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The 2010s were an epic decade for red carpet fashion, as they brought us some of the most outrageous gowns in recent history (we’re looking at you, Lady Gaga) as well as some spectacular examples of modern Hollywood glamour and a handful of naked dresses too. Here are 24 of the most memorable red carpet moments from the past decade—including the good, the bad and (of course) the ugly.
Lady Gaga’s meat dress at the MTV Video Music Awards
Lady Gaga had already established herself as a fashion rule-breaker before 2010, but this bizarre ensemble really took the beef cake. Gaga’s dress, shoes, hat and purse, designed by Franc Fernandez, were made entirely from raw beef and butcher’s twine. It was a sartorial statement that represented a responsibility to stand up for what we believe in or risk becoming no different from a slab of lifeless meat. It was named by Time as the top fashion statement of 2010 and the look even has its own Wikipedia page. The dress has since been preserved as jerky and is being kept in Gaga’s archives.
Lady Gaga arriving at the Grammys in an egg
Perhaps determined to outdo the prior year’s iconic meat moment, Mother Monster (as she’s called by her fans) chose to be carried by four beige-clad male models and an alien-esque woman while sitting in an enormous cloudy egg. Gaga did not emerge from said egg until she took the stage to perform a rendition of her single “Born This Way” and to accept the award for Best Pop Vocal Album of the year. Every aspect of the evening created a social media storm with a wide range of reactions stretching from those calling it spectacular performance art to those who were just incredibly confused.
Kate Middleton steps out as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
When Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the ARK 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner in June 2011, it was their first formal engagement following their wedding, which took place less than two months prior. All eyes were on Middleton to see what she would wear as an official member of the royal family and representative of the crown. If the gorgeous deep blue Issa dress she wore to announce her engagement or her custom Alexander McQueen wedding gown hadn’t already sold the world on Middleton’s sartorial prowess, then this Jenny Packham sequined stunner certainly did the trick. Needless to say, the new duchess did not disappoint.
ANGELINA JOLIE’S ONE-LEG STATEMENT
It was the leg that launched a thousand memes. To present the award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, Jolie chose to wear an architectural black strapless gown by Atelier Versace. However, it wasn’t the marked juxtaposition between the deep black dress and her porcelain skin that grabbed our attention, but the oddly wide stance at which she stuck her leg through the slit. While unconventional poses on the red carpet aren’t entirely out of the ordinary, Jolie maintained the same exaggerated stance when she took the stage, leading to a spur-of-the-moment tribute by The Descendents writers Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who also stood akimbo with their legs awkwardly propped after Jolie presented them with their award.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s minimalist caped gown at the Academy Awards
We find it interesting that the two most memorable gowns to come out of the 2012 Academy Awards were both worn by women who were attending as presenters—not nominees. Paltrow’s white Tom Ford cape dress was one of the most talked-about looks of not just the event, but of the entire year. Her sleek ponytail and single statement cuff created a picture of elegance and became the Goop founder’s best-dressed moment of the decade.
Jennifer Lawrence and the ball gown that later betrayed her
Lawrence’s textured ball gown by Dior Couture paired with a delicate lariat (worn backward) would’ve landed her on every best-dressed list even if she hadn’t won the Oscar for Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook that year. But as she was walking up the steps to receive her award, her feet got caught up in all that extra fabric, causing her to trip. As she later explained to W Magazine, “[I was] waiting to hear if my name was called, and I kept thinking, cakewalk, cakewalk, cakewalk. I thought, ‘Why is cakewalk stuck in my head? And then, as I started to walk up the stairs…I realized my stylist had told me, ‘Kick, walk, kick, walk.’ You are supposed to kick the dress out while you walk, and I totally forgot because I was thinking about cake!” Oh JLaw, don’t ever change.
Anne Hathaway’s simple pink number at the Oscars
Another big winner that same evening was Anne Hathaway, who walked away (in a custom Prada gown and $10 million worth of jewels) with the award for Best Supporting Actress for Les Misérables. Comparisons were made to Gwyneth Paltrow’s famously ill-fitting pink Ralph Lauren gown at the 1999 Oscars, but regardless of tailoring, both women ended up winning while wearing blush-colored gowns. Joke’s on you, haters.
Kim Kardashian pregnant and looking like your grandmother's couch
Kim Kardashian has never been one to play by the rules, but this moody floral number with matching full-length gloves by Givenchy proved to be too much for the critics to handle. Kardashian was Kanye West’s plus-one at the Met Gala (oh, how times have changed) and was eight months pregnant with the couple’s first child, North. The jokes started rolling out on Twitter almost immediately, causing Kardashian to spend much of her ride home crying. Now this would readily be considered one of Kardashian’s more tame sartorial choices, but for 2013, this was about as wild as it got.
LUPITA NYONG’O’S CINDERELLA MOMENT AT THE OSCARS
She may have only just starred in her first film, 12 Years a Slave, but Nyong’o’s Best Supporting Actress win coupled with this dreamy Prada gown solidified her spot as Hollywood’s newest It-girl. In a red carpet interview, she explained that the light blue had reminded her of her native Kenya and that the dainty embellishments and pleats were inspired by Champagne bubbles. The whole look left us with the image of a modern-day Cinderella that we won’t soon forget.
Rihanna in the most fabulous naked dress of all time
What does one wear when the CFDA anoints you as a Style Icon? If you’re Rihanna, the answer is crystals and little else. The singer turned fashion and beauty mogul put all other naked dresses to shame with this Swarovski-encrusted Adam Selman design. The matching cap and gloves and faux-fur stole (you know, for modesty’s sake) only added to the impossibly luxe feel of a look we’re convinced no one else could ever pull off.
Rihanna surprises in princess pink
Speaking of going big, RiRi’s pink Giambattista Valli gown at the Grammys was one of the biggest hits of the night. The last to arrive on the red carpet, she wore a voluminous, girlie gown that was departure from her typically edgier style from years prior. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about RiRi in the past ten years it’s that she’s full of surprises, especially when it comes to fashion.
Rihanna's spot-on cape at the Met Gala
Rihanna was one of the few Met Gala attendees to wear a Chinese designer to the event, where the theme was “China: Through the Looking Glass.” Created by Guo Pei, her imperial yellow caped gown took two years to make and was discovered by the singer when she was researching Chinese couture online ahead of the event. Yes, some people compared it to an enormous pizza or fried egg, but the truth is that this gorgeous, on-theme ensemble is still remembered as one of the best Met Gala looks in its entire 71-year history.
Beyoncé arrives fashionably late at the Met Gala
It was assumed that Rihanna would be the Met Gala’s unofficial sartorial winner, but that was only because Beyoncé hadn’t yet arrived. Queen B showed up two hours late but offered proof that she’s always worth the wait. Her strategically bejeweled dress by Givenchy didn’t quite manage to top Rihanna’s extravagant look, but it did cause a frenzy all its own. From her super-high blonde ponytail to the gorgeous clusters of gems that both covered and accentuated her curves, Beyoncé’s look has since gone down as one of our favorite naked dresses ever.
Cate Blanchett’s bank-breaking gown
This Armani Privé stunner has to be our all-time favorite dress worn by Blanchett. The color, the silhouette, the embellishments—everything came together to create a gorgeous ethereal and mermaid-y effect. But if you’re going to wear a dress that costs more than $100,000, you better hope it looks this perfect. Yes, this gown is one of the most expensive to ever walk the Oscars red carpet (jewelry not included), and it wasn’t even the first six-digit gown Blanchett had ever worn to the annual event, but if you ask our opinion, it was worth every penny. Although, to be clear, the dress was loaned out for the event, not purchased.
Bella Hadid wears a slit up to there at the Cannes Film Festival
Hadid had really only just become a household name (outside of the fashion world) in the year or so before she attended Cannes in 2016, but her choice of dress for the premiere of Unknown Child went viral overnight. The custom Alexandre Vauthier Couture gown wasn’t just backless and low cut, it also included a side slit that went practically up to the model’s waist, revealing hip bone and all. Twitter went wild with jokes about how careful Hadid must have been to avoid a wardrobe malfunction. The trick? “The dress has a built-in silk bodysuit [and] top-stick tape is always a good idea,” Hadid’s stylist Elizabeth Sulcer told Vanity Fair.
Leslie Jones in Christian Siriano at the premiere of ‘Ghostbusters’
You may not remember this exact dress, but we bet you remember the controversy that preceded it. As one of the stars of the female-led Ghostbusters remake, SNL cast member Leslie Jones should have had her pick of designer gowns to choose from for the film’s premiere. But as a 49-year-old, non-sample-size woman, finding someone to dress her proved extremely difficult, a fact she lamented on Twitter. Luckily for Jones, and the rest of us, Christian Siriano sprung into action and whipped up a custom red gown for Jones. Siriano is now one of the most popular designers on any red carpet, having dressed Nicki Minaj, Shailene Woodley, Angela Bassett, Sarah Jessica Parker and even Michelle Obama.
Beyoncé and Blue Ivy have a mommy-and-me moment
Fresh off the success of her album Lemonade, Beyoncé showed up at the MTV Video Music Awards fully prepared to demonstrate why it is we call her Queen. She stole the night with a surprise performance, gave a voice to multiple black female activists and mothers of gun violence victims, and managed to have an adorable mini-me moment with her 4-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy. The two showed up in coordinating Francesco Scognamiglio Couture sequined dresses; Blue Ivy’s featured a tulle skirt (and matching high-tops), while Beyoncé went all out with feathers. If we weren’t into the idea of mommy-and-me clothing before this, we definitely were afterward.
Millie Bobby Brown’s Audrey Hepburn moment
We now know Brown as a fashion maven in the making, but it wasn’t until we saw her in this ballerina-inspired custom creation from Calvin Klein 205W39NYC at the Emmys that we really took her seriously. As Brown told Teen Vogue, “After hearing I was nominated, I knew it had to be something special.” And special it was, blending Old Hollywood glamour with millennial spunk by way of a bandana belt and spangled heels that weren't too high for a 13-year-old.
Ruth Negga makes a super-stylish debut at the Academy Awards
This was Negga’s first Oscars nomination and, in fact, her first time attending the event, which meant all eyes would be on the newcomer to see what her red carpet style might be. Ahead of the event, Negga’s stylist Karla Welch told The Hollywood Reporter the look would be “simple and elegant and perfect for the Oscars. There’s a quietness to the look, but it’s major.” And, girl, she was spot-on. The custom Valentino gown paired with a ruby-encrusted Irene Neuwirth crown and bright blue ACLU ribbon made for an unforgettable ensemble we still can’t get over.
The 2018 Golden Globes blackout
In the midst of the entertainment industry’s Me Too and Time’s Up revelations, the women of Hollywood decided to band together and wear black to show solidarity for those who had been taken advantage of, overlooked or abused. or abused. And they did so by wearing black. The decision came just weeks before the event, causing a bit of a commotion for those who had been working on their award show looks for months. But the end result was a red carpet that was just as gorgeous and fashionable as any other, but with a much stronger message of resilience and support, and a promise to make a change.
Cardi B and her baby bump at the Met Gala
First Kim Kardashian, now Cardi B—it appears to be good luck to attend your first Met Gala with a baby bump. The hip-hop star wore a pearl- and gem-embellished gown with matching gloves, choker necklace and headdress designed by Jeremy Scott, who went as her date in a coordinating bedazzled suit. Though she was no stranger to statement-making outfits before the event, this was one of the first times Cardi had the chance to show off her high-fashion chops.
Tiffany Haddish’s white Alexander McQueen gown
In an age when it’s considered news if a celebrity wears the same thing twice, Haddish’s very public rewearing of this Alexander McQueen piece was more than just getting her money’s worth—it was a feminist statement about the ridiculous expectations we put on female celebs. She was first photographed wearing the $4,000 dress (that she purchased herself) at the premiere of her breakout film Girls Trip, then again to present awards at the Oscars and the MTV Movie and TV Awards, then again during her monologue as the host of SNL, as a guest on David Letterman’s talk show and finally in the trailer for Nobody’s Fool. As Haddish put it, “I feel like I should be able to wear what I want, when I want, however many times I want, as long as I Febreze’d it.” Amen, sister.
Cardi B makes a vintage statement
This Madonna-meets-clam-shell gown was originally part of Thierry Mugler’s 1995 collection and was a very unexpected choice for the Grammy winner. It brought an air of ’50s elegance and campy charm to the Grammys red carpet, thanks to the addition of pink elbow-length gloves and a pearl headpiece. The vintage gown was later included in the Metropolitan Museum’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibit, with more than one attendee commenting that it actually looked better on curvaceous Cardi than it did on the mannequin at the museum.
BILLY PORTER REINVENTS BLACK-TIE DRESS CODE
Although Billy Porter was well known in the theater world years before, it was his bold red carpet choices and moving performance in Pose that made him a mainstream star in 2019. In particular, this custom Christian Siriano tuxedo gown took all the things we love most about men’s and women’s red carpet attire and blended them into one stunning, modern, gender-neutral ensemble. This singular look launched us into a new era of bold fashion choices from the men of Hollywood, and we can’t wait to see how this moment continues to unfold.