It seems to me that the MTV Video Music Awards pose a similar problem for the music world as casual Fridays pose for the corporate world: No one is sure exactly what is appropriate to wear. Do you dress up (it IS an awards ceremony), or pull a stunt (people like crazy, right?), or act like you're above it all and dress down (this is Rock n Roll for Pete's sake). Let's look at a few of these different approaches and determine which failed and which prevailed.
For me, Hailee Steinfeld (above) presented most on-theme for the evening. She wore Balmain which, by nature, is edgy yet sophisticated - two perfect notes to hit for an event celebrating contemporary music. Also the choice to wear color was brilliant and on point. Much of Balmain is muted and metallic and often doesn't translate in photos as well as it does in person. This dress sings loudly, albeit in a very lovely French accent. Standing O!
Nikki Minaj also opted to dress up, though more formally than Hailee, and to do it with edge. Let's examine why this works (because sooooo much could've gone wrong here). Clearly proportion-wise long sleeves do not make up for the fact that most of the top/sides are missing from this Bao Tranchi gown; and yet she manages to look refined. You may argue this is because, in contrast to what she normally wears, this is relatively conservative. However, I feel this look has independent merit - the color is glorious, the hair, make-up, and jewelry are perfectly understated and, above all, the fit is extraordinary. Undoubtedly she presents like a music boss. Standing O!
A sample from Baddie Winkle's Instagram bio: "Stealing your man since 1928." Hilarious and courageous but let's face it, I'm never going to sign off on a nude bedazzled jumpsuit even if it is just a stunt - not for Kim Kardashian, not for Baddie Winkle, and not for anyone. Hell No.
If the MTV logos were not so prominently displayed in the background, I would assume this was Alessia Cara's first-day-of-school photo except that it's not even cute enough for the first day of school. This looks like she's a senior in high school, 8 months in, and has officially checked out until college begins. Baddie Winkle might look like she's off her rocker (metaphorically AND literally) but at least she has a sense of occasion. No effort was expended here and that I cannot forgive. Hell No.