The red carpet is filled with action as the stars strut their stuff in front of the cameras. But before that is when the real action happens, as the glam teams perfect the A-listers' hair, makeup, and gowns. Yet not even the best beauty products and crew in the world can save a questionable style choice from becoming the talk of the town. So let's take a walk down memory lane and reminisce over some of Hollywood's most daring looks that have left the fashion world split in two.
Cardi B Wins The Grammys
When New York rapper, singer, songwriter, and all-around star, Cardi B, walked down the red carpet at the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2019, she wore a dress that flowed almost as well as her rhyming. The vintage Thierry Mugler couture gown transformed Cardi into Venus, emerging from a shimmering pink oyster shell, complete with a scaled gold bodice and a pearl hat and necklace combo. That's one way to leave people feeling shell-shocked!
Cardi, aka Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, won the illustrious Grammy award for the Best Rap Album for Invasion Of Privacy, becoming the first solo woman to win the rap album Grammy.
Katy Perry Lights Things up
Katy Perry raised the roof and stole the limelight when she attended 2019's Met Gala Celebrating Camp at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. She stole everyone's thunder in a gold armor-plated Fallen Angel outfit at a previous outing. The year before that, she relished dressing up as a giant hamburger! Katy is well known for camping it up, and she definitely lit up the
red pink carpet dressed as Moschino's giant chandelier.
Apparently, Katy roared with laughter when a reporter asked her, "Is that a chandelier on your head, or are you just pleased to see me?"
Amber Rose Is a Shining Vision
Nowadays, Amber Rose, aka Amber Rose Levonchuck, is famous as a model. But before she was a celeb in her own right, she was best known for dating Kanye West, aka Ye. The voluptuous beauty stepped out at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards draped in a revealing silver chain-link dress. At the time, she was married to rapper Wiz Khalifa. Since then, she's dated Machine Gun Kelly and Def Jam record label exec Alexander Edwards.
It's a good job no one at the awards ceremony mentioned her crew cut hairstyle. Because if they did, Wiz might have shouted, "Take my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth!"
Beyonce Had Rhinestones in All the Right Places
The date was May 4th, 2015. The place was New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event was The Met Ball. The theme was "China: Through The Looking Glass," and the star was Beyoncé Knowles. She practically floated across the red carpet in a shimmering Swarovski-embellished Givenchy gown. Yet, because of all the rhinestones, gems, and rocky crystals, it was actually one of the heaviest gowns she's ever worn.
The former Destiny's Child singer won everyone's hearts and minds that night, and the look has gone on to become one of her most popular Met Gala appearances.
Kim Kardashian lit up social media when she attended the 2021 Met Gala. The theme was "Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion," and Kim later admitted she was perplexed by Balenciaga's creative director Demna's vision for the event. Quite understandably, Kim failed to see why she should cover up her face. We can only guess that Demna was inspired by The Gimp from Quentin Tarantino's seminal 1994 film Pulp Fiction!
Kim nearly missed the whole event. At first, her entourage couldn't find her in the dark. Then, when they did eventually find her, they were told: "The Gimp's Sleeping." We're sorry for the dad jokes.
Carmen Electra Did It First, Not Kim K
It may be twenty-plus years since Baywatch star Carmen Electra was at her peak, but she looked positively electric at the 1998 M.T.V. Movie Awards. She looked so electrifying that her look inspired Kim Kardashian to wear a similar ivory backless, torso-less satin dress. The only thing holding the dresses together was a transparent string at the back. On seeing the dress, Carmen posted a side-by-side photo on Instagram for comparison.
But far from being upset that Kardashian had copied her style, Carmen stated she still owns her 1998 dress and that she was flattered that Kim would remake her iconic outfit.
Rita Ora Was Running Late
Rita Ora was the Hostess with the Mostess as she hosted the 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards. Throughout the glitzy evening, she actually wore thirteen eye-catching ensembles as she showed off her "natural and authentic" presenting skills. The British singer, real name Rita Sahatçiu Ora, kicked off proceedings by performing while wearing a fluffy white robe, a white towel, white sneakers, and £6 million ($7.5 million) of Lorraine Schwartz jewelry!
But if you thought she came straight from her hotel bathroom or was inspired by Nirvana's song "Come As You Are," think again. Her short robe (she changed into a longer one after singing) was designed to show off her tanned and toned legs.
Kendall Took the "Art Of The In-Between" Theme To Heart
Here's glamorous model, media personality, socialite, and daughter of Kris Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner, Kendall, hiking up her fabulous dress as she gingerly negotiates the stairs to the 2017 Met Gala. Don't you just hate it when you have to hold up your dress to reveal your perfect derrière? That particular year's exhibition examined the work of Japanese avant-garde fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and the theme was "Art Of The In-Between."
And Kendall must have taken the theme to heart as her dress was so revealing that we can see in-between most of it!
Rihanna Finds Inspiration in 18th-Century Punks
Now, this is how to steal the show at the "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" event. Fashion critics from Vogue magazine reported that Rihanna's sculpted gown was "inspired by 18th-century punks and consisted of floral fabrics, layered and pulled apart like petals." The same team summed it up best when they said it was "a full-on fashion fantasy." We might be biased for RiRi, but she totally rocked the red carpet.
According to Baudelaire's Encyclopedia of 18th Century Punks, they all carried parasols to protect their faces from the sun. Of all people, you'd have thought Rihanna would have remembered her Umbrella!
Megan Left Nothing to the Imagination
Megan Fox walked the red carpet to the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards with style. Arriving with her musician boyfriend, Machine Gun Kelly, the actress wore a curve-hugging, completely see-through custom Mugler midi dress with subtle shimmery embroidery. In doing so, she channeled Rose McGowan's famed "naked" dress from the 1999 VMA Awards. Underneath, Megan wore an embellished silver thong and accessorized her dazzling look with Lorraine Schwartz earrings and Jimmy Choo heels.
This is certainly one red carpet look for the history books and arguably one of the actress's best so far.
The World Will Never Forget This Lady Gaga Look
Lady Gaga caused quite the stir when she arrived at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in designer Franc Fernandez's infamous meat dress. Yes, that's right, her outfit was a dress made entirely from cuts of raw meat. Producers were left scratching their heads and asking, "Is there steak on her head?" The meat dress was so controversial that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) president Ingrid Newkirk issued a statement concerning the controversial outfit.
In the aftermath of the event, vegan Ellen DeGeneres hilariously presented Lady Gaga with a bikini and skirt made from lettuce and various other vegetables!
Happy Birthday, Mr. President
It's that lady again! Here's Kim Kardashian posing for a photo opportunity at the 2022 Met Gala in New York City. This year, the theme was "In America: An Anthology of Fashion," and this time, she wasn't inspired by the all-American Carmen Electra. Instead, she was inspired by the most American thing she could think of: Marilyn Monroe. Kim shocked the fashion world by wearing Marilyn's infamous glittering dress, accompanied by platinum blonde hair.
Marilyn first wore the dress to serenade President John F. Kennedy by singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" on his 45th birthday in 1962. The dress was sold at auction for $4.8 million and has to be stored in a darkened vault at exactly 68 degrees with 40-50% humidity!
J-Lo's Frog-Green Dress Was the First to Go Viral
Who remembers J-Lo sporting this iconic emerald silk chiffon dress (now worth $100,000 to $200,000) at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards? Can you believe it was way back in 2000? The dress, which plunged in a V-shape down to below her navel, landed Jenny From The Block on the front page of newspapers. It was probably the first dress that went viral. But instead of breaking the internet, J-Lo's helped build it!
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt credited the dress with inspiring the tech company to create Google Images after it became the most popular search query they'd ever seen.
Björk Looked Swan-Like
Many people have caused a catwalk stir, but no one quite like Björk! The wonderfully eccentric Icelandic singer wore a swan dress to the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001 and then pretended to lay an egg on the red carpet. Designed by Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski, her frock was "a full-body stocking that was covered with a giant swan whose neck wrapped around her with its head and beak resting on her breasts."
Commentators talked about the dress for weeks, with some claiming the stunt was "the year's fashion faux pas." That said, in 2008, the UK's Daily Telegraph ranked the dress the ninth most-iconic red carpet dress of all time.
Nicki's Got It so She's Flaunting It
Here's the Queen of Hip-Hop, Nicki Minaj, stopping traffic at 2018's MTV Video Music Awards at New York's famous Radio City Music Hall. The rapper pulled off a completely see-through sheer dress showing off a cream bodysuit with black pipelining underneath. From the back, the bodysuit features criss-cross straps to almost cover her booty! She topped off the look with a matching choker and waist belt from Off-White.
Throw in some hoop earrings, diamond-accented jewelry, and heeled metallic sandals, and Nicki turned a few heads, causing a few traffic accidents.
Lizzy Gardiner Wears Real Credit Cards
Want to feel old? This is Lizzy Gardiner arriving on the Oscar's red carpet in 1995. That was the 67th Academy Awards. We recently celebrated the 92nd Oscars ceremony, and we'll celebrate the Centenary this decade. The Australian costumier, who won the Best Costume Design award for her flamboyant The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert designs, shimmered in a dress made from 254 gold American Express cards.
If you think she looked like a million dollars, well, it turns out that all of the American Express credit cards were real but had expired.
Billie Eilish's Toilet Trouble
Billie Eilish arrived at the Oscars wearing a ruffled, off-the-shoulder black custom Gucci gown defined by several layers of fabric and an exaggerated silhouette. But not everyone was happy about it. One Tik-Tok critic labeled Billie as one of the worst-dressed celebrities at the Oscars, quipping, "I've had enough of her sh*t." In true Billie style, she replied with a video of her own, flipping off the camera while sitting on the toilet!
Billie and her brother Finneas took home the Best Original Song Oscar for their title track from the 007 film No Time To Die. Do you think that Tik-Tok critic has ever won an Oscar for writing and performing a James Bond theme song? No, we thought not.
Bella's Controversial Golden Lungs
As Yves Saint Laurent famously said, "Fashions fade, style is eternal." And to prove the point, here's stunning American model Bella Hadid at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in 2021 in an equally stunning, floor-grazing Schiaparelli wool gown. Designed by Daniel Roseberry, the plunging neckline perfectly frames a gilded brass necklace inspired by the human lungs. Never mind the human respiratory system; it looks more like an upside-down Yggdrasil tree.
If you don't know what Yggdrasil is, it's the sacred, eternal tree that leads to the nine realms of Norse mythology! And Bella looked so magical; she transported us all to another world! But not everyone thought so - in the midst of the COVID pandemic, wearing golden lungs felt privileged and out-of-touch to some.
Miley Came In Like A Wrecking Ball
Miley Cyrus knows how to make an entrance! Or should we say break an entrance? In 2014, when all songs seemed to be about minerals like Diamonds and Titanium or objects like Umbrella or Wrecking Balls, Miley demolished the entranceway to Brooklyn's Barclays Center by arriving on a wrecking ball! Only kidding, but it would have been quite the sight! Okay, but back to the topic at hand: here she is at the newly-renovated Barclays Center, attending the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.
Miley shone bright (like a diamond) in a sheer and sequinned strapless Mugler gown. She topped off the look with matching gloves and a titanium blonde mullet.
The Kardashian-Jenner Dream Team
You've heard of The Dynamic Duo and The Magnificent Seven; well, let us introduce The Terrific Trio of Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner at the 2019 Met Gala. Kylie wore a feathered purple Versace gown with exaggerated pom-pom sleeves and a matching lilac wig. Kim's tousled, damp hair, wet-look skin, and beaded droplets falling from her tight dress were inspired by Sophia Loren's 1957 movie Boy on a Dolphin.
Last but not least, Kendall opted for a heavily-feathered tangerine Versace gown with sheer panels completed by Victoria's Secret Angel wings.
For Paris Hilton, Less Is More (Unless You're Talking About Money)
Sometimes less is more. At least that's what we think Paris Hilton thought when she showed up at the 2003 MTV Movie Awards dressed for Venice Beach! The socialite, heiress to the Hilton Hotel Empire, pop culture queen, and reality TV star wore a skimpy aqua blue two-piece that was described at the time as "part bikini, part wrap." Yet, while some fashion writers balked at her outfit, we have a different view.
When it comes to wearing your bikini and a wrap to a prestigious awards ceremony, we say there's nothing wrong with that!
Irina Shayk Brought Only the Bare Necessities
For those who hadn't heard of model Irina Shayk before, there was no better way to make a name for herself than by setting the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on fire! Just like Kendall Jenner, Russian beauty Irina Valeryevna Shaykhlislamova revealed her perfect form to the world by almost bearing all in a divine see-through mesh dress. But don't worry, it wasn't all transparent; the other half covers her up!
Irina wasn't the only attendee to almost bear all. British warbler Rita Ora wore a similar see-through dress to the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party, revealing her tattoos and no underwear!
Veronica Vega Was a Walking ATM
The MTV Video Music Awards have graced such renowned venues as Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. So, it's safe to say no one expected much when they came to the Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, in 2019. Until Veronica Vega showed up, that is! The Floridian singer, rapper, and dancer wore a silver chain link bra that barely covered her boobs and a skirt made from oversized dollar bills.
The Love & Hip Hop: Miami star paired the wild skirt with patterned stiletto boots and shades. To top off the glitzy look, she wore her platinum blonde hair up in a high ponytail.
Emily Ratajkowski Sparkled From Head To Toe And Ear To Ear
If you don't know Emily O'Hara Ratajkowski, she shot to fame on the Nickelodeon series iCarly. Fast forward a few years, and the now-ravishingly handsome model, actress, and author showed off her impossibly lithe figure at 2019's Met Gala. That year's theme, "Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion," was an ode to all things over the top, and Emily certainly achieved that by channeling Cher's original naked dress from the 1970s.
Emily stole everyone's thunder in a halter-necked custom Dundas dress featuring a full-bodice cut-out, open back, sheer silhouette, small train, and feather headdress. Strands of crystals made sure she sparkled from head to toe and from ear to ear!
Cara Delevingne's Sparkly Surprise
At the star-studded Met Gala event, model-actress Cara Delevingne had a special fashionable surprise concealed beneath her clothes. She made her striking appearance in a red Dior Haute Couture suit, accompanied by a matching walking stick and platform heels. To everyone's surprise, she then shocked everyone by removing her jacket, unveiling her chest adorned with dazzling gold body paint. She was also wrapped in dazzling gold chains and other jewelry, anchored by a thick gold necklace.
Delevingne sparkled under the lights with an abundance of rhinestones in a cat-eye pattern around her eyes, complemented by a shimmering eyeshadow. This unforgettable look comes in a string of successes she's worn since her debut in 2011.
Heidi Klum's Cannes Cutout
With her extensive experience as a model spanning decades, Heidi Klum has the expertise to present a captivating look that never fails to grab attention, and her latest ensemble that she showcased at Cannes is no exception. Her striking yellow dress was from designer Zuhair Murad's spring 2023 couture collection, which had a lighthearted theme, supposedly presenting a wardrobe suitable for a Riviera summer. Appropriate for Cannes, then, but the dress itself had people talking.
Although the exciting pop of color was a welcome addition to the red carpet, fans weren't in agreement about the various cutouts around the dress. Some said they were awkwardly placed, but they probably do offer Heidi a breezier experience.
Ashanti Gives Big Bondage Vibes
Singer Ashanti didn't look "Foolish" as she unleashed her inner dominatrix on the red carpet at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards. Her bondage-inspired Michael Costello ensemble comprised a black bikini with sparkling straps covering her toned midriff and legs. At the same time, a tie-side maxi skirt boasted gold accents, and she boosted her height with a pair of black stilettos. Finally, she was accessorized with matching gold jewelry and earrings.
But the part you can't see is the singer's braid which was so long, it touched the floor. That said, pint-sized Ashanti is only 5'3" in heels, so it wasn't that long!
Gaga, We're Not In Kansas Anymore
Lady Gaga looked out of this world on the red carpet at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2010. The Poker Face singer's sparkling intergalactic pre-ceremony look was designed by Armani Privé, but she also looked like she'd been picked up by a Kansas tornado and dumped in Oz as Glinda, The Good Witch of the North. Speaking of which, Gaga took to the stage to perform with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road singer Elton John.
As well as their whirlwind performance, Gaga picked up her first two Grammys and wore a second geometric, origami-inspired Armani Privé outfit.
Rita Almost Blended in With the Red Carpet
Rita Ora was so well-camouflaged on the red carpet at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards that it was sometimes difficult to spot her! Wearing a sexy, negligee-inspired Donna Karan Atelier crimson silk gown with a deep plunge neckline, backless silhouette, and hip-grazing slit, the chanteuse was the ultimate lady in red. The dress revealed so much skin that she must have named her left leg her +1 for the evening!
Rita accessorized with a diamond choker necklace, high-impact lashes, and a ruby-red lip, plus a platinum-blonde, slicked-back hairstyle. That night, she performed ‘Black Widow’ with Iggy Azalea.
Vanessa's Bridgerton Meets Batman Look
Vanessa Hudgens arrived at The 2022 Met Gala looking like Bruce Wayne had been binge-watching too much late-night Bridgerton and had a fever dream! Moschino's gown covered every inch in black see-through material and lace. But it was the flowing lacewing cape that gave Bruce bat-inspired PTSD flashbacks. Hudgens topped off the look with silver Messika jewelry. The question is, did she steal the jewels from Bruce Wayne or Lady Danbury's safe?
The actress and singer wore her hair in an elegant braided bun accompanied by a champagne smokey eye color and pale pink lipstick, just like Batman!
That Time Amy Schumer Looked Like a Walking Gift
Amy Schumer hosted the 94th Annual Academy Awards in 2022 with Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes. And the hilarious stand-up comedian and actress arrived in style, gracing the red carpet in Oscar de la Renta's figure-hugging, long-sleeved, plunging neckline, dark blue dress with bedazzled sequin-lined black velvet bow detail. After posing for photos, Amy was joined by her chef husband, Chris Fischer (equally at home in a tuxedo!), and they shared a kiss for the cameras.
But her gown was branded a trainwreck on Twitter, with some red carpet watchers saying the gown looked like it came from a high street store rather than a luxury fashion house. Ouch!
Jennifer Lopez Ready for the Wild West
Two decades after helping create the internet with her green dress, Jennifer Lopez stole the 2021 Met Gala in a wickedly Wild Wild West outfit. The theme was Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion, so J-Lo rode into town dressed as an iconic, all-American cowgirl! Under her cowboy hat, she wore a custom embroidered long dress with a faux fur shearling cape, leather necklaces, bracelets, belt, and a giant silver coin necklace across her décolletage.
Jennifer's sensational Western-themed outfit also included a small nod to The Navajo Nation, as her jewelry included a Navajo-stamped silver ring.
Beyoncé and Her Mini-Me
Beyoncé wasn't the only member of the Carter-Knowles family to grace the red carpet at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at NYC's Madison Square Garden. Beyoncé and Jay-Z's adorable four-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, also stepped out. While the songstress wore a figure-hugging, feathery Francesco Scognamiglio number, Destiny's Child upstaged her mom in an $11,000 Mischka Aoki custom tutu dress and topped off her fairy look with a tiara!
The tiny princess paired her dress with “Millennial pink” high-top sneakers by Giuseppe Zanotti Junior, which cost $565!
Halle Berry's Mesh Moment
If Björk won The Daily Telegraph's ninth-best red carpet gown of all time, who won eighth? Well, that prestigious honor goes to Halle Berry at the 74th Annual Academy Awards. The same year she won the Best Actress Oscar for Monster's Ball (2002); she wore a gorgeous sheer mesh and floral embroidered top half, which plunged down to become a voluminous deep-red dress. The creation was designed by Lebanese designer Elie Saab.
Cosmopolitan magazine cited the dress as one of the Best Oscar dresses of all time, and it is so famous it even has its own Wikipedia page!
How Could Bella Feel Embarrassed Looking This Chic?
Bella Hadid knows how to cut a dashing figure on the red carpet, as this is her second entry on our list. Here she is attending a screening of The Unknown Girl at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival 2016 in Cannes, France. Bella stole the limelight in a backless, sleeveless Alexandre Vauthier red gown. The chic, elegant number featured a plunging neckline and a slit that reached all the way up to her hips.
But Bella later admitted that she felt embarrassed by the outfit; it gave people false perceptions of her personality. She added the dress was more suited to her "more Va-Va-Voom" alter ego.
She's Just Being Miley
Miley Cyrus turned plenty of heads when she attended the 2014 amfAR LA Inspiration Gala honoring Tom Ford. The event, which raises money for AIDS research, was held at Milk Studios in Hollywood. The singer wore a black Tom Ford dress with a sheer top and a crisscrossed, sequined, strapped bodice that lent the outfit a BDSM dominatrix feel! We wonder what Miley's mom, who accompanied her daughter to the event, had to say!
The mom and daughter team posed for photos, with Tish Cyrus looking like a vision in a flowing vintage silver satin gown but still somewhat embarrassed by her daughter's provocative fashion sense!
Kim's Good Old Days
Love her or hate her, even her most ardent haters would be forced to admit that Kim Kardashian simply looked sensational at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. Accompanying her nominee husband, Kanye, she posed for photos in a beautiful red-and-black print Resort 2015 mini-dress, complete with a plunging neckline to show off her ample cleavage and a built-in cape. If you're wondering, it came from one of Kim's favorite design houses, Pierre Balmain.
She styled the look with black woven cage shoes from Balmain and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. For hair and makeup, she sported bombshell waves and sultry nude lip color.