The MTV Video Music Awards have always attracted envelope-pushing fashion, starting with the first VMAs in 1984, when Madonna scandalized everyone’s parents with her “Boy Toy” belt and lacy bustier.
Who could forget Rose McGowan’s naked dress in 1998?
Lady Gaga’s meat dress in 2010 is in a class by itself.
The VMAs let me down tonight, though. Nothing seemed truly inspired to me — not even Amber Rose’s early Halloween costume.
I’m normally a big fan of in-your-face costumes, but this left me cold compared to the smart sartorial and political statement Amber Rose and Blac Chyna made in 2015.
As a result, I don’t have a combo Best Dressed/Wear What You Want award to give! As I’ve explained before, the Best Dressed/Wear What You Want award doesn’t require that a look be “beautiful,” or “flattering,” or in any way acceptable to the vast majority of people. I don’t deduct points if you do look pretty, but “interesting” is more important to me than “attractive.” And, tonight, nobody had that Best Dressed/Wear What You Want je ne sais quoi. However, I do have a regular (degular shemgular) Best Dressed, because Cardi B — in her first public appearance since having her baby — looked absolutely luscious in an amethyst dress by Nicolas Jebran.
I like purple and green paired together, and Cardi’s pixie hairstyle guaranteed that my eyes went to Cardi’s emerald earrings immediately.
Of course, the earrings and matching rings were by Lorraine Schwartz — she’s been decking out celebs in big bold emeralds at least since Angelina Jolie wore a pair of Schwartz earrings to the 2009 Oscars. If you see big emeralds, it’s safe to assume Lorraine.
I actually had a moment of thinking, “Wait … are they all wearing the SAME emerald earrings?” But I checked and confirmed all the emerald earrings I’d written about in the past were different Schwartz designs. Here are Angelina’s from 2009, for instance.
The Schwartz emeralds that Zoe Kravitz wore to the 2018 Golden Globes do have an emerald-cut (rectangular) emerald like Cardi’s but it’s not the same earring at all.
I confess I was hoping they were all wearing the same earrings like a luxury version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Schwartz! That’s a movie I’d like to see. Anyway, props to Cardi and her stylist Kollin Carter, who put together a second beautiful look for her for the show itself.
The red dress, by Azzi & Osta, was what Cardi was wearing when she accepted the MTV award for Best New Artist — well deserved!
Despite the dearth of interestingly outrageous fashion, the VMAs did provide a different kind of outrage after my main woman Madonna gave an unfortunately Madonna-focused tribute to Aretha Franklin. I’m seriously feeling this tweet. I laughed at this one, though.
Is this supposed to be an ARETHA or MADONNA tribute????? #VMAs
Is this revenge for the #QueenOfSoul dying on her 60th birthday? pic.twitter.com/k8jHh35n84
— 🇺🇸🇭🇹 Only4RM 🇭🇹🇺🇸 (@Only4RM) August 21, 2018
I mean, I did say that Aretha’s death upstaged Madonna’s 60th birthday last week. Maybe this speech is a moment of perverse trending-on-Twitter genius, if you believe there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Or maybe I made a big mistake years ago when I didn’t talk to Madonna at the Vanity Fair Oscar party. We might have become best friends and then a decade or so later, she would have asked me to read her VMAs speech ahead of time, and I would have been like, “No, girl. No.” Hmmm. From now on, I’m going to make a bigger effort to befriend celebrities just in case they urgently need an editor down the road!
UPDATED AUG. 21, 2018, TO ADD: Madonna says that her Aretha Franklin tribute that didn’t seem like much of a tribute was that way because it wasn’t supposed to be a tribute. So there!