The Great Belt Shortage of 2023
This is exactly why you always have to keep an eye out for Selener.
I hope this brand new month is treating you well and the going has been relatively easy.
The only thing new with me this week is that Fran and I went to her first puppy class. It was just her and one other teeny, tiny long-haired chihuahua named Henry who is apparently typically an absolute terror, but caught on to Fran’s good student vibes and suddenly became a well-behaved little gentleman over the course of the hour we spent together. It was actually a good reality check for me in terms of realizing just how naturally well-behaved Fran is. I feel like in the haze of teething and potty training, I forgot that it could all be much, much worse. She could actually be chomping on things I love and peeing all over my floors instead of just systematically ravaging every toy I’ve ever purchased for her. Because, yes, in the span of a couple of days, she has found all new ways to dismantle everything from rope tug toys to plush squeakers. It’s like she has a sixth sense for a toy’s weakness and then exploits it to the max. This carnage also included some new “indestructible” toys I bought her to replace the old ones she’d already reduced to choking hazards. I did, however, finally discover one holy grail product called a “yak chew” that is supposed to take dogs weeks to munch through and which occupied her for a total of two days. Small victories
Anyway, the problem with Fran and puppy class isn’t learning the command, so much as it is deigning to actually perform it. This dog learns the word and what you want her to do almost instantly, but is so stubborn and sassy that she finds little ways to avoid doing it and ignore you for as long as possible, leaving me pleading with her to “sit” as she scrambles around the classroom. She also regularly talks back to me, which people think I mean euphemistically, but no. She actually makes loud grumbling noises 85% of the time I ask her to do something. Only time will tell if the classes will break her of this habit, but my suspicion is no. It was all well worth it in the end, however, to get to watch my giant puppy play with this microscopic one. Henry would mostly just bite her beard and then dangle off it as she dragged him around, but at one point he got stuck under her belly as they were running so she ended up kind of riding him like a scooter through the pet store. If nothing else, pet ownership has brought an immense amount of impromptu slapstick comedy into my life.
I also FINALLY managed to complete my Best of Mess roundup for paid subscribers on Wednesday, and this one’s a real epic saga. Now that that segment has officially ended, I asked Discord for ideas for a cool new weekly installment I could do for paid subs, and a reader suggested we travel back in time to Mess of yesteryear which I think is a brilliant idea. So next up: Ye Olde Mess. I’m going to focus each edition on one event from the past, so if you have any you’d love a fashion rundown on, please let me know. I’m thinking a 2000s VMAs red carpet to start, but I’m all ears! Stay tuned for that next week, and if you haven’t become a paying member yet, make sure to do that so you don’t miss out on any of the fun.
And here is your gentle reminder that I made an Instagram account called Chanel Flops and you can follow it if you like. There is some pretty ugly clothing up on there already and more being added every day. I also received some name change suggestions, so I’d love to take your guys’ temp on the alternate options so far:
Thank you for participating in that Mess survey. As a reward, you may now absolutely brutalize your optic nerves.
Stop it right now. We can’t keep living like this. We’ve gotta just let this hot woman date people and then circle back to us when she’s ready to stake a claim to a man. I refuse to believe that there is this much fervor for EmRata dating content out there. But while Page Six has proven there’s no minor detail about this woman they won’t publish, I still can’t quite figure out what her angle is with all of this. Why bother with the PR stunt dating when she does seem to genuinely be seeing a couple of dudes semi-regularly for real. What are we trying to achieve? She’s certainly never had any trouble staying in the limelight all by herself before, I’m not sure where this press panic is coming from now. Is it all just an elaborate ploy to keep her ex-husband in a rage? Not a bad tactic, if so.
Anyway, that relationship riddle aside, I just want to say that I love this. These images are from Jennifer Coolidge’s new cover shoot for W magazine shot by the Daniels, the guys who did Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, and I’m starting to think maybe we need to exclusively let music video directors handle all visuals from now on. It feels a bit like a second coming of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this level of concept and set used in a fashion editorial and it feels like a real breath of fresh air.
Michelle Williams also got a W magazine shoot and this absolutely enormous sun hat that looks like what would happen if you tried to starch Jacquemus’s La Bomba. I have to say though, as a very white person who is deeply paranoid about getting sunburned, this brim to head ratio is my platonic ideal. I think the closer we can get to turning hats into personal beach umbrellas the better. Now, where was this topper when everyone needed to stay six feet apart from each other??
And before you get upset, I know Zendaya belongs nowhere near this newsletter, but I just bring her up to ask: is she the only celebrity with access to real designer vintage? Is she just the only one out there looking for it??? I ask because her and Law Roach are always pulling out these absolute gems from the past that we haven’t already seen a million times over, and it just makes me wonder how the Kardashians et al. are not absolutely ravaging whatever luxury archives they’re pulling from? I feel like the brands and the archivists are keeping the really good stuff on ice for Z, and they’re absolutely right to do it.
I also wanted to highlight Ashley Park’s bedazzled ankle brace at the SAG Awards because this is the level of glamour and excess I demand from a famous person on a red carpet. It reminds me of Sarah Paulson’s Prada paillette-covered arm cast at the 2021 Golden Globes (feat. in the new Best of Mess), and it also reminds me how much better awaits Megan Fox once she finally quits those DAILY therapy sessions and that relationship for good.
Now, everybody knows, if you give a celebrity a pocket, they are going to put their hands in it. I’m a little bit of two minds about this though. Because on the one hand, Amanda Seyfried is absolutely destroying the shape of this dress by sticking her hands where they do not belong, turning this shift dress into a bubble skirt. But on the other, I also think it’s rad as hell Prada would put pockets in a red carpet gown at all and it makes me feel like they actually care about the comfort and practicality of a woman’s garment, no matter the occasion. Anyway, I think it’s a beautiful dress, a great color, perfect hair for it, I just need those hands OUT OF THERE. Maybe we can find a compromise where Prada could just kind of loosely baste the pockets shut like they do on new blazers so they’re technically not stopping the celeb from using them, but they’re still politely, yet firmly, suggesting they do not.
And I also need to issue an official Mess correction: I previously reported that Eddie Redmayne is a Carrie based on his absolutely gigantic corsage at the Golden Globes. But I’ve recently returned from the SAG red carpet with the revelation that he is in fact, absolutely, undoubtedly, a Miranda. I mean the red hair alone, how did I not see it before!
And while I’ve maligned this man’s style for years now, as he enters his dad-core era, I feel ASAP and I might finally be able to find something to agree on with this new personal aesthetic. Judging from the photos, these pants really only work from certain angles, but I do think they’re this nice middle ground between the absolutely enormous trousers we’ve seen out on the streets and men’s obsession with wearing the ugliest midi skirts they can find — a transitional piece that actually bridges the gap between the two garments and also opens the door for future forays into skirted territory.
After seeing this first show from the brand’s new creative director Sabato De Sarno, I also feel like it’s safe to say that Gucci is not going to suffer from the loss of Alessandro in the slightest. If anything, it’s like De Sarno took his vision for the house and pared it down to it’s 70s glam essentials and then infused them with the sexual frisson of the house’s old, old designer, Tom Ford. Looking forward to what’s to come.
Speaking of fashion week, are you seeing now why I said that floral sauna tent Lisa Rinna wore to Richard Quinn was by far the best thing she’s put on in weeks. When I first saw this outfit, I genuinely thought she was wearing some sort of snowboard clip-in boot. And then my eye traveled upwards to the rest of this look composed out of tattered upholstery covered in grandma’s vinyl sofa protector. As I said before regarding Bella Thorne, I find the FROW guest lists this fashion month to be extra peculiar. But then again, if I’ve learned anything from Tyga over the years, it seems that all luxury brands are willing to accommodate you if you’ve even so much as DM’d with a Kardashian at some point in your life.
As I previously foretold, the day of Mess reckoning has finally arrived. The underwear-out agenda has firmly taken root in Hollywood. All the girls are now trying out the basically-nude look seen here on Ellie Bamber at the Saint Laurent show, Rosalía at the Billboard Women in Music Awards, and Dua Lipa at the GCDS show. While Dua’s fit is slightly different than the rest we’ve been discussing lately in that her breasts are totally covered, I wanted to include her look as I think 1. she looks great in it, but also, 2. it’s a nice, more explicitly lingerie-inspired twist on the tired old Balenciaga and Mugler catsuits.
Rosalía gave us a more traditional take on the aesthetic—full coverage underwear, lots of underboob—but I’m going to need you all to pay special attention to the belly-button-centric adornment on this gown because that’s going to come up again two photos from now.
And finally, I featured Ellie because it was the clearest example, but I could have just as easily included any lady at the Saint Laurent show because all of them were clad in completely sheer dresses with only bottoms on underneath. I feel like if we’re really going to do this trend, we have to quickly move beyond pairing every look with a boring, black brief. I’d argue even a g-string doesn’t hold quite the scandal it used to at this point. And while I know this is radical and I don’t recommend this as a general styling rule, in Ellie’s specific case, I actually think this gown could’ve gone from good to MAJOR if she’d ditched the underwear altogether and opted for full bush. I never thought I’d say this, but there has never been a better, cooler time to deploy a merkin. It also would’ve been a very Yves Saint Laurent move. I mean, this is the guy who put women in Le Smoking and gave them pockets so they didn’t have to carry a purse at the club. He would’ve been all about pushing the boundaries of what’s currently deemed acceptable for our gender.
What’s unacceptable, however, is what Chanel continues to subject Kristen Stewart to. I know none of us are surprised by this latest foray, but I feel we still must bear witness to these design horrors. It’s like everything they’re doing is technically on trend and none of it is adding up to anything I want to see on anyone’s body. We’ve got the underwear fully exposed, the boobs covered by a meager crochet patch pocket, and yet it somehow still feels like a dress stolen off of a 1920s dowager. I actually think the most amazing thing about doing all of this research for the Chanel Flops account is realizing just how long this brand has been brutalizing K.Stew and rediscovering all of the truly reprehensible things they’ve put her in over the years that we’ve completely blacked out as a society for our own sanity. They better give her the biggest, longest running fragrance campaign in history for this.
Just when I think I can quit Julia Fox, she pulls me back in. I simply couldn’t let this outfit pass us by without remark. Ever the innovator, Julia isn’t just giving us another fully sheer dress with no pasties and a g-string, she’s giving us another fully sheer dress with no pasties, a g-string, and a belly button cutout! This is why I asked you to keep Rosalía’s look in mind, as I feel there’s low-key a new body part fixation a-brewing. The logo belly button ring peeking through the cutout is also a stroke of pure genius by Courrèges. Although, it seems like Julia may have gotten her belly button pierced specifically for this purpose as it still looks a little red and inflamed, which when the whole point of the outfit is to highlight the piercing seems……not ideal. I also saw a lot of people in my mentions complaining about the dress cutout not being centered which honestly makes me very concerned for all internet users because it is centered. This is just a photo of her walking. The dress is in motion. Things move in real life. This isn’t editorial, it’s street style, and I fear our collective needs for photoshopped perfection at all times is poisoning our brains. Anyway, I say bring on the belly button accessories and the outfit openings in which to feature them!!!
Apropos today’s newsletter headline, Julia has also been making wearing an absurd number of belts her big thing at fashion week. When I first started predicting the return of the statement belt a couple of weeks ago, this is not exactly what I meant, but I suppose I’ll allow it. I would love to hear Martin Margiela’s thoughts on everyone now poorly rehashing an idea he’s been playing with for decades. Also, if you’re in serious need of a waist-cincher in your wardrobe, I suggest you go stock up on them now because I have a feeling when the TikTok DIY tutorial on that mini skirt comes out, the accessory is going to be sold out at every thrift store for months.
Kim Kardashian also succumbed to the allure of the multi-belted outfit this week, wearing a radically worse, beige version of what Julia was up to by the worst brand on the planet, Dolce & Gabbana. A look she also paired with some knock-off Givenchy shark boots from the brand. I would love to hear her BFF Riccardo’s thoughts on her wearing a poor imitation of one of his most famous footwear designs. Anyway, all of that aside, the real problem with this outfit is that it looks exactly like she’s wearing an actual straight jacket. And if you want to witness the true ramifications of a decade plus of fully constructing your face out of fillers, may I suggest browsing through the photo set of this particular public appearance. I think the end of Kim’s 40s are going to be very interesting to witness!
And the brand didn’t just prank Kim by making her look like an extra from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dolce also got “the most cheap woman in the world” to look like a fool on their behalf all over again by putting her in an outfit in which she can’t move her legs and then telling her to climb up a flight of stairs…for the second time. The only thing weirder to me than the fact that she keeps falling for this prank is that she thinks these videos of her weeble-wobbling up the steps is cute and charming content for the masses. As many pointed out on Twitter, an actually good luxury designer would know how to create the garment so that this is not a problem. And, as many people with an iota of common sense pointed out, she could have just hiked up the skirt an inch so her knees were below the vent and she could actually bend them.
And this Instagram Story told in four parts the other day really made me laugh. There’s just something so perfect about her trying to flip this private mother-son moment for clicks and getting hit in the face over the attempted exploitation. Also I do not believe for a single second that this child punched her “in his sleep.” That boy was trying to nap while his mother was trying to take selfies and kept putting her phone with the LuMee case set to stun closer and closer to his face until he had no choice but to slap her.
This also makes me wonder if Kim will ever face any sort of serious backlash from her kids for putting them all over social media as they gain cognizance of exactly what it means to be a member of that family and have all of their personal experiences exploited for reality show fodder before they’re even old enough to understand what any of that means. Because at the end of the day, is what Kim’s doing really all that different from all the other problematic family vloggers on YouTube?
What a delight to once again see the return of the crone shoulder, modeled here by Cate Blanchett. Perhaps you’ll recall we previously spotted it on Doja Cat, Billy Porter, and Allison Brie. I’ve since learned that the real name of this design is a pagoda shoulder, but I still prefer my own moniker. I also vastly prefer the bonier Rick Owens take on the trend to the Balmain interpretation seen here. Personally, I’ve been completely over Olivier Rousteing’s increasingly shabby rehashes the house’s old standards since he popped Kim Kardashian in those logomania biker shorts and NFL shoulder pads during the pandemic.
And as we’ve now formally entered the trend corner, I’d like to raise another little trendlet I’ve spotted out there in the wild this week: All-weather dressing. Both Gigi Hadid and Irina Shayk suggested that you should be prepared for any contingency thrown your way by wearing a smattering of every type of garment you own. In Irina’s case, that meant the relatively reasonable proposition of layering a motorcycle jacket atop a trench coat atop a turtleneck and a jean short all finished off with a practical bootie. But Gigi’s look was another beast entirely. This is undoubtedly just a combo she came up with to promote her Guest in Residence cashmere line, but isn’t the goal to make me think these things look good in order to buy them? Mission not accomplished. But what actually annoys me more than pairing cashmere opera gloves with a crop top is the choice to wear a skirt that’s open all the way to the top and yet still wear visible nude underwear underneath it. This is the Rosie Huntington-Whiteley peekaboo pussy skirt all over again. These girls want the scandal of a fully open skirt—and I couldn’t be more supportive!—but they need to get their undergarments in order first.
The other week I said that I liked a big short with a knee-high fancy boot and the universe hath delivered. Once again, I’m pretty shocked to say, that I think the silhouette is cool?? My only note would be that I think the shorts should ride a little lower so you see less shin and more ab. The look on the right doesn’t work quite as well for me, but I do appreciate the commitment Suki Waterhous has put into channeling her rock star character from this movie for the press tour. I also have a particular soft spot for this outfit because it feels very indie sleaze nostalgic. The real height of indie sleaze also happened to be around when Suki first became a tabloid thing, hence why she looks so natural in an American Apparel-esque hot pant layered atop a tight. I’ve said it before, but if her pillow with her own face on it has taught me anything, it’s that I do think Suki might be seriously underrated.
In Best of Mess this week I came to the conclusion that I need to start keeping a closer eye on the promising young Mess up-start that is Iris Law, and I’m starting to think perhaps I should be paying more attention to all of the fame-adjacent Gen Z models because while poking around some runway coverage I discovered these two stunning images of Mia Regan. For those not familiar, Mia is the on-again, off-again girlfriend of Romeo Beckham, and if I know anything about that family, likely his future wife as well.
The bonnet has been dancing around the edges of the zeitgeist for a minute now, but I think it’s finally time for it to fully enter the mainstream. We previously saw the look on Bella Hadid courtesy of some Where’s Waldo knitwear and, yes, on one Iris Law trying out an amish milkmaid cap for summer. With hooded dresses now ubiquitous, I think it’s not too far-fetched of an idea that we might start to see those hoods detach and become their own standalone accessory.
And once again we got a knee-length short paired with a knee-high boot. This was a strong attempt, but it’s just not as successful as Suki’s, for me. Personally, I need way more short as I think the appeal is in the contrast between the volume of the bottoms and the crispness of the fitted shoe.
And as you should all know by now, there is no one who currently even comes close to touching what Taylor Russell is out there doing on the red carpet. The Schiaparelli couture on the left is already great, but the unreleased Loewe on the right is truly next level. That dress feels like this very cool evolution of the 8-bit clothing JW Anderson did for the brand’s last collection, but now the shape is almost that of a rudimentary paper doll dress versus something out of Style Dollz closet. This is finally a piece of fashion that feels very modern to me.
Well, after oversharing all of my worst opinions with you once again, I feel as exposed as Meadow Walker finding a creative new way to display her fruit basket.
Time for me to peace out!
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