One Direction, Frank Ocean, Emma Watson, Miley Cyrus And More In Our VMA Top Red Carpet Looks

One of the hardest parts of the epic evening that is the VMAs is that inevitable moment when we have to hunker down and decide our 10 favorite looks of the night. As always, the VMA carpet was awash in beautiful, daring, and downright bonkers looks, so to say this is a daunting task is the understatement to end all understatements. While there wasn’t quite as much crazy fashion as there has been in the past–no candy raver mosaics, cube hats, or cross dressing, for example–the level of lavish was definitely sky high. With lace, sheer bodysuits, and every twist on leather we could imagine, this year’s red carpet was filled with moments that made us pull up the images online, zoom in, and squint as hard as we could to try and take in every detail. The competition was fierce, and in our opinions everyone looked awesome (yes, even that guy in the pink spandex who totally photo-bombed Holland Roden’s Red Carpet Report interview with Miley Cyrus), but in the end we had some faves that we just couldn’t help but call out.


One Direction on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

We are so envious of the luscious locks the boys of One Direction were sporting on the red carpet, yeowza. The perfect combination of voluminous and soft, while also looking structured, we just want to run our hands through all of their hair like the giant creeps we now feel like for writing that sentence. But really, it’s like the band stuck their heads in front of a very strong breeze and then expertly shellacked the results into place. Is that a perfect swirl right at Zayn’s forehead? It is! Ah-may-zing. Oh yeah and they also wore clothes, whatever. Their red carpet look was sharp, classically British, and refined, with a mixture of slim suiting and classic basics in warm colors. And it complemented their hair (did we mention their hair?) perfectly.


Miley Cyrus on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

When we found out that Miley Cyrus would be presenting at the VMAs this year, we went to work trying to predict what she would wear for her first big formal night out with her new short ’do. Something a little edgy, we thought, informed by her love for her Dr. Martens. Something short, we also thought, due to her frequent flaunting of her amazing legs in wee little short shorts. Wrong, kind of, on both counts. Miley still looked edgy, in a low cut Pucci gown with sheer panels and a flowing train, but she also looked every bit classic and elegant. The comparisons to her fellow pompador-loving towhead Pink are unavoidable, but Miley also looked every bit herself–young and chic, and never unwilling to take a risk.


Rihanna on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

After Rihanna’s shocking hair reveal at last night’s rehearsals, we were SO excited to see what look she would debut on the carpet. There was a collective gasp from the style team when we first saw Rihanna step out in her long, white Adam Selman gown. The dress, which looks like it could be jersey or a matte silk, ties at the shoulders before plunging all the way down her back, and gathering at the waist. Paired with her short locks, the dress looked effortless and graceful, and allowed Rihanna’s flawless features to take center stage.


Katy Perry on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

Katy Perry really set the bar high for herself last year, first with her pastel geisha look on the carpet and then with that cube hat, so we were curious to see what crazy confection the singer had in store for us this year, which was arguably her biggest yet (although she wasn’t performing). We were surprised, and pleasantly so, when we saw her step onto the carpet with long, Veronica Lake-esque hair in her classic jet black, and a flowing, mermaid cut Elie Saab gown. The dress, which features leather detailing at the bust, floral-inspired beading and a sheer illusion skirt, was elegant while still staying true to Katy’s love of heightened drama and glamor. We loved it.


Frank Ocean on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

We’re still crying from Frank Ocean’s performance tonight. The singer was the most talked about thing on the VMAs, and his haunting rendition of “Thinkin Bout You” is guaranteed to stick with us for awhile yet. We thought that he would wear one of his signature bandanas for both the carpet and the performance, and he did on stage, but on the carpet we found him without his headwear, and with a plethora of prints in its place. Wearing a polka dotted button down, plaid shorts and sneakers, Franks look was certainly casual, but we thought it was super cool.


Rita Ora on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

Tonight was a good night for Pucci, and the ladies who love him. Rita Ora literally took our breath away in a custom jumpsuit, covered in crystals and sheer in all the right places. It was lavish and ultra-opulent, but also looked super comfy–a combination we can’t help but admire Rita for pulling off. The intricate look might have overwhelmed some, but paired with Rita’s blond hair, a bold red lip and some perfect brows, it looked as easy as pajamas and as beautiful as a gown, proving, as always, that it’s not the clothes that make the girl, but the super confident and cool girl that makes the clothes.


2 Chainz on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

2 Chainz may have been rocking a leather jacket and a snap-back, but you can just get outta here if you think he went casual. The rapper’s studded look was 100% designer, coming mainly from Versace, with the added bonus of Givency (that would be the hat). His studded motorcycle jacket was more glam than it was punk, with geometric studs and an almost military flair. With some gold foil pants and way more than 2 chains around his neck (how could we not go there), the look was totally enviable, although we would never be gutsy enough to wear it all at once.


Emma Watson on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

Emma Watson has been showing some serious editorial chops with her magazine spreads lately, but this sportswear leaning, beaded Peter Pilotto mini dress is upping her game even further. We’re always fans of Emma’s choices on the carpet, like her super cute Brood mini at the MTV Movie Awards this year, and so we can’t say we were at all surprised, but this dress has a lot going on, all of it good. The orange, cap-sleeved number features a beaded skirt and an upper that combines black, harness-like detailing with mesh sections over the shoulders. It’s daring and totally youthful, and fits Emma’s personality perfectly.


Taylor Swift on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

We could hardly believe our eyes when we saw that Taylor Swift wasn’t wearing her usual, ultra-feminine dress on the red carpet. We had put our money on something red, because we know she likes to keep things consistent, but also knew that she has a love of all things white and super sparkly. At least we weren’t wrong on all counts, and we may have gasped a little when we saw her hit the carpet in a stunning pure white suit from J. Mendel. With a sheer panel, tuxedo detailing and perfectly creased and cropped trousers, the look is a departure for Taylor, making her look more mature and high fashion than her usual classically feminine style does. We’re all about trying new things, so bravo!


Ke$ha on the 2012 VMAs red carpet.
Photo: Getty

Maybe we shouldn’t admit this, but for a second there, when we could just barely see her coming out of the corner of our eye, we mistook Ke$ha for Gwen Stefani. It’s all in the white hair, we think, but still, that’s not a comparison we would typically make. The singer toned down her usually super playful look for the night, in favor of a simple, soft retro hairdo, a gown she designed with Zaldy, and an easy, elegant nude lip. We wonder if this means that her new single, which she announced on the carpet, will be toned down as well. Somehow we doubt it.

What was your favorite look from the 2012 VMA red carpet?


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