The 1999 VMAs were the best time of times—before the worst of times—and, as SS17 proved, continues to be an endless source of inspiration for all.



5 Times SS17 Took Inspiration from the '99 VMAs

Always a cauldron of entertainment, the VMAs were once a night not to be missed—a night that was guaranteed to bring salacious cameos and NC-17 moments that girls and boys everywhere would attempt to emulate—and, if that didn’t work, then masturbate to—during the subsequent year. And more times than not, those cameos and moments were sartorial in nature. For, more so than being a cauldron of entertainment, the VMAs were a beacon of unforgettable style moments.

With the death of such delicious shows as Daria, The Tom Green Show, Undressed, and Say What? Karaoke, came the inevitable (and swift) decline of the VMAs. A fleet of stellar low-rise pants were soon replaced with a fleet of quarantined puppies (Google “VMAs 2015” if you don’t believe us)—and now, like your recently-married friend who vehemently denies her 4-month-long stint as an angel dust dealer in college, the VMAs are, well, kind of weird.

‘90s eras VMAs, and particularly the 1999 VMAs, were the best time of times—before the worst of times—and, as the SS17 collections proved, continues to be an endless source of inspiration for all. Read on to find out what in the name of Kurt Loder we’re talking about.

Oh and this happened too.

Saint Laurent’s Lil’ Kim Moment

It’s no coincidence that the same woman who rapped about “the jump off” birthed the ultimate sartorial jump off—that, paradoxically, made for the absolute worst outfit to jump in. Everyone remembers Lil’ Kim’s ’99 VMAs—you, your friends, your dad, and sorry to say it, your dad’s friends too. And from the looks of it, we can also add Anthony Vaccarello to that list; for, his first collection since taking the reins at Saint Laurent included a one-shoulder dress that, like Kim’s, left one boob hanging free—a boob that, like Kim’s, was also censored with a nice and shiny nipple pasty.

Perhaps Vaccarello thought a nipple with the luster of 40 Swarovski crystals would distract us. And it did! But only from the grueling monotony of our lives and the iron, patriarchal fists that govern it. Not from this scintillating nipple pasty’s likeness to the iridescent, shell-shaped one Lil’ Kim wore to the ’99 VMAs. Both outfits do a nice job of leaving, for the average denizen, absolutely zero wriggle room for comfort. And both pasties, like Richard Simmons’ housekeeper, do an even better job of incarcerating your nipple inside lavish, but ultimately still imprisoning confines.


Ryan Lo’s Nod to Pam Anderson

Have you ever noticed that, if you take a Napoleonic hat, dip it in any bright color, stick some furry bits on it, and re-jig the shape just a tad, you get a pimp hat? Neither did we, to be honest, until we saw the furry, flamboyant Napoleonic hats Ryan Lo sent down the runway for his SS17 show—and noticed its uncanny resemblance to the pink pimp hat-looking monstrosity that Pamela Anderson wore to the ’99 VMAs. And now that we’ve noticed this, we think it makes total sense; for Napoleon, though certainly no pimp, did suffer from such delusions of grandeur, and we can think of no better way to soil his legacy and tarnish his abbreviated image than by giving his signature hat the Pam-Anderson-at-the-’99-VMAs treatment.

Less obvious, however, is why Pam thought this hat was a good idea at the time. Then we remember that, to this same event, Busta Rhymes wore a yellow leather halter and Jada Pinkett Smith a black leather bib—and the Playboy Captain Sparrow hat starts to make sense.


When Prada Went Britney

If our research serves us, then it would appear Britney wore at least three outfits to the ’99 VMAs. But it’s the black ensemble she showed up in that concerns us here—and that, frankly, should concern Miuccia Prada as well.

For her SS17 Prada collection, Miuccia apparently attempted to “take care of now, the present, and trying to find elegance,” rather than “exploring the history of women.” And honestly, we haven’t seen a more blatant, shameless display of damage control shrouded in fancifully vague language since Watergate (don’t quote us on that). Because you know what else this look is strangely reminiscent of? Yes, that’s right, the black duster Britney Spears showed up wearing to the ’99 VMAs. Like Prada’s SS17 collection, it featured ostrich feathers. And like the ostrich feathers in Prada’s SS17 collection, the ones on Britney’s duster were used as dainty garment trimmings. Coincidence? We think not.


That Time Hood by Air AND Céline Borrowed From TLC

Long before fashion’s most audacious dwellers were tripping over Hood by Air’s gratuitous straps, belts, and ties, there was a tantalizing, water-chasing-averse trio dodging legions of needless straps, and all we’re asking is that fashion gives credit where it’s rightfully due. Take a look at TLC’s getups at the ’99 VMAs, and you’ll notice a distinct similarity to Hood by Air’s SS17 collection—particularly in the S&M-tinged fabrics and the rat-tail-like chords hanging from them. Less expected, however, is that we’d see the same shameless poaching from Phoebe Philo.


Chanel’s Obvious Obsession with Eminem

Eminem circa the ’99 VMAs is not unlike a heavenly apparition. He is, in a word, hot—especially when compared to the white rappers that have succeeded him since, who are, in a word, not. With bleached hair a yellow shade as pure, pubescent, and zestful as that of Jon Benet Ramsey’s, Eminem rap-introduced himself like a chiseled, vital young man with early onset Alzheimer’s. And he did so while wearing a sweatshirt with “Role Model” in flashing LED-lights on the front side. Interestingly, Karl Lagerfeld used similar LED lights in his most recent SS17 Chanel show. A flawed plan and an even more flawed execution, to say the least.


Stay tuned to Milk for more unacknowledged ’90s nostalgia.

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