My stars and garters. That title is a mouthful, isn’t it?
Super-fabulous fashion bloggers — and newlyweds (mazel tov!) — Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez surely need no introduction to most readers. At their eponymous website, TLo (as they are affectionately known) regale their legion of fans, aka the “Bitter Kittens,” on a daily basis with photographic evidence of celebrity style tragedies and triumphs, with accompanying snarky commentary. This is the pair who invented the coveted WERQ designation and first referred Johnny Depp as an “elderly gay wind chime,” an appellation the perfection of which has never since been exceeded, nor is it likely to be.
They admonish deluded ladystars “Girl, That’s Not Your Dress” and encourage the gentlemen on the red carpet to “Willis It The Fuck Up,” i.e., emulate Bruce Willis looking particularly dapper at some summer event or other. One or both of them apparently has a background in fashion, and their commentary is usually as insightful as it is funny. In fact, I usually visit their site several times a day, especially during awards season, when (if I’m lucky) there will be a Lupita Nyong’o or SWINTON sighting for me to ooh and ahh over. (Their analyses of Mad Men from a style viewpoint are also not to be missed — check their site this summer for those.)
I’m a fan, is what I’m saying. But I’m — surprisingly enough — not a particular fan of this book, which retains the snark but dispenses with the knowledgeable fashion analysis and commentary that lift their site into the stratosphere, far and away above the “WHO WORE IT BEST?” columns in the likes of People and Us. Instead, they train their sights on the celebrity machine, and carefully explain the care and feeding of a typical celeb — how he or she becomes famous, behaves while famous, and tenaciously clings to fame. The result is a fitfully entertaining screed, devoid of the very things that make their site unique.
I mean, they have their moments, particularly when they’re talking about the courtship/marriage/BABY JOY phases of celebrity. Who else but TLo could get by with observing that “Stretch marks can mean the difference between a seven- and eight-figure salary sometimes,” or pontificate as follows:
No celebrity is going to go through the dreary, mundane motions of the adoption system. And besides, it’s only going to give her so much press in the long run. Signing documents in lawyers’ offices does not a fabulous photo op make. No, the very best thing any celeb can do is buy a nonwhite baby from another country, preferably in Africa, since that’s where all the hot, trendy babies are coming from at the moment. And it makes a much better backdrop for pictures. Lots of cute little camis and cargo-shorts ensembles to wear for the mother-to-be. She would be advised, however, to not sport any major logos for these pictures. A Louis Vuitton backpack next to a mud village might make a fabulous editorial for Vogue, but it’ll make any star look like an asshole.
Yeah, TLo’s wit runs acid from time to time. You’ve also got their trenchant observations about celebrity naming conventions, to wit, “They name it [the baby] after their latest project, whether it’s an album or a movie. Note: If non-celebs did this, there would be children named ‘Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Mid-Atlantic Region Jones.'” (Both funny and true.) But then, they spend an alarming amount of time discussing what one could consider non-news, like the fact that many celebrity “romances” are cooked up by studios to sell projects. (Wait a minute, you mean Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård weren‘t involved in a passionate fling [with one another]? — Hold me. My faith in humanity has been shattered.)
But a hundred and eighty pages of snark with no informed commentary is sort of like eating a full meal of whipped cream without touching the cheesecake beneath (to say nothing of the steak you passed up earlier). TLo are incredibly funny, but they’re also incredibly smart and knowledgeable about fashion and about the ways fashion influences culture. The “funny” is on full display here; the other, not so much, and I missed it! I wanted to see them deploy their razor-sharp wit in a take-down of Stella McCartney’s latest
crime against humanity frock and to revel in their enumeration of all the things the Divine Lupita does right in situations like this:
In short, I am a Bitter Kitten indeed, and I want more. Fortunately, TLo’s web site is still going strong, and they haven’t succumbed to the temptation to throw their best stuff behind a paywall. And I’m not sorry I shelled out the $$ for the book, if it means that they’ll continue giving it away for free.
So there you have it. We’ll call it a deal: The Bitter Kittens buy the book, and TLo will continue providing us hilarious commentary on spectacles such as the Miss Universe National Costume presentation. And to whet your appetite, I will leave you with this:
As TLo themselves would say: Amen.