Oh, to be a nepo baby chartering a helicopter to visit a camp friend!
The Peltz-Beckham wedding fiasco is my Succession.
It’s officially been three years of Mess. How insane is that. I started all of this in quarantine on my sister’s couch with no career and no prospects, just a passion for scrolling aimlessly through gossip websites to fill my every waking hour. Since then, Mess has exploded into something beyond what I ever could’ve imagined. Thank you so much for reading and spreading the word and for all the nice things you’ve messaged me over the years. It means the world.
The only thing going on other than that is I feel like I’ve been struggling under the one-two punch of this Aries new moon and my final week doing The Artist’s Way. The combo is hitting particularly hard and has got me rethinking everything from how I want to live my life and where I want to live it to the very nature of the type of writer I want to be. I’m still in mulling-it-over mode so I’m not sure I have too much more to share on that front at the moment, but I’ll have some more coherent thoughts for you on that topic in future installments, I’m sure.
And to finish out this three-month self-help binge, I’m continuing my DIY clip from the other week when I made that stained glass banana and am going on an artist’s date to a “mug making workshop” this weekend. Partially to see if clay is secretly my medium, but mostly because it’s impossible for me to find a coffee mug large enough to contain the gallon of java I like to drink in a single sitting, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. Literally.
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As well as discontinued EW designs, like the acrostic "ADORE" ring floor sample, which will also be on sale at up to 70% off. You guys are definitely going to want to check this sale out, even if just to browse. There’s seriously so many cool and unusual finds on there. And while it’s not on sale, I’ve personally got my eye on the ruby-eyed rat necklace. Very on-brand for Mess.
Also, this is probably a good time to remind everyone reading this that space in this newsletter is very much for sale. If you have something you’d like to promote or just want to put something before the eyes of 7,000 individuals of incredibly discerning taste for whatever reason, please feel free to shoot me a message and we’ll work something out!
To follow up on the extraordinary success that was the 1998 VMAs newsletter, for the second installment of Ye Olde Mess we will be traveling back in time to the 2008 Met Gala. The theme of the night was “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy,” not that it matters as no one in the history of the Met Gala has ever adhered to a dress code. As I gather together my thoughts in order to deliver that newsletter to paid subscribers next week, I thought I would tempt the rest of you to become paid subscribers as well by providing a little taste of the iconic-ness you can come to expect in that edition:
And if the above image of fashion mom and dad caused something Freudian to slip in your brain, please recall that you can always go unpack your newly uncovered complex in the Mess Discord where over 560 other unlicensed fashion therapists are ready and waiting to help.
Ok let’s see what we got!
First things first:
And my deepest apologies for not wishing you and yours a tasteful and stunning St. Patrick’s Day last Friday. Considering my last name literally means “church of St. Patrick” this feels like a particularly grievous error on my part. As a token of my sincerest remorse, please accept this definitely not AI-generated portrait of “an Irish woman…born with [her] heart on [her] sleeve, a fire in [her] soul, and a mouth [she] can’t control.”
And if you’re still trying to piece together today’s newsletter title, allow me to shed some light on the whole situation. I’m simply enamored with everything about Romy Mars’s first foray into the public spotlight. For those who haven’t been keeping their celeb offspring family tree up to date, she is the daughter of Sophia Coppola and Phoenix’s Thomas Mars, and between not knowing the difference between an onion, garlic, and a shallot, getting grounded for chartering a helicopter on her dad’s credit card for a quick weekend jaunt to Maryland, and confidently proclaiming that TikTok can’t make you famous, she is perfect. Overnight, Romy has made be believe that nepo babies might actually be a net good.
In other nepo updates, much like with nepo wife Hailey Bieber’s attempted t-shirt PR stunt two months ago, I really don’t get this. Headlines keep calling it a “clapback,” but it’s just…..factual? All of Tallulah Willis’s sisters ARE nepo babies? As far as nepo babies go, I actually find the Willis siblings to be not so bad. At the very least they are of the classic, old guard school of nepos where their extremely A-list connections have just barely kept them on the periphery of pop culture for a decade. Exactly where I feel the nepos have every right to linger.
This also got me ruminating on what seems to be the disconnect between the actual nepo babies and this concept they are all raging so hard against. And it seems to me like it all boils down to the fact that we need to more clearly unpack the word for one another. While these issues are nowhere near comparable, it does remind me a lot of the conversations that were being had by white people around the time that we as a nation discovered the concept of “white privilege.” And the same way we had to break down the idea of why you can be poor and beset upon and still be inherently privileged based on your race in this country, it now seems we must do the same in turn for these rich and well-positioned youths in order to explain why just because your nepotism hasn’t resulted in an automatic Oscar win doesn’t mean that you have not reaped the massive benefits of your parents’ fame and fortune. It really shouldn’t be this complicated.
And this is an image really intended more for the paid subs in our midst, but when we were browsing through photos of the 1998 VMAs, we discovered that Snoop wore an absolutely stunning silk-screened button down to the event advertising Master P’s label No Limit Records, which he was signed to at the time. A custom shirt that I cannot tell you how desperately I want to own. And so I just wanted to include this 2023 image of Snoop once again repping his label via his apparel as I’m delighted to see that this little sartorial legacy has lived on.
And we did it, Joe. We won everybody! This is officially the beginning of the end!!! Start brainstorming the infinitely better, more interesting men and women Megan can start setting up PR dates with now! And please remember Pete Davidson is already spoken for. Personally, I think going on a couple highly-photographed PDA outings with Eminem to put the final nail in that coffin could be a really good look!
And at the other end of the monogamy spectrum, ultimate wife guy Brooklyn Beckham revealed yet another tattoo dedicated to his wife Nicola, taking his matrimonial body art total up to somewhere around 300 unique designs. At least this one actually does look like her, I guess? And it’s certainly less haunting than the disembodied set of eyes he has tattooed across the back of his neck watching his every move. I just get such a deep sense of foreboding every time this 24-year-old boy puts another large, permanent tribute to his betrothed on his body. Also, if you have yet to dip your toe into the chaos that is Nelson Peltz’s lawsuit against two of Nicola and Brooklyn’s wedding planners, then I’m going to need you to dive into the deep-end of that drama immediately.
I had to include this lookbook of Gwyneth Paltrow’s court room ensembles because have you ever seen a rich person look richer? This is absolutely the wardrobe of someone who would find themselves embroiled in a horrific skiing accident at a Deer Valley resort in Park City, Utah. And seriously, who is going to be the first to give Meisel a ring to set this shoot up because this has his name written all over it. I’m actually surprised he didn’t already jump at this concept during the Anna Delvey trial when her stylist (!) was putting her in Celine and Saint Laurent every day.
This week, Kourtney Kardashian also revealed that the inspiration behind her wedding dress was this Blumarine one worn by Monica Bellucci for the brand’s 1993 campaign shot by Helmut Newton. I find this confusing on multiple levels. The first being, why admit to this at all? Why offer up the information that you asked Dolce & Gabbana to create a knock off of another designer’s dress for you just because they paid you millions of dollars. I mean, if she cared less about the check and more about the actual look, she very likely could’ve just borrowed this exact outfit from Blumarine’s archives. Or they absolutely would’ve made her a less XXX copy of it. Secondly, I don’t know why you would even invite the visual comparison between these two dresses. Don’t show me how good the one is just so I can realize how much worse the Dolce copy is now that I can see what they were actually going for. Also, half the brilliance of the original is the scandal of the sheer bloomers and blouse, without that how is this different from any other corseted dress Dolce has made a million times before. Just find an old photo that looks vaguely similar and lie and say that’s the reference. And finally, I just hate that I’ve been made to think about this giant piece of #sponcon again in any capacity.
Speaking of unmarked ads, Kylie Jenner debuted her teaser campaign for her new mascara and it’s surprisingly not that bad! It’s certainly more inventive and high-end than anything we’ve seen from Kim and Skims lately. There’s something kind of film noir Horst P. Horst about it, although there is also something very weird going on around the waistline area. Then again, would it really be a KarJenner production without some sort of strange photoshop snafu? And I’ve brought this up before when Khloe forgot to spray tan her mitts, but I just will never be a fan of this Nosferatu hand silhouette.
And something is seriously malfunctioning over at Louis Vuitton. This whole campaign is tough to take in, from the feathered underskirt to the AI-generated trompe l’oeil Versailles backdrop. But it appears Nicolas had to up the anti on the ugly by making a platform version of his already divisive “Archlight” sneakers and it is not the stronger for it. I feel like he saw all the kids wearing JW Anderson-style platform Converse and thought he could get a cut of the action. But making an already deeply weird shoe even more Minecraft-esque I don’t think is the formula for success he thinks it is.
And things only went from bad to worse from there. Louis Vuitton really should’ve just rented the Justin Timberlake wax figure from Madame Tussaud’s instead of making the real one come in to the studio for this because not only would it have been cheaper, but no one would’ve even known the difference.
And Succession is officially returning this week to give all of our Sunday nights renewed purpose. Which means that this man is also returning to a red carpet near you in a wardrobe composed exclusively of tonal browns. Jeremy Strong has never met a shade of poop he didn’t like. I feel like a mentor once told him that he needed to get “grounded” and he took the whole concept way too literally, as he does with everything.
Jeremy’s penchant for this particular shade is extra funny when you see it in context of the rest of this red carpet which is a sea of black and white. I can’t hate too hard on my special boy however because his New Yorker profile is still one of the greatest things I’ve read in ages and the fact that he made Aaron Sorkin and Jessica Chastain defend him online afterwards only makes it all the more poetic and beautiful. Because what he fails to realize is that when the internet says “Jeremy is an absolute lunatic,” what we mean is, “We’re obsessed with you. Keep doing your aggressively method thing, man.”
And because I was looking through that photo set for Jeremy, I stumbled upon the discovery that none other than world-famous anti-socialite Fran Lebowitz attended this premiere. Fran Lebowitz. The most curmudgeonly, old school New Yorker to ever live likes the show Succession so much she bothered to walk a step and repeat on its behalf not once! But twice! Because yes, when searching for this photo of her on the season four red carpet on Getty, I discovered that the only public appearance she made prior to that was on the season 3 red carpet. The woman is positively a stan!!! This has absolutely rocked me, but it has also humanized Fran somewhat as it’s good to know not even the great literary wits of our time are totally impervious to HBO’s dramedy whiles. Also it helps if I just keep telling myself that she was on her way to drop off that letter in her hand when she found herself outside the theater and figured what could it hurt to pop in for an ep or two.
Now, I was not familiar with Sophia Lillis until this week when the Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves press junket really kicked off in earnest, but I think she’s way too cute to be done this disservice. I feel like the dress itself isn’t even so bad, but for some reason they just decided they had to slap these floatation devices on it.
And Florence Pugh and her stylist continue to use her petite frame to play with proportion in a way that makes me question their basic understanding of proportion. However, at least those huge Valentino platform clonkers finally came in handy to make the train on that dress a little more manageable for her. I’ve said in the past that I think you need to be a particular brand of cool to pull off a lady tie, and I actually think Flo is of that caliber, even if I’m not totally sold on the choice to pair it with some business casual side boob. My primary complaint here is actually this goddamn hairdo that her hairstylist will not stop putting on her head. This is the exact same weird little Who-ville bun and curled bang we also previously witnessed at the Oscars and at fashion week before that. I just am not understanding how this suddenly became her default catchall ‘do.
Anyway, Kendall Jenner decided to walk the streets of Paris this week dressed as a French New Wave widow. The outfit is head-to-square-toe-pump The Row, and while I think the U-neckline nicely emphasizes how freakishly long Kendall is (and I mean that in the best possible way!) I feel like something about the fit is off, particularly through the torso. Of course, it doesn’t help that, like every celebrity on earth given the opportunity, she has her hands jammed all the way inside those pockets wildly modifying the entire silhouette of the dress. I can’t believe this is the hill I’m going to die on, but I’ll say it a million more times if I have to: Get those hands the hell out of there while you’re being photographed! Dress pockets are for leisure time, not paparazzi. Also, more broadly, I’m still just not totally sold on the concept of a kitten heel. But perhaps that’s a discussion for another time.
Fellow model, Delilah Belle Hamlin, demonstrated her incredible repertoire of poses (please click through the slideshow above to see what I mean) as she attempted to launch her brand new career as a pop star. While I expect her music to go about as well as her modeling, I was struck by the way Delilah managed to evade the trap of illusion mesh by opting instead to suspend these floating bra cups in thick, clear plastic. While it’s unquestionably still a better choice than poorly-matched flesh-tone paneling, it too leaves much to be desired as a solution to this dilemma. For one, I imagine that things are going to get pretty foggy pretty fast in there, and for another, the vinyl is not exactly a forgiving fabric which can lead to some pretty alarming compression issues. And so, the search continues.
While you don’t often see her in these pages, Simone Ashley has long haunted the first draft folders of Mess. You see, her outfits are regularly ugly enough to reach my desktop, yet too boring to warrant our actual discussion of them herein. However, I think she’s actually on to something with this beaded curtain top, it just needs to be cut loose at the bottom. Then it would be the type of exhibitionist innovation I’ve been talking about. Instead of the overtness of the looks below, you get the thrilling friction that comes from the constant threat of exposure. A subtle, but clever sleight of hand in a world where nudity is daily losing its edge. A peek-a-boob, if you will.
Kate Beckinsale really went through the full Mess trend checklist with this gown, from her glamorous take on the peaked crone shoulder and the strategic deployment of pasties, to the two pelvis-adjacent plunging cut-outs. It’s not a good dress, but it is alarmingly of the moment. Kate has always had her finger on the pulse of the bad taste zeitgeist.
And for those not familiar with Charlotte Lawrence, she is probably best known for being Kaia Gerber’s friend and on the cusp of blowing up for just a little too long now. She is also apparently the then-19-year-old responsible for the “worst breakup” of then-28-year-old Charlie Puth’s life and reducing him to crocodile tears on TikTok. Anyway, none of that is really important. What is important is that we have yet another addition to our thong-focused evening wear collection. Once again this is Dundas, the same designer who gave us that built-in g-string brilliance on Alessandro Ambrosio last week, and once again I think he’s nailed the thong to dress ratio. But much like with Ciara’s flesh-exposing look last week, I continue to not understand why we are drawing the modestly line at areolas. Your entire body is already out, a nipple is not going to be what pushes this over the line into lewd! If anything, allowing society to shame these women into covering them up with tiny blister patches only serves to undermine the powerful statement the garment is trying to make.
And finally, I always love an Iris Van Herpen moment, but I particularly love this one worn by Bling Empire’s Christine Chiu because it reminds me a lot of that pixelated Loewe sweatshirt ASAP wore earlier this month. There’s something about this dress that almost makes it look like it’s still rendering out of the Metaverse. I think there’s something really inherently interesting in that dichotomy of manifesting something from the digital world in the physical that could serve as the gateway into a new modernity in fashion.
Well, now that I’ve unloaded some of my deepest, darkest fashion thoughts on you all, it’s time for me to make like Shawn Mendes and catch the next Tommy Hilfiger-branded passenger van out of here.
I hope all of your weekends are as blessed as this image of Keanu Reeves in a recliner smothered with golden retriever puppies…
…And as restorative as Rick Ross strolling amongst his herd of buffalo.
I’ll see you all next week because, as of now, I’m officially on permanent Party Time Off!
Well, that’s a wrap on this week’s nuclear wasteland à la mode. If you find yourself languishing week after week in this newsletter’s post-script wishing that there was even more visual horrors for you to feast upon, then may I kindly suggest you go sign up for a paid subscription and see if you can’t get your fill with the bonus content contained within. And since Mess has now completely coopted your every waking thought, why not go ahead and indoctrinate everyone you know by signing them up for a free subscription today. And then solidify your newfound cult status by buying a matching assortment of Mess Merch to wear to your meetings.
For those who desire a bottomless well of bottomless apparel to peruse at all hours of the day, please go join the ~ MESS DISCORD ~ where I and 560+ Mess readers will do our best to supply your demand.
And before I evaporate into the ether, I must throw my flowers at the feet of those tawdry tastemakers, also known as the OG Mess Masters. These pacesetters of sartorial collapse gleefully consume twice weekly diatribes from yours truly and continue to clamber for more. And for just $5 a month, you too could be burdened with even more of my highly unfounded fashion conspiracy theories. So please send along your weekly wages to become a paid subscriber today before you miss out on all the glory that is the 2008 Met Gala and, in the meantime, catch up on my 1998 VMAs red carpet breakdown.
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. And if you send over a screenshot of your donation to any abortion or bail fund, your next month of Mess is on me.
Jeremy on the red carpet is giving Get This Man a Pantone Color.
I see you saved the best for last. I can not stop staring at Iris van Herpen dress. Something about it just speaks to me. I want to see more!! Great job curating as always!