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Surprise! I'm dating Kelis
Step aside, Bill Murray.
I’m back home with Fran after a gorgeous long weekend boating and toting around Maine, enjoying the finest sea cockroaches the state has to offer. And after a solid three days in extreme extrovert mode making affable chit-chat with over 100 strangers about my general lack of a job at the moment and the screenplay I just finished writing with my best friend, I’ve been having a cozy girl, max isolation week. My only face-to-face interlocutors for the last five days have been the dog and the lady who runs my local bodega, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And now that my alone time tanks have been fully replenished, I’m off to go charm and dazzle with my witty repartee at a friend’s housewarming party this weekend. And speaking of Fran, if you’re wondering how we’re doing in regards to Sheet-gate from a few weeks ago, her chewing obsession has now suddenly turned from my bedding to every piece of wood furniture in my home. So that’s been a fun, new evolution. At least I can be mildly less concerned about intestinal blockages even if it now looks like I’m living with a beaver.
Anyway, thanks to this excess of chillaxed indoors time, I made the very interesting decision to finally give in and partake in a viewing of the Rotten Tomatoes phenomenon that is the first two episodes of The Idol and……yikes. So much potential, so little execution. My main take away, aside from the fact that Sam Levinson is really not concerned with giving his characters even the semblance of motivation for their behavior, is that the show is not nearly as edgy and scandalizing as it thinks it is. Maybe if it came out eight years ago? But like they are trying to appeal to a generation that grew up fully online. Our formative texts were 50 Shades of Grey and Thirteen, this is not going to cause anyone to clutch their pearls. So far, the whole thing also seems to hinge a little too heavily on Lily-Rose Depp’s ability to convincingly mock masturbate while shedding a single tear. It’s a shame because the overarching premise is correct. It could really be so fun and decadent and depressing (in a good way!) without The Weeknd, his character’s entire plot line, and what Sam clearly believes to be wry commentary on #MeToo liberalism run amok. Maybe this will finally make people think twice about giving that nepo baby carte blanche to live out his weird pervert fantasies on screen, or at the very least get him a mandatory co-writer just to put some of this bullshit in check. All that said, I do get a perverse pleasure out of witnessing just how much The Weeknd believes he is SERVING in every single scene. This man’s confidence in the fact that he is going to win an Emmy is palpably radiating through the screen. And I also greatly look forward to watching him get completely passed over during award show season for this poor imitation of John Leguizamo’s Tybalt crossed with a NXIVM cult leader.
I’ve also been spending this week solving the stupidly complicated issue of taking screenshots of Death Becomes Her so that I can share my thoughts on the film’s fashions with all of my gorgeous paid subscribers. For those who haven’t tried to convert streaming content into social media fodder recently, YouTube has gone the way of Netflix in terms of trying to actively sabotage all meme making by blacking out the entire screen whenever you command-shift-3. However, I may or may not have found a very helpful link to a very helpful website via Reddit that has provided me with a loophole to this problem. All of which is to say that the screenshots have been successfully taken and will be on their way to you shortly along with Sloppy Seconds which will return from its short hiatus on Tuesday for paid subscribers only. Sign up now because there are so many good little trendlets and cultural vacillations in there that we are going to dig into and you’re not going to want to miss. As always, if you want more Mess without forking over any more money, go join the Discord where we are creeping up on a collective of 650 fervent fashion freaks.
Ok. Time to traumatize your eyeballs anew.
Since we’re talking The Weeknd, let’s start off today by briefly touching down on the weird Kanye homage he’s been doing during his most recent performances. It’s not only the choice to wear a very West-adjacent opaque face mask, gloves, and tactical gear (all of which we will get to in a moment), but also the fact that he’s now started playing a voicemail during his shows that many, many fans believe to be his longtime ex-girlfriend Bella Hadid telling him she’s sorry and she misses him. I’ve listened to the clip and, in my opinion, that is very obviously not Bella’s voice. But I do think he intentionally wanted people to think it might be her, which makes it almost as sinister as releasing the real thing. It reeks of Kanye begging for his wife back while simultaneously threatening to murder her new boyfriend to kick off his Donda promotional circuit. It’s not actually about the relationship, it’s about using the cultural capital of their former significant other to drum up attention and headlines for a lackluster album. Or in this case, a lackluster TV show.
Anyway, back to the getup. It’s not a bad look overall. Although, I do think it’s weirdly dated at this point. The time to jump aboard the masked vigilante bandwagon was probably pre Kanye turning full neo-nazi as that really harshed the vibe of this particular aesthetic, as I previously mentioned when Offset wore one of those gorgeous Margiela couture crystal masks to the Vanity Fair Oscars party. But mostly it’s the lack of attention to detail that I find really irritating about the choices being made here. If you’re going to do something conceptual, you gotta commit all the way! Why can I see bare wrist? Why can I see the visible mask strap atop a contrasting durag? If the goal is futuristic cyborg, complete the illusion. I need stagecraft! I need fantasy!
Speaking of Ye-fluenced behavior, this was a very wild choice. Especially for Shawn Mendes of all people. For those who missed it, Shawn had the brilliant idea to use a picture of NYC at peak scary orange smog to plug his new single. And it has a real “I hate being bi-polar its awesome” look to it, except even Kanye knew better (at least at the time) than to use a public health crisis as aesthetics for his own self promotion. It’s been a minute since we’ve had a classic celebrity flub like this. Maybe even since Vanessa Hudgens casually shrugged about the inevitability of millions of people dying due to covid?! I also just love how college slam poetry reading deep Shawn is. What the hell ARE we dying for? Incredible question. I can’t wait to see all the other Tumblr-ready, emo ways he comes up with to sell his new tunes.
On the subject of things that should not have happened, why did anyone in the world sign off on this red carpet appearance. The only thing the public likes less than being force-fed a piece of media is being treated like we’re incredibly stupid. Because we all already understood that no matter how many terrible, scary, straight-up illegal things this actor does, there is no horror Ezra Miller could commit that would stop the billion-dollar nightmare train that is The Flash from speeding down the tracks into a box office near you. But what they did not have to do is then proceed to invite this person who has been accused of multiple assaults, grooming, and general cult leader behavior to pose happily on the step-and-repeat with their castmates and answer softball interview questions to thunderous applause. Profound weirdo behavior all around. You can tell they’re already angling for a sequel and betting on everyone just forgetting this person they’ve invested millions of dollars in is a serious walking liability.
This should come as a surprise to no one, but I just have to note that The Daily Mail has been sarcastically body-shaming the hell out of Leo for weeks now. They are obsessed with pointing out his “toned physique” and “taut muscles” despite the fact that we as a society coined an entire genre of bod exclusively to explain why women are still wildly attracted to this deeply middle-aged man. And while bullying a celebrity over their weight is extremely par for the course DM behavior, what is weird is that it’s usually relegated exclusively to women’s bodies. They don’t typically go after men like this, especially men traditionally deemed to be heartthrobs, which makes me curious why they’re suddenly feeling so spiteful towards Leo. My only guess is that behind the scenes his PR team has been exchanging some harsh words with the tabloid regarding their relentless coverage of his barely-legal lovers and this is how the publication has chosen to quietly retaliate.
To make up for that short list of famous losers I just paraded before you, here’s a little reminder that there are still good male celebs out there, like newly wholesome king Flavor Flav who is still stanning Taylor Swift to the utmost and still collecting wrists full of homemade friendship bracelets from her fans. As an elderly millennial, it’s also truly incredible to me to see all these little Gen Alpha adolescents taking selfies with him knowing that this is not only the brilliant mind that brought us the reality TV renaissance that was Flavor of Love and the electric public persona of one Tiffany Pollard, but also a foundational ACAB forefather. Now see, if Taylor wasn’t so busy trying to clean up Matty Healy’s messes, she would’ve realized that the real organic “Karma” collaboration was right in front of her eyes this whole time. There is nothing I want to hear more than this man interrupting her mellifluous little bops by periodically screaming “FLAVOR FLAVVVVV.”
And while Lady Gaga’s decision to get in bed with big pharma this week sparked a whole lot of outrage amongst her fans, personally, I love it. Nothing communicates to me more clearly that we are truly in the wind down days of capitalism than one of the biggest pop stars on the planet….an OSCAR WINNER….shilling some Instagram spon con for a migraine pill. Time’s are tough out there! Gaga’s got an underground nuclear fallout shelter to build in New Zealand next to all the other multi-billionaires and those things aren’t cheap. Get that money, girl, before money loses all meaning entirely!
And the only thing I love more than a flagrant money grab by someone worth upwards of $300 million is the Daily Mail’s new poll feature. I absolutely do need to know what the cretins who actively engage with that website think about Mademoiselle Gaga’s “sellout” status. In fact, this stunning temperature-taking survey has inspired me to do one of my own in turn.
I don’t have much to say about this outfit as it’s clearly one of classically good taste. I just included it because it feels like a true Mess inevitability. The logical outcome of everything we talk about here every week. I’ve been begging famous people to wear these types of fully articulated breast plates since Tom Ford first started making custom chrome tit casts in 2019. Even within the pages of this newsletter, I’ve been egging on Schiaparelli to get wildly more lewd with their anatomical metal inserts from the very beginning. It’s just nice to see people finally listening to me! Also, a very interesting fusing of two trends we’ve been monitoring here for a minute — trompe l’oeil and the liberated nip.
Now this is a lovely little piece of hot goss courtesy of Page Six which Irina’s rep obviously vehemently denies as its not a very flattering depiction, but it is ringing a small bell of truth in my brain. I mean, if Tom is not the love child of Bradley Cooper and Cristiano Ronaldo, I don’t know who is. And I do see her logic. She already knows he has a thing for foreign-born Victoria’s Secret supermodels, why not her! I’m actually surprised the Kardashian team hasn’t latched on to this little kernel of hearsay and tried to leverage Tom’s reported rebuff of a woman who wears underwear professionally as proof that he and Kim really are a match made in Skims promotional heaven.
And just in case you were curious what the above courtship might look like, here’s actual footage of Irina at said A-list wedding mid-throwing.
While you all know that The Beckham-Peltzs are traditionally my safe space, my island of vapidity in a turbulent sea of hot takes, such is sadly not the case today. Clearly, I love dunking on Brooklyn and his various attempts at the culinary arts as much as the next guy, but I need everybody to become 5% more media savvy real quick. When a logo on a product is facing the camera this prominently for this long, we have all got to know by now that’s a paid placement built to generate outrage, views, and $$. C’mon now. That is not $25 worth of avocado oil that he’s frying chicken in, it’s $100,000 because that is probably how much he’s getting paid to do this dumb video that the least tabloid savvy amongst us are falling for hook, line, and sinker. This man is an attention troll. He and his wife need your attention desperately, and they’re going to get it and a check by any means necessary. Stop falling for it! All that said, boy oh boy, do I love to watch this relentlessly dull young man radically fail upwards.
As I said above, you attention is desperately needed. We discussed this a bit already in the Discord, but what is actually most remarkable to me about this photo of Nicola making a valiant attempt at entering the zeitgeist by wearing a fully sheer catsuit with only a bra and undies underneath is just how little cultural impact it actually made. Like the formula is correct, she gets what we’re trying to do here, and yet…..crickets. An outrage vacuum. It’s honestly a twisted gift in its own right the way these two can instantly neutralize any modicum of interest the public might genuinely have in them. At this point, Nicola might as well become our first D-lister to show up at an event fully nude because I’m 99.9% positive even that wouldn’t move the needle for these two. They are an absolute PR void and I love them for that.
Well, I said I wanted alt-Barbie dressing, and alt-Barbie dressing I hath received! After Kylie’s sexless, molded curves the other week, we’re now getting a sculptural doll silhouette from Jennifer Lawrence in some uncanny valley flesh-tone Loewe. Some longtime readers might recall that I’ve actually talked about this particular dress before back when it was being worn by Taylor Russell in black before it was officially released on the runway. As I said way back then, when Barbie-core was yet but a twinkle in Greta Gerwig’s eye, I’m super interested in this silhouette and the way it’s built off the body so it almost looks like paper doll clothing affixed with a fold-over tab. It feels like an evolution of the brand’s 8-bit rendered clothing, bringing the concept out of the digital world into a 2D physical realm. But as I also speculated back when Taylor originally wore it, this is really a dress built for still images and editorial rather than a red carpet. It looks best when the angles can be controlled and the optical illusion of the dress is maintained. Here, the magic of that construction evaporates and it’s left looking like J.Law just chose a weirdly ill-fitting garment instead of something very intentionally avant garde. She also fell victim to one of the biggest fashion scourges currently facing famous white women (one that I’ve also pointed out in this newsletter in the past), which is my cohort’s hyper-fixation on skin-colored clothing that instantly washes them out. No more sand-hued garments, especially with yellow undertones. White women of the world, we must liberate ourselves from the believe that this color will ever look good on us.
Ok, now bear with me because this is a weird little detour into deep Kardashian lore that I just happen to be personally obsessed with. Most people have probably never even noticed this genre of sponsored content they do, but I saw it pop up twice this week and the family’s business plot is notably evolving, so I thought it might be time for us to finally talk about the KarJenner Instagram giveaway racket they’ve been running for a few years now. I first started monitoring this grift back when I worked at Page Six and I noticed that Kim, Kylie and Khloé would all periodically post these super weird luxury giveaway competitions and then archive the posts a couple of weeks later. At first, I thought maybe it was just an extension of their Kardashian Kloset swindle, a new way to offload their free designer goods. But then I slowly pieced together that this was actually a Scott Disick production, at the time, as he was vaguely working with the company running all the contests, Curated Businesses. So what Curated Businesses is actually doing here is paying the KarJenners huge sums of money so that they can flip their social media following into followings for their clients who are paying them to artificially juke their Instagram stats. So the way this works is one of the competition rules is always “go to XYZ account and follow all the people they’re following for a chance to win.” And all of those people that account is following are the brands that cut deals with Curated Businesses to artificially boost their accounts, at least temporarily.
Ok. Now that we’ve go the basics of this social media switcheroo down, the reason I bring it up now is that I noticed this week that not only are they still doing these types of giveaways, albeit with “Rapid Rise Official” now instead of Curated Businesses, but Kim — ever the savvy opportunist — has actually stolen the entire format of this con to artificially boost her own skincare brand’s account. I actually can’t believe none of them thought of this sooner. Also, this makes me think that SKKN by Kim might be going the way of the Kylie Swim company in the very near future.
While The Kardashians typically contains nothing of interest for me or this newsletter, I found a piece of info that came out of this week’s episode to be revelatory. You see, all this time, I just assumed my profound beef was with Kim’s stylist Dani Michelle. But now, come to find out, my problem is actually with Kim herself as she has apparently gone fully rogue and started dressing herself without a second set of opinions. Somewhere along the line, Kim was instilled with a fashion confidence that is wildly, profoundly misplaced. Because Dani was right. The look WAS predictable and boring. And in the clip Kim asks, “Is she right, is there something I’m not seeing about the dress?” And it’s like yes, babe. It’s called good taste. And I just wish she could accept it’s ok that she doesn’t have any because she’s rich enough to buy it by surrounding herself with people with much more highbrow, discerning palates than her own.
Another week, another story about Tylie™’s clandestine love affair concocted from a whole lot of nothing. In this case, a “symbolic Cartier ring”….symbolic of her desire to get a piece of Timothée’s Cartier ambassador contract perhaps. After all, is this not the same woman who wore two forearms full of love bracelets from 2013 through 2017? That said, if there’s one thing this family loves, it’s wearing a random giant ring on their wedding ring finger as a way to spark relationship rumors. And I noticed that Kylie only appears to be wearing the ring in some photos of this outfit and not others, which does smack of a PR-generating ploy. Either way, we’ll know shit’s getting serious between these two once she casts Timmy in her next Kylie Skin campaign.
I’m dead serious. The Daily Mail framed this photo of Cindy Crawford as, like, “wow even supermodels take bad photos sometimes!” But it got me thinking how the best part of working with a really good model is how they can make even the ugly, weird, accidental stuff somehow look perfect and beautiful and correct. Like this photo is technically wrong, but that’s what makes it cool and interesting! How often do we get to see celebrities’ faces emote like this, have lines and wrinkles like this? To even capture a famous person off guard at all these day feels like an increasing rarity. And one that you would absolutely never see on the cover of a magazine. Now, just imagine this image in HD, super close up, with VOGUE splashed across her forehead. Kind of major. Definitely shocking, which means outrage clickbait, which means sales. To save print, I think we’ve got to wade into the depths of the beau-laid possibilities.
Likewise, Iris Law also sent visions of fictional fashion magazines dancing through my head this week with an Instagram pic that is wildly editorial centerfold-worthy. And just when I thought the medium was in the midst of its death rattle.
In other Iris news, Iris Apatow remains one of my top bets for next gen fashion It-girl royalty, but I mainly wanted to include this Instagram ad she did for Urban Outfitters to say that as a pre-teen there is nothing I wanted more on earth than these Paul Frank bar stools. And now that I’ve remembered that fact and I am an adult with disposable income, I think it might be time to make that dream a reality.
Speaking of our compulsory nepo starlets of tomorrow, it’s always nice to be reminded just how hard Apple Martin could be flexing on all of us via her mother’s fashion archives and yet is graciously choosing not to so as to give her well-connected peers a fighting chance. We’ve once again been spared the peak-90s, peak-icon couture onslaught…….for now.
Delilah Belle Hamlin’s birthday apparel this week has got me wondering if she’s low-key a Messketeer because she really followed our playbook for maximum tabloid exposure to a tee. Not only did we receive a fully sheer, Kate Moss-inspired moment with only a G-string worn underneath, but she then doubled down in yet another thong-heavy transparent ensemble, taking a cue from Rita Ora’s playbook by employing some very complicated mesh layering techniques. And between this and the Kylie Jenner Marlboro-head reveal the other week, I hate to say it, but I think cigs are officially back all over again. We really are doing a 2010s redux, huh. Blame The Idol, I guess.
In other 2010s news, I got a little blast from the past at Gov Ball over the weekend where I noted a waist-cincher resurgence amongst our newest pop chanteuses. PinkPantheress and Kim Petras both followed in Julia Fox and Kim K’s belt-fitted footsteps from earlier this year in their own version of the oversized statement accessory. Since the multi-waistband enthusiasm does not appear to be waning, I think we could be doing a lot more to really lean into this trend. Add a belt around the thigh like a garter, pop it around a bicep to emphasize those guns, try a headband Quailman style! Open your minds to the existence of the belt beyond the mid-torso, it’s time to evolve this look for the 2020s.
And finally, as a teaser of next week’s Sloppy Seconds offerings, here is Shannon Mckayley, a woman who I have attempted to google multiple times and still cannot figure out exactly who she is or why she was on this red carpet. However, what I do know is that she has managed to encapsulate just about all of the biggest trends I highlight in this email in a singular garment. A feat deserving of our admiration and our attention. While I appreciate that she’s mixing things up with the diamanté nipple covers, they don’t really read under all that red mesh. And I also just have to point out that if you’re going for a dress that exposes a dramatic amount of butt crack, you absolutely have to leave the flesh-tone thong at home. Especially when it is not actually the tone of your flesh.
Well. I’m as unenthused as Samuel L. Jackson not winning a Tony Award to have to tell you this, but Mess has once again come to a natural conclusion.
I’ll see paid subscribers back here on Tuesday for some exclusive goofs and gaffes, and I’ll see the rest of you marabou-encrusted Long Island Mediums next Friday!
This has been another stunningly deluded installment in the epic saga known as I <3 Mess. If you’re currently feeling harried, beset upon, and yet oddly verklempt by what you’ve seen here today, then it sounds like you are a prime candidate to help expand our target demographic for fashion tragedies and further indoctrinate those around you by signing them up for a free subscription today. If you don’t know anyone else or you just have an abiding desire to bear witness to the aesthetically disturbed, why not treat yourself to a paid subscription. For those looking to merely dip their toe into the deep end of the D-list, you can always get your fix by joining the ~ MESS DISCORD ~ where almost 650 fellow Messketeers are awaiting your arrival. Just make sure to swing by the Mess Merch shop first.
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