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Ciao from vacanza!
I'm currently hooked up to a risotto IV.
As I warned you last week, I’m writing this newsletter to you from 40,000 feet or whatever above the Atlantic Ocean sandwiched between two sleeping beauties while I fight against the urge to conk out myself. I will be arriving in Milan imminently to celebrate the blissful union of two pals, and while I previously threatened to take a well-deserved vacation from this weekly harangue, there were just a handful of fashions I couldn’t let pass us by without shouting at you about them. I promise next week I will actually give myself a break from this madness. But until then, here’s just a little taste of my jet-lagged fashion idiocy delivered straight to your dome.
If you need more, more, more, go ahead and jump in the Discord or sign up for a paid subscription to support me in these fruitless endeavors and underwrite the slew of extremely unwise impulse purchases I’m surely about to make.
Ok, time to mangia.
To begin with, I don’t actually want to talk about this particular piece of very creepy drama in this newsletter as it is way too niche, too complicated, and too unrelated to “celebrity” fashion to get into the weeds of it with the Mess layman. HOWEVER, if you are an avid consumer of YouTube gossip and this still image of Colleen Ballinger delivering a non-apology for grooming minors via ukulele means something to you, please reply directly to this email with every single one of your thoughts on the subject because I am desperate to talk shit about this situation and I have exactly one IRL friend who devours YouTube creator cancellations like I do.
As all avid Real Housewives viewers already know, nothing says marriage on the rocks quite like a vow renewal. And a vow renewal one year into said marriage?! Big yikes. It seems the Bennifer 2.0 tabloid headline high has fully evaporated and J.Lo is desperate to revive those nostalgia press cycle glory days by taking a mulligan on their wedding day. This feels like confirmation that all those videos we’ve been getting of them scowling at each other on the red carpet and having heated shouting matches in the car are in fact exactly what they appear to be and we have a new A-list couple to put on divorce watch. Personally, I already had them on my shortlist after that very odd attempt at a Father’s Day thirst trap featuring absolutely none of their children.
I am absolutely entranced by these paparazzi images of Selena Gomez looking “uneasy.” They’re some of the finest candid celeb facial expressions I’ve come across in a minute. And I have never related more to a famous person’s complete inability to control their face in front of the cameras. If you haven’t seen these photos of an inexplicably shell-shocked Selena leaving Nobu, please go take a gander. Something is afoot. What exactly, we may never know. But shortly after these photographs were taken, Selener promptly unfollowed Zayn, both Hadids, Dua Lipa, and Zendaya on Instagram. God only knows how Zendaya got tangled up in this mess. But this headline also got me thinking, while I have never had anything but tepid thoughts towards Selena, I can’t help but notice that she’s always the one getting caught unfollowing her celebrity peers. Methinks the call is coming from inside the house. You can only find yourself embroiled in this type of dumb social media drama so many times as a famous person before I have to assume that you’re somehow the one causing it. Given the rate at which she is shedding her mutuals, perhaps Selena should consider just not following anyone at all.
For some reason, everyone realized for the first time this week that Blake Lively is selling alcohol despite not actually drinking said alcohol. And while I do understand the public’s ire that yet another very sober celebrity is venturing into the world of canned cocktails just to make a quick buck (and I have made the complaint myself in these pages), I must add that getting mad over this type of spon con also strikes me as a little silly as it implies that there are celebrities who the public believes are genuine in their product shilling and only offload goods they actually use and care about. I hate to break it to you, but they’re all cash grabs. Yes, even the Fenty Beauty and Goops of the world. No matter how synergistically aligned with a celebrity’s brand, it’s all just a way to funnel fans’ money into their pockets. Blake and J.Lo are just being way more transparent in their grift, but don’t get it twisted. At the end of the day, every single one is grifting. These people are no longer satisfied simply being multi-millionaires off their primary careers, now it’s billionaire start-up entrepreneur or bust.
As for the last installment in this little headline roundup, all this quote serves to do is make me scared of the types of parties Joan Collins would be throwing if cancel culture wasn’t standing in her way.
Yes. As I’ve been saying, cigarettes are back. But more importantly, I wanted to include this image from Amelia Hamlin’s Instagram Stories to once again underscore my point that luxury brands are really at the pinnacle of what they do when creating gaudy every day objects. And, as I’ve said before, many high-end brands would be wise to ditch the pretense of ready-to-wear altogether and just lean all the way into logomania quotidian accessories.
Kim Kardashian finally decided to join the party, just a full year too late, wearing this very pubic-centric Alaïa look we’ve already seen on Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. As I said when Rosie did it back in February, I like the peek-a-boo pussy concept a lot, but there’s something about the cutouts of the skirt clashing with the line of the brief that I just can’t get behind. I either want it closed at the top so only the bottom of the underwear peeks out of the center holes, or somehow underwear-less? Maybe just a really low-rise thong that barely covers the mons so you still get some flesh behind those top cutouts without fully flashing the public. I don’t know, I just know this combo is not it. As I briefly mentioned last week re: sagging, I also think that suppressing your chest by strapping it down in an unflattering way could be a fun, new direction for décolletage. There’s something intriguing about obliterating any hint of cleavage like this. And, as always, it wouldn’t be a Kim Kardashian special if the whole outfit didn’t somehow manage to make her look even shorter than she actually is.
She is also continuing to hire very famous photographers to shoot her Skims campaigns and making them look like they’re doing a very bad impression of themselves. First, Harmony Korine, now Steven Klein who is doing both a poor knock-off of himself and Helmut Newton with this advertorial. And if Steven Klein’s entire career has proven one thing it’s that he’s typically very, very good at copycatting Helmut. What is it about these DTC Instagram ads that makes every creative titan falter. It makes me wonder if it’s even possible to make Kim content seem interesting or high fashion anymore. It feels like she’s become this black hole of luxury and good taste where no matter what enters the vortex, it’s instantly reduced to a low-quality vapor.
I am always amazed that Khloé runs a denim empire despite having some of the worst denim I’ve ever laid eyes on. I thought the shredded to hell pair she’s been wearing for months now were unfortunate, but these jeans have actually shaken me to my core because I can’t even remember the last time I saw a pair of pants constructed like this. With the banded waistline and the zipper up the side to get into them like they’re fancy trousers, it had to be circa 2004 . Remember when we first came up with the concept of “jeggings” and were doing deranged things like this to our jeans? Anyway, just a weird walk down denim memory lane, made all the weirder by this dungaree diaper she’s applied atop them.
Speaking of questionable choices, I already flagged this in Discord, but Kylie is also doing some interesting things with her jeans in the midst of her “quiet luxury” reinvention. She modeled this high-low denim midi skirt, effectively finding a way to make me even more distrustful of this garment. I’ve been tentatively calling this look loincloth-core as I have a sneaking suspicion this won’t be the last we’ll see of the style.
In the midst of this family’s fashion folly, I have to say, Kourtney is really coming out on top. Her apparel in this maternity shoot is nothing particularly novel, just more of the semi-sheer spandex that has become the Kardashians’ signature. But there’s something about doing it in this all-over periwinkle hue, with the overlaid sarong cinched with some leather detailing that feels very modern to me. It looks like if Rick Owens designed the costumes for Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, and Hollywood could use a hell of a lot more of that.
Anyway, KarJenners aside, the main event of the week was the BET Awards which is always a rich text for fresh trends and apparel that pushes up against the edge of mainstream acceptability. I thought Rich the Kid did a nice job finding a way to do a full face shroud that doesn’t feel as heavily Ye-referential as we’ve seen in the past. That said, it’s still not quite as elevated as I’d like it to be, although it’s a great start. I think we could be doing way more ornamentation, more appliqués, like this starburst coming off his forehead. I want this hood to look like one of those Mexican crosses covered in tiny, silver milagros. I also think turning a ski mask into a charm bracelet could be an interesting way to extend rap’s chain tradition, creating custom diamond-encrusted headpieces to match.
In a sea of aughts wannabes, I wanted to take a moment to praise Doechii on her Willennium authenticity. She’s giving us the full Fantasia from season 3 of American Idol fantasy. She’s got the wraparound, rimless, rose-tinted shades, the cut off waistline jeans, the point-toe pumps, and the teeny-tiny spiked going-out top that Pink absolutely would have fought her for back in the day. Although, much like with the extra long sleeve trend, I think if you’re wearing an outfit featuring these under-boob danglers you’ve got to be ready to pose with them to maximum effect. This is a good start, but where is Beyoncé’s wind machine when you need it.
It seems like my long-held dream of incorporating 3D metal elements into red carpet ensembles is finally coming to fruition after I originally praised the Snapchat filter-esque look Lucky Daye wore to the Grammys in February. Ari Fletcher, Victoria Monet, and Bella Thorne all wore gowns this week that incorporated some chunky pieces of wire as part of the structure of the dress. And while I still like the look, I think it can be pushed even further. Think less underwire bra, more standalone conceptual sculpture entwining the body.
And no red carpet roundup would be complete without a brief check in on the status of all the underwear dressing going on out there. Ice Spice wore a straight-up negligee to the BET Awards layered atop a bra and thong. Adele Exarchopoulos attended the Jacquemus runway show in a skirt that left a whole lot of peripheral gluteus maximus exposed. Much like with Gabrielle Union’s bifurcated butt dress last week, I think the more celebs can present a weird angle on their already overexposed assets the better. And Hailey Bieber once again layered a white pair of briefs beneath a sheer white dress, a trick that oddly I haven’t seen a lot of other stars try and copy. There’s something about doing it in white that makes it feel subversively virginal. And, as with Hailey’s too-big slip skirt the other week that she left slouching off her hips, I think the future of scandal in this era of maximum flesh is going to belong to those who understand how to create this duality of slutty yet chaste.
Melissa Gorga trotted out one of my fav, signature D-list moves this week, bringing a touch of nudity to the gas pump. And much as I said when Joy Corrigan pulled this trick in a bikini a couple months back, I think the brilliance of it is in the incongruous juxtaposition — a monokini where it most definitely does not belong. While the gas station is regularly the go-to venue for this type of exposure, I think there’s so much untapped potential here. Wear a beach cover-up to the DMV! Pick up the dog from the groomers in lingerie! Make photocopies at Kinko’s in the buff!!! There are so many places these ladies could be shocking and offending with their attire all in the name of headlines.
In terms of new trends I’ve been clocking out there, it looks like it’s increasingly shaping up to be a Dad Sandal Summer. I’ve been seeing these chunky, closed-toe boys out there for a minute, both with and without socks layered underneath. And much like when fashion suddenly decided it was completely permissible to wear sneakers to runway shows, far be it from me to look this comfortable gift horse in the mouth. So go ahead and invest in some podiatrist-approved footwear and don your finest art teacher on a field trip slip-ons this summer.
Longtime readers also know I’ve spent the majority of this year championing a funky hat on the red carpet. So, naturally, I’m very invested in this Dumb Donald bejeweled flying saucer-cum-sombrero situation Beyoncé has going on. Really, any way I can expose less of my face while serving maximal glamour is ideal.
And finally, I leave you with thee blueprint. The only man who has ever understood how to correctly rock a piece of women’s wear — Dennis Rodman. As I’ve said before in this newsletter, this is the skirt length women want and men are too afraid to give us. Hopefully, this opens some eyes to the true possibilities of the mini. If I don’t see a famous male actor in one of those Miu Miu micro skirts before the year is out, I will riot.
Well, the jet lag has caught up with me and I’m suddenly feeling as exhausted as Rachel Brosnahan trying to escape from beneath this giant wooden stool.
Which means it’s probably time for me to call it quits and go take in the wonder all around me like Nicole Kidman in an AMC theater.
Sending all my love from Italia until we meet again!
Brava! You’ve reached the denouement of the operatic saga that is I <3 Mess. If the high-highs of these atrocious arias and low-lows of this unfortunate overture have you hankering for even more lowbrow entertainment, may I suggest recounting the horrors you’ve seen here today to every person you know and signing them up for a free subscription. If you are a lone wolf moving to the beat of your own drum, then please invest even more of your time and money in this weekly 3,000-word whine sesh by getting yourself a paid subscription today. And for those who just want the broad strokes without becoming embroiled in this couture clusterfuck, you can always jump the queue and join the ~ MESS DISCORD ~ where almost 650 fellow Messketeers are ready to welcome you with open arms. Just make sure to get yourself some Mess Merch first.
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See you in two weeks, you flexible freaks!