At the 2021 MTV VMAs, many celebrities showed up in one-of-a-kind looks—Chlöe x Halle, Normani, Ashanti, and Nick Cannon to name a few—and some others channeled nostalgia. For instance, Lil Nas X‘s ensemble immediately reminded fans of Lil Kim’s historic 1999 look.
However, with this year essentially being the year of Aaliyah—with the anniversary of her tragic death, two of her best albums turning 20 and 25, and her music now being available on streaming platforms—nobody could ignore Bretman Rock wearing her 2000 VMAs dress on the red carpet.
Rock gushed about the vintage Roberto Cavalli yellow-and-black tiger-striped gown to Variety. He stated, “And believe it or not, it’s the same exact dress Aaliyah wore when she won Female Music Video Of The Year back in like 2001 [sic]. We pulled it from a Roberto Cavalli archive […] and he let me borrow it for the night.” The 23-year-old also shared that he “pretends” the gown “still smells like Aaliyah” and “hopes that [she’s] looking down at this little Filipino boy giving her dress justice 21 years later.”
Bretman Rock confirms he’s actually wearing Aaliyah’s VMAs look ! pic.twitter.com/ACQKVwYk0t
— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) September 13, 2021
Aaliyah’s diehard fans immediately sought out insight from the late singer’s stylist, Derek Lee. One fan addressed Lee, asking, “I’m assuming he’s being extra that it’s the same one she touched. Do you still have this?” To which Lee replied, “SO… I don’t have the original. It’s common for celebs to borrow from designers for an event & that’s what happened w/ the dress BG wore. NOW… do I believe that’s the exact same dress she wore. HELL NO! He looks & sounds like he’s bulls**tting for clout.”
Lee continued his sentiments, expressing, “honestly, it’s quite obvious to me that he’s making it up. U can pull that dress from several different rental houses. His comment is kinda cringe to me too. With all that being said, I dig what [Bretman] brings to fashion but this ain’t it 4 me.”
Another fan asked if still considered Rock’s comments to be clout chasing after the Roberto Cavalli Instagram page reposted his 2021 VMA look. Lee replied, “Well, like I said in another post, It may have come from Cavalli. But I’m sure they have no idea if it’s the dress she actually wore. There were too many in the showroom at the time for them to care who wore exactly which one. That’s all. And honestly, who cares what I think at this point? He wore a dress she may or may have not wore. Regardless, he probably believes that to be true so…”
The stylist clarified that his comments are not meant to be shady. “Lastly, please know that I mean absolutely no shade!!! And I can assure you that even the people at Roberto Cavalli don’t even know which exact dress was worn by Her. They literally had several of each color in their showroom at the time along w/ the matching furs.”
Check out the full exchange below.
— ΛΛLIYΛH NEWS (@AALIYAHNEWS) September 13, 2021
SO… I don’t have the original. It’s common for celebs to borrow from designers for an event & that’s what happened w/ the dress BG wore. NOW… do I believe that’s the exact same dress she wore. HELL NO! He looks & sounds like he’s bullshitting for clout.
— Derek Lee (@DLeeStyle) September 13, 2021