Year after year, the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet tends to take on its own identity. In the past, we've watched celebrities use their style chops to break the internet and forego the show's legacy of standing out just for the sake of making headlines. But at this year's event, our favorite musicians and their groupies showed up ready to stunt — and weren't apologizing for it. From the night's hostess, Katy Perry, to award presenters and their recipients, tonight's legendary step-and-repeat felt more like a catwalk than a photo op.
There was rapper Cardi B — whose #OOTDs turn heads on the daily — who threw it all the way back to the year 1990 for her first trip to the VMAs with her Blonde Ambition-themed custom Christian Siriano get-up. And then Teyana Taylor, whose outfit also paid homage to another music great. Finally, in perhaps the most inspiring moment of the night's fashionable line-up, a group of active transgender military members who strut their stuff in the most timeless look of all: jeans and a T-shirt.
The slideshow ahead represents the looks from tonight that not just solidified the VMAs as the only night of the year where the rich and the famous can wear whatever they want (and get away with it), but the only red carpet in which newcomers and national heroes can use their personal style to showcase who they are. In a time where fashion means more than just the clothes on your back, we'd say it was a pretty big deal.