If you've ever listened to The Cure while piling on the black liner, then you’ll be interested to know that the fashion at the 2022 VMA’s took us where we didn’t think A-list pop icons could go: a goth extravaganza full of cutout garb, leather corsets, and lace dusters. It's a stark contrast to the bright "dopamine dressing" that's been standard at post-Covid awards shows—perhaps everyone decided to showcase their “Teenage Dirtbag” era outfits on the red carpet—but whatever it is, dark, moody ensembles are back, and we are very here for it.
Although many people think of goth culture as being moody, wearing all black, or doing whatever it is Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox are up to these days, goth history goes much deeper than wearing an all-black outfit that makes your parents upset. Following punk icons like the Sex Pistols, the post-punk movement started in the United Kingdom in the late '70s and early '80s with bands like Joy Division, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
These artists had a morose tone, and the torn black fishnets and vintage military boots they wore resonated with youth all across the UK, and, ultimately, the world. Goth culture followed post-punk, where people wore a plethora of all-black outfits ranging from a Robert Smith-inspired suit, to a proper gothic ‘fit full of black lace and crosses.
And none of what they did was in vain—over 40 years after these bands paved the way for vampiric fashion, these looks are standard faire for celebs. First up is Ashley Graham, who hit the nail on the head in terms of dressing goth for a red carpet. Graham sported a black cutout dress with the quintessential goth accessory, safety pins (though hers are made from crystals) holding the dress together. She adheres to her goth style with a black smokey makeup look, while adding a glam touch with dangle earrings and a sparkly black sandal.
Following the current lingerie as outerwear trend, corsets and harnesses of all kinds were huge last night. Stars like Bebe Rexha opted for a classic black boned dress, while Valentina Ferrer chose a simpler corset with a full black skirt, both serving major Victorian vibes. BLACKPINK added a cute flair to their all-black looks with corset tops studded with stars, while Dove Cameron took her look down the BDSM route with a black harness and studded manicure juxtaposed by a delicate floral skirt.
But, goth style isn’t just about corsets—it’s obviously about metal belts, too. Nessa Barrett married the two styles with her black corseted dress embellished with a multi-cross silver belt across her waist. Edgy icon Avril Lavigne, however, took a more classic punk approach and wore a silver belt with cargo pants.
Lace also offered a vampire-chic look for stars this year. Lili Reinhart wore a head-to-toe all black lace fit while Conan Gray paired a romantic white lace duster with a black Dries Van Noten neckpiece and eight-inch platform heels. Although she didn’t wear lace, Sofia Carson shocked the scene with a delicate back dress and an in-your-face cape that definitely channeled some creature of the night.
And finally, there is no goth without some shocking makeup. Lizzo matched her navy lipstick to her navy dress and finished the look off with sheer gloves, gold hoops, and in true goth fashion, a reliable pair of combat boots.
Below, see the stars dress in their moodiest attire for the 2022 VMA’s: