So Chic, Very Chic: Bermuda Triangle of Sadness

So Chic, Very Chic: Bermuda Triangle of Sadness

BYJoan SummersJan 05, 2024

It’s a momentous time in The Real Housewives history, with the women of Salt Lake City having wrapped up a near-perfect season in Bermuda on a bombshell that will quite literally change the nature of these shows forever. That, and there’s just about one million memes and screenshots floating around that have been canonized already in The Real Housewives Museum of Art and History.

Besides all that fuss, we had a rather nice stretch of time off here at PAPER. I took advantage of the downtime and mostly caught up on The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: RHONY Legacy, or whatever the network is calling it. I come away perplexed at why some of those girlies could spend as much time as they do obsessing over how they came off on television a decade ago ... and still not enter in-patient treatment for their substance use. Call me a sober buzzkill!

Still, there were outfits to be had, and I’m in the business of outfits. Let’s not spend much more time moralizing on the personal failings of 60 year old winos and Pucci addicts. Shall we?

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Heather Gay and Whitney Rose

How long do we think Heather sat on the information that Monica was running a burner account with a team of disgruntled Jen Shah castaways? Her behavior this season has been a bit too suspicious for my liking, but let’s clap that she finally delivered an episode of television worth watching.

Now, to the task at hand. It’s interesting that Whitney and Heather did a light and dark, yin and yang vibe for their staged reconciliation the morning after their big fight. (Everyone, please clap that Heather threw Whitney a bone with the book! Now she has a reason to stay on television another season.) Whitney is dressed like the most toxic fitness instructor in Tampa, Florida, where she runs her studio like the Navy.

Heather, meanwhile, looks like a sad dad on a Caribbean cruise liner that left from Tampa, just down the street from Whitney's overly tan studio. His wife is threatening divorce. Meanwhile, he thinks using the last of his vacation days and clearing out their savings on a once in a lifetime trip will paper over the fact that they haven’t had sex or spoken much since their son left for college. His wife says they just don’t have much in common anymore and spends most days at Whitney’s studio getting certified to be a personal trainer and doing Zumba. Little does his wife know, though, that he’s been carrying on an affair with her fitness instructor for the last year. He’s a man of many contradictions.

Meredith Marks, Lisa Barlow, Whitney Rose and Heather Gay

The only coherent shot of their outfits at the finale dinner came courtesy of this overly color corrected beach meetup. Many jokes have already been written about the meetup — most involving how it's a scene ripped from Big Little Lies.

Following that logic, Nicole Kidman would play Meredith. Her shawl work has been on display for about 30 years in Hollywood, and I think they both suffer from marble mouth. (For Nicole, that’s just being Australian.) Shailene Woodley is absolutely Whitney, and there’s never been a more Reese Witherspoon character than Lisa Barlow. Heather then is Laura Dern, which is hilarious actually.

That said, the fashions here are simply hideous. I wish Angie was on the beach, at least to give me something to look at. Lisa looks like she got stuck in a novelty shop on the way to meet the girls, and Whitney looks like a Temu ad. Meredith, meanwhile, gives Wuthering Heights after Catherine is dead and haunting the moors.

Angie Katsanevas

God, I love her. During the climactic showdown with Jen Shah’s former peon Monica, Angie picked up a bouquet to throw at her. She didn’t actually throw it, of course, but she wanted to. And that’s what matters most. Also, this is what Whitney thinks her dress is giving, but Angie is actually rich. She pulls it off a bit better here, and I quite like this color on her.

Truthfully, let’s rebuild next season around these five women. I think they need some new blood outside Jen Shah’s sphere of influence, but these are the girlies! Let’s write their names in cuneiform and put the tablets in a temple somewhere, so that they may never be lost to history.

The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip

Sonja Morgan and Luann de Lesseps

It’s been a few years since Luann was on a franchise of The Real Housewives, and still, she hasn’t lost her affinity for chunky necklaces or fedoras. You can take the girl out of New England, but you’ll never take New England out the Countess.

Sonja, meanwhile, looks like I’d imagine Sonja would look after her time away. Slightly thrown together, harried and ultimately lost in her soul. For the first scene of the season, I’d say this frame is an omen of doom!

Dorinda Medley

Speaking of chunky necklaces, Dorinda hit her head one night while drunk at some point during her time on RHONY, and woke up the next morning convinced she was Carmela Soprano. I won’t do anything to dispel that delusion, but it is worth noting. This outfit is perfectly serviceable and totally expected, which is also how I’d describe this entire cast’s return to television.

I’d also like to briefly touch on her London roots. Not only does she give Princess Di after the second facelift, she loves herself a little Pucci dress. Specifically if it's the sort of colors that would make up Prue’s statement necklace on an episode of The Great British Baking Show. Brown, coral, hot pink, lime green and beige? Sounds like a winning combo!

Here she is after a few too many cocktails, facing down the prospect of more camera time with Kristen and Kelly. I don’t have much to say about this outfit that it already hasn’t said about itself, but I’m happy she’s found a lane to ruthlessly defend in Nordstrom Rack.

It’s not all bad for Miss Medley, however! I quite like how this dress looks on her, even if it's a bit simple. Her breasts are perched, and her face is genuinely snatched. Even this hair works, in tandem with her bronzed up tan. I’d have loved some better accessorizing, but let’s quit while we’re ahead.

Kelly Killoren Bensimon

Kelly Bensimon came off disturbed on her few seasons of the show. From a now infamous rant on “Scary Island” to her long-winded lecture aimed at Bethenny Frankel, she left a rather negative impression among fans. In response, her professed mission on Ultimate Girls Trip is to show people she’s a different person and also normal — the two things she’s utterly failed to do over the four episodes I’ve watched.

But it’s not just her behavior that seems stuck in the past. It’s her clothes too, which makes sense, considering her former status as a Downtown socialite in the aughts and early 2010s. Those types never seem to evolve past vintage Stella McCartney or DKNY, right?

Take this outfit, for example. This is an outfit I’ve definitely seen an intern wear on Kelly Cutrone’s reality show, Kell on Earth. I’m pretty sure, were I to warp back to the Lucky office in 2010, there’d be a mid-level beauty editor dressing down an intern over her latte order in this exact outfit.

Speaking of mid-level beauty editors, here Kelly is in what she would describe as a “fun” outfit. It gives straight girl who hangs around circuit gays too much and is out on the town for a friend’s bachelorette party. The entire theme of the party was “neon,” which we will get too, and Kelly technically fit the brief. Kudos!

Kristen Taekman

The “neon” party in question was Kristen’s idea. She told viewers that the colorway was very on trend, which troubled me. On trend for who? Certainly not us, or you, or them over there. Who told her this, and can we get them banned from blogging about “10 tips to up your influencer game” before their influence corrupts her further?

Side note: Kristen must be Zimmerman’s No. 1 client, although in her head she thinks its giving Paloma Wool by way of Cult Gaia. That’s all! I don’t have much else to say about her kaftan that hasn’t already been thought of by everyone reading this.

Luann de Lesseps

Luann is genuinely an international woman of mystery. Not only am I convinced she was a spy for the U.S. government during her stint in Italy where she met the Count, but also on this TV show. She spent the entire party sulking around corners, smoking cigs and eavesdropping on her friends while flirting with gay waitstaff. That said, she’s clearly not funded by the U.S. government anymore, considering the density on this wig is louder than any leaked CIA documents could ever be.

This image really exemplifies everything I felt about Ultimate Girls Trip during my time in St. Barts: Weird, sad, melancholic and ultimately quite gruesome. Bon voyage, ladies! May we never meet again.

Photos courtesy of Bravo/NBCUniversal Media, LLC