The Most Outrageous Outfits Of 2011

It’s got to be stressful knowing you’ll be photographed every moment of your waking life. Some celebrities respond to the pressure by giving in to comfort, taking back their lives, and being relegated to “Stars They’re Just Like Us” columns of tabloids by near-exclusively wearing jeans, cashmere wraps, and Uggs while schlepping around Best Buy bags. Others swing violently to the other, battier side of the spectrum, upping the ante each time to dip themselves in progressively bananas ensembles, and and it’s to those folks that we clink our drinks and tip our hats because they actually give us something to talk about. So in celebration of head-to-toe candy raver outfits, zip-up down-filled cactus cowls, rabid blood-dipped bird head ornaments, and wearing a big-ass sheet to the Met gala, we bring you The Most Outrageous Outfits of 2011.


Anna Dello Russo at the Irreverent Dinner hosted by Carine Roitfeld on Oct. 4, 2011, in Paris, France.
Photo: WireImage

Anna Dello Russo is the editor-at-large at Vogue Nippon and one of our favorites for obvious reasons. Look it, this bish is out of her treeeeee! While I didn’t necessarily love this taxidermied lunatic bird mere weeks before on the runway at Giles Deacon during London Fashion Week (in fact, it topped my list of WTF Headgear From London Fashion Week) this ruffled avian flu bomb appearing atop an equally scrawny, akimbo-armed Anna sorta made my day. It’s hilarious. It honestly looks like some couture-wearing parasitic insect laid an egg in the swan and now Anna, its merciless offspring clawing out of its underbelly with a triumphant, s***-eating grin and $1,200 shoes. It’s fantastic.


Lady Gaga in London on Oct. 6.
Photo: Getty Images

Lady Gaga rarely disappoints in the bonkers fashion department. This year alone has seen a seizure-inducing kaleidoscope of colors, prints, and silhouettes, but when it comes to texture and sheen, there’s nothing quite like this all-hair-everything getup that Gags wore in London. While she did wear multicolored hair epaulettes and a blonde hair contraption at Lollapalooza last year, this time she went for a more elegant look. Not only did she drape her urban sombrero in luxurious strands of jet-black, Japanese-straightened locks, but her dress featured braided piping as well as enough additional strands to cover her torso. What she did with all the hair afterward is any man’s guess, but hopefully it went to anoint the heads of cancer-surviving children who may or may not be excited that their head hair was formerly so intimate with Mother Monster’s other areas.


André Leon Talley at the Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on May 2.
Photo: Getty Images

André Leon Talley is a legend. While I’ve decried some of his decision-making before, namely his putting himself on his own Met ball’s Best-Dressed List, looking back on the year, I have to say I’m grateful for this moment. There were so many breathtaking dresses at the Costume Institute Gala, and the fashion elite were extra hungry and determined to outdo each other with the complexities and shock-value of their ensembles. So when this seemingly endless swath of shimmery blue cast a foreboding shadow on the press risers like a looming Independence Day 4 spaceship, at least it was different. I still think it’s laughably grimy that ALT squatted his own list but whatevs, it’s basically 2012. Bygones.


Rihanna on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 13, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

I love Rihanna this year. Something clicked in her brain that allowed her to recognize that she is arguably one of the most beautiful women in the galaxy. Her curves are ridiculous, her skin is sublime, she’s still aggravatingly young for the level of success she’s seen, and her face is the sort that stops you dead because she’s so stunning you can no longer feel yours. While there’s been a lot of dramz and bellyaching about the increasingly brazen sexuality of her clothes, I am super PRO. Even as early as the Grammys, we knew we were in for it when Riri turned up wearing a Gaultier see-through dress (she wore Dior later in the evening) with strategically placed garlands. SOMETHINGSOMETHINGgettingLEI’D! I mean, what’s not to love? You can see her belly button.


Kanye West at Coachella on April 17.
Photo: Getty Images

Kanye West also had a massive fash year and almost as a call-out to the womenswear line he would unveil later—Dw by Kanye West—the rapper took to the stage at Coachella in a women’s nehru-collared, flared-sleeve Celine printed button-up. Some in the hip-hop community were aghast, the fashblogosphere were thoroughly tickled, and we even went so far as to look for more blouses for Kanye to add to the repertoire. All tolled, this made our cut for “Outrageous” simply because it was fabulously unselfconscious, refreshing, and your man looked awesome. Especially when he unbuttoned the ladyblouse almost down to his Yeezygiblets.


Lady Gaga performs onstage and receives the Best Female award during the 2011 MTV EMA in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Photo: Getty Images

HOLY FUTILITY! Why am I even trying to describe to you in words what is going on? I mean, REALLY. So Lady Gaga’s performance at this year’s EMAs was ZOMAZING. Wearing
Paco Rabanne clothes newly revamped by British cult designer and OG M.I.A. favorite Manish Aurora and Philip Treacy hats that concealed her gagvisage, what we know for certain is that a) she looked like a gramophone from outer space and b) she also resembled the human cochlea in a way we can 100 percent get behind (hearing is fun!). There were crazy-faceted disco ball dresses, and all manner of truly dramatic costume changes that you can check out in our complete Lady Gaga’s Top Fashion Moments At EMA 2011 post, but there’s just something about this sculptured, swirly, logarithmic-spiral, delicate nautilus situation that gives us such remarkable joy.


Robyn, Katy Perry, and Jeremy Scott at Katy’s Wild West Ho Down Throwdown birthday party.
Photo: Courtesy of The Cobrasnake

Katy Perry rarely misses a chance to look full-tilt glamaxurious (don’t fight it) and her 27th birthday entitled the Wild West Hoedown Throwdown was no exception. She ternt it all the way up/out in head-to-toe Jeremy Scott (whose spring 2012 collection was aptly VERY cowboy themed) and the designer himself also WORKED in crotchless chaps. It was the elfin, Swedish delight Robyn who we’d like to call out from the trio here, however, for wearing—WAIT FOR IT—a down-filled cactus jacket with a massive cactus headdress COMPLETE with SPINES. She also wore a green unitard, which makes us desperate to befriend her. She’s SO the chick who wears the hilario-fuggo Halloween costume in a crowd of sexy nurse kittens and that is why she rules. Plus, her voice is SO CUTE. It always sounds like she’s eating hot food.


Nicki Minaj at the 2011 Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

This outfit is like discovering a new color or thinking the word “spoon” meant that thing with a handle that you shove into your mouth or that thing psychic kids can bend with their minds or that thing you do with a cute boy before you spork (ahahah who’s loopy?), BUT IN ACTUALITY it’s a type of brain cancer that scrambles your short-term memory to where you totally forget what you were typing because you’re too long-winded to live. It’s JUST. THAT. NUTS. We did an entire post dissecting the anatomy of Nicki’s look, but it’s not the animal-head-club-foot or the knee swaddling or the paneled body armor or the stuffed toy she’s dragging around, it’s THE SURGICAL MASK that we simply cannot tear our eyes from. It’s so… absurd. To where we, like, LOVE it. Who does this? (OTHER THAN the very best sort of person?)


Lady Gaga opens the 2011 VMAs as Jo Calderone.
Photo: MTV/John Shearer

Who knew that Lady Gaga looked so much like Ralph Macchio as a dude? Jo Calderone, Gaga’s male alter ego, probably saw the resemblance but when Lady Gaga opened the 2011 MTV VMAs as the working-class piano banger (except one styled by Nicola Formichetti and wearing a Uniqlo white tee instead of Hanes and Brooks Brothers pants instead of Dickies), the rest of us lost our minds. There was a heartfelt performance, a helluva monologue (where we learned that Gaga and Jo were LUVAHs), and some speechless co-presenters as we aimlessly felt around on the floor for the brains that slid out of our ears because it was all such a spectacle.

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