From the carpet of the Met Gala to the runways of fashion week, there is plenty of fashion to go around, but award show fashion is some of the most fascinating to see for the variety alone. There are the loudest, most boisterous celebrities wearing feathers, tulle, and sometimes even meat, and then there are influencers wearing last year’s prom dresses. The MTV VMAs have established their place as one of the most fashionable awards shows in the world. There was Cindy Crawford’s Versace bondage dress in 1992, Lil Kim’s one-shoulder purple jumpsuit and matching pastie in 1999, and, of course, Lady Gaga’s meat dress in 2010. The 2021 VMAs were very on-brand in that regard. Some attendees understood the assignment of walking such an iconic red carpet, while others were just as bland as ever.
With a resurgence of maximalism and camp fashion, even tacky is better than boring. Say what you want about the “worst dressed” lists, but they’re always full of fun looks, so instead of highlighting the Avril Lavigne’s and Cyndi Lauper’s of the night, who landed themselves on many worst-dressed lists, I think it is important to highlight the people who just looked uninspired.
This is one of the outfits that I found to be extremely boring. The top half could’ve been cool a few years ago, but with more men stepping out in fun colors and patterns, this look just falls a little short.
This is a look that would not have made best-dressed or worst-dressed but fits perfectly into the “just boring” category. The fit of this suit is decent, and he looks good… but I’m bored. Something could have been added to this to make it more interesting and fun to look at. A patterned shirt could’ve easily given it a fun dad-at-a-beach-wedding vibe, or a colorful accessory could’ve made the rest of the outfit pop. I just wish he would’ve done more.
As influencers, Charli and Dixie have more of a point to prove on a red carpet. Unfortunately, I don’t think this point was proven. Dixie’s look was very bland, and the style of the top and bottom felt disconnected. Charli had the more colorful look, but the actual style seemed a bit outdated and just… boring for a red carpet. There was nothing impressive about either of these outfits.
My favorite outfits of the night made it clear that they understood the expectations of the VMAs. After all, how can you go to an award show where Lady Gaga wore a meat dress and not pull out all the stops?
This Dolce & Gabbana suit perfectly epitomizes the steps being taken in men’s fashion. Out with the boring black suits, and in with the sparkly red ones! The jewelry and the detailing on his face were just the icing on the cake. No more boring men’s looks!
For me, both her Versace dress from the red carpet AND her performance look was “best dressed” worthy. The structure and color of the first dress showed that, for her first VMAs, she is a force to be reckoned with in fashion. Her performance look was a very cool and edgy punk-prom-queen look, which fits perfectly in line with Olivia’s overall aesthetic. She looked stunning but also didn’t play it too safe, which is the ideal combination for me.
As the host of the show, Doja Cat has various fun, outlandish looks for the night. At one point, she had a chair on her head. I love how willing she was to go all out. But it was her red carpet look that I loved the most. The Vivienne Westwood ensemble was daring and received mixed reviews, but the fact that she was able to take that risk while still looking amazing is exactly why she is one of the best-dressed in my eyes.
Chloe’s futuristic, metallic Marni dress sparked a lot of controversies, landing her on many of the night’s worst-dressed lists, but I am obsessed with this look. It is perfect for a show like this. Yes, it would be considered tacky if you saw someone in your 9 am lecture wearing it. However, for the VMAs, it made a statement and looked fabulous. Halle’s white Mônot cutout dress, on the other hand, was a more sleek and elegant approach. Something like this could’ve easily been boring, but the cutouts and the structure of the gown made the look perfectly contrast her sister’s.
Kacey’s Valentino couture look is my favorite of the night. The hat was a showstopper. But I also love the structure of the dress and the contrast of the red gloves with the purple. This is the kind of look we were waiting for, and I’m so glad she gave it to us.
With this being the year of award shows “returning to normal,” I was glad to see that the fashion did not disappoint. Even the more boring looks were nice to see because a boring red carpet is better than none at all, and without them, we would have less appreciation for the metallic gowns and purple feather hats of the night!