The BET Awards are always a major fashion event, but after a year spent indoors and away from the red carpet, attendees at Sunday night’s award show went above and beyond. The result? A bevy of midriff-baring numbers — from cut-outs to sheer fabrics and crop tops — that turned the heat up at L.A.’s Microsoft Theater.
It was Zendaya that led the ab-baring charge, which came at no surprise given the Euphoria star’s impressive history with red carpet fashion. For the BET Awards, the Emmy winner wore a vintage purple gown from Versace’s spring ‘03 collection that featured a V-neck so low, it reached below her belly button. The look, previously worn by Beyoncé at the 2003 BET Awards, was her second of the season that put her midsection on display. She wore a highlighter yellow Valentino gown at the 2021 Oscars that revealed a peek-a-boo midriff.
Saweetie’s look for the occasion was equally scant, with the “Fast (Motion)” singer choosing a regal-looking purple-and-gold gown by Dolce & Gabbana. Like Zendaya’s look, Saweetie’s featured an open front. Continuing the trend, Ari Lennox wore a white gown by Bishme Cromartie with cut-outs across the belly.
But cut-outs weren’t the only way attendees participated in the midriff trend. With the help of her longtime stylist Jason Bolden, Taraji P Henson chose a sheer, corset dress by Versace that featured a pink-and-yellow bra-skirt set. Beneath a layer of black mesh and sequined boning, the Empire star’s taut abs quickly became her celebrity +1. For “Ungodly Hour” singer Chloe Bailey, a net-like Valentino gown exhibited not just her abs, but also everything else not covered up by the black bikini she wore underneath. Later in the evening, the elder half of Chloe x Halle changed into another see-through number, this time a draped, white Di Petsa gown.
Rounding out the bunch were Sevyn Streeter and Coi Leray, who both wore bra tops with low-rise bottoms. Streeter, a former member of the girl groups RichGirl and TG4, chose a Cher-esque crystal bra, which she paired with a matching maxi skirt, elbow-length gloves, and a head-piece that she absolutely shouldn’t feel “Guilty” about. Leray went the more casual route, styling a neon orange bra from Venus Prototype with cargo pants from Hood By Air.
After countless ab sightings throughout award season, from the Oscars to the BET Awards, any questions about the status of midriff-baring red carpet fashion have been asked and answered.