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The return of Hillary Lynn Baldwin
Como se dice cucumber?
I hope you’re all doing well and staying warm out there. My week has been surprisingly full of visit and chats and fun hangs with friends, and I’m just feeling very corny and grateful for this network of people I’ve gotten to grow up with, in some cases since I was a literal child.
During one such conversation with a friend this week over what I consider to be hands down the best pizza in Bushwick (DM me if you’re curious, I will not put my ‘za slinger on blast like that), we both came to the realization that something about this year feels tangibly different. It’s like we aren’t just being asked to make resolutions, but to reconsider the very foundations upon which we’ve built our lives thus far. It feels like we’re all being called to take a big, decisive step forward into the next stage of our lives whether we’re necessarily fully prepared to or not.
Thanks to Fran and all of the new toddler-like responsibilities she entails, I’ve been feeling pretty confident in the fact that I’ve successfully taken whatever that first step of 2023 is for me. Although it still definitely weirds me out when strangers refer to me as her “mom.” Every time, I want to reply, “oh no, we’re not related,” as if the person I’m interacting with is just suffering from a case of species blindness. Most days I feel more like her warden than her parent anyway, keeping her on a strict food and poop schedule, timing how long our walks are so I don’t “over-exercise” her — an all-new fear that was recently unlocked thanks to an 11 pm doom scroll through the Puppy 101 subreddit.
But while I’m playing house with a puppy, meanwhile, all of my friends are becoming fully-fledged grown-ups before my very eyes. Some are considering big moves out of the country, some are just barely pregnant, some are very, very pregnant, some just gave birth (congratulations Erin!!!!), some are new home owners, some are newly betrothed, and a handful are wedding imminently. And in the middle of the rapid adult-ification of everyone I know is me, who has been left feeling like I exist in a state of particularly delayed adolescence. But it also got me wondering how we clock the growing up of an individual without using these traditional hallmarks of matrimony and parenthood and property acquisition. As someone who doesn’t see a lot of that happening for themselves in the immediate future, how do you define adulthood when your benchmarks look completely different or don’t exist at all?
This also feels like a good time to admit that despite living in NYC for over a decade, I sent my laundry out to be washed and folded for the first time ever this week. I am forever changed. And if that’s not glamorous adult living, I don’t know what is.
Now here’s your weekly reminder that paid subscribers got to look through the Mess vaults last weekend to take a gander at the best of what 2021 had to offer. The second installment of that special edition newsletter should be arriving in your inboxes this weekend, so if you’re interested please sign up and keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, just holler at me in the Discord whenever you feel the urge.
Ok fine, why not. Let’s see it.
As I said up top, after the faux español debacle of 2021, Hillary form Boston has once again returned to the spotlight in a major way. Not that she ever really left with all of that baby-creation content, but you know.
And in typical Hilaria fashion, for someone who is saying she doesn’t want the attention of the press during this difficult moment, she’s certainly making the most out of it. Largely, by leaving her apartment every day wearing a different statement sweatshirt, starting with this one that read “EMPATHY.” She then followed that up with another one that read “Boundaries are hot!,” and a third that simply stated “HUMAN.” While I do understand that this is obviously a terrible time for her and her family and she is very stressed about it, she’s also not not turning it all into more tabloid fodder that places her firmly at the center of the public eye. I’m just glad to see that celebrities use slogan tees to deal with their own problems the same way they would for Darfur or voting. But Hilaria has got to learn her lesson and drop that caricature of a heavy Spanish accent immediately if she wants to curry any favor with the public.
And I sent out last week’s newsletter too soon because just minutes after it arrived in your inboxes, I stumbled upon this image of a topless Irina Shayk in a sheet mask thus adding a third to my initial goo face findings.
But now it’s time to discuss the main attraction, which was obviously Doja Cat at Paris Fashion Week. This look seemed to be pretty divisive for people, but for me this is what couture is all about. This goes beyond just showing up and wearing an outfit, Doja actually put real time and effort into perfectly hand-applying these crystals and turning herself into a walking piece of art. She’s a beautiful plague, a pestilent Mystique. And from the knee-up, I think it’s truly perfect. The fit of that corset alone — transcendent. However. They lost me with this red tight and knee-high boot combo. There’s something about seeing these unnecessary line breaks and that exposed zipper going up the back of her calf that takes me out of the magic of the upper half of this outfit completely. I feel like this is actually the perfect moment for a Balenciaga pantashoe situation to create one seamless line. Either that, or they should’ve really gone for it and bedazzled the leg too all the way down to her toes.
And while the red look proved Doja is currently the best dressed celeb in the game, this one proved she’s also the funniest. A number of people on social media complained that she should’ve been wearing lashes with all those Swarovski crystals, which to me is just proof that those people aren’t ready to have a real conversation about couture and the avant garde if they think that adding some bulk to the upper eyelid is what’s going to make or break that particular look. But I digress. Doja apparently heard the rumblings of dissatisfaction because the very next day she arrived at the Viktor & Rolf show giving them Count of Monte Cristo realness in three sets of lashes fashioned into a very dapper disguise.
And finally, while this Valentino outfit doesn’t particularly move me, I just wanted to point out this purse because I actually think it’s kind of a fun way to get a big brand deal check. Basically, Patrón commissioned Chris Habana to make this “$20,000” crystal hand purse with a bottle holster perfectly shaped to fit their fancy new tequila line. While I never love a flagrant plug, I certainly prefer the creativity of this to the Kardashian alternative of just straight up carrying a bottle of 818 in and out of various venues. My only complaint is that this upscale beer koozie was 3D printed to the exact measurements of Doja’s hand so it could be worn as an actual glove and she never once put her hand inside it! I needed that Hulk fist promotional photo opp.
And I suppose we can’t continue without addressing the lion head of it all. Much like Doja’s Schiaparelli look, this also proved to be an extremely controversial ensemble for reasons I think, honestly, are all pretty dumb. While I don’t personally want to wear a to-scale head of big cat affixed to my chest, you have to admit this is a serious feat of artistry and engineering. (For those who don’t know, these heads were completely hand-sculpted out of foam and then hand-embroidered and hand-painted to be as hyper-realistic as possible while still using no animal products.) And I don’t really see how a prohibitively expensive dress that came down a runway during Paris Couture Week is going to inspire an uptick in big game hunting in Africa, but ok. If anything, I think this dress makes Kylie look like the poacher, which I know was unintentional, but is also quietly brilliant. And I gotta say, if even PETA thinks you’re taking your animal advocacy too far, you know you’ve fully lost the plot. I also love the way they tried to spin this into some powerful animal rights message instead of it just being about the reality star being a Leo, saying that “Kylie’s look celebrates lions’ beauty and MAY BE a statement against trophy hunting.” It very well may be!!!! But overall, I’m surprised to admit that I thought Kylie did a pretty damn good job with all of her fashion week attire. An exceedingly rare W.
I thought her look for Givenchy (right) was cute, if maybe a little dated, but it did the job just fine. I even like the glitter update on the brand’s classic shark boot, although it does feel a little like an Opening Ceremony collaboration. I also greatly prefer this easy hair and natural makeup and am always amazed by how much younger she looks without all the contour and shellack. And I’m curious how aware she was of the fact that her stylist put her in the brand’s controversial noose necklace. Yes…it’s just a literal metal noose. It is just as offensive as you think it is. It’s weird to me that the brand even went ahead and put it into production considering how much backlash it got on the runway last year. Anyway, a classic clickbait outrage move for the family, but obviously an extremely troubling one given America’s history and the fact that she is the mother of two black children, and something I would think she would be smarter about at this point.
I thought her Jean Paul Gaultier look was also classic in a passable if unremarkable way, but I think you all know what I’m about to say based on this photo alone…..that bust did not fit her in the slightest. And this is not the first time I have seen Kylie have to hold her own “custom” top in place over her bosom. So why can designers not find a way to support her boobs properly? And because these cups aren’t holding anything up, they’re also sitting lower on her torso than they should be making it look like gravity is rapidly dragging everything to the ground. I can see that there’s already a little boning in there, how hard could it be to pop in an underwire??
And this I actually think is a really great outfit, head to toe by Lado Bokuchava. It’s obviously sexy, but in a more sophisticated, structured way than we usually see from her, and the femme fatale hair balances it nicely. I also appreciate the genuine effort that went into this hotel room photo shoot. Although, I feel like we’ve done this whole sexy grapes in bed in Par-ee thing before, non?
And the Margiela look I also thought was totally fine, although it had a similarly dated feeling to the Givenchy with the latex underwear, the slip dress, and the big tulle ruffle coat on top. Again, this kind of effortless hair and minimal makeup really works for her and is a breath of fresh air after a decade of not seeing a single pore on her face. I believe I mentioned this before somewhere in these pages, but I also feel like Kylie has been trying to seriously step up her Instagram game lately because all of this posing and lighting and props is very uncharacteristic of her content.
Could it be because she’s feeling the heat from another It-girl incoming, Ms. Addison Rae? Who this week didn’t just give us another iteration on the tired, old whale tale trend, but evolved the aesthetic one step further by going full buns out in this transparent mini skirt.
Clearly, Addison’s BFF Kourtney was inspired by her little photo shoot because she tried out some poses of her own in a corner of her home. Although Kourtney’s looks more like she put herself in time out in this elevator than a “Me Against the Music” moment. And of course, by now, I’ve documented just about every way you can do the trompe l’oeil trend, so while it would be understandable that you’d think I’d champion yet another take on the nude female body photo printed onto the nude female body, in this case, I simply cannot. This vagina is lying way too low on Kourtney, foreshortening her legs and creating a torso-heavy optical illusion.
Somewhere a Supreme died this week after Apple Martin made her fashion week debut at Chanel. It’s amazing to me that Gwyneth Paltrow has managed to successfully keep her daughter out of fashion’s clutches for so long considering that she looks like a perfect cross between the actress and Kate Moss. There’s something about her that looks authentically 90s rather than the way Gen Z tries to reproduce that era today with Shein fashions. All the other nepo babies should genuinely be scared.
Likewise, all aspiring starlets should also be living in fear of Taylor Russel who continued her superb cool girl streak, bringing it to couture week. She also proved that, as I first speculated in last week’s newsletter, we may be ditching the pasties of yesteryear entirely and moving into a world of fully liberated nipples in 2023.
I thought this was a valiant attempt at a sexy puffer jacket from Versace at the Sundance Film Festival. I’m not saying I like it necessarily, but I am always intrigued by the concept of trying to take something famously unflattering and huge and make it into something cinched and skimpy. However, it is also giving me extreme Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl vibes, and please recall that I said just two months ago that I expect to see celebrities continue to embrace all things spandex and sculpted as they venture even deeper into the realm of the superhero uniform, creating a visual language that elevates them above the realm of mere mortal. I don’t want to say I called it just yet, but….
I also want to take a moment to appreciate the really wild fits J Balvin has been dishing up throughout couture week while still looking cozy as hell. The full mink tracksuit feels like a throwback to another era. It somehow feels like both a relic from medieval times and a custom piece by Dapper Dan made in the early days of hip hop. But today, this much fur doesn’t really read luxury to me, so much as just tone deaf. While there are always exceptions to the rule, I think the ship has kind of sailed on this much mink being a cool thing. Although I suppose if you’re going to go full obsequious wealth, the final days before the fall of capitalism are probably the best time to do it. And Loewe heard you all joking about that ballsack jacket they put Kendall Jenner in, so this time they didn’t every try to hold back and dressed Balvin in full scrotum cosplay.
By the way, J Balvin’s fur reminded me of this and I just need to say: Drake is doing the exact same thing with rap legends that Kim Kardashian is doing with old Hollywood relics and no one is giving him shit about it and we all should be. He wore Cam’ron’s iconic baby pink fur headband and coat on stage at the Apollo this week after showing off all the old N.E.R.D. jewelry he bought off of Pharrell in his music video last week. And just like Kim, it makes me feel like all he’s after is some stolen valor, trying to absorb these people’s talent and popularity by osmosis through their objects.
Anyway, in other J Balvin news, man skirts are still happening, this time at Dior, and the proportions are still all wrong. I also still think the knee-length skirt is a bit of a cop out as the whole point is we should be getting some thigh out there, but at least the fabrics and the cuts are getting a little bit better. But why is Dior insisting on putting all of its celebrity guests in these too-high black trouser socks instead of just giving them a sensible knee-high boot or an ankle sock. And honestly, as long as we live in a time when state governments are attempting to regulate what women wear and trans people are living under constant fear of violence, and yet men’s wardrobes continue to expand and become increasingly “fluid,” I’m going to be suspicious of this trend and just how much gender parity it’s actually achieving.
But even though everyone is still ignoring my sage styling expertise, it’s ok because at least they’re all finally catching on to what I’ve always known to be true which is that Jocelyn Wildenstein is the moment. In fact, I think that after years of me tirelessly pushing this agenda, 2023 might finally be her year. As always, Jocelyn’s photoshop is photoshopping to the max, and I’m also obsessed with Fendi’s obsession with sticking a teeny-tiny bag where it doesn’t belong, like on the front of this hat or the back of her hand.
I asked and I hath received! Recently I feel like I’ve been blessed with a bounty of creative new way the ladies are staying covered up. And, yes, this is also yet another nipple-forward look, this time courtesy of Noah Cyrus. I don’t love the final Morticia Addams effect as the chain feels a little too ghost Halloween costume, but I do love that it’s opened all of our minds to the even more elaborate alt-pasty possibilities out there. I also cannot fathom how any of this, but especially that neckline, is staying so firmly tethered to her body. Noah clearly needs to lend whatever fashion tape she’s using to Kylie.
Likewise, Lola’s shredded gown isn’t my personal cup of tea, but I do appreciate a bold new approach to straight up nudity. Also: is it still pubis-focused fashion if the pubis is the most covered-up part of the look?
And given that all of the girls had their thongs out for New Years and the bumster is increasingly looking like the pant trend of the season, Bella Thorne just might be a bonafide genius. This week she launched thong pendants for her jewelry line Thorne Dynasty and I just think it’s so perfectly on brand for her while also being genuinely innovative. I know this would never happen in a million years, but if Chanel and their insane Chippendale’s bow ties ever want to rejoin us in the present day, doing this in the style of one of their iconic charm chain belts would be exactly how to do it.
And I really don’t know how to explain this, but of course Brooklyn Beckham owns this clear pasta pot. This isn’t so much an aesthetic judgement on the cookware as it is that he seems like the type of guy who buys all of his kitchen gear at the MoMA Design store.
Well, we’ve come to the end of yet another edition of Mess. So I just want to take this opportunity to remind you all that if you do not forward this newsletter to five of your friends immediately upon completion, this photo of Rami Malek will haunt you for the rest of time. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
And if you don’t sign up for a paid subscription you’ll be cursed to end up eternally TP-less like Hulk Hogan.
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Ok LYLAS, bye!
Well done on consuming yet another unrelenting glut of terrible togs. I’ve already urged you all to pay for a subscription a million times above, so I’m going to skip straight to informing you that there is also an astounding array of Mess Merch out there to fill your closets with. And if for any reason at all you cannot wait another second for me to see something sartorially offensive that’s toddled across your path, you can always find me over on the ~ MESS DISCORD ~ where we are quickly coming up on 500 members. And don’t forget that the final installment of Best of Mess 2021 will be coming for my OG Mess Masters later this weekend.
If you can’t afford to pay for more Mess, please 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.
Stay curious, you cool cats and kittens!