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The most daring looks celebrities have worn on the VMAs red carpet over the years

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At the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, Madonna shocked the nation with her see-through wedding dress and risqué performance.

Madonna at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 14, 1984.

Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images


Her white, sleeveless dress had a corset bodice, layered skirt made from heart-print lace, and a belt with a metal buckle that said “Boy Toy.”

She wore the dress to perform “Like a Virgin” and, according to Mental Floss, had a wardrobe malfunction on stage when her shoes fell off.

“So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this,’ and I dove on the floor and I rolled around,” Madonna told Jay Leno in 2012, the publication reported.

Cher took sheer fashion a step farther in 1987, wearing a mesh minidress with sparkling details.

Cher at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 11, 1987.

Cher at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 11, 1987.

Barry King/Getty Images


Her dress had a sweetheart neckline, criss-cross straps across its bodice, and a fringe miniskirt.

She wore a velvet blazer atop the garment, sheer tights underneath, and added purple makeup to her look.

Actress Julie Brown arrived at the 1989 event in a unique, pink-and-black dress and statement hat.

Julie Brown at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 6, 1989.

Julie Brown at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 6, 1989.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Getty Images


Both her hat and the skirt of her sleeveless dress were shaped like disks, which gave her outfit a silhouette unlike any other on the red carpet.

Brown accessorized with white tights, black pumps, and matching, elbow-length gloves.

Toni Braxton shined on the 1994 red carpet in a sheer, gold minidress.

Toni Braxton at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 8, 1994.

Toni Braxton at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 8, 1994.

Ron Galella/Getty Images


While the top of her dress was glamorous with chain-style straps and an intricate bead design across the chest, its skirt was daring. It was made from a see-through fabric that showed her white underwear.

Braxton completed the look with shimmering tights, gold kitten heels, and matching, metallic jewelry.

Geena Davis also wore gold in 1996, though her dress reached the floor and was backless.

Geena Davis at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 5, 1996.

Geena Davis at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 5, 1996.

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images


Even from the front, the actor’s gold dress looked bold thanks to two cutouts at her hips.

She also wore gold heels, a shining bracelet, and red lipstick with the outfit.

There were lots of daring looks at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, including those worn by the Spice Girls.

The Spice Girls at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 4, 1997.

The Spice Girls at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 4, 1997.

Terry McGinnis/Getty Images


In particular, Geri Halliwell stood out in her American flag-print leotard, fur-lined coat, and platform sneakers.

Mel B and Emma Bunton also opted for daring fashion. The former chose high-waisted shorts with a leopard-print coat worn with no undershirt, and Bunton donned a sheer, lingerie-style minidress with sky-high sneakers.

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Lil’ Kim were also there in crystal-covered bras and striking skirts.

lil kim left eye

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Lil’ Kim at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 4, 1997.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images


Whereas Lopes’ bra was made from gold fabric and decorated with gems, Lil’ Kim’s was crafted more like crystal chainmail.

Their skirts and accessories were also different. Lopez wore a floor-length skirt made from sheer netting, gold armbands, and matching heels, while Lil’ Kim wore a miniskirt made from crystal fringe and clear, platform sandals.

Rose McGowan wore one of the most daring looks ever seen on a VMAs red carpet in 1998.

Rose McGowan at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 10, 1998.

Rose McGowan at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 10, 1998.

Ron Galella/Getty Images


Her dress was entirely see-through, with a layer of black chainmail across the front and loose strings of the material on the back.

The actor and activist told Yahoo in 2020 that the 1998 VMAs were the first big public appearance for her after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.

“I just felt like, ‘Oh Hollywood, would you want a body just that you can use and throw away? Then I’ve got one for you!’ It was like at the end of ‘Gladiator’ when he comes out and he’s like, ‘Are you not entertained?’ And if you look at me, I did it with power,” she told the publication.

“I didn’t do it with my hand on my hip to be sexy,” she continued. “Most of the women that are dressed like that on the red carpet, it’s a calculated, sexy move to turn people on. Mine was like, ‘I’m gonna f*** with your brain. I’m going to blow your brain up.’ And nobody had done it.”

Lil’ Kim had one of the most vibrant and shocking outfits at the 1999 event.

Lil' Kim at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 1999.

Lil’ Kim at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 1999.

Trevor Gillespie/Getty Images


She wore a lilac, single-sleeve jumpsuit, which only covered half her chest. On the other side, she wore a shell-shaped pastie that matched the shell-shaped sequin pattern across her outfit.

The musician also made her ensemble daring by wearing a purple wig that complimented her look.

That same year, there was no missing Pamela Anderson’s tight corset and larger-than-life hat.

Pamela Anderson at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 1999.

Pamela Anderson at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 1999.

Evan Agostini/Getty Images


Though both pieces were bold on their own, Anderson made her outfit even more memorable by adding a tan pair of sequin-covered pants.

She also wore statement blue eye shadow, a choker necklace, and black sandals.

Lil’ Kim stole the show once again in 2000.

lil kim

Lil’ Kim attends the MTV Video Music Awards held at the Radio City Music Hall on September 7, 2000 in New York City.

Robin Platzer/Twin Images/Online USA


Like Cindy Crawford’s look in 1992, Lil’ Kim’s outfit was seemingly inspired by bondage styles.

It included a strappy red leotard with cutouts across its bodice, platform sandals that laced up from her ankles, and a long trench coat made from red, PVC plastic.

Following her lead, Christina Aguilera posed on the red carpet that year in a skin-baring outfit.

Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 7, 2000.

Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 7, 2000.

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images


She wore a black, asymmetrical dress with an open bodice and wrap skirt, both of which showed her “whale tail,” or the strap of her thong.

Aguilera also wore gold sandals, a matching armband, and bold, red streaks in her hair.

When Christina Aguilera returned to the VMAs in 2002, she wore a scarf wrapped around her chest as a halter top.

Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 29, 2002.

Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 29, 2002.

Evan Agostini/Getty Images


The outfit has become one of her most iconic. It also featured a super-short denim miniskirt, a white newsboy cap, and pointed leather boots.

Of course, Aguilera also wore her signature, dark hair streaks at the time.

By 2003, Aguilera was the unofficial queen of daring fashion at the annual event.

Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2003.

Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2003.

Evan Agostini/Getty Images


She wore a vibrant minidress that night, and it was covered from top to bottom in pink, bedazzled feathers.

The musician also wore hot-pink blush to match her dress, an updo hairstyle, and crystal-covered heels.

Paris Hilton sparkled on the 2004 red carpet while wearing a gown made from see-through mesh, pink feathers, and crystals.

Paris Hilton at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 29, 2004.

Paris Hilton at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 29, 2004.

Peter Kramer/Getty Images


The sheer bodice of her dress gave the illusion that she wasn’t wearing a top — only crystals. Its skirt, on the other hand, was hard to miss.

Ice-T and Coco seemingly coordinated their bold looks for the 2005 show.

Ice-T and Coco at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2005.

Ice-T and Coco at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2005.

Evan Agostini/Getty Images


While Ice-T wore a yellow suit with a black shirt and shoes, Coco donned a black dress covered in small, circular cutouts.  She wore no bra or shirt underneath, adding only a thin thong.

To complete their looks, Ice-T wore a fedora and Coco sparkled in diamond jewelry.

Lady Gaga had multiple outfit changes at the 2010 event, but it was her meat dress that stole the show.

Lady Gaga wearing her infamous meat dress in the press room at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

Lady Gaga at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010.


Getty Images



Gaga wore the controversial dress in support of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy repeal, which President Barack Obama signed in 2011, to allow gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans to openly serve in the armed forces.

“We decided to do the meat dress because I thought to myself, ‘If you are willing to die for your country, what does it matter how you identify?'” she told British Vogue in 2021.

It was carefully crafted with meat sewn onto a corset, Gaga told the publication, so that it was “actually a garment.”

“They didn’t just drape meat over me and cross their fingers,” she said.

Nicki Minaj mixed countless prints and fabrics for her one-of-a-kind outfit in 2011.

Nicki Minaj at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2011.

Nicki Minaj at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2011.

Steve Granitz/Getty Images


Designed by Amato Couture, Minaj’s dress was constructed from sharp, metallic pieces that covered her printed leotard and pink-tulle skirt. 

She also wore mismatched socks in place of shoes, a sky-high wig, a face mask, and an oversized necklace with an ice-cream-cone charm.

Ciara stunned in 2013 with an optical-illusion gown that made her look as if she were only wearing jewels on her body.

Ciara at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 25, 2013.

Ciara at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 25, 2013.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images


Givenchy designed her dress, which had long sleeves, a form-fitting bodice, and feathers attached to its skirt.

Amber Rose bared it all in 2014 when she wore a garment made entirely from silver chains.

Amber Rose at the MTV Vide Music Awards on August 24, 2014.

Amber Rose at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 24, 2014.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images


The metallic outfit was shaped like a dress, with a halter strap, bralette-style bodice, and a loose, flowing skirt. 

She paired it with a silver thong, matching sandals, and glowing makeup.

Miley Cyrus hosted the 2015 VMAs, and wore more accessories than clothes.

Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015.

Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images


Cyrus’ outfit included a one-piece leotard made not with fabric, but metallic belt straps across her chest, and dangling crystals as its skirt.

To complete the outfit, she added a silver pair of heeled, thigh-high boots.

Miley Cyrus returned to the VMAs red carpet in 2020 wearing a see-through dress covered in tiny mirrors.

miley cyrus 2020 mtv vmas

Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2020.

Vijat Mohindra/Getty Images


She wore the strapless gown, designed by Mugler, over two black undergarments.

Cyrus also wore sheer gloves covered in black beads, strappy sandals, red lipstick, and her signature mullet.

Kim Petras chose head-to-toe latex for her second MTV VMAs appearance in 2021.

Kim Petras VMAs

Kim Petras at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2021.

ANGELA WEISS/Contributor/Getty Images


As she told Entertainment Tonight at the time, her outfit was meant to do more than surprise audiences.

“I love the sex with the cross, I feel like it makes a statement,” Petras said. “I feel like a lot of stuff has been happening to sex workers and people being taken off platforms and stuff. It’s unnecessary.”

Whereas Megan Fox went with a barely-there Mugler dress that hugged her body.

Megan Fox VMAs

Megan Fox at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2021.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP


The dress was so sheer and form-fitting that it created the illusion that she wasn’t wearing anything. It was also covered in thin rows of sparkles.

She wore it with gold sandals, neutral makeup, and wet hair.

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