Skip to main content

Great Outfits in Fashion History: Aaliyah's Animal-Print Roberto Cavalli Dress

It's the dress that keeps on giving.
aaliyah-robert-cavalli-mtv

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

While all eyes are still on Y2K (though I'm curious to see if designers will start tapping into other decades for the Fall 2023 runways), I personally prefer the '90s. Slip dresses, baggy pants, kitten heels, chainmail, bucket hats — the decade had so many style-defining pieces that made it such a versatile and exciting time in fashion history. 

Of course, there were also iconic figures that added to the excitement, including Winona Ryder, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lil' Kim, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss to name a few. But the one who takes the top spot for me is the late R&B singer Aaliyah.

aaliyah-robert-cavalli-2000

Aaliyah may be most popularly known for her streetwear aesthetic (her Tommy Hilfiger era single-handedly made me become a devout follower of the brand), but she was much more versatile with her sartorial choices than she gets credits for. 

One of my favorites was her yellow-and-black striped Roberto Cavalli gown for the 2000 MTV VMAs. Since the dress was already a statement, she kept the accessorizing to a minimum with strappy heels, red gloss and shiny eyeshadow.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

If you still aren't convinced about how life-changing this look was, look no further than how celebrities have referenced it in recent years. At the 2021 MTV VMAs, Bretman Rock channeled Aaliyah and wore the exact same dress on the red carpet, successfully creating a show-stopping moment. That same year, Paloma Elsesser wore it to a wedding, further proving that the fashion influence of Aaliyah is timeless.

bretman-rock-robert-cavalli

Aaliyah, you will always be one in a million.

Before you start looking up other Aaliyah fashion moments to dote over, shop dresses inspired by the Roberto Cavalli piece down below.

hanifa-dress
balmain-zebra-dress
lagence slip dress
bronx-branco-animal-print-dress
zebra-print-dress

Homepage Photos: Getty Images. Collage: Janelle Sessoms/Fashionista

Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.

Want the latest fashion industry news first? Sign up for our daily newsletter.