Relive the Most Jaw-Dropping Looks Ever From the MTV VMAs
If there's one event that prompts stars to let their hair down and their freak flags fly, it's the MTV VMAs. To get excited for this year's award show, which will be hosted by Sebastian Maniscalco on Monday, Aug. 26, we're looking back at some of our favorite, most provocative stars who did not disappoint when it came to the most jaw-dropping, skin-baring, and slightly ridiculous get-ups. Just keep reading to view the most flamboyant fashion from VMAs history.
Erin Wasson was not shy to put her figure — and daring style — on display in a sheer black dress as she stepped onto the VMAs red carpet in 2013. She completed her look with a turban-inspired headband and black strappy sandals.
Nicki had a toy chest's worth of playthings attached to her outfit at the 2011 VMAs.
Lady Gaga was no lady at the 2011 VMAs, adopting the persona "Jo Calderone" for her appearance.
Ashanti was pretty in (very little) pink in 2003.
In 2012, Rita Ora wasn't afraid to show some skin in a decadently embellished black and white jumpsuit with a down-to-there sheer panel.
Britney showed us her dominatrix side in '02.
The feathers flew for Christina in '03.
The songstress went voluminous and asymmetrical in 1998.
Nicki Minaj went for more of the inside-out black lace jumpsuit look . . . with a police hat . . . at the 2012 awards.
Earth to Gwen: in '98, Gwen Stefani went space age with a circle skirt and bright blue hair.
Eve's bright red hair matched her boots in 2000.
Who else would wear a dress made entirely of black florets but Ke$ha, right?
In 2001, Janet wore a fishnet top and thigh-high leather boots.
Though demurely dressed, PJ's makeup made quite the statement in '95.
Comedian Julie Brown (not to be confused with former MTV VJ "Downtown" Julie Brown) wore a harlequin-style getup in 1989.
Paula's 1991 outfit was straight up perplexing.
Kim Basinger channeled Sandy from Grease on the red carpet at the 1990 show.
The Queen paired her printed jumpsuit with simple sandals in 1990.
Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie's jeweled cuffs and belt were reminiscent of her father's signature style.
Who can forget Rose McGowan's can't-call-it-a-dress chain getup in 1998? She'll definitely go down in history as the least-dressed VMA attendee ever.
No word on how many rounds of golf Missy played after the 2003 show.
Ahh, Lil' Kim. The pint-size rap legend caught the attention of many (including Diana Ross) with her glittery purple pastie in 1999.
Gaga's now-infamous meat dress drew praise, criticism, and a few gags in 2010.
In 2000, Jenny was still from the block, and wore an all-white outfit to the show, complete with bandanna.
Nicky and Paris Hilton
The LA socialites were dripping in Pepto Bismol-pink in 2002.
We all miss Destiny's Child matching red-carpet ensembles, and this showing of studded leather in 2000 is a perfect example of why.
Despite getting photobombed, Cindy Crawford was all smiles in a fetish-chic gown in 1992.
Tori wore this Madonna-inspired minidress to the 1992 show.
Another victim of the black widow trend of the early '90s, Alyssa Milano added elbow-length gloves to her look in 1992.
At the 1995 show, Janet walked the red carpet in high-waisted pants and a somewhat sporty "pervert" cropped tee.
Alicia Keys's look gave us a lot of lace and leather to deal with in 2002.
Christina arrived at the 1989 show in a floral dress and matching head scarf.
We first met "Xtina" in 2002, when the singer experimented with a barely there denim skirt and hammock-inspired top(?).
Cindy, pictured backstage at the 1997 show with Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear, wore a green snakeskin dress and silver choker.
Jada was all leopard and fur on the red carpet in '97.
If you ever wanted to know what Carmen Electra's profile looked like, here it is. She wore this side-split dress to the 1997 show.
Again we have Lil' Kim, this time rocking a shiny red pleather contraption in 2000.
Pink's 2000 red-carpet look was a complicated mix of denim, gold, leopard print, and her then-signature hot pink hair.
The Spice Girls were famous for their attention-getting outfits, and in 1997, they were dressed to the nines in American flags, leopard print, and sky-high platform shoes.
The Buffy star walked the red carpet in a floor-length floral coat in 1998.
The queen of the deceptive dress, Cher rocked this sheer black number in 1987.
Fleetwood Mac was out in full force in '87, decked out in sequins, velvet, and presumably lots of hair spray.
While performing "Vogue" during the 1990 show, Madonna wore a full Renaissance-inspired getup, complete with powdered wig.
In 1999, Pam wore skinny sequined pants, a bustier top, and a giant pink furry hat. Her then-husband Tommy Lee opted for just a trench coat.
In perhaps the most memorable promotional stunt of all time, Macy Gray walked the 2001 red carpet in a colorful dress heralding the release date of her forthcoming album.
Vanessa Williams donned a paisley, crushed velvet getup in 1992.
Sheryl was a little bit country, and a little bit rock 'n' roll in 2001.
Cyndi's oversize newboy cap and mile-long hair extensions were de rigeur in 1985.
Lil Mama channeled her inner baby in 2007 — she wore a lilac-colored satin dress and bonnet, complete with a Swarovski crystal-studded pacifier.
Then-VJ Ananda showed up on the red carpet in 2000 in a statement-making gold chain top, tie-dye jeans, and a bright yellow floor-length coat.
The ladies of En Vogue showed off colorful blazers, oversize jewels, and lace-up ankle boots in 1992.
Pink walked the red carpet in 2008 wearing a circus tent-like dress and gray hair.
Joanie Laurer, aka "Chyna", took a cue from Wonder Woman in a patriotic leather jumpsuit in 2000.
Lady Gaga walked the red carpet in 2009 dressed in a fringed, feathered gown and top hat.
Cher re-created her video look from 1989's "If I Could Turn Back Time" at the 2010 show, letting us all know that she doesn't look a day over 25.
Drew Barrymore was a cross between Elvira and a flower child in 1995.
We think the model may have been inspired by Rose McGowan's chainmail dress years before this 2014 VMAs appearance.
In 2018, Nicki arrived on the red carpet wearing this completely sheer Off-White look, which came with a barely there bodysuit.