Katy Perry’s VMA Style Evolution: From Pin-Up To ‘Prism’

That’s right, Katy Cats! Your fearless ruler Katy Perry (she likes to go by “Mom”) is headed for the 2013 Video Music Awards. Filling out an already star-studded lineup (so far including Lady Gaga and Kanye West), Katy will use her VMA appearance Sunday, August 25, at 9 p.m. ET at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for the premier live performance of her brand new single, “Roar.” KP’s been a VMA mainstay since her One Of The Boys mainstream debut, so in honor of her history-making homecoming (and in anticipation of what “new” Katy will wear for her performance, we’re taking a look back at her VMA style evolution. Leggo!

2008: PIN-UP PERRY

Katy Perry at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: FilmMagic

It’s been a minute since we were first introduced to this version of KP: bubbly, blue-eyed and owner of one of the summer’s hottest (in more ways than one) singles “I Kissed A Girl.” For her breakout VMA appearance in 2008, Katy went for a red carpet look that mirrored the boudoir feel of her music video: a white satin bustier top with a demi halter neck and silver star embellishments, peach satin hotpants with maribou feather adornments, metallic fuschia round-toe pumps, and a glittery hard case clutch decorated with star-spangled rhinestones. Her lips were red, her liquid liner pristine, and she had a bow-shaped barrette in her hair.

2008: BETTIE PAGE AND BANANA PEELS

Katy Perry at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

For her first VMAs, Katy also sang her “Kissed a Girl” banger with 2008 house band TRVSDJAM—a mash-up of Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and turntablist DJ AM—between main stage performances as well as a little of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.” And she did it all in another shiny pin-up bodysuit, this one with a giant sequined (fully peelable) banana at the bust and matching lace fingerless gloves.

2009: BRUNETTE IN THE BLONDS

Katy Perry at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: FilmMagic

The 2009 VMAs marked a Katy Perry style re-up. No, theatricality wasn’t (still isn’t) lost on her, she just embarked on higher fashion ground. Namely The Blonds—the New York-based design duo responsible for this buxom, all-silver-everything, spiked and studded bustier + draped skirt red carpet ensemble. Bombshell status.

2009: THE TALE OF TWO PERRYS

Katy Perry at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: FilmMagic

We would’ve been content if Katy just slinked around for the entirety of the ’09 VMAs in that silver Blonds piece, but she also hit the stage (the big one, this time!) with another Perry, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry for a performance of “We Will Rock You.” Much like Joe, Katy went for a rocked out interpretation of marching band motifs with button-up OTK boots, a gem-encrusted corset, and rhinestone splattered leggings.

2010: TROMPE L’OEIL AND TECHNICOLOR TRESSES

Katy Perry at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: FilmMagic

The next year, KP hit the 2010 VMA red carpet in a black and white Marchesa mini dress with black silhouetted foilage sprawling across her front and down her right arm. She styled the number with Jimmy Choo sandals and a chunky M.C.L. by Matthew Campbell Laurenza ring, but rather than her full outfit, it’s her unique beauty choices that we remember most: a Russell Brand photo manicure and those My Little Pony, pink, purple, and blue highlights.

2011: PINK HAIR + PARASOL

Katy Perry at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

The 2011 VMAs marked the show that Katy Perry hit her career high for number of awards won and for number of outfits worn. On the awards front, KP nabbed Best Special Effects and Best Collaboration for her “E.T.” track with Kanye West and the coveted Video of the Year highest honors for her very own “Firework.” As far as her sartorially parade, Katy kicked things off with a pastel Asian-inspired Atelier Versace outfit COVERED in beadwork and sequins. She accessorized with hot pink Jimmy Choo sandals, a baby blue parasol, and a freshly-dyed cotton candy pink bob.

2011: HORS D’OEUVRE OR DIOR?

Katy Perry at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

Later in the night, KP accepted her Video of the Year Moonman in this highly *achem* geometric Christian Dior Fall 2011 couture outfit. The cropped jacket, facet print tulip skirt, and yes, even the Philip Treacy block of cheese hat were all fresh off the House of Dior runway.

2011: PURPLE FORESHADOWING

Katy Perry at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

This lacy, floor-length, mock turtleneck eggplant Tom Ford number only caught a few minutes of shine as Katy wore it presenting an award at the 2011 VMAs, but we find it interesting to note how it kiiiinda foreshadows her goth days ahead.

2011: KATY PERRY, RECORD-BREAKER

Katy Perry at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

This look never made it to the VMA stage, but it did light up the press room. In honor of her Michael Jackson record-tying 5 singles from one album (Teenage Dream), Katy’s stylist Johnny Wujek created this glittering broken record dress for Furne One, complete with a vinyl headpiece and peplum skirt.

2012: GOTH FLORALS BY ELIE SAAB

Katy Perry at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

After her split from Russell Brand, we saw a new subdued Katy at the 2012 VMAs. She took her hair back to black, and the rest of her wardrobe followed suit. On the carpet, KP went for a dramatic Elie Saab gown with a rippling train and abstract florals set against a base of sheer black.

2012: HEAD-TO-TOE EMBELLISHED

Katy Perry at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

Inside the show, Katy sat with bestie for the night (and maybe for always) Rihanna. Perry, dressed in long-sleeved Emilio Pucci and Louboutin pumps, covered herself in head-to-toe embellishments: spikes, studs, and mirrored shards.

2013: ???

There’s almost no telling what Katy will turn up wearing to the 2013 VMAs. Will it be regal? Punky? Tiger-themed? One thing is for sure, it won’t be sweet or cutesy (jury’s still out on “campy,” though). The California Gurl is dead. #ROAR

See what Katy Perry wears to the 2013 Video Music Awards when she performs on Sunday, August 25, at 9 p.m. ET live from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

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