There are few who rival Doja Cat’s witty antics and bizarre sense of style, and that’s why the internet can’t get enough. When she stepped on the pink carpet for the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in, what we’re calling “floss and vibes” by the New York-based label Monse, it was the boldest fashion statement of the night.
“This stunning creation pays homage to [sculpture artist] Louise’s [Bourgeois] extraordinary work and the inspiration behind it — her mother’s dedication to textiles, mending, and repairing fabrics. A true masterpiece that weaves together the worlds of fashion and art,” the brand later posted on Instagram.
Doja’s earlier arrival set a standard for everyone who dared step on the carpet, forcing viewers to expect head-turning, jaw-dropping, out-of-the-box looks that would leave us wanting more. Few really accomplished this lofty goal, but those that did left us wanting an encore.
Part of the appeal for some came from their sheer tenacity to pull looks directly from the runway that debuted just moments before. As one X (formerly Twitter) user points out, “It’s crazy how fast NYFW runway looks made it to the VMAs.” It’s impressive even for talent at this level of celebrity. Lil Nas X donned Palomo Spain, which debuted on Saturday, Saweetie was draped in Area, and JT wore Mirror Palais, which both debuted yesterday. This type of speed is unprecedented, even for talent at this level.
The most prominent trend to take the night was fashion’s move away from maximalism and its favoritism for sartorial sets and grey garb. Stray Kids — though “very nervous because it’s our first time here,” one of the members tells Rolling Stone — stood taut beneath the neatly tailored looks. Their style emulated what we can expect of fashion’s swift implementation of the trend: pressed shirts, broad shoulders, and all branching off into different styles and silhouettes that fit the band member’s unique tastes.
Doja Cat even took this trend to the stage, performing “Paint the Town Red” in an Eighties skirt-suit while backup dancers paraded around her doused in red faux blood and chopped bobs. There are few who can master the craft of weaving between such stark looks, yet Doja does it effortlessly.
However, of the showgoers that implemented this trend the best, Tomorrow x Together exceeded expectations. It’s rare to find a music group that can each present a style so vastly different from one another but somehow look in complete sync. From artisanal to punk rock to chic, the band somehow dipped each of their toes into stylistic genres so separate yet cohesive that it makes you wonder if their true magic lies beyond their music and is perfectly packaged in their stylistic prowess.
Beyond suiting, an unexpected trend crept onto the carpet: fashion’s return to the West. NLE Choppa, dressed in suede pants and matching vest, is proof that Western style has seeped off the likes of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift and into the mainstream market. Although his choice of Barney purple is a bit gauche, the approach to Western wear using vibrant colors is spot-on.
Karol G also stepped on the stage, performing in ripped flannels cast in vibrant hues of lime green and pink. It’s a nod to the West that doesn’t feel too familiar and emulates the vibrant influence Latin and hip-hop music have on culture. In many regards, electric palettes and the West’s traditional muted tones feel like opposing forces that also harmoniously collide in intrigue.
As Chris Olsen tells Rolling Stone, and as present on Doechii with flawless execution, the night was also about sex appeal. “I wanted something fun and young for the VMAs, and also sexy,” Olsen notes. And this award for the sexiest fit of the night goes to Doechii.
Dressed in Dsquared2, Doechii hit all the right notes. The loose-fitting drape of sequin matched her Florida-born aesthetic and swamp princess vibes, embodying fashion’s trend for crystal mesh but making it her own. “I’m wearing Dsquared2, which I’ve really been inspired by,” she tells Rolling Stone. “Their outfits are like all of me in one. Trucker hat, chill but with a gown, diamonds, and preppy. I don’t know, it’s just so me.”
Several stars spoke to Rolling Stone on the carpet, including Rema, Davido, Nelly Furtado, Tinashe, and Jared Leto. Watch all of RS‘ VMA red carpet videos on YouTube here. Missed the VMAs? Watch the entire show on-demand at Paramount+.