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Greeting from the heart of Hurricane Idalia!
That’s right, I’m in South Carolina visiting my parents and thus have gone straight from dripping in sweat while celebrating my bestie’s bachelorette in the profound humidity of NYC to being violently rained upon in the clay backroads of horse country.
Delivering this missive to you has also been quite the saga, and not just because I am currently surrounded by family members who talk even more than I do, which given my loquaciousness here every week I’m sure is very hard to believe. But getting my words in front of your face today was made additionally challenging by the fact that in the hustle and bustle of leaving my house I, of course, forgot an extremely crucial element of my digital nomad lifestyle — my computer charger. This error sent me spiraling and driving full speed across state lines during my usual People mag work hours on the hunt for a very specific Apple charger that absolutely no one here seems to have in stock. Because my parents now live in the middle of nowhere (even more nowhere than where we lived in New Hampshire), this also meant we had to drive an hour away into Georgia to finally retrieve said charger from the sole Apple store in a 100-mile radius, which also opens at the leisurely hour of 11 am. But obviously my mission was successful as I was back on Twitter gently trolling Hollywood within a matter of hours.
And the silver lining to all of this is that I’m here celebrating my perfect angel baby Fran’s first birthday. She has been spending the week galloping around my parent’s backyard and wildly play fighting 24 hours a day with their two dogs. The first time in her one year of life she has had this much unmitigated access to both nature and canine companionship. And clearly, it’s going to her head:
Ok now that I’ve provided you with yet another glamour shot of my tiny bean girl, I suppose it’s time for us to get into what you actually came here for.
The show must go on!
To start off today’s lowcountry dispatch, I want to find this ESPN chyron writer and kiss them on the mouth. How quickly do you think Anna Wintour got them fired for labeling her the “former Vogue EIC” and thus setting off a series of conspiracy theories on Twitter that the sports channel somehow got the scoop on her impending retirement. Listen, from ESPN’s lips to god’s ears, I say. This outfit alone should be grounds for termination.
In other random tidbits that bring me great joy, Jonathan Cheban, aka the FoodGod and Kim K’s most insufferable bestie, is suing this sauce company over claims that he’s unable to do his very sad spon con after one of their jars spontaneously combusted in his clutches and cut open his hand. And, I mean……$20 million?? I refuse to believe that this man makes more than a couple thousand per sponsored post. That is if anyone is even bothering to sponsor him at all considering he has the uncanny ability to make all food look absolutely repulsive. Also, just a little tip to Cheban, if you want an actual shot at winning this suit, maybe stop relentlessly posting content in which you’re USING YOUR SLICED UP HAND. Every day this man is both getting photographed carrying things with his injured extremity and posting Instagram Reels in which he very visibly has the full use of both of his mitts making it very hard to believe that this has caused any damage to his income whatsoever. Someone on TikTok was also so kind as to point out some examples of Jonathan’s absolutely incredible social media content that is definitely worth a cool $20 million, specifically this photo of him holding a slice of Hawaiian pizza which he has 100% photoshopped pineapple onto. Run this dummy his check already!
And last week, a reader asked what my thoughts are on Brooke Candy as she’s currently engaging in pretty much every single trend we talk about in these pages and, honestly, I had completely forgotten she exists. But now, my obsession with Brooke has been renewed. Her style is truly everything Mess is about, in the best possible away. Aggressively edgy and sexy, but in a really refined, high fashion way. Her aesthetic point of view is so strong, and I just wanted to include this recent photo of her and her sperm purse to say expect to see her pop up in these pages much more often moving forward.
I still can’t get over the fact that PrettyLittleThing got one of the best supermodels of all time — a high-fashion diva extraordinaire — to shill their fast fashion wares. The entire late capitalist fashion landscape continues to be so phenomenally bleak. I just hope they’re paying Naomi the most money possible to debase herself for this plug. But it does make me wonder, how are A-list people not embarrassed to take on these types of “collabs”? Is there any amount of personal wealth that would be enough? Genuinely. Could they stop taking every single gig that comes along if they had 2 billy in the bank? 5? Naomi, I promise you will be just fine for the rest of your life with your meager net worth of $80 million. There is truly no reason to water down your legacy like this for a quick buck at that big multi-millionaire status.
Anyway, in happier news, I am absolutely loving this celebrity-less Venice Film Festival. It is giving the D-list the opportunity to positively shine and make some of the best paparazzi images I’ve seen in an eon. Caterina Murino, a former Bond girl, spent the first day hamming it up to the max for the cameras, traipsing up and down the shores of Venice in a ball gown before throwing herself upon the beach to writhe around in the sand. This is my Platonic ideal of a Getty Image. Not since the days of Max Ehrich beating his fists against the sand and screaming towards the heavens following the end of his short-lived engagement to Demi Lovato have I been so smitten with a photo set. Perhaps the best part, aside from the knowing smile Murino is casting towards the camera, is the fact that a good 60% of these paparazzo are not even taking photos of these shenanigans, they’re just there to bear witness to the movie magic of it all.
I have to admit, I still really do not get Victoria’s Secret’s rebrand strategy. So far, it seems like they’ve just cast a bunch of their usual gals plus the three plus-size models the industry has deemed acceptable, with a couple of problematic It-girls of yesteryear sprinkled on top for good measure. They’re trying so hard to be au courant, and yet they’ve still come up weirdly dated, like all of this was actually meant to take place back in 2021. That said, Julia Fox does look unusually good (for her) in this image, although I have yet to see anyone but the “VS Icons” wearing any actual underwear in these ads……Still seems to me like they’re trying to pull off a poor man’s Fenty x Savage, but I suppose I will suspend my disbelief until they release of whatever this Amazon-sponsored spectacular is.
This rebrand strategy, on the other hand, is slowly but surely winning me over. I still don’t love the classic Burberry tartan, but this slightly updated take on it has piqued my interest, especially when applied to a matching set of acrylics. And enlisting the help of Megan Thee Stallion is always a guaranteed way to get my attention.
Ok. And while I still do not think it’s interesting to cast a KarJenner in a fashion campaign in this oversaturated age, I have to admit, Kylie absolutely murdered this. Kendall should be fearing for her entire profession right now. Kylie is emoting and posing harder than her sister ever has. This Acne campaign is also a smart homage to a 2000 Dior ad, although if I’m nitpicking (which you know I always am) I would love to see her even muddier. But regardless, I hope this is the beginning of Kylie’s pivot to stealing Kendall’s entire fashion identity.
Now, after all of the kind words I’ve shared above, let’s return to my usual tirade of gripes. Because this right here really pisses me off. It’s not even that it’s sloppy and lazy so much that it is disrespectful to his wife. I’m not saying Justin has to dress up to Hailey’s level of dull immaculacy, but he could at least put in a modicum of effort for her product launch. It’s rude! It almost feels like he’s intentionally dressing stupid for this heavily-photographed event because the very next day there are photos of them walking around and he’s wearing a perfectly acceptable polo shirt and shorts. Like he really couldn’t be bothered to put a top on? Or take his top off entirely? He couldn’t find one Rhode-branded sweatshirt to wear? Hell, he couldn’t have even just carried around the new product in his hand for all the paparazzi to see??? Now that his wife is the sole breadwinner in their family, the least Justin could do is find a way to be moderately helpful in the promotional department.
On the topic of people who don’t know how to dress, Kim has completely given up the ghost of pretending to put any effort into this shit. And by shit I mean both her outfits and her social media content. I spared you all one of her dull-as-hell groutfit’s the other week and subjected Sloppy Seconds readers to it instead, but I must once again underscore the sartorial depths we have fallen to here. It’s like her Balenciaga pantashoe uniform era all over again, but eradicate absolutely everything novel and interesting about that outfit formula.
And what did I tell you last week about those sandals being a harbinger of the cultural appropriation to come??? I love that she put the shoes on the bed just to make sure everyone gets the full picture of the geisha cosplay that is transpiring here. And correct me if I’m wrong, but did she not bully Khloé and Kourtney and call them clowns for engaging in exactly this type of Japan fashion shenanigan? She also needs to stop using her children and her children’s friends as her social media managers and hire a goddamn professional with some creative direction bonafides already. No more bed-ridden photoshoots directed by North West!
She and Khloé also both posted the MSCHF Crocs this week gifted to them by Paris Hilton and while I am desperate to see them wear this shoe out and about I’m also confused why they are lightyears too late to this viral moment. At this point, I’m afraid the novelty of that ship has long since sailed. Now if Kim was the FIRST person to wear those big red boots, THAT would be something worth seeing and the type of sharp shock to her deeply tedious public image that is desperately needed. Hopefully, this PR package will open the door to that possibility when MSCHF comes up with their next insane piece of hideous/genius garb.
And I had to include this photo of Kim, Kris, and Meghan Markle’s mom just to remind you all that this family wants to be in the royal mix soooo bad. Please recall Kim’s rejected Platinum Jubilee invite request! And you can’t really see it well in this photo, but this Chanel suit Kris is wearing is not good. It is trimmed in baby pink marabou, and not in a cool Sunset Boulevard loungewear type of way. And yet, it is still not as awful as Kim’s clip-in piece-y bang. A hairstyle that, when it comes to her, is typically the telltale sign that some sort of cosmetic procedure has transpired….
Now, something that Kris has done recently that I absolutely love is hire this makeup artist who is photoshopping her glamour shots to hell and back. This is so retouched she might as well be an animation at this point. Why even bother applying makeup at all? Just do it all in post!!!
And while this MUA and his momager deep fake have accidentally waltzed into some hilarious internet backlash, it’s Martha Stewart who remains the absolute queen of the social media troll. This week she got in trouble for posting about the luxury Greenland cruise she’s on and how they made her a cocktail using ice from a “small iceberg” floating by. She then followed up this Triangle of Sadness-caliber performance of global warming privilege by doubling-down and posting this picture of another iceberg she thought looked ripe for her martini glass, as well as a Washington Post article stating that actually this is all fine and good and totally normal behavior. Personally, I feel that if Martha wants to lop off a little chunk of prehistoric frozen water, who gives a shit. Although it does feel like how at National Parks they tell you not to take a pebble or whatever because if everyone took a pebble there’d be none left. But my real question is: Is this iceberg water not dirty as hell? It just feels to me like a recipe for these rich folks to contract some myserteous new virus that’s been frozen in the ice for millennia and, in that light, I couldn’t be more in favor of this whole endeavor.
Anyway, Dua Lipa has been posting relentlessly since landing in Spain, and, while nothing mind-blowing is taking place in her neck of the woods, I do think it provides a good temperature read on the current status of pelvis-focused fashion. As I said last week, I think the most interesting thing anyone can do, if they insist on continuing on this see-through dress journey, is layering sheers on top of sheers, which Dua dabbled in here with these transparent boots beneath her transparent dress, although she stopped just short of going full Julia Fox with it. I also think ditching the bottoms entirely and just channeling Madonna in the “Hung Up” music video is an intriguing pants-less direction to move in.
And finally, I’d like to preface this by saying that I know absolutely nothing about cooking shrimp or barbecuing, however, the internet tells me that not only is this grill not actually turned on, but there is no reason for her to be flipping these shramps at this stage in the cooking process and I am inclined to believe them. That said, if you are a famous person staging an activity to generate Instagram content, please make it this elaborate, weird, and convoluted.
And I know they’re enemies now because of the Ye of it all, but Kim should really give Irina Shayk a call because she is so so good at generating press for herself. Not only is she out there looking very cozy with her baby daddy Bradley Cooper in the midst of her international overnight trysts with Tom Brady, but she also staged this elaborate topless vacation photo shoot that I assume she would like us all to assume was documented by Cooper. Regardless, I have to admit there’s something pretty intriguing about pairing great nudity with a classic athletic sock. She also followed up that Caterina Murino-inspired shoreline editorial with this insane thong-centric ensemble. It’s kind of remarkable just how unflattering it is considering it’s being worn by one of the hottest women alive. But as I told you before, as we creep towards regular celebs following Julia’s lead and ditching the thong entirely, these gossamer gowns are just going to keep getting tighter and shorter until they disappear entirely.
In that vein, I saw two more looks this week that resonated with me as the future of this fully sheer trend. Cardi B attended Victoria Monét’s album release party in a dress that was not only see-through but also featured these peekaboo cutouts directly across the vag region. And Elsa Hosk made those Mugler catsuits look demure in this completely transparent unitard with only a thong on underneath. To make Elsa’s outfit all the more confusing, I googled what Well Studio LA is because I couldn’t imagine a business where this outfit would be suitable attire and it seems to be some sort of lymphatic drainage massage place, which does not explain this ensemble but does bolster my argument that celebs have now totally normalized this level of flesh exposure.
As for the woman typically leading the charge on all things zeitgeist-y, I just wanted to highlight that Rita Ora has been very into suspender-esque straps dangling from her nipples this week, as demonstrated here in both leather and denim.
And while Rita is typically our go-to gal for nudity innovations, this will not stand. I feel we must leave these chicken cutlet stick-ons in the past, right with the invisible mesh panelling where they belong. I find these gel inserts to be an especially odd choice for Rita considering she has consistently gone bra-free under sheer looks for months now. Why add a weird cover-up now? Slash, if you don’t want to flash nip, why not just get the top lined? As always, celebrities defiant opposition to a quick pitstop at the tailor is extremely odd to me.
All of the above has got me thinking though, what if instead of exposing the breast entirely, we just started aggressively accentuating it? Like Lily Allen’s built-in bullet bra but taken to the nth degree. Move the crone shoulder to the chest and you’re starting to get close to what I’m envisioning. I want traffic cone brassieres or bust.
Speaking of cones, there’s also definitely something brewing out there in regards to playfully spiked apparel. Lily-Rose Depp and her girlfriend 070 Shake wore Vaquera’s pointy bra and armband set, while Lizzo opted for this bolero-maxi set inspired by the bomb in Minesweeper. While both are a bit of a Bowser’s shell situation, I am intrigued by the symbolic implications of this new mode of dress. It’s like Mad Max-style modern armor, a form of self-protection in an increasingly dangerous world. I will be dutifully keeping an eye on this apocalyptic tendlet.
And finally, for our last little fad of the week, I noticed that this Loewe coat is becoming to fashion editorials what that Saint Laurent dress with the sweetheart neckline and the sleeves that are open to the wrist is to the Venice Film Festival right now. In other words, suddenly ubiquitous. Not that this fur doesn’t deserver it! I absolutely love the teddy bear proportions of this thing and, as you may have gathered from this newsletter, for me, Loewe just feels like one of the few brands doing anything that feels remotely modern and novel right now. (And on a side note, I need someone to style Ncuti Gatwa in anything aside from a suit short with a 3” inseam, please and thank you.)
And on that note, it’s time for me to wrap things up here because my brain has gone as silent as this dog after Jessica Simpson asked who its colorist is.
My deepest condolences for what you’ve gone through here today, but you’ve successfully made it to the end of yet another chilling collection of catastrophes that make up the very backbone of a little newsletter I call I <3 Mess. Since you’ve bravely traversed these perilous whirlpools of style, I can now count you amongst an elite squadron of pirates worthy of the buried treasure that is a paid subscription to this newsletter. And if you’d like to take a few shipmates with you down to Davy Jones's locker, please consider signing them up for a lifetime of torture in the form of a free subscription today. If X marks the spot, but you’re currently low on gold doubloons, may I suggest joining the ~MESS DISCORD~ where 650 Messketeers are patiently waiting to “ahoy, matey” you. And don’t forget to indulge in a little Mess Merch so you’ll blend in with the rest of the landlubbers once you reach port.
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. I do it all the time. And if you send over a screenshot of your donation to any abortion or bail fund, your next month of Mess is on me.
Time to get down to brass tacks!