Neo Yokio might be one of the most screen-shottable shows in recent history, and Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas is certainly no different. Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas is a modern spin on the classic holiday story-within-a-story genre: home and sick for the holidays, pink-haired protagonist Kaz Kaan (voiced by Jaden Smith) asks his mecha-butler, Charles (voiced by Jude Law), to tell him a story to raise his spirits.
Charles then tells our young protagonist a story about himself, sure, but also about the spirit of Christmas and commerce, possession, and our earthly possessions. There are quotables galore, from well-heeled heel Arcangelo Corelli and Kaz’s tete-a-tetes about podcasts and original content to lovable side characters Lexy and Gottlieb (voiced by Desus and Mero)’s foray into the streetwear universe, Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas is the holiday film that fashion deserves right now.
Fashion, as always, is a motif throughout the series. Richard Aoyade’s sales clerk, Herbert, and his colleagues work at Bergdorf Goodman, doting upon their fashionable clients’ every whim. Neo Yokio’s version of Bergdorf Goodman is a brick-and-mortar temple. Customers are spritzed in the face with the latest Dries Van Noten cologne (top-note of bergamot, middle-notes of saffron, and finished with sandalwood). That cologne is real by the way—and it’s a collaboration with Frederic Malle.
It’s the place where Kaz, Charles, Lexy and Gottlieb all buy matching Polo Bear sweaters, a knowing nod at both the Ralph Lauren classic and Palace’s street-savvy flip of the staple, to wear to Arcangelo Corelli’s Gorgeous Xmas Sweater Party.
“Fam,” says The Kid Mero’s Lexy, “the line between Gorgeous and Ugly grows thinner by the day.” Truer words have never been spoken by an anime character.
What better way to celebrate the conscious consumerism of the season—the same holiday spirit this special hilariously comments on—than by breaking down the best fashion references in Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas?
Sure, a $2,000 hospital gown might seem a bit steep, but it doesn’t seem too far-flung for Demna Gvasalia. The hottest piece of the season is a perfect in-joke, both for the fashion-savvy and those who watched the show’s first season: “The Helena,” as it’s called, is based on the gown worn by the possessed Helena St. Tessero, who terrorized the Met Gala.
Her diamond-encrusted bandage, “the perfect accessory to complete the ensemble,” according to one of Bergdorf’s personal shoppers, is similarly on-the-nose. It’s both a riff on the pace of fashion trends and VETEMENTS’ tendency to re-contextualize the most mundane items in a luxury setting. As the sales associate notes in the special, the dress is almost sold out, too.
While Neo Yokio has plenty of fictional storylines rich with demonic possession and Magistocratic anarchy, some of the best stories are rooted in real life. The Dominos Rolex that the Sales Clerks stumbles upon in the Watchman (Jamie Foxx)’s kiosk is very much a Real Thing. As reported by Thrillist, the pizza delivery company has had a program called “The Rolex Challenge” since the 1980s. If a particular franchise reaches an aspirational sales-quota over a four-week period, the staff would receive a custom-made Rolex Air-King for their troubles. Talk about a grail.
The reference seems almost too good to be true—a Dominos x Rolex collab has all the exclusivity and high-low aesthetics that streetwear fawns over. Like so many beloved collaborations that have been rerun and retro’d over the years, though, the Dominos Rolexes have changed: nowadays, as Thrillist notes, the Dominos logo has been moved from the face of the dial to a less-visible position on the wristband. Lesson learned: Nothing is sacred; nothing is safe—not even the Dominos logo.
Lexy and Gottlieb’s subplot focuses on the duo’s decision to get into the streetwear game after their canned caprese martini falls flat, to mixed results. Faced with failure, the boys pivot: slapping the Caprese Boys logos on tees and sweatshirts, buying into the hype of the streetwear bubble.
Like any streetwear brand worth its salt, the duo set up a pop-up installation, complete with Instagrammable backdrops, begging influencers to take selfies with them “for the culture.” When Arcangello calls for a citywide boycott of material goods in the days leading up to Christmas, Lexy and Gottlieb realize they may have made a mistake.“Is streetwear considered a material good?” asks Lexy. “We’re ass-out on clout!”
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas explores the city’s latest fixation: competitive shopping. The 87th Annual Neo Yokio Secret Santa is an opportunity for all of the city’s top-ranking bachelors to out-gift one another. And haven’t you heard? The city’s commerce committee lifted the spending cap this year, Kaz remarks with the exasperated air of an underdog sports fan bemoaning league politics. Among the items suggested by his dedicated Bergdorf Goodman personal shopper are a solid gold pair of Gucci slides, which Kaz deems as not luxe enough to please his discerning giftee, Arcangelo Corelli.
Meanwhile, Corelli boasts that he “paid the commerce commissioner 50 racks just to make sure” he got to be Mr. Kaan’s Secret Santa. The showdown is almost too much for young Herb the Sales Clerk to bear: “I can’t believe my two favorite bachelors will be exchanging gifts and hammering beefs!” The breathless announcers of the 87th Annual Neo Yokio Secret Santa ooh and aah over the bachelors’ lavish gifts include a matte-black G-Wagon with Forgiato rims, and 1,000 shares in Mercedes Benz (“Equity—the gift that keeps on giving!”)
When Charles begins his story, he starts by reciting the Old Testament (or you know, the actual Christmas story), much to Kaz’s dismay. The young, pink-haired protagonist wants something closer to home, something more modern. “I do love original content,” he remarks. Later, when the fictional Kaz encounters Arcangello at Bergdorf, Corelli says “The word around town,” according to Corelli, “is you love original content. You should listen to my podcast!”
As Kaz wanders the aisles of Bergdorf, taking in the scent of twice marked-down khakis in the back of the Polo store, the Great Demon conjures a grim vision. “You think duck boots can save you from the coming flood, Mr. Kaan?”
Arcangelo’s pod, Arc of the Covenant, ticks all the boxes of the form: a self-referential theme song (“Friend Like U,” sung by show creator Ezra Koenig), witty AKAs (Gucci Jesus, The Blond Ichiban, the One Man Boy Band) and even an ad-read! Honestly, Arcangelo getting a crowd of fans to chant “fuck material goods” just before plugging his own podcast was good, but Corelli telling his audience to use the promo-code FUCKMATERIALGOODS for a holiday discount of $5 on orders of $200 or more? That’s chef-kissing-fingers levels of sublime. Buonissimo.
Now check out these tips on how to stay chill during the holidays.