To mark the first ever VMAs, Madonna strode the red carpet in the outfit she would later wear while writhing about on the stage during her performance of “Like a Virgin.” Designed to shock, it did, standing out among tuxes and pseudo-prom dresses. Celebs have looked forward to the VMA red carpet as a chance to get creative ever since. It’s the anti-Grammy Awards. Non-stuffy, targeted at the youths, and a little more open to titillation and weirdness. It’s almost competitive, but of course, there are many who seize their moment on the red carpet for the love of the game and the satisfaction of their more exhibitionistic impulses. It’s all of these people that we’re choosing to highlight here over the true fashion barrier breakers as we countdown the very wildest red carpet moments in VMA history. Because who doesn’t love a meat skirt?
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee (1999)
To place this in context, this was one year after Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee divorced and eight years before Lee and Kid Rock took to fisticuffs during Alicia Keys VMA performance. Their general appearance says “This isn’t a fancy dress party?” Lee went with a flasher costume, choosing to wear a trench coat, some Converse low tops and a knitted hat. But, look at that lining. That is a Burberry coat; that is a coat that cost two grand. This is a flasher who sends his stylist to Bergdorf Goodman to rustle up some samples and then stands in the mirror opening and closing the trenches to assess fit, comfort, and whooshing. Anderson’s costume is less clear. She donned beaded Capri pants, a corset, and a giant pink feathered hat (a full two years after Jamiroquai brought the oversized hat back… to f*cking stay). She really is the best. Together, the two make up the superhero duo that we neither need nor deserve: Pink Hat and the Perv.
Pete Wentz and Simi The Semi-Exploited Psycho Monkey (2006)
In 2006, Fall Out Boy was at the start of their fame. They had both performed and won the MTV2 award the previous year for “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and were nominated for two awards at the 2006 show. To distinguish himself from the other boys, Pete Wentz, the bassist of the band, donned a cape and a Capuchin monkey named Simi. From where I sit, the cape is the more egregious choice with its fancy clasp and all its wool-ness. However, the monkey proved the more troublesome. When agitated by the flashbulbs and crowds, it started to bite people. In an interview, Wentz declared the monkey was a “bad, bad, bad, bad idea.” At least the Simi waited for another awards show to bite Shakira.