A Brief History of Surprisingly Stylish MTV VMA Outfits You May Not Remember but Should

Take a look at these style moment wins over the years

By Taylor Stephan Sep 01, 2015 7:44 PMTags
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When it comes to celebs and good VMA fashion choices, we'll take what we can get.

Celebs want to look good on the red carpet...most of the time. However, as you may have noticed, the MTV Video Music Awards are known to deliver some, well, alternative results. For a show where shock value is king, (take the very first show in 1984 where Madonna performed live on stage with a tiger in a wedding dress, or just two years ago when Miley Cyrus donned a skin-colored latex suit) stars continue to up the ante on what is deemed "the norm."

As boundaries continue to be stretched for pure entertainment value, we for one are surprisingly content to see celebs refine their style choices on the VMA red carpet. In celebration of another successful award show, we call out the best fashion moments of all time that are just as couture as Lady Gaga's meat dress—but perhaps a tad less obvious.

In contrast to everyone else's grunge-centric outfit choices for the evening, Sharon Stone's pink Valentino dress and bouffant hair were a welcome departure. In our eyes, the Basic Instinct star stole the show, ironically not following edgier trends favored by celebs like Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.

Gwyneth Paltrow reigned in 1996 (she attended the Oscars outfitted in a shimmery Calvin Klein sheath dress with then-boyfriend Brad Pitt that same year), so it was no shock that the actress made headlines for her understated VMAs uniform. For the occasion, Gwyn enlisted designer and friend Tom Ford (who was the head designer at Gucci at the time) to dress her in an, edgy crimson suit that set the standard for the forthcoming menswear trend.

By 2001 pop princess Britney Spears was all grown-up and flashing skin in her clothing-optional, signature style. On her road from America's Sweetheart to sex symbol, Dolce & Gabbana designed a just-risqué enough lace number for a not-so-demure but still classy red carpet entrance. The long-sleeved, thigh-high dress revealed matching black booty shorts and a tube top underneath, setting the precedent for the naked dress so popular today.

Considering the fact that the 2007 Las Vegas ceremony was the smallest VMAs in history with 13 less awards and only four onstage performances—it was definitely Rihanna's year (her hit "Umbrella," which won both Video of the Year and Single of the Year that night). The singer might be known for her S&M skintight getups, but in 2007 she looked more feminine than we're used to in a floor-length Armani Privé fuchsia satin gown, proving that the R&B diva can be just as classy as she is gritty. 

Supermodels ruled the red carpet at this year's VMAs. Leading the pack in the modest-but-not club was supermodel Chrissy Teigen, who appeared in a high-necked, black lace Marchesa gown. Taylor Swift's model pals all stood out too, but it was model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid who topped most best dressed lists with her canary yellow Emilia Wickstead bodysuit-cape hybrid, simultaneously bringing attention to an up-and-coming designer and making the point that a deviation from traditional red carpet attire doesn't have to be tacky to be cool.