collaboration, it was a big statement. We refuse to accept that it’s become too challenging in the fashion world. We still want to get the results. So, yes, you can expect to see more from us in the future.
Would you recommend such an unconventional approach to young PR agencies?
Anyone can make headlines if they have a compelling story to tell. It may appear easier than it is to create a buzz, but it’s not a walk in the park. My extensive experience and a knack for long-term thinking set me apart.
Pulling off something like this requires meticulous control and organization because it involves various complex elements. Dealing with an illegal rooftop location, managing street logistics, transporting models, and convincing agents to provide models when someone is involved in a fraud scandal are just a few examples of out challenges.
Being known for pushing the boundaries, my brand could seamlessly align with Anna’s positioning. However, this approach is only suitable for some brands. I encourage young and established agencies to break free from cookie-cutter norms because fashion is becoming increasingly uninspiring. It’s time to inject some innovation and excitement back into the industry.
You’ve used Magnetiq to organize two shows this time: Shao Yang and Private Policy. How did the other show, Private Policy, go?
Private Policy had a fantastic season. They made waves in the fashion world, earning a spot in Vogue and gaining recognition across the board. It was a collection filled with success.
And, our strategy for Private Policy was entirely different from Shao Yang’s. This show had a more traditional feel but was all about celebrating the non-binary, super cool vibe. We handled the entire production, and Private Policy already had a solid following in the press. Our focus was on creating a memorable moment for the audience. We brought in celebrities young and trendy models, and collaborated with the talented stylist, Patty Wilson. We put our efforts towards expanding our team and growing our audience, and we achieved just that.
What is your overall impression about New York’s Fashion Week?
So, I think the US stores are having a hard time selling clothes right now. It’s tough for designers to make collections in the United States because it’s costly. Things have become increasingly complex between China and the US, affecting production minimums. And how are these kids supposed to get attention? They can only try to pair up with young celebrities or do something out of the box anyway because the big businesses in Europe always have been, but even more so now.
I think that it’s a much easier time for European brands to come into the United States than for young American brands to launch in the United States. So don’t be discouraged by the retail numbers in America. It’s a good time for European brands in America right now.
And of course if they come to New York, you’d recommend to work with People’s Revolution. Can you explain your overall approach?
Our philosophy at People’s Revolution is all about keeping things exciting and far from the ordinary. We’re not content with just one flavor; we prefer the mix – think of it as combining milk, cookies, and bourbon.
Our goal is to offer attendees a chance to explore new horizons, meet interesting people, and encounter fresh experiences, all while providing elements they’re comfortable with. We aim to strike a harmonious balance between the familiar and the unexpected.
We craft our events to develop an ambiance where you’ll find exceptional music, stunning fashion, and captivating individuals. We let the vibes of the event dictate the atmosphere. Our role is to provide the necessary structure, ensuring a well-organized front of the house, an exquisite backstage with top-tier hair and makeup, and a perfect lighting setup. This way, everything seamlessly falls into place.
So, if you’re looking for innovation, in something fresh that gets real results, yeah, call us.