A huge week for lip reading
Peplums as far as the eye can see.
Hi, my parasocial pals!!!!!
As previously foretold, I’ve spent the week chilling on the couch of my very pregnant bestie while she and her husband work their real jobs here in very rainy Portland which has opened my eyes to just how much I could be getting done if I held myself accountable to any sort of formal work schedule whatsoever. Alas, that’s simply not how I’m wired, so it’s back to my chaotic days of cobbled together focus and diligence.
While here, I’ve accomplished almost everything on my must-see list of old Portland haunts, save for that much fantasized about Thanksgiving leftover sandwich as Otto’s is closed until Thursday of next week which seems like a punishment they concocted specifically for my visit, but ok. It’s been nice having my terrible memory manually jogged by my surroundings, even if it did make me realize that I’ve now known my friend for as many years as I’d been alive the first time we met. A revelation which did send me down a brief existential spiral. Aging is so, so weird and I will simply never get over the fact that so much time can pass and I continue to feel almost exactly the same. (I mean, I am definitely better and smarter and more capable now than I was back then, but I think you all vaguely know what I mean.)
Anyway, what’s blown me away the most about this return to the land of my youth 14 years on is just how constant some things in this life remain. For example, I ate a burrito at Laughing Planet that tasted PRECISELY like the burrito of my memory. I walked into Reed College library and saw not only the exact same upholstery on the chairs I used to study upon, but smelled the exact same musty smell of higher education. And to make matters all the stranger, while the campus was largely empty as all the students are still on winter break, those I did see felt to me to be the very archetypes of hipsters and weirdos who populated my own graduating class. A humbling reminder that none of us are ever quite the special, unique, once-in-a-millenia snowflakes we believe ourselves to be. And in a great show of nostalgia and goodwill towards my alma mater, I even picked up a Reed sweatshirt — the only piece of college merch I own. Which I have to say is less about me being anti-Reed and more about the fact that they have preposterously bad swag for sale in their bookstore. Reed PR team, if you’re reading this, please let me take over your collegiate merch design. I was truly born to take on this task.
Also, thank you to everyone who reached out with recommendations! I so, so appreciate it. I did go to Eem! as all of you suggested, and it was just as scrumptious as your enthusiastic endorsements implied.
Ok, I’m going to move full steam ahead into today’s fodder as I’ve been working on a massive writing project all week that is due today and has sucked up the majority of my spare moments. Also, as you’re reading this, I am once again up at the butt crack of dawn and in transit back to Brooklyn and my gorgeous gal Fran. Because of both of those facts, I’ve chopped today’s newsletter in half and am putting the rest of my usual longwinded content behind the paywall. And, let me tell you, it is most definitely the best half. The information I have to share with you from a Golden Globes press release I received alone is well worth the $5 in joy and laughter. So please sign up for that and behold the glory that lands in your inbox next Tuesday.
Ok, slop’s up!
To kick off today’s newsletter, I simply must inquire: Is Mark Ronson ok? This picture he posted to Instagram after the Golden Globes tells me that the answer to that question is a hard no. For those not understanding what they’re currently looking at, this is a photo Mark posted following the ceremony of his ripped up acceptance speech in the trash as he did not win……which feels like such a weird, butt hurt thing to post, especially as an extremely famous person who has won a million awards already. And especially as he lost to Billie Eilish, someone whose music he has produced in the past and I presume would like to produce again at some point in the future. I do not know why you would confess to this fit of pique to the general public as it’s deeply embarrassing behavior, but such is the nature of social media in our modern age I suppose. And it just makes me wonder, much like Selena Gomez (as we will speak more about below), have some celebs considered the fact that they are simply too famous/thirsty/petty to be actively engaged with social media at all? Just let your PR team handle these accounts and log off forever and enjoy your billions! We’d all be the better for it!!!
Now for the grand gossip of the evening: Kylie Jenner allegedly denying Selena a photo opp with her beau. It has truly never been a better time to be a lip reader on the internet. And much as when the media chooses to read great meaning into celebrities’ choices in jewelry they don’t even own, I find this whole category of storytelling to be deeply beneath us. That said, in this case, it does also happen to be some very good gossip and I do love when we as a society decide to run full-speed ahead with a narrative simply because it is the funnest possible version, even when we have very little facts to back it up. I am, however, disappointed with how all celebs involved have handled the fallout from this moment, attempting to deny its reality at every turn. Let the people speculate! Let us enjoy the only interesting thing that maybe-did, maybe-didn’t happen at this otherwise deeply boring event! Let the public have this little treat!!! I’m also not buying the vehement denials coming from either camp, especially as we all very clearly heard Keleigh Teller say “with Timothée?!” on tape, so make that make sense. However, I do respect how quickly Timmy acted upon Kris Jenner’s instruction and got out into the streets to explain away the situation to TMZ. And I do love that Selena’s assertion that she was actually telling Taylor about two of her friends hooking up immediately led to accusations that those friends are Martin Short and Meryl Streep.
Another reason I choose to believe our interpretation of events is that Selena is messy and low-key loves to stir up some drama, despite regularly insisting that she does not. As many pointed out on Twitter following this lukewarm mic moment, she would thrive in an office environment and it’s a shame she will never get that opportunity to be queen of the water cooler. And much like Mark Ronson, I believe she needs some sort of middleman between herself and her Instagram account because she is using it far too much like the rest of us use the platform despite being the most followed woman on planet earth. She should actually never be that deep in the comment section defending her man. But I must admit, I do love her for the sloppiness of it all. Exemplified perfectly by her decision to leave this award show and immediately post a photo of herself kissing her new boyfriend Benny Blanco with the caption “I won”……like, ok girl! I also do love when Selena announces she is taking a break from social media only to return less than 24 hours later. At this point, she’s done it sooo many times and backtracked so instantaneously, we simply have no choice but to stan.
What makes all of the above even more unfortunate is that Selena couldn’t have chosen a worse dress to be the main character of the evening in. Remember what I told you all about fashion editors laughing at the Armani show?? Well…I think you can see why. I’m already not huge on a high-low hem, especially when it’s coming in from a side angle, and this extremely shiny fabric and the odd volume of the skirt is certainly not helping the matter. This floofy silhouette also meant that Selena didn’t have the slightest idea what to do with her hands on the red carpet and kept awkwardly holding them all the way out like this in various strange ways. Also, something I’ve noticed about Selena’s taste in gowns is that she loves a dress that not only doesn’t fit her chest but suffocates it to within an inch of its life.
And regarding the man at the center of this whole kerfuffle, I wonder if Timothée has realized yet that, thanks to Dominic Sessa above, his days as our premiere heartthrob could very well be numbered. When Sessa hit the red carpet in this ensemble I heard cries coming in from across the Twitter-sphere demanding he be given a Saint Laurent campaign immediately as well as be cast in the forthcoming Bob Dylan biopic that Timmy has spent the last four years learning how to play guitar for his role in. And I haven’t seen The Holdovers yet, but I’ve also heard tell that Sessa’s acting abilities should make Mr. Jenner verrrrry nervous. Just saying, enjoy the girls fighting over you while you can, Timmy, because it could all be over before you even know it!
Speaking of men who are putting Chalamet to shame, here is Barry Keoghan in yet another example of an ensemble that is doing precisely what Timmy thought he was doing with all those sheer tops during the Wonka press tour. Longtime readers know, I have long endorsed the genius of a vest on a shirtless torso for turning boring suiting into something moderately thrilling (at least, for a male celeb). And I’ve also always been a HUGE proponent of a man in a crop top. So as you can imagine, this outfit is really hitting all of the right notes for me. An elegant gun show with a hint of navel, may all the other aspiring It-boys take note of this moment and make 2024 the year of the black tie exposed midriff.
Now, someone who has always struck the perfect note of sex appeal is Mr. Lenny Kravitz, who at 59 years old continues to tantalize and delight in a way the other boys simply will never understand. An evening wear oblique cutout? Are you kidding me?? A stunning take on your standard tuxedo. Once again, fingers crossed the rest of the gentlemen in Hollywood get on board with this pro-ab agenda. What’s the point of working so hard on all of those 8-packs if not to put them on full display?!
On the opposite end of the sexy spectrum, I’ve said this before and I still stand by it: I am into Billie’s sexy school marm era. I think the aesthetic really works for her. But, in this particular case, I think the look could have benefitted from just a touch more tailoring and structure especially as it’s so oversized. I think it needs a firmer silhouette to be this large and not feel sloppy. But the real thing I have an issue with here is not the outfit, but rather the hair which when slicked back so severely with the chunky tendrils framing her face creates a very odd Megamind forehead illusion.
This is very clearly not Mess and belongs nowhere near the usual detritus I inflict upon you, but I just need to say that Prada did not need to stunt quite this hard on the other fashion brands at the Golden Globes. They had their boot firmly pressed upon the red carpet’s neck that night and refused to provide a moment of relief from the onslaught of slay-age. I’m already generally a big fan of Ayo Edebiri’s award show ensembles, but this one felt like she unlocked a new level of timeless glamour. And Hunter Schafer, who has been killing the fashions throughout her Hunger Games press cycle, looked like she was permanently ensconced in a gossamer fog with a Beyoncé-caliber wind machine following her every move. This is how you give drama in a really simple, yet elevated way. I also love that there’s something a touch mummy who just escaped from the crypt about it.
Likewise, Natasha Lyonne does not deserve to find herself listed within these un-hallowed halls, but this Schiaparelli dress was also MAJOR for me. I predicted more sculptural, built off the body looks in 2024, and we’re already beginning to witness that come to fruition. If these huge chest peaks weren’t fabulous enough, the teeny-tiny, all-over tassels make it abundantly clear you’re currently bearing witness to a great work of couture and also made me realize, along with Hunter, just how sorely TEXTURE has been missing on the red carpet. And just when I thought I couldn’t approve more heartily of this choice, Natasha also finished off this gown with the very fun and cheeky choice of crystalized mussel earrings.
On the subject of Schiaparelli, I clearly love the brand to death and think this dress was a very solid choice for Dua, but I do have to wonder why these two blacks do not match each other in the slightest. This happens so often with celebrity looks and it drives me nuts every single time. How does this mismatched garment slip past so many eyes? Is it intentional? Is it simply impossible to match blacks across varying fabrics?? I’m not a design person and have truly (clearly) no formal training in this stuff, so I genuinely do not know. If one of you out there does actually know why one of these colors is so much lighter than the other, please tell me!
I’ve decided that if there is one singular thing I want my legacy to be in this life it’s that I helped to eradicate the existence of bad illusion mesh such as this. That stark line of too-dark fabric directly between Meg Thee Stallion’s breasts instantly ruins this whole look for me. Although, I do love a dress entirely constructed around putting a belly button ring on full display so I can’t hate too hard. Please also recall Julia Fox’s ingenious version of such a garment at the Courrèges show last year.
A new week and a new year means I’ve once again made the crucial mistake of tweeting my thoughts about celebrity outfits on X dot com where people love to tell me things I already know as though it is they who are the experts on bad fashion and not I!!! In this case, I was corrected infinite times about my simple joke in regards to Blake Lively’s very chunky, very dated platform heels by people who wished to inform me that Blake’s fashion has in fact been stuck in 2014 for the last decade. Listen, I couldn’t agree more! But that does not change the fact that we are currently creeping into the revival of that year in attire. I assume because we’re also creeping towards an economic crash that no one seems willing to admit is actually happening.
Numerous users also bemoaned Taylor Swift’s complete absence of personal style, as seen here. Something you all know I’ve avoided touching upon infinite times in the past out of great fear of being doxxed out of existence by the Swifties. But I will use this as an opportunity to reiterate a point I’ve previously made, which is that Taylor’s lack of style is very much the point. It is an orchestrated play to relatability and accessibility. It is the cornering of a mid-range market her famous peers have all but completely abandoned and which moves major units for the brands she does choose to wear on these little pap strolls as it’s something her fans can actually afford to purchase. Because the reality is that this is one of the most famous women in the world. She could very much pull a Beyoncé and wear only custom designs from the most expensive fashion houses and work with the most elite stylists money can buy. The absence of all of those things represents not a fashion naiveté or lack of good taste (although I would argue, she doesn’t really have a lot of that either), but is more so an act of very intentional branding.
Anyway, one extremely positive thing that did come out of this Twitter exchange is that someone reminded me that Taylor is dressed exactly like Alexis from Schitt’s Creek here and now I desperately need her do a cover of “A Little Bit Alexis."
I leave you today with this inexplicable marble Magic Eye situation Kim Kardashian posted to her Instagram Stories and then never bothered to explain what exactly she was attempting to communicate by sharing this. Is it….the vague heart shape happening here? Simply a moment of appreciation for the natural beauty all around her?? I saw absolutely zero outlets comment upon these images and what the intentions behind them could possibly be, so I have no choice but to draw my own conclusions. This is both wildly strange and one of the most interesting things Kim has ever posted. This is honestly how all celebrities should always be using social media. For all the Swifties talk about Taylor’s love of a little scavenger hunt, THIS is what an authentic Easter egg looks like! And this is a deeply nerdy reference, but these posts immediately reminded me of the marbled page in Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (one of my all-time fav books), and much like that single page ushered in a whole new genre of literature, so too has Kim’s post introduced us to a post-modern Instagram age.
Anyway if all of the above has yet to slake your thirst for atrocious attire, I’m telling you, you’ve got to sign up for a paid subscription because I am absolutely gatekeeping all of the best content behind the paywall.
Ok, well, much like Real Housewives of Beverly Hill’s Mauricio Umansky, I’ve got a full schedule of fresh powder, “showkngs,” and amazing listings rocking this week, so it’s high time for me to jet on out of here.
Until our digital footprints cross again, I’ll be sitting all alone like Jared Leto at his table at the Golden Globes! Goodbye!
If you need double the onslaught of Mess in your inbox ever week, go and get a paid subscription already.
We are once again officially in award show season. A time when anyone and everyone on the internet feels they are an expert on red carpet attire. But as you know all too well by now, there is only one true aficionado in the world of ugly gowns and that’s Mess. So if you have friends and family in desperate needs of sage fashion guidance during this endless siege of step-and-repeats, please sign them up for a free subscription to this newsletter. Or, if you wish to be a blessing and a curse in the lives of your loved ones, skip straight to terrorizing them with a gift subscription to this email.
If you’re starting off your 2024 short on cash and leisure time, don’t even fret about that $5 a month for another second. Just head straight to this newsletter’s free ~DISCORD~ where you can check in on 720 of your fellow Messketeers’s least favorite looks at your leisure.
And last but not least, if you’re looking for a full wardrobe overhaul, may I suggest a trip to the MESS MERCH shop where all of your sartorial dreams can come true.
As always, if you can’t afford to pay for more, just ask me about getting a comped subscription. I promise, it’s no big deal. I do it all the time. And if you send over a screenshot of your donation to any abortion or bail fund, your next month of Mess is on me.