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The MTV Video Music Awards dress code is oddly specific. It’s not the time to pull out A Serious Gown like one would at the Venice Film Festival. Instead, celebs opt for camp and shock-factor, pushing the boundaries of what style means to them. From the debut of Madonna’s now-iconic white bustier in 1984 to Lil Kim’s equally iconic jumpsuit-and-pasty combo, the playful red carpet is home to some of the most memorable style moments of all time. For the 2021 VMAs, celebrities are continuing the cheeky streak. Of all the major looks we saw this evening, below are the stars who top ELLE.com’s best-dressed list. Check it out.
Lil Nas X in Atelier Versace
We’ve come to expect nothing but wins from Lil Nas X, and the VMAs were no different. As always, he understood the assignment in a lavender set with a train long enough to carry all of his collective VMA nominations.
Ciara in Tom Ford
While this dress is completely sheer, Ciara’s look is on the tamer side compared to her fellow showgoers. Nonetheless, it’s our favorite all-black look of the night.
Olivia Rodrigo in Atelier Versace
We expected Olivia Rodrigo to apply her pop-punk aesthetic to her red carpet look, but we were pleasantly surprised by this fitted gown. Specifically, we love how the colors remind us of Bianca Stratford’s prom look.
Normani in Patrycja Pagas and Djula jewelry
Because the VMAs is an experimental red carpet, it’s the perfect opportunity to highlight an up-and-coming designer. Normani did just that wearing Patrycja Pagas, and thanks to the “Motivation” singer, we expect to see this designer a lot more in the future.
Tinashe herself admitted that her look was inspired by early 2000s Britney and X-Tina style, but we’re also assuming she looked to Mya’s “Case of the Ex” music video too. Whatever the source material, her leather set stands out from the crowd.
Bretman Rock in Vintage Roberto Cavalli
If this feather-trimmed dress looks familiar, it’s because Aaliyah wore the very same gown to the 2000s VMAs. What can we say, Bretman Rock did his homework (and aced it).
Megan Fox in Mugler and Machine Gun Kelly
There are naked dresses, and then there are naked dresses. Megan Fox opted for the latter, but did Machine Gun Kelly outdo her? We can’t make up our minds, so together the couple rounds out our list of best-dressed celebs of the night.
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