High style arrived at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, for MTV’s Video Music Awards on Aug. 28, with a heavy dose of haute couture worn by Lizzo, Anitta, Jennie Kim of Blackpink and others.
One of the earliest arrivals on MTV’s black carpet was Lizzo, enveloped in a voluminous strapless gown of pleated silk by Glenn Martens for the Jean Paul Gaultier Spring/Summer 2022 haute-couture collection. The artist of the year nominee tweeted, “My stylist: How much fabric do you wanna wear? Me: Yes.”
Indeed, if there’s one element to MTV award evenings that is always appreciated (especially when compared to the relative safety of other current trophy ceremonies) it’s the fearlessness with which the stars and performers approach their fashion choices. Here’s a look at the night’s most stunning looks.
Lizzo in Jean Paul Gaultier
Nominated for five VMAs Sunday night, Lizzo is indeed “Special,” as her latest album is titled, and her work with stylist Brett Nelson likewise exudes that vibe. Lizzo wore a magnificent strapless gown of pleated silk that debuted among Glenn Martens’ designs for Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring/Summer 2022 haute-couture collection. The gown was paired with multiple hoop earrings and ear cuffs by Jennifer Fisher, while her beauty look, by makeup artist Alexx Mayo, including matching navy lips using Charlotte Tilbury’s Rock ‘N’ Kohl Bedroom Black eyeliner pencil and Eye Colour Magic Liner Duo in Super Blue.
Anitta in Schiaparelli Haute Couture
The Brazilian superstar posted simply “Heart of Brazil” on Instagram before arriving on MTV’s black carpet, and while her gown by Daniel Roseberry for Schiaparelli attracted attention for its daring styling, upon closer inspection that was indeed the outline of a heart worn over the singer’s left breast. From Schiaparelli’s Fall/Winter 2022 haute-couture collection, the asymmetrical corset gown is crafted in red silk and attached to a long skirt in red velvet, while the beaded piece is actually a necklace that features a red lacquered anatomical heart pendant adorned with rhinestones. “I have so much love to give, I’m just walking around with my heart out for everyone,” Anitta explained on the carpet. The look was finished with an assortment of jewels by Tiffany & Co., including Schlumberger Apollo diamond ear clips set in 18-karat yellow gold and platinum and an Elsa Peretti bone cuff in gold.
Taylor Swift in Oscar de la Renta
The night’s winner for best longform video for “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version),” Swift opted for the high-wattage look of crystals heavily draped and embroidered on a tulle minidress, from the Resort 2023 collection by Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia for Oscar de la Renta. Diamond earrings by Lorraine Schwartz and Christian Louboutin’s Bombina Pampilla sandals in silver leather with crystal embellishments completed Swift’s look.
Lil Nas X in Harris Reed
British-American designer Harris Reed created two high-profile looks at Sunday night’s VMAs, starting with this look worn by Lil Nas X on the black carpet, which instantly sent Twitter into a frenzy. It’s notable that the look may be an homage to a golden feathered design, also created by Reed, worn by Iman at the 2021 Met Gala — and while Nas is no stranger to look-at-me moments on carpets of every color, this was indeed a show-stopping entrance. Nas paired the design with Christian Louboutin’s Chelsea Stage boots.
Conan Gray in Harris Reed
Conan Gray extended the romantic vibe that’s become a trademark of his videos with this black and white look, also by Harris Reed, from the London-based designer’s gender-fluid demi-couture collection released in September 2021. Gray noted on the black carpet that he particularly loved the platform boots, also a signature of Reed’s aesthetic.
Chloe Bailey in Zigman
Croatian designer Juraj Zigman has gained a following for his work for musicians who include Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha and Fergie, and on Sunday night Chloe Bailey joined that group of glamorous women, wearing a silver beaded metallic gown crafted with Zigman’s signature corset detailing.
Blackpink in Celine, Christian Dior, Chanel and Saint Laurent
The power of being a global ambassador is crazy strong within this South Korean girl group, with each woman expressing her individuality via her own relationship with an A-list fashion house, as seen in the looks the quartet wore Sunday night. From left, Rosé wore Saint Laurent with Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger earrings and rings, Jennie Kim wore Chanel, Jisoo wore Christian Dior with Cartier earrings and ring, and Lisa wore Celine.
Dove Cameron in Paco Rabanne
The best new artist nominee wore a strapless gown in leather and a sheer floral silk from Julien Dossena’s tough-meets-delicate designs for Paco Rabanne Spring/Summer 2023. Cameron’s custom manicure, by New York City-based Juan Alvear (who gained fame for his #NailsByJuan Instagram account) also captured attention on the black carpet.
Sabrina Carpenter in Moschino
Florals might seem like an unexpected trend for the MTV Video Music Awards, but they were indeed out in force on Sunday night, including this look worn by the “Because I Liked a Boy” singer. Carpenter wore a fully embellished sequined floral gown featuring a high neck, keyhole and side cutouts, from Moschino’s Resort 2023 collection. Black platform sandals and an on-trend headband completed the look.
Jack Harlow in Hermès
The multiple nominee and co-host name-checks Hermès in “Parent Trap,” so it only seemed natural that Jack Harlow turned up on the MTV black carpet in a sleek suit crafted of chocolate-hued leather, worn over a draped silk shirt, a look from the iconic French house’s Fall/Winter 2022-23 men’s collection, and accessorized with sunglasses, also by Hermès.