Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Grammys’ Sexiest, Sparkliest Looks Ever, in One Eye-Popping Infographic

Remember when Destiny’s Child’s matching outfits felt risqué?

Destiny's Child with their Grammys backstage at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2001. Photo: Scott Gries/ImageDirect

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

The Grammys may not be as fancy as the Oscars or even the Golden Globes — but when it comes to the red carpet, music’s big night definitely delivers in the drama department. There’s no neckline too plunging and no bejeweled ensemble too blinding for this particular awards show.

And from Michael Jackson to Ciara, Grammys attendees frequently test the limits when it comes to showing off both skin and sparkle. We combed through hundreds of photos and singled out ten of the most (and least) bedazzled and body-baring looks from past red carpets into a single visual matrix, which illustrates just how outrageous Grammys fashion can get:

Graphic by Brenda Milis and Nneoma Ajiwe

Things have changed over time: Early-aughts Grammys looks that were considered scandalous at the time — like Jennifer Lopez’s iconic Versace from 2000 or Toni Braxton’s barely-there Richard Tyler from 2001 — seem downright demure compared to what stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé have worn recently. And when it comes to glitter, even the coordinating bedazzled getups Destiny’s Child chose in 2001 can’t challenge Lady Gaga’s comet-like Armani Privé from 2010.

Of course, it’s also possible to make a lasting impact while leaving something to the imagination. Need proof? When Nicki Minaj cosplayed a cardinal in red Versace at the 2012 ceremony (complete with her own pope!), she made headlines. Britney Spears’s white Randolph Duke gown from 2000, while one of the pop star’s most conservative red carpet choices ever, also remains her best.

But the question remains: Will anyone at this Sunday’s Grammys manage to out-sparkle Gaga or out-scandal Ciara? We’ll be watching.