We had to sit through three viewings of this show to get a handle on it. It's not that it's a complicated show, but it is a unique one and we wanted to really gather our thoughts and hash it out. Our first impulse was that, even though it's exactly the kind of show we eat up with a spoon, it isn't a given that there's a large enough audience interested in this topic to keep the show afloat. We could be wrong about that. We hope we are.
See, whenever you get this sort of behind-the-scenes look at the fashion world, it tends to focus on the editor/designer/model spheres. The truth of it is, when you get past the editor/designer/model spheres, there's a much larger army of people who make what we call "fashion" happen. It's all the down and dirty, so-far-from-glamorous-it's-not-even-on-the-map stuff and we LOVE that shit. The fashion world isn't all salons and editor's offices in high rises and state of the art design studios. The majority of the people behind the scenes driving the engine of this multi-billion dollar business don't walk around in cover-of-the-magazine ensembles like on Ugly Betty or The Devil Wears Prada. They're down in the trenches making a ton of shit happen. Fashion from the foxhole perspective.
In the center of this war zone is the one person holding the whole operation together, Kelly Cutrone, founder of People's Revolution, a PR firm specializing in a fashion-designer clientele. Kelly is intense, and unusual, and harsh, and occasionally unsure of herself, but one thing she's not is a bitch, at least not in the classic reality TV format (See: Real Housewives of Anywhere). She's got a lot of money and a lot of people riding on her and she's dealing with some fairly intense personalities. She's an unconventional woman leading an extremely high-stress lifestyle. Sure, she yells at people, but not once did we see her yell at anyone who didn't deserve it. She's not a diva and she's good at what she does. That alone sets her and this show apart from so much reality TV dross.
On top of everything else, she's a single mom with an unusual work/home situation. People's Revolution operates on several floors surrounding her apartment in the same building. Then there's the partner who appears to be homeless and living on the showroom floor. Like we said, these aren't the typical fashion people you see on TV or the movies.
She's surrounded by a pretty decent-sized staff, as well as a couple of partners. They all sit around this relatively small workspace and just yell out to each other constantly. We don't know how they manage to work like that. And while there are at least a couple of colorful characters, like the goth, cross-dressing Andrew M., Kelly's new assistant, people aren't playing to the cameras and the drama isn't contrived. Although granted, having all this drama hinge on a run-of-the-mill tech problem like a printer malfunction did have us questioning the organizational skills of some of the people involved. Then again, we don't live in their world.
In addition to the engaging Andrew M. ("What I'm wearing has the power to entrance you!"), who bluntly tells the camera that client Ralph Rucci is "snobby" and "a difficult client" and whose crush on a client's model has Kelly calling them up and saying, "Our children want to date each other," in order to arrange a hookup, we have Andrew S., who used to be a hairdresser in L.A. but came to New York "to be called a retard," and who tried to push an Ativan on a stressed out co-worker with the immortal (to us, anyway) lines, "You're only a pill popper if you do it when you're not stressed out. During fashion week it's fine."
Said stressed co-worker being Stephanie S., who is not to be confused with the other cute blonde 20-something, Stephanie V. Why are there so many people with the same name working at People's Revolution? Some sort of Noah's Ark theme? Anyway, the various Andrews and Stephanies are struggling mightily to assemble a list of RSVPs and come up with a seating chart for the Chado Ralph Rucci show. That doesn't sound like much, but when your RSVPs include Martha Stewart and Cathy Horyn, and when you consider, as Kelly explains, that you're seating competing members of the press in the same venue with A list celebrities, you've got a LOT to consider. Especially when everyone wants to be in the front row. Or as Andrew M. succinctly, and once again, bluntly put it, "Every single person on the seating chart has an enormous ego."
Will they get their printer to correctly print out the seating list in time for Ralph Rucci's show? Tune in next week to find out! Like we said, that doesn't sound like the normal reality TV plotline, but we don't live in their world, although we do find it pretty damn fascinating.
And on top of everything else, we get fabulous fashion. We got to see Spanish designer Davidelfin's spring 2010 collection from in front of the scrim and behind it. And kittens?
Watching Kelly and her staff basically pull the whole show off from top to bottom makes for fascinating television as far as we're concerned. It's the perfect show for people interested in the fashion world and an education for those people who don't know much about it.
You can watch the full episode online here.
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