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The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards: Best and Worst Dressed

Lady Gaga’s gender-bending Jo Calderone, pregnant Beyoncé, ‘mature’ Justin Bieber and more

vma fashion 2011 beyonce

Singer Lady Gaga dressed as "Jo Calderone", poses in the press room at the The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Beyoncé dropped a bomb on viewers last night: she's pregnant! That didn't stop her from delivering a thunderous performance in a sparkly Dior tuxedo, though, nor did it provide any red carpet wardrobe obstacles. She simply chose the elegant method of disguise, opting to adorn herself in a fiery orange Lanvin sheath from the Fall 2011 collection. She was all smiles, and so were we: she looked radiant.

By Colleen Nika

vma fashion 2011 adele

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Singer Adele arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Best Dressed: Adele

Not only did Adele tear down the VMAs with a heartwrenching version of "Someone Like You" – sans Auto-Tune, Pitbull, or harness-aided aerial somersaults – but she also brought a level-headed grace to the evening's array of looks in a demure Barbara Tfank midi-length dress. She was ravishing, hyberbole-free, and a reminder that less will always be more (provided the fit is killer).

vma fashion 2011 katy perry

Katy Perry arrives at the The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Best Dressed: Katy Perry

It would be so easy for Katy Perry's tropical take on Harajuku dressing to go wrong. But because she really went there, indulging in the theme 110 percent, it worked.  On the "black carpet," she selected a desert-hued Atelier Versace number before switching to head-to-toe Dior by the time she claimed her Moonman. If her cotton-candy pink 'do didn't remind us of Gwen Stefani, her outfits du soir certainly recalled the pop trendsetter's Japonais-flavored looks from 2005. All Perry required to resurrect the fantasy were a gaggle of giggling Japanese teens. But more power to her: originality qualms aside, she made us believe.

vma fashion 2011 kanye west

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Kanye West presents award to Katy Perry on stage at the The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Best Dressed: Kanye West

Even with his rousing performance of "Otis" (alongside Jay-Z) making for one of the evening's better performances, it was a fairly tame VMA year for Kanye West. He managed to appear humble, even charming, during his acceptance speech for "E.T.," letting its star Katy Perry do the majority of the talking. His attire was similarly low-key: he wore chambray Balmain in a head-to-toe denim look, a.k.a. the "Canadian Tuxedo." He won't break any records for that look, but it still was pulled off with panache.

vma fashion 2011 miley cyrus

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Miley Cyrus attends the 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Best Dressed: Miley Cyrus

One of the most predictable things a starlet can do is wear Roberto Cavalli on the red carpet. But Miley Cyrus couldn't resist, showing up to the VMAs in a floaty, "bohemian" look from the designer's recent collection. We can't find fault, though: it was one of Cavalli's more classic looks, a full-length number flecked in one of his trademark animal prints. With her hair up in a chignon and pretty makeup, Cyrus totally nailed it.

vma fashion 2011 zoe saldana

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Actress Zoe Saldana arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Best Dressed: Zoe Saldana

Another feat in simplicity: Actress Zoe Saldana was the rare beacon of non-gimmicky elegance in a sea of pop stars dressed as satellites, glitterballs, repurposed Harajuku girls and Jo Calderone. In a lovely black shift by Barbara Bui, she rose effortlessly over the rest — no costume required.

vma fashion 2011 victoria justice

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Actress Victoria Justice arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Best Dressed: Victoria Justice

Victoria Justice is an icon to the Nickelodeon set, thanks to her roles on Zoey 101 and Victorious. We suspect she's going to be something of a darling to the style set soon, too, if her look at the VMAs was any indication. Only 18, Justice kept things sexy but classy in a gold-plated mini dress from Theory and shoes from Rock & Republic. Her burgeoning tastes in fashion are piloting her in a winning direction —though her impeccable physique certainly didn't hurt the look, either.

vma fashion 2011 lady gaga joe calderone

Singer Lady Gaga dressed as "Jo Calderone", poses in the press room at the The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Bravest Attempt: Lady Gaga as Jo Calderone

We commend Lady Gaga's adventurous spirit and never-ending arsenal of cyberkinetic ensembles. But last night's theme held no variation: she dressed as Jo Calderone (her My Cousin Vinny-channeling male alter ago), and went with it, all night. The look: a white tee and jeans, set off with a greaser hairdo. As a statement in character, it succeeded. As a visual, its novelty grew old, but we're pretty sure Calderone wouldn't show up in a Raf Simons suit—nor would Gaga allow him to. Kudos to her for forcing us along for her gender-bending ride.

vma fashion 2011 nicki minaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Rapper Nicki Minaj arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Most Confusing: Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj's metallic-meets-pastels ensemble last night was reputedly inspired by Tokyo. That was fairly obvious—for unknown reasons, the Japanimation theme was a motif throughout the evening for many women. But we aren't sure what's really going on with Minaj's look. Is her get-up a tribute to Metropolis, the stuffed animal aisle at Toys 'R Us, or something else entirely? She even taped her mouth shut—rendering her literally speechless. Well, so were we.

vma fashion 2011 justin bieber

Justin Bieber arrives at the The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Worst Dressed: Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber is enduring his late adolescent growing pains, a difficult transitional stage that is also influencing his choice of wardrobe. Lately, he's aimed for what is ostensibly his "mature" look, chopping off his locks, wearing specs and trying on blazers of various proportions for size. Last night, though, he turned up the opulence, showing up in red jeans, a cropped (ladies'?) jacket, thick gold chain and sneakers. This might have worked on Kanye West, but on Bieber's dimunitive figure, he looked like a kid playing in a rapper's closet filled with last year's styles.

vma fashion 2011 jared leto 30 seconds to mars

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Musicians Jared Leto (C) Shannon Leto (R) and Tomo Milicevic of 30 Seconds to Mars arrive at the The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Worst Dressed: 30 Seconds to Mars/Jared Leto

Jared Leto's outrageous ensemble at last night's VMAs reminded us that he takes his rock star status a little too seriously. What we suspect went through Leto's mind as he took the red carpet last night: "I am defying gender and age expectations by wearing this daring black avant-gardist frock from an obscure Japanese label." What the world saw: "Jordan Catalano just wore a mandress with bits of tape stuck on it. "

vma fashion 2011 lmfao

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Skyblu and Redfoo of LMFAO arrive at the The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Worst Dressed: LMFAO

Going into the VMAs, we held a strong suspicion this group would end up on our Worst Dressed list. One look at their red carpet arrival reaffirmed our hunch: they looked ridiculous. That said, they clearly dressed as obnoxiously as possible, so their inclusion here as a notable contender for "worst dressed" will probably only delight them.