How Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish Rocked the VMAs Red Carpet

MTV turns 40 this year, and this year’s VMAs red carpet made good on a mission to celebrate as only pop and rock stars with crazy-eyed stylists can. Maximalism, of course, won out. But then, along came Billie Eilish to remind us all that a cozy big jumper is the best invention since grilled cheese. (Actually, make them equal.)

One of the night’s first arrivals, Lil Nas X, makes a good case for the rest of us packing up and going home: how is it going to get better than this crystal pantsuit/skirt combination? (Not to mention the hair.)

Call it the Harry Styles effect: Shawn Mendes wore an all-suit with baggy trousers. Another sign of the troubling return of low-rise jeans: Tinashe hosted the pre-show in a lace-up pair.

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Billie Eilish

Delicious red carpet sanity! Some very stylish sanity. For here is Billie Eilish dressing just as one should do—comfortably in slouchy everything, all in black. Big pockets. She will be viewed with such envy by her all her primped and made-up compadres tonight. I bet everyone ends up just wanting to fall asleep on this divine outfit.

Billie Eilish.

Noam Galai/Getty

Kacey Musgraves

Finally, someone located the purple feather cabinet and used it for what it was intended: a hat that will also whoosh right by you! Plus, red gloves! Color blocking and a hat! And she can go straight to the Hello, Dolly! audition afterwards. Thank you, Valentino!

Kacey Musgraves.

Angela Weiss/Getty

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly

As the young people say, Megan Fox (in Mugler) and Machine Gun Kelly (Dolce & Gabbana) have not come to play. Her: a classic piece of barely there garment brilliance guaranteed to get the tabloids frothing. Him: a glittering red waterfall of a suit, with face jewelry.

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly.

Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Doja Cat

The show host arrived in another red leather look by Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood: thigh-high socks and lace-up pumps. She layered her corset top with a draped overlay shawl. Layering!

Angela Weiss/Getty

Bella Poarch

“I can’t wait to show u guys this cute little black dress I’m wearing rn,” the singer tweeted just before the show, in perhaps the understatement of the night. There was nothing subdued about her goth lace pantsuit.

Bella Poarch.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Olivia Rodrigo

One of the night’s most anticipated performers showed up looking, well, fine, in a cutesy sherbet strapless gown. The Atelier Versace dress was very prom-esque, which makes sense given the fact that Olivia Rodrigo only just graduated high school. Still, if any night was the time to bring the drama, this is it. Where are the feathers?

Olivia Rodrigo.

Rob Kim/Getty

Camila Cabello

Let us just say you were going to an awards ceremony, and then leaving on a long trip immediately afterwards. Could you find a dress with compartments attached to it for your stuff? Of course you can, thanks to Alexis Mabille. And if your intentions are more modest, as our colleague Kelly Caminero said: “This is a great dress for sneaking snacks.”

Camila Cabello.

Rob Kim/Getty

Paris Hilton

Somebody has been repeat-watching, rewinding, and dreaming about Showgirls, and learning all the right lessons from it. Just watch out for her near any pearls and stairs.

Paris Hilton.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Normani

We can retire the all-white trend: Normani perfected it in this ab- and leg-bearing skirt suit by Patryc Japagas.

Angela Weiss/Getty

Saweetie

A little dose of beautifully worn Hollywood glam, courtesy of Valentino. The rapper posted an Instagram story filmed in her limo on the event, toasting a glass of red wine. Cheers, especially to her stylist.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Avril Lavigne

The reigning queen of pop punk returned to her throne in a cut-out plaid suit that revealed a bedazzled bra by Area.

Avril Lavigne.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Kim Petras

Kim Petras is wearing Richard Quinn, and what is magical about this the mixture of hippy-dippy dance around the fire, and S & M dungeon. Masks are everywhere. Not the pandemic ones. The bend-over-and-enjoy kind. And now you can wear it with daywear. Thanks Kim!

Kim Petras.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Cyndi Lauper

Frankly, why even bother when Cyndi Lauper is there in the room too? Cyndi Lauper is everything. All in black, cool to the last scintilla of her cuticles.

Cyndi Lauper.

Angela Weiss/Getty

Ed Sheeran

And here we have Ed Sheeran looking very uncomfortable in a Versace blazer. Ed it’s ok, you can just wear a tux next time.

Ed Sheeran.

Angela Weiss/Getty

Simone Biles

Simone Biles is at the VMAs to introduce Doja Cat. All in white, and a champion.

Simone Biles.

Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Flo Milli

Flo Milli turned herself into a disco ball in a mirrored mini dress. Who needs lighting design when you have this glowing dress to light the way?

Flo Milli.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Winnie Harlow

Winnie Harlow coming in hot with that type of outfit you can only wear during breezy early September days: an artfully of-the-shoulder fleece and hot pants.

Winnie Harlow.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Billy Porter

Today’s kids may not remember the original MTV Moon Man, but Billy Porter is here to give them a history lesson. Here, the Pose star shimmered in a tin foil-ish jumpsuit. Great for conspiracy theorists and fashionistas alike.

Billy Porter.

Angela Weiss/Getty

Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian

Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian threw it back to high school yearbook days, and seem to be gunning for Cutest Couple in coordinated all-black outfits. Then they made out on the red carpet because, as they are wont to do.

Travis Barker Kourtney Kardashian.

Angela Weiss/Getty

SAINt JHN

Proof that there is nothing like a handsome fellow in a great pink suit.

SAINt JHN.

Jeff Kravitz/Getty

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