VMA Fashion Has Jumped All the Sharks

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Believe it or not, 10 years ago I was in Miami to cover the VMA after-parties and gifting suites. It was a whole different world back then. Jessica Simpson was still with Nick Lachey. (I know.) Dave Navarro was still with Carmen Electra. (Yes, I barely remember that, too.) Gwen was still with Gavin. (Sniff.)

Another notable difference? Back when I covered the VMAs, the attendees wore actual clothes. Yes, there’s always a costume element at play in the VMAs. But even the most outlandish costumes were grounded in reality — or at least, humor.

Well, sanity and irony have finally waved bye-bye. Last night’s red carpet was one of the most depressing displays of misguided sartorial attention-seeking  I’ve ever seen.

Miley Cyrus, former child star
Miley Cyrus, former child star

I know I’m a fossil when compared with the target demographic of the VMA telecast. But in what universe does a couple of sad chandelier crystals equal a skirt? (This is like the Shop Jeen version of bridal.)

If I wanted to be analytical — which I don’t — I could argue that this outfit is Miley building a new feminist power structure and that her absence of underwear lays bare the double standard between men and women. (Who can forget Howard Stern’s similar bare-assed turn as Fartman?)

But let’s face it: This outfit exists to titillate and become viral. It’s genius marketing, but it once again reminds me that pop culture loves to boil women down to their physical parts alone.

Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato

First, let’s just congratulate Demi on wearing an actual dress.

Sadly, the dress in question has a rather robotic quality — and Demi doesn’t look comfortable at all. It’s a shame, because she looks great, even if I wish she had skipped the snooze-worthy nude pumps. (What is this, a Monday morning meeting?)

Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner’s dress is remarkable similar to Demi’s — long sleeves, textured. But Kylie’s reminds me of a macrame coaster or a mothball-scented afghan. It’s also ludicrously short, which adds a ton of bulk to her frame. (Bulkier items look more balanced when they hit the knee and cinch at the waist — this does neither.)

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

Now, let’s gaze our eye of Sauron on this next monstrosity. This olive gown combines the pirate wench laces and cargo pockets — as appealing together as arsenic and cyanide.

Jeannie Mai
Jeannie Mai

At my age, I don’t recognize half of the supposed starlets on the red carpet. But this dress was enough to stop me in my tracks. It’s a like a Where’s Waldo of crazy. The football jersey number paired with the printed baroque wallpaper is insane enough — but you add the gladiator belt, and we’re in another stratosphere.

Britney Spears
Britney Spears

Poor Britney. Her body may be banging, but I’ve lost hope that her taste level will ever improve. (Pretty sure Nomi Malone wore this exact outfit in Showgirls.) Aside from the outfit, can we discuss Brit-Brit’s slightly deranged grin. She’s been wearing this exact grimace for YEARS — her grinding teeth could crack skulls.

Mahogany Lox
Mahogany Lox

This is another attendee whose identity was a compete mystery to me until I Googled her. (She’s a YouTube sensation.)

The outfit is innocent enough — although I’m not crazy about those flammable, Forever 21 fabrics. But why on earth would she want a purse embroidered with the logo of a pimple fighter? (I hope she got paid, but who wants to be that kind of sell-out right out of the gate?)

What did you guys think of this crop of VMA attendees? I’d love to hear your thoughts!