I’m going to keep it short up top today as there is absolutely nothing new going on in my life aside from the fact that, when not violently teething and indulging in her new favorite hobby of barking at me for no reason, Fran is occasionally emerging out of the fugue state of puppy-dom and entering a little bit of a sweet girl phase. She is having some chiller, more snuggly moments and suddenly starting to recognize the value of having a live-in servant who can offer up treats and scratches on command. Now if only she would also recognize that my hands are in fact attached to my body and not chew toys at her disposal.
I have also had more conversations with people in my neighborhood in the past three weeks than I have had in the past six years because of this dog, which has honestly been great and kind of a nice form of small talk exposure therapy in this “post” covid world. Fran is also quickly becoming the most popular girl in Bushwick. I mean people are literally shouting “beautiful” at her wherever we go. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go to her head.
Some quick housekeeping: I’m up and running again in the Discord, chatting away all the live long day. So please find me there with over 450 of your pals whenever you want to gab about the latest gossip.
And I swear on all that is heinous that Best of Mess 2021 - Part 1 is going to be in paid subscribers’ inboxes TONIGHT. It is literally in my Substack drafts right now, 50% written, 100% awful, and ready for your prying eyes to take it all in. As you will see, there was simply way too much outstanding content to pack in there so it took me forever to narrow it down and organize it into one email. Thank you for your patience.
Now, let’s get a good look at this thing.
In regards to today’s title, it seems I’ve struck a nerve. The “Blonde Don” is CLAPPING. BACK. at the haters, advising detractors of his personal style such as myself to “keep your insecurities to yourself.” To which I say: Never.
While I like to think the above post was a direct rebuke to me and the many crushing takedowns of MGK’s outfits I’ve done in this newsletter over the years, it was in fact almost certainly a response to everyone on the internet clowning on this outfit he modeled for the most recent Dolce & Gabbana men’s show. As always, the suit is beyond gaudy, the jewelry stolen straight off a knight on the Las Vegas strip, and whoever is installing these extensions and hairline for him is doing absolutely god-tier work.
And as I said in the newsletter’s sub hed, I’ve been informed that there is an anti-necklace movement currently sweeping Hollywood and I’m going to need stylists to put a stop to it and start doing their jobs immediately. There is a time and a place for a bare neck on a red carpet and none of the above are examples of it. Selena Gomez’s I actually find particularly egregious, pairing that statement neckline with those itty-bitty De Beers earrings.
On the subject of Selena, it seems that she is absolutely not dating Nicola Peltz’s brother (officially making me even more confused bout their friendship), but in fact a man Who? Weekly refers to as the “not hot Chainsmoker,” a moniker I think describes them both, but ok. I just want to know why I’ve been forced to learn so much about these two men and their sexual proclivities over the last two weeks.
Now, I don’t usually include runway photos in this roundup, but I had to make an exception for this look from the new Egonlab show as they found a way to still center the pubis while doing full menswear by creating this sort of suiting speedo overlay with some belted side-butt cutouts. Genius.
But now I must ask, why do we keep doing this to ourselves? I feel like for the last three years Hollywood has been insisting on making the weirdest, mousiest casting choices to play these larger-than-life female icons. Specifically, I’m thinking about Emmy Rossum as Angelyne, Lily James as Pamela Anderson, and now we’re getting Industry’s Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse and I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it. Charisma aside, where are all the tattoos? The cigarette?? We’re off to a bad start.
But this photo set got me right back on track again. I, like every other person on the internet this week, have become absolutely besotted with this Coldstone Creamery step and repeat at the Critics Choice Awards where those devious dairy slingers managed to trick so. many. celebrities into promoting their sickeningly sweet wares. Chelsea Handler told Official Sean Penn that “it happened so fast, it was hard to tell what was going until I saw a picture of myself in front of a cold stone creamery. In a gown. It was demoralizing.” But in the words of Henry Winkler, “I love it, I think that it’s different.”
I also finally watched Everything Everywhere All At Once the other night and I really enjoyed it. But while watching, I also couldn’t help but think about all the crazy things people have written about it on social media trying to detract from what is, at it’s core, just a solidly entertaining film. But I also think this correlates with a much bigger cultural trend that I’ve noticed lately, which is that a lot of people just hate having a good time.
Anyway, before I watched the film, I also saw a TikTok discussing why it’s odd that Jamie Lee Curtis has run this campaign to be nominated for best supporting actress for her role in the film when Stephanie Hsu has not been given the same nomination push, yet plays a far more integral character. And once I actually saw the movie, the insanity of that fact was only underscored for me further.
Anyway, Anya Taylor-Joy’s Dior dress is what the Fendi x Skims collaboration should’ve looked like. I don’t mean that it’s good, just that it seems like the perfect blend between the type of prissy, beading stuff Fendi likes to do and just straight-up shapewear. But I think matching the bodysuit to the dress in the case overdoes the nude illusion of it all to the point of Barbiecore, and replicating that dolls plasticine mound was not what I meant by pubis-forward fashion in 2023. Also, why do brands think we don’t notice when they send these girls out in shoes completely the wrong size for their feet? At least she’s wearing a necklace, I guess.
A lot of celebrities have actually been toying with asexual nudity on the red carpet lately, including Jennifer Lopez. But more importantly, I need to know why this bow is being concealed underneath this fleshtone mesh overlay. I know that’s how it was styled on the runway, but it does not translate in real life. It feels like she’s trying to hide it from me. Plus, without the fully glitter-encrusted face and hands this gown came with on the runway, I think it loses a lot of its potency. But other than that, I suppose this is extremely standard fare for Mrs. Affleck so we can keep it moving.
Another fashion mystery I was tasked to solve this week is why someone would tack a bunch of red lace onto this perfectly beautiful 1995 Versace couture gown originally worn by Carla Bruni? It is so unnecessary and cheapens what is otherwise a perfectly lovely dress. Also, I don’t know what kind of bra they put Margot Robbie in here or why they put her in a bra at all, but from other angles I can see the boning of it through the fabric and it really screws up the silhouette for no reason. The closest I’ve gotten to an answer as to why this lace happened is that apparently Margot wears a red dress in Babylon and so now all of her premiere dresses also have to include that color? You know, everyone blames Chanel for this woman’s many worst dressed list appearances, but I gotta say, I think the call might be coming from inside the house.
But at least she was once again able to liberate herself from the shackles of Chanel for yet another evening because if there’s one thing that brand is going to do it’s find a way to put their spokeswoman in a tweed overall. Yes, that’s right. This is not even the first tweed overall that Marion Cotillard has been subjected to! Personally, I think we’ve got the grounds for a class action lawsuit going here.
But one person who did get things incredibly right this week was Jeremy Pope. I’m not super familiar with him and his work, but apparently he is a Broadway star and currently having his big breakout moment in this movie The Inspection. All I know is he’s having a big breakout moment in my life thanks to him wearing the hell out of the plunging neckline on this Balmain ensemble. I think that this is a jumpsuit with a trompe l’oeil blazer attached so this is not technically possible, but my only note on how to improve this look would be to remove the jacket and get those guns out. I think the matching swathes of exposed flesh would balance everything out a little more, but all in all, I really can’t complain. This is what Harry Styles thinks he’s doing. As a matter of fact, I want to say more male cleavage in 2023!!! But I already know 96% of men out there can’t be trusted with that kind of directive otherwise we’ll just end up with those bellybutton-skimming V-neck American Apparel tees all over again.
Because look at what happens when you give one of these young heartthrobs a style inch — they run a mud-soaked mile. There is absolutely no reason for Justin Bieber’s clothing to be this bedraggled. I would say that even if your job was doing construction in Shrek’s bog this would be a little much.
Speaking of a little much, Kim is currently making a big push to make her TikTok even remotely relevant, sparking some sibling rivalry by using Kylie Cosmetics to do British “chav” makeup. A video she later revealed was all the result of losing a bet with North. Oh! But make sure to follow her on the social media app since we’re all talking about it anyway!
This has the exact same energy to me as the stunt above. She’s done this bit so many times, blaming her thirst traps and online behavior on her daughter even when nothing about the story adds up. I look forward to the day North has free rein over her own accounts and can actually respond back to this stuff like, “no i didn’t.”
Because here’s what North is actually up to — going full Rage Against the Machine while singing happy birthday to her sister.
And if this is all North’s fault than Kimberly needs to explain why she’s been posting up a storm on there all week, doing very dated trends and yet still forgetting to add her own actual punchline to the formula. Watching Kim’s TikToks I genuinely feel like I’m losing my mind because they’re just the same sort of vacuous video selfies she might post to Instagram but overlaid with the added framework of a TikTok joke set-up. A joke that never comes to fruition.
In addition to this clip where she says “Every time I FaceTime my sisters group chat” and then just rolls her eyes, she also made another one where she’s pretending to furiously type along to that iMessage typing sound and the caption just says “me every morning.” Like….ok? Yes, and??? My friend Annalise also reminded me that Kim has repeatedly told us she’s a voice-to-text girlie, so what's the truth here? At the very least, stick to the established lore of the Kardashian Cinematic Universe. And, as always, I must ask, can someone not be hired to construct actually good content for her? A youth perhaps who genuinely understands the medium and the basic precepts of comedy instead of just whatever she’s hearing is cool secondhand from all of her nieces and nephews. I mean, it would certainly cost radically less to employ a single social media professional than say purchase one of Princess Diana’s necklaces.
Because, of course, that is exactly what Kim did this week, spending almost $200K on another cursed relic for her collection. At this point, I actually believe she is accumulating her own horcruxes. At the very least, she is begging for a serious haunting with this behavior. We’ve already talked about this situation at length over on Discord, but essentially I just see this as an extension of what I’ve talked about her doing with artistic masterpieces a million times before. This, the Michael Jackson apparel, the Marilyn lock of hair, the Jackie Kennedy watch — It’s all a strategy to subsume the fame of these pop culture icons while also aligning herself with them through headlines like this one. It’s an attempt to scale even closer to the pinnacle of fame by riding on these legends’ literal coattails.
Someone also suggested that this is going to be her conversation starter to finally befriend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which is an idea I’m now obsessed with and given the rumor that she tried to get invited to the Platinum Jubilee last summer and was turned away, I think it might not be so far from the truth
Regardless, considering all of this dead celeb paraphernalia now in her possession, I really do think that she needs to start her own Hard Rock Cafe-style franchise where she can finally display them all.
Then again, all of this TikToking and inflammatory memorabilia acquisition has also got me thinking, why not just stick to the basic shit you’re good at?
Meanwhile, Kendall is definitely sticking to the basic shit and she’s not good at it at all. While this hits all the classic notes of Kardashian outrage bait, I just think swaddling yourself in a yard of mesh isn’t going to cut it out there anymore. As you’ll see below, this is now what half of Hollywood is wearing on an award show red carpet. After a decade of deploying this trick, the family has shifted the public’s overton window for public nudity and is now going to have to find an all-new way to scandalize if they want to survive.
This week, I was also reminded of a very important fact about Kylie that has made me question everything anew. Amidst this little PR stunt back and forth of Kim asking her to please tag Skims in this photo, I was reminded that Kylie truly does not tag a goddamn thing unless there’s a substantial check attached. And so once again I am wondering about the Alexander Wang of it all. Longtime readers might recall that I’ve previously brought up not only her insistence on wearing a brand designed by a sexual predator, but that she goes so far as to regularly tag him….it makes me wonder just how much of a personal stake she actually has in that brand.
But of course it wasn’t the Kardashians, but rather their exiled bestie Jordyn Woods who is the one moving the trendsetting conversation forward, winterizing her opera gloves by doing them in an open-weave knitwear and connecting them directly to her hood. This is how you innovate!
And while I’m usually a fan of Lizzo, I think this is an example of failing victim to all the trends instead of setting them. I have seen so many attempts at this type of DIY denim chap layered atop another trouser and none of them have ever been any good. The extra long 2004 PacSun rivet belt isn’t helping anything either. But actually, the first thing this outfit reminded me of are those ankle bracelet suspender cutoffs Kendall wore back in 2017, which is an outfit so atrocious I believe it belongs in some sort of hall of fame for creatively hideous apparel.
Since we’ve clearly officially entered the trend corner of the newsletter, let’s briefly check in with Janelle Monae who is giving us full nipple no pasties at the Critics Choice Awards paired with a pubis-adjacent plunging cutout just for good measure. So far, everything is going exactly according to my plan!
In general, I noticed there was a lot of nipple out there this week (no pervert), specifically under transparent white tops. Keep in mind our three chief proponents of this look — Emily Ratajkowski, Elsa Hosk, and Bella Hadid — are all models, so take this reportage with a grain of salt. But still, I think it’s worth taking note of as this is where so many of our burgeoning aesthetics tend to first percolate. I am mad at EmRata, however, as she missed out on yet another golden PR opportunity. Eric Andre commented on this Instagram post with some heart eyes, which of course generated a whole additional “they’re back on!” tabloid headline cycle, and just imagine the sales spike that free press might have caused had she been wearing Inamorata in this image! Help me, help you, Emily!!
On the topic of free press, I sincerely hope she’s at least getting a check from New Balance and North Face because no one has done more for those two brands than this woman and her many, highly-documented date nights. Give her a Valentine’s Day campaign and give it to her now! Or better yet, Vh1 grab the cameras and let’s Flavor of Love this thing with full brand integration.
And I suppose it’s time I confess to you all…..I fear the rise of the micro bang. While many will scoff at that proposition, at this point in this newsletter, I’ve seen far too many of Bella’s ill-conceived style peccadilloes infiltrate the mass market to continue turning a blind eye to her pacesetting prowess. As if having to go brow-free wasn’t already hard enough, prepare to adorn that blank forehead with some sopping wet knotted trim.
In further proof of my point above, this week,Michelle Yeoh and Viola Davis demonstrated that the aughts are officially over and we are truly in an 80s revival by donning their finest pastel culotte power suits. And, until this moment, I’d completely forgotten that back in the spring of 2020 EmRata and Bella had me living in fear over the resurgence of this breezy short style and now two-plus years on, here we are.
And lastly, before I go, I’d just like to posit a new beauty trend that I know sounds a bit farfetched, but please bear with me: Goo face. While face mask selfies have been celebrities’ bread and butter for a decade now, something feels different about Rita Ora and Paulina Porizkova’s intentional decision to don one of these photogenic sheet masks and share it with their fans. It feels like we’re right on the cusp of the next evolution of glass skin crossed with the Starface pimple patch craze, but make it full coverage. Given our modern bent towards an increasingly pre-filtered, Instagram-friendly appearance, it seems obvious that people would be attracted to letting shiny, shiny silicone fully replace their infinitely fallible human flesh.
Ok, well I’ve far overstayed my welcome here today, so it’s time for me to roll out like Sam Asghari in a bucket full of ice. See ya!
Yet another impressive display of fortitude in the face of unprecedentedly unattractive apparel. If you’ve made it this far and still find that your tolerance for the tawdry has not yet been pushed to its max, then please write a magnum opus to all of your intimates expounding upon the many virtues of Mess and then sign them up for a subscription today. And if you still can’t get enough then go right on ahead and gift your companions a paid subscription as well, and then stuff their mailboxes full of stunning Mess Merch. If for some reason you need to get my eyeballs on something unbecoming without wasting another second, you can always find me on the ~ MESS DISCORD ~ where I and 450+ of your pals are talking shit on the daily.
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Fran is the moment!