The red carpet is a major event for any starlet, a chance to show off and impress big time. Even if you’re not nominated, you can get huge attention at an awards show with the right outfit. You can go from “who is that” to a major star big time and enhance your image nicely. Over the years, there have been slews of ladies at awards shows who enjoy showing off, whether the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, Video Music Awards or others. As time has gone on, the outfits have gotten even wilder and crazier to match the likes of pop stars making a statement and it’s hard to run it down to what could be considered among the more scandalous. Some, however, truly stand out and that’s what this list is about.
Keep in mind, this is just award shows, not just various red carpet events. It’s easy to look at movie premieres or the annual Met Gala where ladies go all out but these are for award shows only. And in that regard, there are plenty of amazing outfits to check out. Even the staid Oscars have had some wild dresses but music awards seem to go out even more for ladies to show off incredibly. The more eccentric go out of their way to have some insane outfits but sometimes, it’s ladies you didn’t expect who pull off something truly wild and insane. Some are shocking in how revealing they are while others are just so off-the-wall, they have to be mentioned but all of them enhanced the profiles (and bodies) of the ladies wearing them. Here are the 15 most scandalous dresses worn on the red carpet of awards shows and how times have shifted to allow ladies to get a bit more wild.
15 Sofia Vergara
The Columbian actress has become a fantastic sexpot with her role on Modern Family and fills out a dress better than most anyone on the planet. At the 2012 Emmy Awards, Sofia Vergara came out in a stunning green dress that looked like it was painted onto her body, gorgeous as hell and showing off her full figure. But just minutes before her show won Best Comedy, Vergara’s dress split at the rear end and she had to have it fixed fast. She even took a selfie of the dress split, showing her white panties underneath with a sizeable amount of cheek shown. While it wasn’t too showy at the time, it’s gotten fame since as Vergara shows how tough it is to find enough dress to cover that frame.
14 Britney Spears
Britney Spears has never been one to shy away from incredible outfits as her many steamy VMA performances showcase. Yet it was still jarring when at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, the mother of two and Vegas performer arrived in an outfit that rocked the red carpet. Knee-high fishnet stockings, no pants, sheer black panties, a tight lace black top with sheer arms and a long black train. It was jarring to many, showing she still had a good body but others finding it astounding that she was going so all out for the event. If nothing else, it proves Spears can still spike interest after all this time and late in the game show her stuff.
The music star’s red carpet style bounces from demure to glamorous to racy. Yet the dress she wore at the 2014 CFDA Awards had to be her most amazing. To be awarded the “Style Icon” award, Rihanna proved she deserved it by coming out in a dress that mixed old style Hollywood glam with utter sex appeal. The custom gown was covered in 200,000 crystals and sheer to allow you to see her flesh-covered panties and bare breasts. A crystal cap covered her head and the fur stole she carried was just the icing on the cake. Few outfits push skin-showing like this while still remaining glamorous and Rihanna was just the lady to pull it off.
12 Belona Quereti
The Albanian singer isn’t well known in the U.S. despite working with the likes of Timbaland. But when she walked the carpet at the 2014 American Music Awards, she quickly became a standout. She was clad in what amounted to a sheer fishnet dress draped over her body, her silver panties quite visible and only pasties to cover her nipples. It was shocking by any standards, let alone the AMAs and even if you can’t pronounce her name right, no one could forget the sight of Belona Quereti on that red carpet to prove you don’t have to be a mega-star to steal the spotlight.
11 Miley Cyrus
Rising majorly from a tween star to a major icon, Cyrus has been shocking people with her sexuality, flashing her body constantly and getting into wild stuff. That’s included red carpet outfits that have gone from simple dresses to stuff that seem to require an engineering degree to pull off. The biggest of this bunch might well be the 2015 VMAs as Miley Cyrus came onto the red carpet in knee-high boots, sheer bottoms with icicle-like decorations and a pair of straps for a top barely covering her breasts. Throw in the ponytail with silver clasps and Miley was nothing less than stunning yet also questions of what the hell she was thinking. She would top herself later in the broadcast with an outfit of nothing but balloons while this showed that Hannah Montana was definitely all grown-up.
10 Angelina Jolie
It shouldn’t have been that scandalous. It was a long black dress with a flash of leg to it, it should have been no different than others at the 2012 Oscars. Unless it was worn by Angelina Jolie. The woman has done everything from totally black to nearly sheer to a Roman-like white dress with plunging cleavage. Yet somehow, this was the one that got everyone talking, thanks to the slit at the leg that let Jolie put it forward in poses and presenting. The slit was so high, talk instantly started on whether Jolie had even worn underwear and the smirk when asked just confirmed her sexiness. It started an instant meme and several copycats and proof once more than anything worn by Jolie can trigger a sexy scandal.
Basically kick-starting the entire love for outrageous outfits, the Material Girl was always a sight on the red carpet for any event. From the VMAs to the Billboard Awards, the Oscars and more, Madonna could be stunningly gorgeous but then go out with an outfit to blow your mind in its outrageousness. Leave it to Mads to wait for 2015 to pull off what may be her craziest one yet. At the Grammy Awards, Madonna came out dressed like a goth bullfighter, a tight corset, hat with veil, lace shoulder pads, thigh-high boots with fishnets and long gloves. Just when it couldn’t get crazier, Madonna turned around to show her buttocks covered by the fishnets as he would lift up the bottom of her skirt. While many mocked it, most agreed only Madonna could even try to pull this off and show she still has the ability to shock you.
8 Christina Aguilera
She’s toned it down in recent years with motherhood and a judge on The Voice and still pulling off great concerts. But Xtina has more than proven herself with some insane outfits on red carpets at shows, especially the VMAs. In her “Dirrty” phase, she showed up in ultra short-shorts and a wrap-around top flashing her side-riff and belly with a cap. Yet the 2003 European VMAs may be her wildest as Christina took to the red carpet in what was basically a massive feather. Huge and pink as if it fell off a giant boa, it flowed over Christina, flashing plenty of leg and bare shoulders and the high heels just adding to it. She’s gotten a bit more toned down today but this is a reminder of the wild gal Christina used to be in all her glory.
At the Oscars, Cher has always gone all out, from a mid-riff bearing yellow dress to winning Best Actress in a Bob Mackie outfit that was practically sheer to show herself off. But the topper would have to be in 1986 as Jane Fonda introduced her as “one of the most glamorous ladies in this, or any business…and you better believe it because wait until you see what’s going to come out here.” What came out was Cher in black stretch pants, knee-high boots, bejewelled loin pants, bare mid-riff, a wool jersey with metal brass plate and a massive Mohawk head piece. After the audience settled down, Cher scored a nice laugh by stating “as you can see, I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress.” It’s almost tame by some of her later standards but still the wildest outfit she’s worn for Hollywood’s big night.
It’s the dress that launched a thousand parodies. The Icelandic singer is known for her quirky style, from her music to her interviews and even acting. But nothing could have prepared people for her arrival at the 2001 Academy Awards in a white body stocking with a swan wrapped around her. Host Steve Martin even commented on with “I was going to wear my swan but I think they’re so last year.” Later reimagined to acclaim by Valentino, the outfit still tops lists of the all-time most insane Oscar dresses ever and arguably what Bjork is most famous for today.
5 Lil' Kim
She had fame as a singer, actress, model and producer, a great talent in many ways. But at the end of the day, Lil' Kim is perhaps best remembered for her outfit at the 1999 Video Music Awards - a long purple dress with purple hair, her left breast open and hanging out with just a pasty to cover the important part. It was an instant icon for many, fans loving it and has become a popular Halloween outfit since. Yet few pull it off with the glam and skill Kim did and while she’s had hot outfits since, none approach the scandalous outfit here.
4 Lady Gaga
Strange outfits and Lady Gaga just go together. Anyone whose seen her concerts knows the insane outfits she gets into, her music videos featuring everything from latex tights to metal hairdos and enhancing her profile. But nothing can possibly top the sight of Gaga walking the red carpet at the 2010 Video Music Awards in a dress that was made out of meat. That alone was crazy without the platform shoes (also meat), purple hair and huge diamond choker that was an instant sensation. Gaga was ripped by animal rights activists while defending herself on the idea of “we don’t fight for rights, we’re stripped to the meat of our bones.” She may have “glammed up” a bit in recent years but this is pure Gaga, an outfit only she could imagine and pull off and why she remains one of a kind.
3 Toni Braxton
The R&B icon is well known for her fantastic voice and wonderful sexuality but sometimes prefers being a bit “dressed down.” At the 2001 Grammy Awards, Toni Braxton, as expected, took home gold for her song “He Wasn’t Man Enough” but all anyone was talking about was her dress. It was a long white slip going from her neck to flowing around her high heels, her legs showing off huge along with her side torso and only what looked like a white strip of cloth covering her lower body. It was more daring than anyone had ever seen from Braxton, sexy and yet somehow oddly classy and put everyone else on the red carpet that year to shame. She’s had some other hot outfits since but this still stands out as Braxton brought the sexiness big time.
2 Jennifer Lopez
In 2000, she wasn’t quite “J-Lo” yet, rising as a singer/actress but not the icon we know today. At the Grammy Awards, however, Jennifer Lopez took a major step in becoming a media darling when she showed up in a green Versace dress that was slit at the front all the way down to her belly and clearly no bra. Showing off more skin than anyone could guess, Lopez had a huge ovation at the show as co-presenter David Duchovny just stood by and waved them to admire it. Lopez would later wear it for an “I’m not a diva” bit on Saturday Night Live and this dress only helped boost her majorly in the minds of the world. If nothing else, when an outfit has its own Wikipedia page, you know how huge a deal it is.
1 Rose McGowan
Calling this a “dress” may be a bit much. The actress was known at the time for some indie movies as well as her relationship with infamous rocker Marilyn Manson. At the 1998 Video Music Awards, Rose McGowan showed up in what amounted to a sheer cloth and black string, her breasts clearly visible and her rear end "covered" by a very thin row of chains - so most magazines had to put blocking markers over her. Walking on high heels, McGowan seemed to revel in the attention of the press and was easily the most talked about outfit there. It raised her profile as she would land a major role on Charmed a few years later and showcase how, even by MTV standards, you can be daring as hell.