16 Celebrity Red Carpet Looks That Would Be Rejected as Controversial in 2024

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Award ceremonies and red carpets have always allowed stars to flaunt their dresses and showcase their fashion. These celebrities push innovation with unique designs, moving away from the conventional norms and entering the territory of edgy- fashion. In the quest to send messages through their outfits and transcend the convictions of traditional fashion, they often cross the line that may be considered controversial. Modern society has drastically changed; specific attire is considered inappropriate and insensitive to the larger audience. Here are 16 celebrity red-carpet looks that would be rejected as controversial in 2024:  

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Lil Kim: 1999 MTV Video Music Awards

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Lil’ Kim wore a purple one-shouldered jumpsuit at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. Her left breast was exposed by the jumpsuit’s unique design and was only covered with a small matching piece from the outfit. This was a controversial outfit as it was seen as sexually explicit by critics as well as fans alike, who saw it break all boundaries when it came to the red carpet. In contemporary times, such explicit dresses would be considered bold by many in the name of fashion.

Lady Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards

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Lady Gaga wore a dress made of raw meat, designed by Franc Fernandez, at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. This dress was meant as a protest against the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which discriminated against LGBTQ+ people and stood for individual rights. However, today, the use of meat raises questions about animal rights and provokes vegan people. Moreover, using food materials would be considered a waste, disrupting eco-friendly practices.

Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala

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In 2015, Rihanna wore an outstanding yellow empress cape at the Meta Gala. It was designed by Guo Pei, who claimed that the dress took two years and over 50,000 hours to make. However, even back then, Rihanna said she felt like a “clown.” Aside from the memes on the internet about her looking like an omelet, she would face backlash in 2024 for the use of fox fur. It would receive criticism for not abiding by cruelty-free practices, especially from animal rights activists.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the 2021 Met Gala

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In 2021, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a dress by Aurora James with the words ‘Tax the Rich’ to the Met Gala. While her message was taken positively by many, conservatives criticized her for participating in an event that charged $30,000 per ticket. Even though Alexandria was invited for free as a guest of the Met Museum, she is trolled, even today, for her statement because of her lavish lifestyle.

Kim Kardashian at the 2022 Met Gala

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During the 2022 Met Gala awards season, Kim Kardashian rocked the house by appearing in Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday Mr. President” apparel, created by Jean Louis in 1962 for John F. Kennedy’s party. This outfit faced criticism at the time and still causes public outcry today due to the release of images showing the dress being damaged. She would also face backlash for her unhealthy eating habits, as the actress admitted to being on a crash diet to fit into the dress.

Elizabeth Hurley in 1994

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Elizabeth Hurley wore a dress held together by a safety pin at the launch of the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. The outfit designed by Donatella Versace was termed too revealing according to those standards. Even today, a large section of society would not appreciate the dress for its provocative and daring style. While Elizabeth admitted the controversy was “shocking,” many other celebrities criticized the dress, calling it hysterical.

Cher at the 1986 Oscars

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Cher pulled a unique ace up her sleeve in 1986 at the Academy Awards when she wore a hilarious dress designed by Bob Mackie. The actress had her differences with the academy, which began when she was ignored for her incredible performance in the film “Mask.” Her high-slit skirt, horrendous headdress, crop top, and see-through beaded dress would not be appreciated by the public because of its unusual appeal. Moreover, her revenge motif would be viewed as childish and highly immature.

Madonna at Cannes in 1991

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Sometimes, the issue is not about the outfit, as the world has witnessed numerous iconic unconventional styles. When Madonna arrived at the uber-official Cannes Film Festival in 1991, she caused a stir by revealing her cover-up on the red carpet, showing her silk lingerie set with a conical bra. The look, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, who created Madonna’s looks for her Blond Ambition world tour, would be rejected today for its inappropriate nature and sexualization.

Princess Diana’s Cocktail Dress in 1994

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From strikers protesting on the red carpet to celebrities wearing absurd outfits to advocate for a global issue, these events have witnessed many such scenarios. When Princess Diana found out about her husband’s infidelity on national television, she decided to abort her Valentino number and wear a revealing off-shoulder cocktail dress for a 1994 dinner at the Serpentine Gallery. Celebrated by many as a symbol of feminine power and her determination to fight against the royal family, many modern critics believe such a dress did not suit a woman of her caliber and class.

Katy Perry at the 2019 Met Gala

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Katy Perry took the whole internet on a meme fest when she appeared at the 2019 Met Gala, dressed in a Chandelier Dress. Many people annoyed at her had to witness something even more fascinating. Katty changed into a hamburger outfit, the second outfit of the day, taking everyone by surprise. While the internet enjoyed and the actress got the attention she craved, such dresses would be dismissed for their lack of seriousness and upholding the event’s theme.

Amber Rose at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards

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Sometimes, celebrities must remember the influence and weight their words and activities carry. In 2015, Amber Rose appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a custom-made, flesh-colored curve-hugging dress with words such as “gold digger,” “stripper,” and “how” engraved on her body. Rose defended her outfit by saying it was a response to the internet haters who call her those words. However, such dresses set a very wrong example, quickly influencing swayed children into believing they can wear and post anything online.

Jared Leto at the 2023 Met Gala

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When Jared Leto walked down the red carpet at the 2023 Met Gala, the actor sparked a debate because of his controversial outfit. He was dressed as a cat in a life-sized fur suit, which turned many heads. The actor has worn such controversial outfits in the past, too, including him carrying a replica of his head. Penelope Disick and North West called his cat outfit “cringe,” and many would reject it for his animal fantasies.

Niki Minaj at the 2013 Grammys

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There is a fine line between fashion and religion, be it in terms of nudity or respecting the beliefs of a certain religious group. At the 2012 Grammy Awards, Nicki Minaj walked hand in hand accompanied by a person whom she dressed as a “pope.” She wore a beautiful red hooded Versace gown but received backlash from many people who called this annoying skit unnecessary.

Bjork at the 2001 Oscars

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Over the years, many celebrities have left an impact with their dresses, but Bjork’s swan dress at the 2001 Academy Awards left a lasting impression. Amidst everyone booted up in suits and elegant dresses, Bjork’s dress was surely unconventional. In addition to this, she also mimicked laying an egg, which really confused the people at the event. Such acts might be more acceptable now, but they wouldn’t make sense, similar to Bjork’s swan personification.

Rihanna at the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards

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When it comes to Rihanna, she can rock any outfit in the world, adding her personal signature touch to it. She wore an iconic see-through dress covered in 216,000 Swarovski crystals to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards. In contemporary times, this “naked dress” would not be appreciated as Rihanna preferred no strings attached to the dress, thus opting for it to be braless. Another reason is the extravagant glamour, which would be too overwhelming for people.

Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards

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You can always expect some kind of controversy regarding Miley Cyrus. At the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, the singer wore only a latex bikini accompanied by a foam prop. She used the foam finger to touch herself and Robin Thicke in a suggestive manner, leading to her twerking and sticking her tongue out on stage. Such an act would be rejected today as it was a decade ago, resulting in a commotion from all the viewers.

Author: Ali Van Straten

Title: Journalist

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