RIP Kylie Swim
But which episode of Suits was the Prince of Wales's favorite?
Hope all of your 2023s are getting off to a gorgeous and stunning start. Please tell me all of your resolutions and your plans for maintaining them as I have made absolutely none.
But then again, maybe I don’t need to resolve to be a new me in this new year because this week has already been forcibly jam-packed with a little too much newness thanks to my new puppy named Fran who has completely taken over my life and my every waking thought. Thankfully, after a week of jogging up and down the stairs to make it outside in time, we seem to have finally reached some sort of detente, at least in regards to pooping in the house and scream-crying at all hours of the night. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of her unquenchable desire to bite the hardwood floor. And I mean really chomp on it. Your guess is as good as mine on that front.
It’s been a tough few days, but it’s also been really interesting to feel myself rising to this new challenge. Interesting too to be forced to accept that I’m not in control of this little chaos demon who is hell-bent on sabotaging all of my best laid plans, and instead have to slowly feel out each other’s patterns and quirks until those points of conflict begin to soften and synchronize. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself in order to make it through this very, very sleep-deprived week.
All that is really just to explain why today’s newsletter is very late arriving in your inbox and to say that if it is absolutely nonsensical and even more unhinged than usual, please forgive me. I can barely tell what is a coherent English sentence anymore. Apologies to my paid subscribers as well, I still owe you two editions of Best of Mess 2021 and they are still forthcoming, I promise! I’m sorting the imagery as we speak, I’ve just clearly bitten off a little more than I can chew at this present moment.
All of the above has also been made all the more ridiculous by the fact that this week I joined a group to start working through The Artist’s Way. So not only am I sleeping for a couple hours before rising at dawn to rush a puppy down three flights of stairs, I am then immediately jotting down my three Morning Pages all before really having a single thought enter my brain. It’s going to be a very interesting month!
In Mess-related news, I recently shared two big fashion predictions I have for the year to come with The Face along with some other cool Substack people. So if you’re curious what types of trends I’m forecasting for 2023, please go check that out.
And I was also featured in this week’s Embedded newsletter answering roughly a million questions about what I get up to on the world wide web. I don’t know why anyone wants to hear about my deranged digital consumption habits, but if for some reason that strikes your fancy I urge you to click on through and enjoy!!!
Now I don’t usually cover royals in this newsletter as they almost never enter the realm of Mess, but in the spirit of Prince Harry oversharing about his penis in the extreme this week, I figured I’d let Queen Margrethe of Denmark’s floor-length mink kick things off here today. Now that Queen Elizabeth is out of the picture, you know Margrethe had to do it to ‘em.
And in the spirit of starting this missive out on a positive note, I had to show you all the continued Tár-ification of Cate Blanchett. There’s something very lesbian Mad Men going on here, so much so that I feel like they should allow her to smoke a cig on whatever flight she’s catching just in the spirit of character continuity.
Since we unfortunately had to discuss Cher’s May-December romantic tragedy last week, I also just wanted to give everyone a little update to say that things can in fact get worse! An absolute icon like Cher calling this 36-year-old deadbeat of a man “daddy” has depressed me to my core. The one positive thing I will say is at least that whopping engagement ring he gave her appears to be being worn on her middle finger. Small victories.
And I’m not sure I’ve ever hated anything more than this M3gan rollout. Longtime readers know that this is only partially about the concept, and predominately about my very real phobia of mannequins/uncanny valley type humanoid situations. The robot flash mob at various New York City landmarks is one thing. After all, M3gan’s deranged, broken-limbed dancing was most of our initial introduction to this AI camp queen. However, hiring just a regular short woman to dress up like a doll and follow your lead actress around to all of her press events is a truly wild choice that feels like it is getting dangerously close to not PC territory...But all that said, and my personal triggers aside, I will say I’m glad to see a big film like this lean into the meme for once and put some real energy and viral know-how behind their very freaky promotional campaign.
Plus, let’s give credit where credit is due. Allison Williams gave exactly the correct answer to the nepo baby question du jour. This is literally what I have been screeching at you all about for the last few weeks. It really is as simple as recognizing your privilege and that it’s not fair. No one is demanding anything more from these people than that. And any nepo baby that doesn’t get this I’ve noticed tends to be the very same ones who haven’t produced any work that might make us temporarily forget who their more famous parents are.
Anyway, speaking of nepo babies, I’m glad to see that Austin Butler has finally found his true calling. No, not as a Daniel Day-Lewis-level method actor or a Las Vegas Elvis impersonator, but rather as Kaia Gerber’s personal vacation photographer. Truly, if there is one thing an 8-year relationship with Vanessa Hudgens is good for it’s a certification as one of the most elite Instagram boyfriends in Hollywood because lord knows how much content she made this man capture of her at Coachella alone. At this point, Vanessa should be handing out honorary Director of Photography degrees to all of her exes.
And yes….she’s done it again. No honor more prestigious than landing the Sorbet Power Issue cover! While going through last year’s installments of this newsletter for Best of Mess, I also stumbled across her Gritty Pretty cover and was shocked anew to be reminded that Khloé exclusively appears on these types of indie publications. Are they just the only ones asking so Kris figures better this than nothing at all? I just think it’s weirdly inconsistent branding when the rest of her sisters won’t get out of bed for anything less than the cover of Vogue. It’s like at some point they just decided Khloé is going to be the mid-tier market sister and she was more than happy to take on the role. Although that makes me wonder why they’re not slotting another one of the sisters in to cover the dollar store circuit. They could have a fashion line at Walmart, a drugstore collab with Maybelline, and a TGIFriday’s endorsement deal where they’re papped leaving the restaurant like it’s Nobu every Friday night. I’m just saying, if we’re going to diversify our audience, let’s really diversify! And given Kourtney’s recent Hot Topic makeover I feel like she’d be the perfect gal for the job.
In other mid-tier market news (and re: today’s newsletter title), I was recently struck by the sudden urge to check in on a few of Kylie’s DTC brands after not hearing a peep about them in a minute. And I feel like the fact that Kylie Swim has not posted a single thing to Instagram since June 1, 2022 does not bode well for the future of that brand. Someone on Twitter responded to this revelation by replying “it’s winter,” which…..is not how brands work. Or seasons, really, given that these are global brands. But anyway, I’m not shocked that this swim category has fallen by the wayside given the TikTok backlash its rollout received as customers brought to light some pretty serious production flaws. But it got me wondering, is this the first genuine professional flop from that family?? I mean, since they brought it all in house, of course. After all, who could forget the spectacular failure that was Khroma Beauty? I have a feeling Kylie Baby might be the next to quietly disappear into the algorithmic ether.
But who has time to run multiple failing businesses when you’re building a new winter manse in Aspen that needs attending to. The ladies rang in the New Year from the ski slopes surrounding Kylie’s new vacation abode, modeling even more faux Balenciaga looks of the catsuit variety. Nothing very exciting to note here, but I am continuing to monitor Kendall’s new Edie Sedgwick/Liza with a Z fixation as this is the second time she’s worn this particular bodysuit and tights combo. And while it is undoubtedly chic, as I’ll explain further a couple images down, it is also radically too boring of an outfit to be worn by someone this inherently boring.
Their whole A-list gang also partied like it’s 2023 in this vacant, unfinished construction site attached to Kylie’s new cold-weather getaway. This is easily one of the best backdrops and modeling props they’ve ever had to construct content with and yet they chose not to use any of it and instead just stand in the middle of the room and scream. Like all these Instagram influencers on one trip and not a single one thought to dangle sexily off of this Christmas light-bedecked bulldozer? Where is the goddamn vision?!
Kendall’s also been using the cold Colorado weather as an excuse to trot out her collection of outerwear featuring cartoonish prints, like this Tony the Tiger fit. And, as I mentioned above, someone on Twitter made the very valid point that this outfit only technically works because she has no personality to distract from the garment. The coat is the personality. It’s filling up the void left by the absence of her character. And I think this is actually a very valuable insight that Kendall should be incorporating more into her dressing M.O. because her aesthetic has been moving increasingly in the direction of The Row, wearing things that are technically good but, on her, bore everybody to tears. I think the answer is instead to find the boldest, most outlandish fashions and let them have all the charisma for her.
And back home in Calabasas, Kimberly continues to be the reigning champion of embarrassing behavior, posting this extremely dumb Chrome Hearts toothpaste cap which the brand sent out as an end of year gift to all of their most high-end clients. In fact, there’s already one up on Grailed that someone is trying to pawn off for $900. It’s not so much that this is an idiotic luxury object (which it is) so much as that after all these years of outrage-baiting and shilling their own products, this family still can’t recognize a promotional layup when they’re literally handed one. Like just replace that tube of Crest with one of Kendall’s Moon toothpastes and carry it around as a clutch! As with the festive bulldozer, I need this whole family to rediscover the creative passion they once had for offending us poors on the daily and channel it into some fresh content rife for cancellation.
Moving on, I also need to get to the bottom of whatever the hell is going on here between Selena Gomez and Nicola Peltz immediately. How do these two people even know each other, let alone know each other well enough to be getting matching “angel” tattoos while wearing twinning New Year’s Eve apparel. Like this is some Kylie and Stassie baby-level behavior from two people who I swear just met each other for the first time this week.
Despite that fact, this trip has been one nonstop promotional tour for these two’s fictional friendship and I’m just unclear as to what the end goal is supposed to be. I mean, I get what Nicola is getting out of this. All she has ever wanted is an actually famous person in her orbit who could help get her even a modicum of name recognition after wildly miscalculating the professional boon that was marrying a former Spice Girl’s son. Hence the extremely Selena-heavy focus of her social media content this week. But what is Selena getting out of all of this? A free yacht ride? A big paycheck? Surely there are easier ways. The going rumor is that Selena is dating Nicola’s brother Bradley, but the paparazzi images coming out of that boat just don’t seem to support it. And DeuxMoi has also already put the kibosh on that particular line of speculation. Anyway, I mostly just brought up this particular image to point out that Nicola is wearing two Cartier Tank watches which to me feels peak child of a billionaire who has no clue what to do with all her money.
And as if all of that weren’t fishy enough, we also got these hilariously staged paparazzi photos out of the whole situation. I understand that she was in the midst of taking some shots for Instagram as this happened, but still. Come on. Somebody on that boat is paying for these.
But at the end of the day, the only thing I know for sure is that we need to get this man the hell out of the kitchen. This week he once again tried to give his followers a heart attack and a serious case of salmonella by slathering a huge slab of beef in an inch of butter before cooking it for approximately five second on each side. This kid can literally afford to just hire the greatest Michelin-star chefs in the world to teach him how to make a grilled cheese and yet still he forces us to watch him serve up various piles of grey, raw meat week after week.
To reset the nauseous vibes I’ve introduced into the newsletter today, let’s do a quick check-in with our queen Aubrey O’Day who continues to be doing everything right. The nose is still contoured into oblivion, the photoshopped proportions cartoonish, the clothing barely extant, and she also gave me what I’ve been demanding for a full calendar year — a fresh twist on the pasties trend. In this case, seemingly dipping her areola in some craft glue followed by a jar of glitter. As she wrote alongside this image on Instagram, “THIS. IS. MY YEAR.”
But while this may be Aubrey’s year, it is decidedly not Amelia Gray Hamlin’s who is still trying just a little bit too hard to make this whole alt-girl thing happen. Listen. I 100% appreciate the insanity that is this brow-less bobbing for apples in a pair of kinky boots photo shoot which she appears to have done completely unprompted for the gram. Especially in this current climate of Lemme ad campaigns. But I don’t know, it’s just missing a certain joie de vivre for me. It’s all a little bit too grim and severe. There’s a desperation for my attention that feels palpable here and is keeping me from fully embracing this visual non sequitur.
Julia, on the other hand, fully understands the internet discourse tightrope she is walking and does so with aplomb. She has found her brand identity within this nearly-nude, dominatrix-adjacent garb and continues to mine that aesthetic goldmine for everything it’s worth. As always, however, she continues to struggle profoundly with her accessories. You can’t really see it in any of the photos Getty had available for me, but you can very much see it here. “It” being the too large, completely unnecessary handbag that technically matches this patent pleather fabric, but not the sleek styling of the ensemble. “It” also being the decision to turn these wide leg pants into pirate-approved pantaloons by tucking them into a matching knee-high boot. Let that trouser breathe, friend!
On another note, I am beyond ready for actual eyebrows to come back into fashion. It’s time for us to find a new way to look extremely alien-esque. Has anyone considered popping all that buccal fat we’ve been extracting into the forehead, for example? Just some plastic surgery food for thought!
And it seems we’re already starting off this new year with a powerful trend report, namely: whale tails for everyone. The chunkier that strap the better! While it wouldn’t truly be an aughts revival without a little exposed g-string, I was really struck by just how popular this look was for New Year’s Eve specifically. And considering how comfortable we’re getting now with the upper gluteal cutout, could a full-blown bumster resurgence really be that far behind?
Because it certainly seems like things are taking a general turn for the boudoir out there. Rita Ora wore this Dolce & Gabbana lace loungewear set, while Meagan Good modeled essentially the exact same thing but in white from La Perla. And all of this combined with Rosie Huntington-Whitley’s lace leggings with affixed butt pockets last week is making me think that we’re on the cusp of a sheer trouser renaissance. Not exactly a surprising development that the items we once considered to be designed exclusively for private consumption would become the only acceptable items to wear in public given the extreme desensitization to the naked famous female form we’ve seen take place on the red carpet over the last year. We are currently speed running through physical taboos, hence why I also suggested to The Face that there is an exposed mons pubis trend out there already a-brewing (Thanks in so small part to Julia, natch).
Ok, well I’m as knackered as Real Housewives of Orange County star Shannon Beador in the midst of dental surgery.
So I’m going to pull an Arnold Schwarzenegger and go ahead and stop things right here.
As we kick off this new year, I hope all of you will take this self-esteem-boosting aphorism from Todd Chrisley to heart.
And I’ll see you back here next week once I rise from the dead!
Brava on completing yet another excruciating edition of this disastrous newsletter. If you just can’t quit this abhorrent roundup of apparel, then please spread some of that self-harm around by signing your friends and family up for a subscription today. If you’re feeling a little extra sadistic, you can also go ahead and make sure they’re all receiving more Mess than they could possibly know what to do with by gifting your pals a paid subscription and then filling their closets with MESS MERCH as far as the eye can see. If you need to holler at me in the interim, please go pay a visit to the ~ DISCORD ~ where you can yell at me about all my bad opinions anytime you like.
This endless assault on the senses would immediately cease to exist were it not for the constant demand for nightmare fodder demonstrated by the OG Mess Masters. Twice weekly, these lovers of all things monstrous seek out my particular brand of impoverished taste so as to be shocked and horrified anew. And for just $5 a month, you too could experience this litany of faux pas. So please sign up to be a paid subscriber today to catch up on the Best of Mess end-of-year roundup, and stay tuned for the final installment coming your way ASAP.
If you can’t afford to pay for more Mess, ask me about getting a comped subscription. And don’t forget that if you send over a screenshot of your donation to any abortion or bail fund, your next month of Mess is on me.
Bundle up out there, babies!