Oh, Kell on Earth. We hardly knew ye. Last night was the season finale of everyone’s favorite fashion PR reality show, and unlike the cheap dramatic ploys used by shows that we all love to hate (Real Housewives, I’m looking at you), the finale focused on the cast members doing their jobs and how much Kelly Cutrone’s employees love and appreciate their boss.
If you had told me before this show started that it was going to be about likable people doing their everyday jobs, I would have told you that it would never work – reality television needs to give its viewers a good dose of schadenfreude or everyone gets bored. Somehow, though, Cutrone & Co. pulled it off. The show made me want to move to New York, work at People’s Revolution, and buy a DKNY Cozy sweater (although that last part is just a side effect of Monday night’s episode and not the series as a whole).
The last episode of the season (though hopefully not of the series!) found the ladies and gentlemen of People’s Revolution planning both a guerilla video shoot for a DKNY sweater called the “Cozy” and a guerilla surprise party for Kelly’s birthday. Surprisingly, both looked like a lot of fun. These folks may work long hours for limited pay, but at least their jobs involve things that can be described as “guerilla” from time to time. We should all be so lucky.
The idea for the shoot was to have an army of Power Girls (here, represented by models) in different-colored Cozies (which you can apparently wear a nearly infinite number of different ways) marching through the streets of New York City, looking awesome and privileged and like you want to buy whatever it is that makes them look that way. Kelly chose to go sans permits, so filming while people were milling around and traffic was passing through provided a few problems.
Staging an impromptu shoot in the middle of New York didn’t cause nearly the chaos that I figured it would, however, and the limited security that Kelly brought along (it apparently made a REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE that they were Irish-American) managed to get the cops off their backs long enough to film in front of iconic landmarks like the giant US flag on Wall Street and the Washington Square Park arch. The sweaters looked great, the shoot idea fit DKNY’s ultra-NYC brand image, and we got to see Kelly at her best – a PR coup all around.
What I liked most about this part of the episode, however, was Kelly’s interaction with her daughter. Ava and a friend came to see her mom when they were shooting near home, and Kelly talked about how it was important to her that her daughter saw women working together, creating positive things, and being good role models. If all moms thought so intelligently about how their children perceive the women around them, then the world would be a better place. I, for one, hope that Kelly has more kids – she should be raising as many as possible, based on everything we’ve seen about Ava.
The other half of the guerilla episode was perpetrated by Andrew and Skinner in an attempt to throw Kelly a surprise birthday party at the Carlyle Hotel. As you could probably guess, Kelly is hard to surprise because she has a finely tuned BS meter and doesn’t hide in an office, away from her employees all day, so they had to be extra surreptitious in planning the venue, catering and guest list (no interns allowed!)
They also had to be careful to hide their intentions from the place that they were going to try cake samples, since most bakeries only do tasting sessions for weddings. Obviously, that meant that they had to pretend that they were engaged, which maybe wasn’t entirely believable since he was wearing a skirt the entire time. I’m sure that there’s a male skirt-enthusiast out there somewhere that has married a lady before, however, plus Andrew had gotten down on one knee on a street corner to give her an “engagement ring” on the way to the tasting, so they got to gorge themselves on free cake anyway.
Problems arose, however, when it was time to decide what the bakery should write on the cake. Since they had claimed to be looking for a wedding cake, having them write “Happy Birthday Kelly” wasn’t really an option if the ruse was to be sustained. Ultimately, they went with “Congratulations Mr. & Ms. Mukamal” and Kelly smeared it out when presented with the cake at her party.
Actually getting Kelly in the door was also an issue. Since she has a mind of her own, she kind of wanted to bail on the cocktail hour that she thought she was going to (I usually get the urge to bail last-minute on stuff like that too, so I was nervous for a moment that she actually would), but Robyn did a bang-up job of keeping her out of the (secretly empty) office and herding her, swag bags in tow, toward the Carlyle.
She was a little early, but things mostly went off without a hitch and Kelly was so surprised and happy that she actually cried a little bit and didn’t even make herself go outside. The party itself may or may not have been set up by producers (thanks to Real Housewives, I’m forever skeptical of “parties” on Bravo reality shows), but I think it’s pretty safe to say that Kelly didn’t know about it and that Andrew, Skinner and the rest of the People’s Rev crew have a genuine affection for Kelly that not many employees have for the higher-ups.
The finale (and indeed the entire season) was sweet without being saccharine, “reality television” without being too dubiously real, and a somewhat honest look at the sometimes glam, oftentimes not-glam side of the fashion world that lots of college girls and gays dream of entering. Kelly Cutrone may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but people with strong personalities rarely are, and I think anyone would be hard-pressed to say that she’s not doing a good job raising both her daughter and her Power Girls (and Boys) in Training.