Pookie is looking absolutely fire today
Ethan Slater is a Rugrat.
Rise and grind, Messketeers!
Hope you had a fruitful and productive week since we last spoke, I know I haven’t. I’m currently writing this to you over the dulcet tones of Fran violently squeaking her new squeaky toy that our neighbors gifted her which unleashes the most shrill, high-pitched sound I’ve ever heard in my life, but she is obsessed with it and so I must oblige. This particular sound has also fully unlocked something in Fran’s primordial brain because her favorite new game has become dialoguing with it by unleashing these long, mournful, sing-songy howls in response to every squeak. She has never made this noise before in her life and I can’t properly explain how funny it is or how pathetic these lamentations sound over text. This week, she also unlocked a whole new level of toy destruction capability and I genuinely live in fear and awe of her jaw strength. Thank god she is the sweetest, goofiest girl in the world because otherwise she would be a natural born killer. If you have your own tough chewing canine at home, I need your recommendations immediately because while we’ve been going strong with yak chews since she was a pup, recently she learned how to chomp those into razor sharp daggers of cheese (which I take away, obviously) and then reduced the entire chew to just a perfectly choke-able little nub in, I kid you not, under three minutes. These things are supposed to last for WEEKS. The only toy with any longevity I’ve found for her thus far has been industrial strength Kongs and buffalo horns, so if you know of anything comparable, please shoot me a message ASAP.
This week, I also briefly fell into the truly preposterous world of extremely expensive mattresses. I would argue that all mattresses are prohibitively and foolishly expensive, but these ones in particular from the brand Hästens will plunge you into massive personal debt, running anywhere between $15K to almost $700,000. Why? I could not possibly tell you despite spending almost an hour pouring over their website. “Heritage” is really my only takeaway. But my even bigger question is how many of these luxury sleeping pads are they selling per year to warrant FOUR whole stores on the island of Manhattan alone. I fee like that means they’ve got to be selling at least ten annually, which is ten too many if you ask me. What is the profit margin on these things like! Personally, if I am paying half a milli for something I sleep on it best be stuffed with solid gold. I also need to meet Hästens’s number one customer so badly. I have twelve million questions for them starting with do you or do you not sleep like a goddamn angel.
When I wasn’t busy googling mattresses that cost more than most people’s cars, if not their houses, I indulged in the true beauty of being freelance which is grabbing a leisurely lunch with a fellow scrivener, in this case longtime internet friend who I’ve never actually met in real life, Alyssa Vingan. Which reminds me, if we are mutuals who regularly chat on any platform and you live in the NYC area and want to get a snack or coffee sometime, my calendar is wide open. One of my resolutions this year is to translate more of my digital friendships to IRL as it helps me feel connected to the world of fashion people and like I’m not just churning out insane content in total isolation. Also, it was just nice to talk with someone else in my industry while our entire professional field imploded all around us. It has never been a good time to be a writer, but this week has been a particularly dark and foreboding time for the future of media. Alyssa also brought up the excellent point that our industry is forcing all of us to become jacks of all trades and brands in our own right as we can no longer rely on any of these publications to lend us their legitimacy/longevity/money. Our name is really all we have left. That also means we’re left with no choice but to put ourselves out there and face down our fears of actually being the talent, not just the person covering the talent. Our convo inspired me to examine my own extreme resistance towards being on camera and start taking a look at what’s been holding Mess back from making the jump into the YouTube, TikTok, and live show spaces. I am genuinely working on my issues with being seen/perceived at all, which I know is an insane thing to say for someone who writes down their every waking thought for 10K people to read every week, but such is life.
On Wednesday, paid subscribers were treated to one of the greatest pieces of cinema on YouTube starring the legendary Trisha Paytas. They also received a monologue on how therapy has completely changed my relationship to Gilmore Girls and saw my very surprising pick for best dressed man at the Critic’s Choice Awards. This week, I’m going to embark on a Ye Olde Mess segment and take a look back at the 2003 Kid’s Choice Awards, as inspired by a reddit post I shared in Discord the other week. And just trust me when I say, there is so much to look forward to there, so make sure to sign up for that.
Now, without further ado, time for a little Mess.
This very well might be my greatest fear in life. For as much as I love to gossip and shit talk, I absolutely never want to be taken to task for it. In fact, I think I’ve only been yelled at by a celebrity once in my entire illustrious writing career and it was by Jamie King who accused me of being a bad feminist on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, her string of tweets maligning me only got two likes, which still feels like a major victory. Anyway, just to be clear, this newsletter is not and has never been fit for consumption by celebrity or celebrity adjacent fashion professionals, so if you’re somewhere out there lurking — skedaddle! Unless you’re tough enough to have a little tee-hee at your own expense. And thankfully, the above note was not sent to me, but rather just a random person who dared critique Quinta Brunson’s pink crushed satin Emmy dress on social media and then got this personal DM from her stylist (or at least that’s what reddit claims). I would just like to point out that typically people who “r sooo good!!” do not send unsolicited messages such as this to burner accounts. And while I am highly confrontation avoidant, this type of stuff does make me want to challenge all of Hollywood to a duel because, first of all, if there’s anywhere we all get to be idiot coward haters, it’s on the internet. And besides, everyone knows the only real purpose of the red carpet at these award shows is for the general public to get to weigh in on the current state of black tie attire. There are roughly five nights a year when every single American suddenly becomes a fashion expert and it is their god-given right to craft a best and worst dressed list and shout it from the rooftops. If we can’t log onto Instagram anymore to tell an actor we hate their stupid wrinkly outfit and they should fire their stylist already, then that’s not a world I want to live in.
And all of that is really just to say that every time I have a bad opinion in this newsletter that instantly spikes your blood pressure, please just think of this portrait of an artist above and replace Kate Berlant with me. The good news is that I’ve usually completely changed my opinion by the time I hit send on this email anyway so there’s no need to get too worked up over anything I say. Fashion is a mercurial beast, my friends, and I’m just along for this rollercoaster of a ride!!
You see, this is why we cant give celebrities compliments anymore. This is why I am eternally loathe to say kind and generous things in this email because look at what happens. You give these folks an inch and they run a mile straight into a new DTC business venture! Slow your horses, buddy. All I said was you had a nice brooch and a solid approach to exposed midriff, but two compliments does not a style icon make! I feel like America just learned this man’s name and now he’s already trying to figure out a new way to sell us things. It’s ok to just stick to making millions off your acting career without a side hustle! Once again, we’ve got too many aspiring JLos out here and not enough snoozy Dakota Johnsons. Then again, his brand is apparently called Rarewolf which is so deeply 2012 it’s probably actually exactly the clothing line Gen Z needs right now.
But if there’s one thing we love here at Mess HQ, aside from complaining about anything and everything, it’s being right. And well, as you can see above, when I’m right, I am right. As I stated at the end of last year, it has become an age-old custom that a winter shall not pass us by without a Kardashian donning their finest bikini and bravely sallying forth unto the tundras of Aspen, all in the name of great thirst trappery. I posited that perhaps this year they’d handed off this honor to young Hailey Bieber as she kicked off the new year by very nakedly spon-coning in a snowstorm, but now it appears they’ve finally given Khloé her shot to enact this very tired tradition.
And since Khloé called this “mob wife vibes” I’d just like to take this opportunity to say that there is nothing about the mob wife aesthetic that is real. It is fully a concept created in a marketing lab that does not reflect what anyone is actually wearing right now. Just because TikTok influencers understand how to artificially boost their audience engagement and revenue via shoppable links does not mean that they are aptly labeling an actual trend that exists or that the media has to report on it. And just wearing a fur coat does not a mob wife make. If anything, it’s just a weird rich person form of climate change denialism made material considering everyone’s dressing in all-fur everything during the hottest winter in history.
In other illogical goings-on, what does this even mean. Genuinely. How can they say Kim is the “new” face of the brand when she’s been the face of the brand since her divorce…What were all those campaigns she was in, both official and street style? The runways she walked? Even just last month, no one was working harder to sell that Erewhon collaboration grocery bag than her. If we have to pretend like this actually signifies a change in the terms of their contract, can’t we at least come up with a fun new name for whatever it is that Kim’s relationship to Balenciaga supposedly is? Give her one more pretend responsibility as a face of the house she was already the face of. I do love, however, that the Daily Mail will never let this “shaken and disgusted” thing go for as long as Kim continues to work with them. And now that I’m thinking about it, considering this family’s firm stance on never apologizing for anything they do, it’s weird to me that she made a statement about those campaign photos at all, especially considering she wasn’t directly involved, obviously doesn’t care, and was bound to flip flop on her stance anyway. Why leave a paper trail?
Also, these bags were free………Why is this advertisement being written up like an actual news story. This is a campaign to sell Balenciaga handbags designed to look like Kim’s actual closet, let’s not pretend this is an authentic tour of her accessories or something. There is “#closetcampaign” in the caption of this post for a reason. Also, as we started to discuss in Sloppy Seconds this week, Kim has been very into overt bragging lately between the tanning bed TikTok and now this room full of exactly 129 Balenciaga purses, and I just think it’s interesting that she’s choosing this particular moment in time to lean hard into the Marie Antoinette of it all. Like obviously her brand has always been about grotesque wealth and the many ways in which to flaunt it, but lately it just feels like the volume on the tone deaf gaudiness and braggadocio has been turned up to 11. Or perhaps it’s just that her grotesque lifestyle has been thrown into even sharper relief by the collapse of literally everything else in society around it.
Now, on the other hand, here’s a brand deal that’s really working for me — Michael Cera for Cerave. This is obviously the ramp up to the release of a Super Bowl commercial, but they’ve been doing these sorts of staged paparazzi set-ups all week, including another one of Michael getting caught writing his last name on all of the brand’s lotion bottles in a drugstore. But as much as I appreciate the weird pick in celeb, weird tactics to sell this partnership, and poking fun at just how advertorial most tabloid content really is, the fact that people are still genuinely falling for these images will never not make me deeply concerned about the state of our media literacy. How are you not stopping yourself to ask why in the world Michael Cera would need this many bottles of lotion, let alone where he would be buying them that they would put all the bottles in clear shopping bags so the brand name is perfectly visible for the camera. How do we begin to combat deepfakes when the regular fakes are still utterly bamboozling us.
Another great campaign I enjoyed this week is Cindy Sherman for Marc Jacobs’s 40th anniversary. Marc might be the last brand that still understands how to do really fun and out of the box casting. In a time of total celeb campaign saturation, they still manage to blow me relatively frequently with their picks. Remember when he reinvented Miley? Gave Jessica Lange’s fine lines the close-up treatment for MJ Beauty? Bhad Bhabie’s gender reveal just last month??? Inspired! Not that you need any more proof of the hold this brand’s campaign imagery has over me, but I even have a Marc Jacob ad shot by Jeurgen that’s gotta be from like 2008 that I ripped out of an issue of Teen Vogue and have had framed on my wall ever since. But anyway, I think my main takeaway here is that we need to be casting a hell of a lot more artists in fashion campaigns and letting them do whatever they want.
Since I’ve been so generous towards advertising executives so far, it’s now time for me to deliver a harsh truth which is that this Velveeta jewelry line is disgusting. No one wants a lip cuff that makes it look like gold-plated cheese is oozing out of their mouth unless, like Christina Milian above, they are getting paid mega bucks to do so. As much as I enjoy a brand embarking into a product category where they thoroughly do not belong, I feel like food purveyors have gotten a little too serious with these types of merch offerings. People want pure kitsch, not diamond-encrusted macaroni shells. It reminds me of when Cheetos invited my to a fashion show a few years back during NYFW where they were offering guests cheese dust-inspired manicures and hairdos and the stalest “artisanal” cheese puffs I’ve ever eaten. You guys are way overthinking it! By far the best thing I got out of that day was just a scrunchie covered in the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos logo. Time to go back to the basics.
Over in Paris, it’s couture week and I just need to know one thing: Who does Bella Thorne’s PR and how does she have the best management team in show business? I’m so serious. Season after season, I see hundreds of photos of this woman in the FROW at every major fashion show in Paris wearing head-to-toe couture looks from the brand despite the fact that I cannot tell you a single project she’s worked on in years outside of a g-string with dangly charms hanging off it. How is she doing this! She’s the new Tyga of fashion week. And much as I wonder every time I see Mr. Rack City bitch taking in a collection, why do more D-listers not work the runway circuit if it’s really this easy to crack into? Regardless, more power to all the fame-hungry, lowbrow fashionistas out there who have somehow gotten their names permanently on these high-end designer guest lists.
The talk of the Jean Paul Gaultier show (aside from it being gorgeous) was, naturally, Kylie Jenner and some of the unedited footage that was captured of her at this event. While everyone on the internet is extremely caught up on her ever-evolving appearance, I thought the soft touch makeup and radically lighter, less peanut butter-y shade of spray tan was far more notable. I feel like most of the public’s shock is coming from that fact that this is the first time in years they’ve actually been able to see her skin texture as we’re used to only ever consuming her highly edited images and video. I also truly think that one of the most interesting things the Kardashians are going to do over the coming decade is show the rest of us exactly what happens to a face struggling to naturally age under the duress of extreme filler and Botox. That said, I think everyone is way overreacting to what I feel like is just her getting some filler dissolved to better fit the part of this whole indie white lady personality she’s taken on since dating Timmy. When it comes to KarJener plastic surgery, I also just feel like there’s never any real need to comment as these ladies have already spun off down a very weird direction of aesthetic modification and all of us analyzing it every single time we see an unedited photo of them is only going to send them further down the injectables rabbit hole in some endless dysmorphic feedback loop.
I already went hard on Chanel last week, so I’ll keep it brief today. But I just need to say that, as always, the brand needs to be counting its lucky stars for its continued involvement with Kendrick Lamar who is singlehandedly keeping the dream of Chanel alive. I’m very curious what his deal with the brand looks like because it seems like he’s the only famous person in the world actually allowed to mix and match his Chanel pieces with his regular clothes instead of being forced into a full runway look. I also can’t believe he debuted a song at this show. I mean, I fully get why he would do that, there’s just such a weird dissonance between how great his music is and the clothing it’s being presented alongside. As I’ve been saying since at least the Met Gala when he glued that double-C logo charm to his tooth, Chanel needs to incorporate this man into every single thing they do and ride his coattails of cool to the very top. Better yet, let him be the next Pharrell and just take over already! I promise it absolutely can not be worse than what is already happening.
And I just want to quickly touch upon the Argylle premiere because I am so confused about this cat situation. Thanks to this red carpet, I learned that the feline who stars in this film, Chip, apparently belongs to Claudia Schiffer and I just don’t understand if she bought this cat already camera ready, she trained it herself to be a professional working actor, or if the cat is just so lazy and well-behaved Claudia’s husband Matthew Vaughn, the director of this film, was just like sure, fine, whatever, Chip’ll do. So much Argylle press and yet not a single person elucidating these crucial details regarding Chip’s origin story. Don’t trot out this cat in a bubble backpack just to tease me! Where is Chip’s UsWeekly “25 Thing You Don’t Know” article? At least whoever is doing photoshop on behalf of this cat’s Instagram account is absolutely knocking it out of the park
I’m obviously extremely partial to Julia Fox and her eccentric fashions, but she is genuinely a genius for reviving this particular footwear. And in Aspen no less?! Couldn’t be a more fun choice, especially for a woman whose accessories historically suck. For those who don’t instantly recognize this ice skate bedecked footwear, what you are currently looking at is the much maligned, but very viral “Skate Moss” shoe from DSquared2 circa 2010. A patently insane item that absolutely possessed my brain as a fashion-obsessed 20 year old, but once it hit shelves quickly found its way into the trash bins at Bergdorfs. These are a throwback from a time when heels were reaching maximum ankle-breaking heights and I believe multiple models ate it on the runway due to this particular shoe. While every A-lister is mining the depths of 90s couture looking for outfits to wear, these are exactly the type of iconic designer garbage relics I wish rich people would resurface.
As all readers of this newsletter are well aware of by now, Katy Perry does not feel truly herself unless she is in full cosplay. And after her Vegas residency ended in November, you already know she has been absolutely clamoring to get into another costume for months now and she finally found a reason to — Jeff Bezos’s 60th birthday party which was space themed, of course. Now, you may be asking yourself, was this a costume party? No, it absolutely was not. But if there’s one thing Katy is going to do, it’s turn a regular degular event into an opportunity to don a pair of prosthetic antennas. Probes aside, I actually think this is the best Katy has looked in years and she should genuinely consider eradicating her eyebrows entirely. That said, this costume is also not going to help her or her husband beat those illuminati charges anytime soon.
As always, Zendaya is the opposite of literally everything we do here at Mess, but since we were already talking space age attire, I figured I’d just go ahead and show another example of someone who went totally UFO with it this week. This Schiaparelli collection on the whole was bonkers good, and while Kylie was a suitable choice to generate a quick headline-grab last season, there is no celebrity better equipped to pull off a very conceptual first look at some out of this world couture than Z. I love the little antenna running up the sleeves, gives you something to grab onto in a pinch. But mostly I bring this look up because I have long tried to warn you all that fashion is plunging headfirst into Furry-land (just ask Tyra Banks who was assaulted by a pair of mascots court side this week), and while this one may be made of taffeta instead of Julia Fox’s horsehair, I know a tail when I see one. Just saying, you might want to start steaming your cat ears now.
Yes, I know this is an aggressively sharp style pivot from the image above, but what is Mess if not this very juxtaposition of high-highs and butt crack-laden lows. While this may look like a wardrobe malfunction (and the tattered waistband and all-over grass stains definitely don’t help with that illusion), this is in fact the very intentional intergluteal cleft-baring design of these leggings, and a very bold choice on the part of Noah Cyrus. Julia has helped keep the bumster aesthetic floating around out there for years now, but Noah dared to take it to new lows sans whale tail, marking the look’s entrée into a new realm of daring. We’ll just have to wait and see if any other D-listers pick up what Noah’s putting, or rather pulling, down.
And I just thought this was a fun example from Iris Law of how to get your areolae out there in a non-obvious way. We talked a little bit about this in Sloppy Seconds the other week in regards to a certain reality star honking her own headlights for the camera and what a successful tactic that was for drawing the eye to the breast without putting it all on display. This functions in a very similar manner, plus it draws on the extremely popular aesthetics of fetish gear without going the well-trod Hollywood route of latex and lucite platforms. I think nipple clamps could very well be the new wallet chain and I’m here for it.
And finally, this is so important to me I’m literally jamming it in here moments before hitting send on this email because the fact that John Galliano and I couldn’t be more on the same merkin wavelength is actually blowing my mind. I’ve been saying for A FULL CALENDAR YEAR now that what the girls really need to take this underwear as outerwear trend to new heights is a set of fake pubes and what does Maison Margiela couture deliver unto us but full trompe l’oeil bush. I was already absolutely gagged by this collection and its presentation, and now I am equally astounded by both my own soothsayer-ship and the fact that this is actually more gorgeous than any iteration I could’ve possibly imagined!!!!!
If the imminent conclusion of this email has currently got you like Kim Cattrall, inquiring “what now?” while staring off into the corner of your hotel room, may I tastefully and discreetly suggest buying a first class ticket aboard the Mess train so this party never has to stop?
Now that’s been resolved, here’s wishing you all a happy and healthy weekend and that all your haters be checked.
Like Marina Abramović in the presence of a pot pie, I’ll be silently lurking in the shadows until next we meet! Toodle-oo!
That’s a wrap!:
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Stay warm out there!!!