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Most Outrageous Fashions From MTV VMAs Past — From Lil Kim to Lil Nas X (Photos)

The 2023 VMAs will be broadcast live from New Jersey’s Prudential Center Tuesday night and TheWrap will be posting the arrival photos as the stars hit the red carpet.

Musicians are always the biggest red carpet risk-takers; Who can forget Lil Kim’s purple pastie or Lady Gaga’s meat dress? And for the men, Lil Nas X has been turning looks the last few years.

Take a trip down memory lane as we highlight the most outrageous fashions from MTV VMAs past, and see 2023’s looks here.

Gwen Stefani arrives at the 1998 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Gwen Stefani arrives at the 1998 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Gwen Stefani (1998 VMAs)

There’s “no doubt” Gwen Stefani has great style, but this look was too much, from her blue fur bikini, matching hair and platform flip-flops. She’d likely be accused of cultural appropriation for her face jewels and henna tattoos today.

Lil Kim arrives at the 1999 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Lil Kim arrives at the 1999 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Lil Kim (1999 VMAs)

The rapper let it all hang out, with her breast barely covered by a shimmer purple pastie.

Jennifer Lopez backstage at the 2000 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Jennifer Lopez backstage at the 2000 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Jennifer Lopez (2000 VMAs)

Bandana? Check. Hoop earrings? Check. Name necklace? Check. Bejeweled crop top from then-boyfriend Sean Combs’ fashion line? Check. Encrusted belt? Check. Jennifer Lopez incorporated at least a half-dozen aughts fashion trends in a single look.

Macy Gray arrives at the 2001 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Macy Gray arrives at the 2001 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Macy Gray (2001 VMAs)

Taking self-promotion to new heights, Macy Gray wore this gaudy gown to the 2001 VMAs.

Lady Gaga backstage at the 2010 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Lady Gaga backstage at the 2010 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Lady Gaga (2010 VMAs)

Who can forget Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress and boots held together with what appeared to be butcher’s twine? After the event, it was dehydrated into jerky and is now in a museum.

Cher backstage at the 2010 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Cher backstage at the 2010 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Cher (2010 VMAs)

Gaga was presented her Moonman award by none other than living legend Cher, who rocked a mesh bodysuit similar to the one she wore 20+ prior for her “If I Could Turn Back Time” music video.

Nicki Minaj arrives at the 2011 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Nicki Minaj arrives at the 2011 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Nicky Minaj (2011 VMAs)

Before we all donned masks during the pandemic, Nicki Minaj donned one as part of this Harajuku-inspired outfit.

Katy Perry arrives at the 2014 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Katy Perry arrives at the 2014 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Katy Perry (2014 VMAs)

Katy Perry donned this all-denim dress, perhaps paying tribute to Britney Spears’ and Justin Timberlake’s matching denim outfits at the 2001 American Music Awards.

Amber Rose arrives at the 2014 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Amber Rose arrives at the 2014 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Amber Rose (2014 VMAs)

It was Rose McGowan who first brought this trend to the VMAs back in 1998, but her barely there “chain” dress was too racy for us to post in this gallery. Amber Rose wore this more covered-up — and sparkly — version in 2014.

Blac Chyna and Amber Rose arrive at the 2015 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Blac Chyna and Amber Rose arrive at the 2015 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Blac Chyna and Amber Rose (2015 VMAs)

The following year, Rose made a statement — literally — in a nude bodysuit painted with derogatory words made towards women. She and Blac Chyna were trying to raise awareness around “sl-t shaming.”

Miley Cyrus arrives at the 2015 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Miley Cyrus arrives at the 2015 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Miley Cyrus (2015 VMAs)

Former child star Miley Cyrus turned heads in this revealing look with only a silver harness covering her breasts.

Miley Cyrus backstage at the 2015 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Miley Cyrus backstage at the 2015 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Miley Cyrus (2015 VMAs)

Cyrus changed into this inflatable pink dress complete with pig snout hair bow to accept her Moonman.

Kim Kardashian arrives at the 2016 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Kim Kardashian arrives at the 2016 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Kim Kardashian (2016 VMAs)

Kim Kardashian has replicated this “wet” look on the carpet several times, but the reality starlet turned heads in this sheer vintage Galliano dress that hung off her shoulder.

Cardi B arrives at the 2017 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Cardi B arrives at the 2017 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Cardi B (2017 VMAs)

The most outrageous thing about this ivory bustier and pants set is how conservative it is for Cardi!

Lil Nas X arrives at the 2021 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Lil Nas X arrives at the 2021 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Lil Nas X (2021 VMAs)

From the lavender color to the off-the-shoulder silhouette, Lil Nas X broke many fashion norms in 2021.

Lil Nas X arrives at the 2022 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)
Lil Nas X arrives at the 2022 MTV VMAs (Getty Images)

Lil Nas X (2022 MTV VMAs)

The artist returned the following year in an oversized, feathered hoop skirt and matching headdress.

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