Kelly Cutrone, outspoken fashion publicist, may not have an office anymore (she recently shut down People’s Revolution‘s LA HQ), but that doesn’t mean she’ll stop airing her fashion world grievances to the public. Cutrone sat down with the Huffington Post recently for a very frank interview in which she talked about the hardest parts of her PR job and slammed the fashion industry’s internal hierarchy system.
“Nothing is forever and everyone is just passing through,” Cutrone said when asked about the hardest parts of the business. “That is the hardest thing. I think at the beginning I wanted to recreate a family, kind of have this tribal family thing and it was very idealistic. But your employees don’t want to be business owners, or else they would own their own businesses. That was the hardest thing at the beginning, losing employees.”
And the ones who stick with it in the fashion industry are few and far between. “We have Grace Coddington and Bill Cunningham,” said Cutrone. “Who else is there? I’m 48. I’ve had a great level of success, more than most people in my industry, and I still have to work every day. The people who I know who have owned PR firms either end up in rehab, they go swim with dolphins, they join Greenpeace, they join a lesbian commune in Vermont or they quietly go away and you don’t see them anymore.”
Then she opened up into a weirdly intimate assessment of her personal finances: “I have a multi-million dollar company, but I personally have made a million dollars a year—that’s not a lot of money anymore, just do the math,” said Cutrone. “The taxes alone are at $300,000-$400,000. Then you have agents and managers and business managers that take another 5 percent, throw in private school in New York City, that’s like $44,000. A nanny is like $60,000 to $70,000. I support my mom. A New York apartment, $8,000. A mortgage on my house, another $5,000 and $24,000 in taxes there. It’s $650 a month to park my car. It goes pretty quickly.”
But at the end of the day, at least there’s less of a hierarchy in fashion PRwhen compared to the editorial side of the industry. “My friends who are editors and directors of top Condé Nast publications, you think those girls are going anywhere?” Cutrone asked. “You think those editors-in-chief are like, ‘Oh so you’ve been the fashion director and the features director for such a long time and I’m 62 and I’m going now?’ No, they are not going anywhere. So forget about breaking through the ceiling. There is no ceiling, it’s like a coffin.”
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