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It's Barb-ageddon, baby!
You're telling me you watched that Willy Wonka trailer and you still don't have the Timmy ick?!
I’m back in the US of A with my bb Fran and I feel both very out of the loop and completely out of practice with regards to the Mess soliloquy I’m about to deliver, so please bear with me, as always.
I’ve been having both a very nice and very weird time since we last spoke. First of all, my super Tony died. Something that has impacted me way more than I thought it would, especially as he had been hospitalized shortly before I left for Italy and I knew that he probably wouldn’t stick around too much longer. While I was gone, two rogue sunflowers popped up in my building’s backyard directly in front of the back door to his apartment. It’s silly, but something about seeing them there every day makes me feel a little better. Like Tony’s still loitering around waiting to feed Fran a roll from the bodega while dragging on one of his beloved Newports, just in plant form.
While I was out of town, a neighbor also broke into my apartment. Literally, one of my worst fears realized. Everything is fine and thankfully my roommate was home and scared them off before anything could happen, but extremely unsettling and violating nonetheless.
Meanwhile, I was in the most preposterously beautiful place you could ever imagine watching two very good friends make a promise to spend forever together. Life is strange, man.
In other strange news, I’m also having a real full-circle moment professionally. I’m back working quarter-time at People mag where I will be typing up some of my insane fashion thoughts on a regular basis. For those who haven’t perused my LinkedIn extensively, People is the first legit, full-time fashion writing job I ever had way back in 2015 and it is also, bizarrely, the reason this newsletter exists. Back when I was just a wee troublemaker on the web, top Messketeer and one of my fav boss’s Alex put me in charge of People’s “Obsessed or Hot Mess” gallery where I learned how to talk about truly insane outfits in a very PC way. The poorly kept secret of that gallery of course being that every single celeb featured is in fact a hot mess. So when trying to come up with a premise for this newsletter, I thought back on some of the great joys of my career and getting to write about those ensembles was definitely one of them. Thus, I <3 Mess was born. And so I return to the fold from which my lunacy was born.
I’ve got a couple more BIG stories in the works that I will share with you all when the time is right. But for now, please enjoy my latest treatise for Glamour ripped straight from this weekly think tank all about how the dairy lobby is attempting to PR its way back into the lives of Gen Z. And as I’m sure you can imagine, they’ve got some very fun ideas about what kids are in to!
Last but not least, we are now an army of Messketeers 8,000 strong and I’m just so thankful to all of you. People have also been sending me incredibly kind notes about all the shit-talking I do here every week. I still don’t quite understand what the appeal is, but I love that y’all love Mess.
And since I’m playing catch up on two weeks, this edition is stupidly long. And there’s going to be a huge helping of this dreck in Sloppy Seconds on Tuesday as well, so make sure to sign up for a paid subscription today so you don’t miss out on any of the madness coming down the line.
Ok, let’s see what we can get into.
First things first, a happy belated Independence Day to you and yours.
I also just love that in the midst of Darius Jackson being a dumb loser who attempted to publicly shame his girlfriend Keke Palmer for wearing an unbelievably normal outfit after pushing a human being out of her body, Ice T is out here casually rooting for his wife Coco to find all new ways to dress as provocatively as humanly possible. A real man.
I’m also fascinated by our new cultural obsession with blinding and brain damaging our favs. What is going on out there. What is the goal??? They’re going to start boxing in these stars Angela Davis at MSG style. Or even better, take them away from us entirely. Hologram concerts only until we learn how to behave ourselves! We haven’t quite reached “eat the rich” status yet, but I gotta say, lightly maiming celebs with our overpriced consumer goods seems like a very intriguing entry point to the revolution.
And excuse me? What dating rumors?? I literally had not heard a peep about this until this headline and, now that I have, it doesn’t strike me as particularly factual. I know I’m deeply pro-Taylor biased, but I do think she’s too cool for him. Don’t get me wrong, she was also too cool to be hooking up with Timmy Chalamet, but at least they have their artsy-fartsy method acting to bind them. Besides, Harry has the most specific type in women I’ve ever seen. All of his exes have the exact same face. Actually, someone with more photoshop skills than me should make one of those gifs where it melds between photos of all of the women he’s dated because I promise the results will be haunting. The Camille Rowe to Olivia Wilde pipeline alone!
Speaking of young love, was it just me or did the Wimbledon stands this year feel like the place to see and by seen making out with your seat mate? I think some wires got crossed because of those viral photos of Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung, and Tom Sturridge last year where everyone realized that they’re part of one big, incestuous friend group. I have a feeling celebrities saw that social media moment and were just like, a-ha, this is the event where we make some sort of PDA statement. Hence Cara Delevingne and her girlfriend’s mid-game makeout, as well as Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, who given that they’ve been living on opposite sides of the earth all year really needed this opportunity to heavily document their heavy petting and quell the divorce sirens raging all around them. Can’t wait to see who uses a tennis match to bolster the legitimacy of their relationship next year!
By the way, just in case you were concerned that I’m running out of content for Chanel Flops, fear not. The brand is dedicated to supplying me with a steady stream of heinous imagery, most recently courtesy of their haute couture show where they took the classic French beauty Vanessa Paradis and popped her into a belted, multimedia jumpsuit that was then jammed into these too-skinny, metallic ankle boots. The styling choices they make are honestly so odd and chaotic, I kind of have to respect it.
But here’s what I really don’t understand about this brand. They somehow have landed Kendrick Lamar on their roster of beleaguered celeb spokespeople and are not utilizing him in the slightest. Despite the fact that he is the only person perhaps on this entire planet who makes me interested in the possibilities of Chanel. This outfit alone is easily the best thing to come out of the brand in the last five years. Where is the man’s billboard. I feel like what Kendrick is silently doing in the background at Chanel is what LVMH thought Pharrell would be able to pull off at Louis Vuitton, reconfiguring the brand in his own well-dressed image. Ditto Future’s very bizarre new appointment at Lanvin. So why not at least let Kenny handle a capsule collection? It sure as hell can’t be any worse than what Virginie has been up to.
Moving on. Harper Beckham turned 12 this week which means she’s the perfect age for Victoria to begin foisting her youngest nepo baby upon the public. I also just have to say this out loud to someone: Prada is not a party theme. It’s a brand. Although, as always, I do love to bear witness to these last gasps of late-stage capitalism where the line between a birthday party a brand event and an actual store have been completely eradicated.
And as I’ve told you all before, most notably when she attended the Richard Quinn show earlier this year, Lisa Rinna is at her absolute best during fashion week when absurdly covered up in conceptual clothing. She needs maximum volume and sculptural elements. The more she screws with her microscopic proportions the better, in my book. Also this reminded me that celebrities should be digging way deeper into the Viktor & Rolf archives in general because those dudes really know how to do some stunt dressing.
Elsewhere in the Housewives universe, Bravo threw a party for the premiere of the New York franchise of the show complete with the all-new cast which includes Jenna Lyons, of 2010s J.Crew fame, and I’m going to need MUCH better TV representation from a luminary of the fashion community than this. This looks like a hydrangea bush crossed with a Marchesa-designed Kleenex box cozy.
Because I’ve already put you through the ringer right up top, here’s a string of images of Cardi B absolutely murdering Paris Fashion Week, per uze. I think the biggest trick to Cardi’s fashion coup is that she actually has personality to spare and understands how to adapt it to play the different characters that these outfits require of her. She doesn’t just wear the clothes, she fully puts on a show, delivering poses carefully curated to maximize the impact of each look. If I was to give one minor note, it would be that things were looking a little jacket heavy out there, but they’re all so gorgeous, I understand how it happened. I would also love to see Thom Browne bend a little bit more towards Cardi’s aesthetic rather than the other way around, and I need to see her in way more Grace Jones-inspired ensembles like this catsuit moving forward. Finally, a trompe l’oeil belly button ring is exactly the type of tomfoolery I’ve been begging Schiapparelli to get into, and this Valentino logo print is just not happening for me. They missed the logomania train by a mile and it’s time for the brand to accept that.
I also love the way Paris Fashion Week always goes all-in on a random celeb. It seems like the couture board decides they need to keep their famous person roster fresh, so they shuttle in a singular, extremely random Gen Z American to enliven the FROW. This time, it’s Camila Cabello, last season it was Bella Thorne, and it always seems like the board got rejected by at least 20 starlets before someone finally took them up on this offer. My favorite thing about these cameos is just how nonsensical and wildly out of their depth they are. Camila is barely a fashion girlie, let alone an Iris van Herpen couture fashion girlie. These outfits ask a lot of the wearer, and require a certain styling savviness to pull of, and she is delivering on no fronts. I also simply cannot tolerate these shoes anymore. I understand that everyone is just trying to make clothes built for size zero giantesses make sense on the most petite women alive, but these metallic hoofs are not the solution to the problem.
While this entire Barbie press tour has obviously been an exquisite fever dream, by far the best part was being reminded that Margot Robbie is a serious Love Island stan. Like to the point where she made sure to take selfies with every cast member at the London premiere, including my personal favs, last season’s winners and recently single Z-listers, Davidé and Ekin-su. I’m just glad that despite going their separate ways, these two were still able to milk their relationship for one last PR stunt.
Also, the way they are shoehorning ads into this thing is kind of inspired, in a corporate soul-sucking way, of course. Case in point, inviting the faces of Progressive to walk the premiere’s red carpet in their branded aprons. I saw some tweet about how no movie has ever had such a massive corporate rollout like this with all the brand integrations, which is funny because I think most 90s kids would recognize this as what was once very much the status quo. Especially for something that’s supposed to be a big summer blockbuster. It’s just a level of promotion that no normal movie is afforded these days as all Hollywood executives are too busy trying to figure how how to turn everything into AI so they don’t have to pay anyone anymore. However, Barbie offers the inspiring lesson that if you are willing to make every aspect of your film and its rollout into one giant, endless ad space, the world is really your oyster.
Trypophobia trigger warning! Louis Vuitton continued to test Haim’s tolerance for looking foolish at the Barbie premiere by dressing them in what looks like coils of bejeweled rope stolen from Pleasantville before Tobey Maguire got there. And as always, I must inquire, what purpose is all this illusion mesh serving? What is it holding in place? Why must we subject stars to such body hosiery? And on a side note, do you think they practice these girl group power poses at home before they hit the red carpet? Because I think they do.
There are so many great impulses here, it pains me to include Ncuti Gatwa’s custom Valentino look in this round up, but it didn’t quite stick the landing. The sequined booty short is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered to freshen up men’s red carpet apparel and I love a cropped cape concept, but I think the under-layer either needed to be skintight or nonexistent to balance out the layers of this outfit with a horizontal stripe of exposed flesh. I can take or leave the hat, although it does feel a bit like an accessory afterthought, but my real complaint here is the footwear which does not jive with anything else that’s going on. This outfit calls for something sleek and streamlined to match the minimalism of the top, a point-toe ankle boot perhaps. And instead we’ve gotten chunky Franken-oxfords with a dress sock. While I’m thrilled to see men start to take these big sartorial swings, I now need them to also start thinking about the broader visual story they’re telling.
Consider this to be me officially flipping the switch on the Scientology sirens because our girl Margot is in danger. Tom periodically does this where he picks some youthful (usually blonde) hottie and then attempts to entrap them in a costar position so that the wildly unfounded relationship rumors can roll. Although lately it hasn’t just been relegated to young actresses, please recall his supposedly heated pursuit of a newly-single Shakira the other month. Mostly, I feel like Tom is just pissed he missed out on the role of first-gen Ken and is now hellbent on wiggling his way into a Barbie sequel.
And this is extremely dumb and petty, but it is also extremely me, so here I am sharing it. Billie Eilish posted this photo to promote her song for the Barbie movie and I immediately realized that I cannot fully appreciate this perfect Mattel ponytail because it just makes me think about how this should’ve been the hair she wore to the 2019 Met Gala with that giant peach Doris Day dress instead of that curled-under grandma bob. Anyway, very fun and cool that this is all my brain is good for.
In other news, I need us — the media — to get our goddamn story straight. We’re all over the place regarding our DiGi coverage and making a hell of a lot out of almost nothing at all. These are all stories published by Page Six within a 24-hour period and I’m sorry but “vibes” and “energy” being sensed by other people in the room does not a relationship make. In fact, I would argue it’s not even worth the energy it took to type out that headline. There is a photo of this man with some new, rando, 20-year-old model truly every other day. We do not need to keep doing Leo’s PR this solid of trying to prove that he sees women over the age of 25 as sexually viable beings. He does not. The matching wolf pack necklaces from last month should have made that abundantly clear. Let’s just keep it trucking until he’s ready to settle on his new child bride.
But then again, who could resist these skintight jean capris?
Another narrative we need to settle on ASAP is this tall tale we’ve been telling surrounding Tom Brady and Kim K who “barely spoke” yet also looked “very close” while in conversation at this star-studded party. Much like with Leo and Gigi, our evidence is literally just a clip of them speaking to one another in a very normal, unromantic way. The video was also a good reminder for me of how insanely small Kim is and what a long way down it is from 6’4’ to 5’2”. Especially for a man with two baby mamas who are almost 6’ tall professional models…….While I still very much believe that Tom could be Kim’s “mystery celeb crush” she’s been teasing and that she is the one who has been planting these types of will-they, won’t-they tabloid stories, I’ve never been more confident that this is not going anywhere beyond just that. Now if you’ll excuse him, Tom has got some nightshades to go gorge on.
Loving this twinning moment for them. Chaney Jones, aka Kanye’s post-Julia Fox, pre-Bianca Censori girlfriend, arrived at that same party wearing the same Alaïa dress as Kim. Not a particularly difficult feat to pull off as Kim has worn an almost identical version of this look numerous times in recent months. As I’ve told you, our girl loves a uniform. It’s really the only way she can wrap her head around fashion. But at least Kim took my advice to start getting more into all the obscene ways she could be leveraging her wealth for maximum indignation, tossing this stupidly large diamond on a belly chain in an ode to Rihanna. However, she was missing the second half of this formula which is making a big spectacle out of the bejeweled belt on social media because this should’ve been an outrage clickbait headline on every website, and instead all we heard about was her getting snubbed by Tom.
I also think I may have figured out why she can’t seem to lock down that relationship with the quarterback….This honestly just makes me very concerned for what’s going on with her digestive tract.
Kim also found her way into Dolce & Gabbana’s clutches again this week, attending their show amid accusations of stealing her sister Kourtney’s thunder by collabing with the brand on the heels of her nuptials (i.e. a ploy to generate even more free press for D&G). It was really just the same old boring same old, although it still delights me to no end to see her walking arm-in-arm with a man who called her the cheapest person in the world not so long ago. And now every day he gets to prove just how right he was. This purple dress on the left was made for someone else to wear. You cannot convince me otherwise. The one on the right is just straight-up Italian widow garb. And for a brand that almost exclusively makes these types of corset tops you’d think at the very least their construction would be better.
But on the bright side, The Daily Mail…………….welcome to the resistance.
I’m also starting to think that Dolce is contractually obligating these girls to hobble up and down a rustic Italian stairway and post it to Instagram because this week Olivia Culpo weeble-wobbled down a flight in a fully-branded look, calling to mind the TWO times that Kim pretended she couldn’t bend her knees in the name of fashion, as well as Kendall’s iconic knock-kneed speed run at Kourtney’s wedding. Actually, not the worst idea for brands to start writing these types of social media stunts into their deals, especially before the celebs realize that there is a big difference between relatable content and just embarrassing yourself for clicks.
On the back of the very successful Alaïa look she wore to her baby shower a couple weeks ago, I feel pregnancy has really helped Kourtney reestablish her personal style instead of just allowing it be subsumed by Travis’s. As someone who came of age when this It bag was the pinnacle of cool, I am extremely pro bringing back the OG Celine luggage bag. They’re well overdue for a resurgence anyway, especially if we really are doing this indie sleaze revival everybody keeps threatening to embark on. However, I do wish this Jacquemus look was made in pink terry cloth like I originally thought it was instead of this cheap jersey.
But in true KarJenner fashion, Kourt had to fly a little too close to the content creation sun. After spending the past few weeks making a play to become my new favorite sister, she posted this sign from her babymoon in Hawaii about saving turtles by not using disposable plastic straws……..despite the fact that she 100% took a private jet to said destination vacation. Then again, I would expect nothing less from Boohoo’s sustainability ambassador.
And consider this an important reminder to all that this woman is a troll. That is the business model. That is the strategy. Please stop falling for it. Kylie Jenner knows exactly what she’s doing posting the TikTok age filter as though she isn’t actively taking every preventative measure to lock her face in a plasticized timelessness so that this will absolutely never happen. And as though after decades of heavy filler usage that is how the great density of her jawline will actually settle…..
I’m also very disappointed in all of you. What happened to my jewelry super sleuths of yesteryear??!! One week, everybody’s clocking a “symbolic” Cartier ring in a selfie and branding her and Timmy practically engaged. And then, the next, she pulls the same PR stunt and you all let it float by with nary a headline. I can’t believe you all missed the Cartier trinity bracelet in this bikini shot. Is this confirmation we’ll get a Willy Wonka red carpet relationship debut? Evidence she Cartier’s newest celeb ambassador? Or just proof of a billionaire with nothing better to spend her money on? Only time will tell!
After spending an entire year documenting the rise of this underwear-centric trend, I just wanted to take a moment to confirm with you all that the sheer onslaught has officially begun in earnest. We are reaching the total saturation point. Complete cultural nipple desensitization is imminent. From here, we really only have one last bastion of scandal left. Southward, ho!
And yes, underwear-forward dressing even got its moment on the Barbie pink carpet courtesy of Dua Lipa, but I actually bring this up because I want to discuss what in the Hanky Panky spon con is going on here. As I’ve said in the past, if we’re going to make thongs such a central part of the outfit, we need to invest radically more thought into the choice in underwear and stop pairing it with just any old piece of lingerie. Where are the built-in, diamanté g-strings we saw from Dundas at the top of the year. That is the thong innovation and attention to detail I demand. Anyway, I’m also just clocking this so that when Dua announces her Hanky Panky capsule collection I can say I told you so.
Finally, I just need you all to know that this is the level of glamour you’re missing out on when you don’t pay for a subscription to Mess — Shanina Shaik in the most aughts outfit known to man. That tiny Miss Sixty-wannabe denim blazer actually makes me feel like I just stepped out of a time machine.
The fact that this fashion hate fest is already coming to an end has got me screaming NO as loudly as Shakira’s coat. But unfortunately, that’s all I’ve got for you today.
Much like the beads in Liam Payne’s hair, I’ve been hanging around for way too long, so I’m going to go ahead and book it. Meet me back here on Tuesday for some Sloppy Seconds, otherwise I’ll see you all again next Friday! Ciao!
Well, what a surprise. You’ve once again exceeded my expectations for the amount of disastrous apparel one person can consume in a single sitting and made it to the end of this treacherous diatribe known as I <3 Mess. To those for whom too much of a bad thing is never enough, allow me to recommend spreading some of this swill around by signing up both friends and foes for a free subscription today. And should you feel compelled to spend yet another hour of your life sifting through my hysterical musings, please go and get yourself a paid subscription so this party never has to stop. If you’re just looking for a sizzle reel of my hot takes without an additional commitment to all of my overly verbose contemplations, you can run full speed ahead to the ~ MESS DISCORD ~ where almost 650 Messketeers are ready and waiting to shoot the shit. Just stock up on some Mess Merch first.
As always, if you can’t afford to pay for more Mess, 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.
Wishing you all a very cozy weekend!