Katy Perry’s denim throwback and other memorable VMA outfits

August 25
From Jim Carrey's on-stage tumble to Beyoncé's nearly 20-minute performance, here are the must-see moments from the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

Boy Toy. Purple pasty. Meat dress.

The MTV Video Music Awards have added a variety of terms to the pop culture lexicon, most in reference to the varying states of dress of attendees on the red carpet and on stage.


At Sunday night’s show, Katy Perry plucked her ensemble straight from the archives, mimicking Britney Spears’s patchwork denim gown from the 2001 awards. A denim-suited Riff Raff was in tow — yup, the guy who inspired James Franco’s role in “Spring Breakers” — creating a near carbon-copy of Spears’s and Justin Timberlake’s iconic ensembles, also known as the ‘double denim-on-denim’ or ‘matching denim tuxedos.’

Perry hinted at the stunt on Twitter after complimenting Spears on a Woody Woodpecker impression. Spears, in turn, challenged Perry to do an impression of her own.

Of course the Versace outfits were also intended to promote the duo’s new remix of Perry’s song, “This is how we do.” And if success these days is based on reactions on Twitter, then mission accomplished.


However, for people who idolized (or detested) the first incarnation, the jean get-ups were not exactly a welcome wave of nostalgia.  But Perry’s trip back in time forced our hand. So here’s a look at other memorable outfits that should stay locked in the vault:

Pamela Anderson was a little ahead of her time in 1999 with an over-sized fuzzy hat that would have fit right in with Marc Jacobs’s fall 2012 show for Louis Vuitton.

Though Perry’s denim gown was clear self-promotion, nothing can top Macy Gray’s Macy Gray’s billboard of a dress in 2001.


Remember Destiny’s Child in their matching days? We do too, though Beyoncé did a great job of putting it out of our memory during her near-20-minute performance.


Christina Aguilera had more than her fair share of regrettable moments on the VMA red carpet, including one micro mini can-you-even-call-that-a-skirt in 2002.


Which made Paris Hilton’s 2003 turquoise fabric scraps look like real clothing.


Nicki Minaj got a little carried away with a glue gun in 2011.


And of course, Miley Cyrus’s 2013 teddy bear onesie.

All looks for the VMA history books.

MORE VMAs COVERAGE:

Robin Givhan:  In this gender gulf of fashion, too many women choose clichéd over creative

Chris Richards: The shock of too few shocks

Top moments, winners and everything you missed from the show

Nicki Minaj battles wardrobe malfunction, snakes for opening performance

Beyoncé proves she’s flawless — and a feminist — at the MTV VMAs

VMAs pay tribute to Ferguson; Miley Cyrus swaps acceptance speech for homeless youth PSA

Jay Pharoah: The MTV VMAs host that wasn’t

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