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It's all about costumes, not fashion, on the red carpet at VMAs

Booth Moore
Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

We knew she was going to be just left of NSFW, but what we didn't know was that she'd be dressed like Xena: Warrior Princess on acid.

Exhibitionist extraordinaire Miley Cyrus outdid herself on the MTV Video Music Awards rainbow carpet Sunday, wearing a silvery showgirl costume by Versace that was part loincloth, part chandelier.

By her side was Jeremy Scott, the L.A.- and Milan-based fashion designer who has his own namesake label as well as being creative director of Moschino. He was the designer muse for the evening, and boy, did he make the most of it. Not only did he retouch the Moonman awards statuette, giving it a rainbow cast, but he also designed the rainbow carpet and provided pre-show commentary, all while shirtless in a rainbow-striped Moschino tuxedo. Wonder how or if all the exposure will translate into sales of his collections?

But this wasn't really a night about fashion.

Besides signaling to the universe that suspenders were the new pasties, Cyrus proved what we'd known all along — the VMAs were about costumes, not clothing.

Where else would you see Amber Rose, famous for being nearly nude in a chandelier showgirl costume of her own at last year's VMAs, arrive covered head to toe in slut-shaming graffiti spelling out the words "golddigger," "whore," "stripper" and more? One social media commentator suggested that she might just as well have scrawled, "Look at me, look at me, look at me!" all over her body instead. And that's true. Only apparently, Rose was using her body as a billboard to raise awareness for a cause — the fight for gender equality, specifically the Oct. 3 SlutWalkLA event being organized by her foundation.

Taylor Swift, she of the Vanity Fair best dressed list, took the athleisure trend to a costumey place, wearing Ashish houndstooth crystal jogger pants and a long-sleeve crop top (because if anyone owns the crop, it's Taylor).

Swift showed up with her "Bad Blood" girl posse to walk the carpet, and they all slayed it, including model Gigi Hadid, looking like a superhero in a gold jacquard gown and matching briefs by British designer Emilia Wickstead, actress Hailee Steinfeld in a sophisticated white jumpsuit by Stella McCartney, singer Selena Gomez in a sleek, black metallic knit Calvin Klein column gown and model Cara Delevingne in a starry fringe Saint Laurent mini dress.

Z LaLa (yeah, I had to look her up too) seemed to be doing her best Lady Gaga imitation in a gold sequin gown with sleeves puffed up like Mylar party balloons, along with a conehead hairdo and seriously spiky eyelashes. No one really seemed to care. By contrast, Vanessa Hudgens had a sweet boho moment, wearing a blush pink Naeem Khan gown, with a matching blush pink cast on her broken hand. Aww!

Also among the evening's nearly nudes? FKA Twigs in Atelier Versace-meets-S&M and Nicki Minaj in a sheer gold beaded LaBourjoisie gown, cut to below the navel.

Because the nearly nude look wasn't just for the gals, Frankie Grande ("Big Brother") showed up shirtless like Scott, only his chest was gilded. On top, he wore a kooky-but-likable crystal-embroidered silver shorts suit with his rainbow hair.

But the rest of the guys dropped the ball. (Where was Pharrell on the carpet when we needed him?) Which prompts the question, why do women dress up for the red carpet when men don't bother? There's a topic for Miss Rose.

Case in point: Kim Kardashian stuffed her pregnant body into a military-inspired Balmain gown, while Kanye West, winner of the evening's Video Vanguard Award, looked like he'd just rolled out of bed in sweats from his Adidas collaboration.

Jeezy, Yeezy.

booth.moore@latimes.com

Twitter: @booth

MORE ON THE 2015 VMAs:

VMAs' showstoppers: Nicki Minaj and Kanye West seize the moment

MTV VMAs 2015: Five things you probably missed on the red carpet

Photos: VMAs 2015

 

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