my merch line is dropping

Celebrity and Pop-Culture Merch Worth Gifting This Year

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Retailers

There’s always one gift that keeps on giving (… Cher), and it’s the celebrities who continue to allow us to troll them. From that one actress who didn’t get cast in Funny Girl, to royal couple after royal couple, pop culture wouldn’t be the same without the ones we love the most! So in celebration of the holiday season, we’re doing what we always do: rounding up just a few of the most necessary entertainment- and celeb-inspired merch of the year. Oh! And PS: We’d include something for the Bennifer stan in your life, but that’d probably just entail us trying to promote a gift card to a Dunkin’.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A24 is doing the most when it comes to movie merch. It’s entered the trendy candle market with scents based on different genres, made collectors swoon with gorgeously bound screenplay books, and, for the true film nerds, it offers this aspect-ratio blanket, with a pattern made up of seven of the most common proportions in cinematography. The best part? If you’re not looking for the numbers, the pattern just looks like a cool Art Deco-y thing — so your guests don’t have to know how much of a dork you are (unless you want to subject them to a lecture about the history of screen sizes). —Emily Palmer Heller

Manifest an Academy Award for Kirsten Dunst with an homage to The Virgin Suicides. The poplin button-down features a pre-Spider-Man KD as Lux in one of the Sofia Coppola film’s iconic stills, telling everyone the wearer both is cultured and has good taste. Wow, they look cool, strangers on the street will think. Maybe they read Vulture. It’s an instant way to cosplay as a micro-influencer and/or shut down any pretentious film bros. Here’s a script: “Wait, you haven’t seen this movie? Are you kidding? Everyone has seen this movie. Hey, this guy says he’s never seen The Virgin Suicides. Don’t you feel embarrassed? Wait, do you even know who Francis Ford Coppola is?” Guaranteed to run them out of whatever bar they’re bothering you in. —Zoë Haylock

I have been burned countless times by Ariana Grande’s merch, which either takes months to arrive, never arrives at all, or arrives as something other than what I bought. I remain vigilant, however, in my efforts to learn nothing from my mistakes. I enjoy being cucked by Ariana Grande’s merch. It has become something of a tradition for me. Which is why I recently spent $70 on several items from her new makeup line, R.E.M. Beauty, named after one of her hit songs but based on the concept of space. It looks really cool and I actually really need new eyeliner. I would love to learn what a “cut crease” is, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. Anticipating that the makeup purchase might take a very long time to reach my doorstep, I also asked her PR team to send me some R.E.M. samples so that I might review the makeup line for work in a more timely fashion. Her publicity team at first said yes, but then said there was some kind of mysterious delay on the sample, likely having to do with it coming from space. Lord knows I am never seeing any of this: neither the makeup I purchased nor the makeup I requested to review. That’s okay. And that’s why I am here to recommend you buy somebody the idea of R.E.M. Beauty. Like space itself, the idea, sometimes, is enough. —Rachel Handler

Let’s get super-serious for a second: Washing your hands … it is hot. It’s been the moment. But why not make the activity even more fun, and even more of a “hit slay button”? Wait no further! Miss Lady Gaga’s 3.75” x 3” x 1” Chromatica soap is New York’s hottest, well, bar of soap. It’s ecofriendly, is only $15 (lol), and is the perfect pair to any demon twink’s (cc: Sh*wn M*nd*s) “Rain on Me” bathroom-break playlist. —Wolfgang Ruth

No one understands what the audience wants to spend money on like Kacey Musgraves. After releasing a grinder, rolling papers, and tarot deck tied to her fourth album, Golden Hour (which was very popular among those of us at the Venn diagram intersection of “stoner” and “witches”), she’s back with a retro-inspired merch line tied to her nostalgia-feuled star-crossed. She even sent out a dELiA*s-style catalogue to fans. The woman knows exactly what she’s doing!!! This merch line looks like it was pulled straight from the shelves of Limited Too, and as an aging millennial, I am obsessed. There’s a translucent purple purse, a heart-shaped Magic 8-Ball, a broken-heart necklace. My personal favorite is the clear Nalgene water bottle that comes with a sheet of stickers (in a very Lisa Frank color scheme) that you can use to personalize it. Will that make it much harder to clean the bottle? Who cares! It’s all about the ~aesthetic~. —EPH

Some of us measure our time in Mitski eras, not “years.” Commemorate the coming of Laurel Hell, her sixth studio album, with a new “Goodbye Cowboy” T-shirt, bidding adieu to her Grammy-nominated, critically acclaimed album Be the Cowboy. Assuming the recipient already has all the merch from that tour, the “Goodbye Cowboy” tee is a transitional piece that honors the past while embracing the uncertainty of a future spent “working for the knife.” Also, it rules. —ZH

Not only is the Megan Thee Stallion x Popeyes Hottie Sauce bussin’, the merch is fire, too. No offense to the McDonald’s streetwear Travis Scott was trying to peddle last year, but Megan and Popeyes reached an unmatched level of synergy with “4oe’s 3 Piece Plush Toy.” Inspired by her trusty sidekick, 4oe the French bulldog, the plush dog toy has fuzzy chicken strips you can hide in a classic orange Popeyes box. Give your dog something to do while you chow down. —ZH

I sometimes like Tom Petty more than my own father, and I’ve been holding my breath for an aesthetically pleasing Petty merch collection since his passing four years ago. (I’m very, very picky when it comes to merch.) Rodarte delivered and then some, much to the chagrin of my bank account: The collection, in collaboration with Petty’s estate, was created with his sentimental Wildflowers era in mind. The floral designs are gorgeous, as are the big blocks of font, which look like they’re politely screaming TOM PETTY at you. Yeah, it’s a perfect T-shirt. —Devon Ivie

Rihanna doesn’t need a new album to participate in the flooding of the vinyl industry. Taylor Swift got to do it with Red (Taylor’s Version). The Navy can have some old music, too. Ever the businesswoman, Rihanna “rih-issued” all eight of her albums onto limited-edition vinyl records, and she’s selling them bundled with merch. It’s a million-dollar idea she knows we can’t resist spending our pennies on. The Anti Rih-issue is already sold out, but OG fans have their pick of bundles, ranging in price from $100 to $140. Oh, and some Rih-issues come with two records, so maybe add our guide to 33 RPM versus 45 RPM to the card for any newbie audiophiles. Then again, … Unapologetic slowed down could just be what the world needs until R9. —ZH

No, I don’t have a Zoom setup yet, thank you for asking. Instead of rearranging your home to have the most ~aesthetic~ décor situated directly behind you (or else reveal a mountain of Coke Zero boxes crushed in the corner), get yourself and your household of capitalist slaves a RuPaul’s Drag Race backdrop. Enter every meeting like the first queen in the workroom. Good morning, Mr. Boss Man, let’s get sickening! —ZH

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Celebrity and Pop-Culture Merch Worth Gifting This Year