The most unusual accessories ever worn on the red carpet, from fashion faux pas to avant-garde choices

Walking the red carpet is an open invitation to criticism, which makes these unusual accessory choices a mixture of bold and baffling

Jared Leto, Cher, Lady GaGa all wearing unusual accessories on the red carpet
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Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel had a piece of advice for everyone - "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off."

She was, one hopes, referring to accessories and not the likes of one's trousers. Over-accessorising can be a real problem. A lifetime of fashion can mean accruing plenty of wonderful bracelets, necklaces, hats, bags and more. But that doesn't mean they all need to be worn at the same time.

Whether it's a case of too much or just a questionable choice, these are some examples where celebrities on the red carpet should've heeded Mademoiselle Chanel's wisdom. From the fabulous to the bizarre, it's safe to say these accessories are far from capsule wardrobe staples. 

The 32 most unusual accessories worn on the red carpet

Pamela Anderson's oversized hat

Pamela Anderson at the 1999 MTV VMAs

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Pamela Anderson is no stranger to thinking that bigger is better - but the Baywatch icon applied this mantra to her accessories during a memorable appearance at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. 

Attending the bash with her now ex-husband, rocker Tommy Lee, the blonde bombshell opted for a white corset and sequined trousers, but the real standout of her whole look was the oversized, fluffy pink hat. 

The creation was by designer Ivy Supersonic, who also designed similar cowboy hats for Tommy Lee's music videos.

The look is so iconic it's become a staple Halloween costume for the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kelly Ripa.

Red Carpet: 21 Years of Fame and Fashion by Frank Trapper | £16.99 at Amazon 

Red Carpet: 21 Years of Fame and Fashion by Frank Trapper | £16.99 at Amazon 

Celebrity photographer Frank Trapper had a front-row seat to dozens of awards shows, premieres and events across the globe. In this collection of 1,000 pictures, he takes us along the way, showcasing all the best (and most scandalous) looks of the time.

Madonna's grills

Madonna flashing her dental grills at the Met Gala

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Madonna is no stranger to doing things her way, and this rebellious nature applies to her choice of accessories. 

The Queen of Pop has decided that jewelled mouth grills - most commonly associated with rappers - get her royal seal of approval. She's worn them on several occasions, but she made sure everyone at the 2017 Met Gala. Outshining her camouflage Moschino gown, Madonna's grills included a dangling cross between the front two teeth.

Not exactly an accessory many would rush to recreate, Madonna defended her repeated use of the grills during a visit to Jimmy Fallon. She told the chat show host, "People have a problem with my grills, I don't know why... I just like the way it looks. It's mouth jewellery - and I have really ugly teeth."

Cher's feathered headpiece

Cher at the 1986 Academy Awards

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Cher has been a legend in the industry for over six decades, and there have been many times her looks have been almost too outlandish to Believe. 

One of her most memorable looks was for the 1986 Academy Awards when she paired a daring Bob Mackie dress with a huge, showgirl-esque headdress which defied gravity - and defied the Oscar's normally prim and proper sensibility. 

While breaking down her most memorable looks in a video for Vogue, the icon revealed a deeper meaning to her barely-there gown and oversized headpiece. 

“I came to Bob with an idea. I said I want to have a mohawk, [but] that is not actually Indian. I want it to be so over-the-top that it’s next week. The beautiful shawl was cashmere. I loved the whole thing."

"I had the idea mostly because the Academy didn’t really like me... They hated the way I dressed and I had young boyfriends so they thought I wasn’t serious. So I came out and said, ‘as you can see I got my handbook on how to dress like a serious actress.'"

Lizzo's teeny, tiny purse

Lizzo wearing a ruffled orange gown with a tiny purse

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Singer Lizzo wowed fans at the 2019 American Music Awards, wearing a custom Valentino gown. 

While the ruffled, peachy dress was enough to turn heads, the designer gown was somehow eclipsed... by something so tiny. 

Lizzo's miniature Maison Valentino bag ironically was a huge topic because of how miniature it was, and we can't imagine she was able to keep much in the memorable accessory.

Karl Lagerfeld's motorcycle gloves

Karl Lagerfeld

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The late Karl Lagerfeld was a giant in fashion. With his own label and overseeing some of Chanel's most successful years, he set fashion trends for decades. 

However, he had a penchant for a bizarre accessory that he wore pretty much 24/7 - biker-esque leather gloves. 

On anybody else, these gloves might give off Hell's Angels vibes - or, dare we say, perhaps something a bit more S&M - but the legendary designer made the accessory look chic and classic.

Sia's extravagant wigs

Singer Sia on the red carpet with an oversized wig hiding her face

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Singer-songwriter Sia is responsible for some of the biggest hits, but for most of her early career, nobody would be able to spot her. 

She chose the weirdest accessories during any public appearance, disguising herself with oversized wigs and extravagant hats. 

She explained why she chose the face-masking accessories in an op-ed for Billboard "If anyone besides famous people knew what it was like to be a famous person, they would never want to be famous."

Everything Nicki Minaj wore in 2011

Nicki Minaj at the 2011 VMAs

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Nicki Minaj is one of the modern female rappers who secured huge crossover success, becoming a well-known household name and a fashion favourite. 

However, during the 2011 MTV VMAs, the Anaconda singer had many questioning her style credentials as she walked the red carpet dressed like she'd got kitted out at Toys R Us.

Accessorising a metallic corset with teddy bear shoes and several plushies, Nicki's outlandish look is the embodiment of 'more is more.'

Jared Leto carrying his own head

Jared Leto at the Met Gala

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When it came to accessorising his look for the Met Gala in 2019 (which followed the theme of Camp: Notes on Fashion) Jared Leto was really ahead of the competition. 

The actor shocked everyone when he walked the famous red carpet wearing a flowing dress by Alessandro Michele for Gucci - but not because of the flowing red number. Because he was carrying a replica of his own head. 

Many thought the star had really lost his head when he debuted the puzzling accessory, but it definitely made an impact.

Rita Ora's fresh-out-of-the-shower glam

Rita Ora wearing a robe and towel on the red carpet

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No matter how fancy the event, we've all likely had one of those moments where we simply would prefer to stay home after a bath or a shower. 

Well, Rita Ora taught us all that it doesn't necessarily have to be an either/or situation, showing up to host the MTV EMAs in 2017 wearing a floor-length bathrobe and a terry cloth towel wrapped on her head.

True, she also was dripping in diamonds, but her choice of towel-as-accessory had many thinking about dripping wet hair instead. As it turns out, the bath-time inspired accessory and look came straight from Palomo Spain's Spring 2018 collection.

Lady Gaga's washing-up-glove glam

Lady gaGa wearing an Alaia gown and red rubber gloves at the Oscars

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Spare a thought for singer-songwriter-actress Lady Gaga - just when she was ready to tackle the washing up and scrub her surfaces, she remembered she was due at the 2015 Academy Awards. 

Gaga's baffling decision to pair a custom Azzedine Alaïa gown with a pair of rubber, cherry-red gloves. 

The singer posted more details about her look on social media to share her decision behind the weird accessory with fans. 

She wrote of the look, "It took 1600 hrs of embroidery and 25 people in Paris, he's [Alaia] never before made a dress for the Oscars. What an honour. The gloves were hand dyed Crimson, baby orchid blooms hand painted in my hair and killer pear shaped diamonds by Lorraine Schwartz."

Madonna's oversized scrunchie

Madonna at the 2009 Met Gala

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Madonna burst onto the scene in the 1980s, and changed history. Another thing that was hugely popular in the 80s was the hair scrunchie. So her 2009 Met Gala look was a real gem for fans of that decade. 

Dressed in a navy blue Louis Vuitton mini dress, thigh-high black boots and black fingerless gloves, the Queen of Pop completed her ensemble with a teal-coloured hair piece tied around a top knot.

A$AP Rocky's Queen Elizabeth inspired headscarf

A$AP Rocky on the red carpet

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What does an American rapper born and raised in Harlem have in common with the late Queen Elizabeth II? A love of headscarves, it would seem. 

ASAP Rocky - a fashion favourite and perhaps better known to some as Rihanna's other half - attended the LACMA Art and Film Gala in Los Angeles wearing a Gucci scarf wrapped around his head and tied under his chin. 

Shania Twain's red wig and cow print hat

Shania Twain in a cow print suit at the Grammys

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Man! I Feel Like a Completely Different Woman! 

That's the impression beloved country superstar Shania Twain has been giving since establishing a major comeback. 

The hitmaker has become something of an avant-garde, risk-taking fashion lover, swapping some of her older dressed down looks for big, bold outfits. 

At the 2023 Grammys, Shania wore a black-and-white cow print suit from designer Harris Reed paired with a matching oversized hat and a neon red wig. Daring accessories for anyone to attempt, but Shania made it work. Now that does impress us much.

Billie Eilish's cosy blanket

Billie Eilish and Jesse Rutherford on the red carpet in a Gucci blanket

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Singer Billie Eilish and her ex-boyfriend, Jesse Rutherford, made their red carpet debut together in 2023... and they looked cosy.

The couple draped themselves in a giant Gucci blanket, in what might be one of the laziest-yet-most-impactful choice of accessory ever as they arrived at a gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The Oscar winning singer fully committed to the theme, also accessorising with a sleep mask and camisole-style dress.

H.E.R accessorising with a snake

Singer H.E.R with a snake around her neck on the red carpet

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All eyes were on H.E.R. at the 2019 VMAs... but most of them were out of fear. 

The singer, whose real name is Gabriella Wilson, rocked the red carpet with an actual, real-life reptile wrapped around her neck. 

She told interviewers on the red carpet that her snake's name is Big Mama. 

Sarah Jessica Parker's fiery hat

Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2015 Met Gala

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Sex and the City queen Sarah Jessica Parker is a bona fide fashion icon, and her best looks over the years capture her unique, innovative and bold style. 

SJP literally brought the heat for the 2015 Met Gala, picking an accessory that raised eyebrows (as well as the temperature). 

The theme was 'China: Through the Looking Glass' and SJP paired her custom H&M ensemble with an extravagant and elaborate flame-motif headdress.

John Travolta's chunky necklace

John Travolta

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From Grease to Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta was the definitive heartthrob of the 70s and 80s. 

Sadly for the actor, his choice of accessory at the 2015 Oscars also felt like something more befitting someone from that era. 

The dated, chunky gold necklace was a questionable choice, but fortunately for the star, more people focused on his reunion with actress Idina Menzel. The year prior included his infamous gaffe where he butchered the star's name - who can forget Adele Dazeem? - just as she was about to perform her song, Let It Go, from Frozen. 

Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Girls

Gwen Stefani posing with the Harajuku Girls

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Gwen Stefani had a very questionable pattern of accessorising herself not with a thing but with people, during the early 2000s. 

As part of her sound and aesthetic - heavily inspired by Japan - Gwen would turn up with the four backup dancers at all times. 

Under a modern lens, Gwen has faced criticism for basically treating the dancers as accessories. She addressed this during a Paper Magazine interview, stating, "We learn from each other, we share from each other, we grow from each other."

Janelle Monae's purrfect purse

Janelle Monae

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Janelle Monae's choice of accessory at the 2023 Met Gala really was the cat's pyjamas. 

The theme that year honoured the late Karl Lagerfeld, and Janelle's white leather quilted cat bag was an homage to Lagerfeld's beloved pet (or muse) Choupette. While striking, we can't picture everyone being able to walk around with a cat-sized purse day-to-day. 

The multi-talented singer and actress' accessories complemented her oversized black-and-white tweed Thom Browne tuxedo suit with abstract patterns and embellishments. 

Michelle Williams' book purse

Actress Michelle Williams

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Nominated for five Academy Awards, Michelle Williams is one of the most revered actresses of our time - so you'd think she could at least act like she wanted to be at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. The star's choice of accessory - a book-shaped purse - gave off the impression that she perhaps would be bored senseless and would prefer to read than be there. 

However, the quirky accessory was just that - a clutch designed to look like J.D. Salinger's novel, Catcher in the Rye. 

Gigi Hadid's wine holder

Gigi Hadid

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Wine. An accessory many people could get on board with - and one which made Gigi a popular choice of seatmate, no doubt. 

The supermodel pulled a corker of an accessory in 2018 when she carried a bottle of rosé in a clear case to Brandon Maxwell's show at New York Fashion Week. 

The bag, a design of Maxwell's, featured a gold-looking handle and a tall, see-through case that carried a sealed bottle of sparkling wine.

Nicki Minaj accessorising with a... Pope

Nicki Minaj with a Pope impersonator at the Grammys

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Okay, not quite an accessory, but so memorable and weird, how could we not mention this one?

Nicki Minaj - known for blending genres of music *and* fashion - combined a touch of drama with her outfit at the 2012 Grammys. 

The Super Bass star paired a hooded Versace gown with an older gentleman dressed to look like a Pope. Blasphemy? Perhaps. A theatrical accessory, unlike anything we'd seen on a red carpet before? Most definitely. 

Angelina Jolie in cuffs

Angelina Jolie

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Was Angelina Jolie finally arrested for her killer cheekbones and criminally chic dress sense in 2011? Not quite. But the Oscar-winning star did accessorise her elegant red carpet look with a peculiar cuff purse. 

While attending the premiere of Moneyball, her then-husband, Brad Pitt's movie, Angelina opted to wear the interesting Louis Vuitton clutch which comes with a matching cuff and chain motif. 

Questlove's gold crocs

Questlove on the Academy Awards red carpet

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Crocs. On the red carpet. At the Oscars. We've seen it all. 

DJ, drummer and music legend Questlove - of the band Roots - attended the 2021 Academy Awards wearing the divisive footwear, which has been having something of a fashion renaissance in more recent years. 

The footwear - which would once get you banished from all of high society - have even been embraced by royalty. Princess Kate sported a pair of red Crocs.

Lady Gaga's white horse

Lady Gaga

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Accessorising wildly isn’t anything new to the Grammy and Oscar-winning Lady Gaga, but swapping outlandish bits of clothing for a ‘horse’ might have been a step (or a gallop) too far, even for her.

The always-theatrical star attended the 2013 American Music Awards accessorising her pastel pink and purple dress with a half-mechanical, half-human horse creation. 

Fashion historians will no doubt infer an homage to the likes of Bianca Jagger, who famously rode a white horse at the infamous Studio 54 nightclub. 

Lauren Hutton's bumbag/waist belt

Lauren Hutton at the 2006 Academy Awards

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Model and actress Lauren Hutton just *gets* fashion. 

For the 2006 Academy Awards, breaking out of the pack of dresses, she wowed in a shrunken tuxedo jacket and cigarette pants. Understated. Chic. But then... there was the baffling decision to accessorise with what appeared to be a small, knitted coin purse tied around her waist, with dangling threads. Being Lauren Hutton she managed to pull it off - but it's probably not a look we'll rush to recreate.

Jennifer Connelly's flimsy scarf at the Oscars

Jennifer Connelly's 2002 Academy Awards look

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At the Oscars, fans are used to seeing glittering diamonds and dazzling gems draped around the necks of Hollywood's ingenues and veterans. 

Which makes Jennifer Connelly choice of accessory in 2002 a puzzler. 

The star - who would win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress that year for her role in A Beautiful Mind - decided to wear a flimsy, long scarf in a dull, beige colour. 

Florence Pugh's feathery headpiece

Florence Pugh with her feathered headpiece at the Met Gala

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Hollywood starlet, Florence Pugh, made her Met Gala debut in 2023 - and what a debut it was. 

Not only did the star of Little Women and Midsommar unveil her shaved head (yep, that was new for the carpet), she replaced her signature blonde locks with a huge feathered headdress. 

The towering, sculptural design complemented her classy black-and-white Valentino gown.

Carol Burnett's comfy slippers

Carol Burnett

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Not many people could get away with choosing to accessorise their red carpet look with a pair of UGG slippers - perhaps better suited for shuffling about the house or popping out to the bins. 

But not many people can boast a showbiz legacy like Carol Burnett. With a career spanning nearly 70 years, Carol Burnett is one of the last surviving stars of the Golden Era of Hollywood, revered for her variety shows, Broadway appearances and comedy shows.

Zendaya's giant hat

Zendaya wearing an oversized hat

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Oversized doesn't really do Zendaya's Emporio Armani hat from 2014 justice. 

Gargantuan, towering and comical perhaps sum it up better, yet, somehow, the Hollywood It Girl and decorated actress made it look elegant and high fashion. 

The Euphoria actress wore it to the Teen Vogue Party and stands by it to this day. She recently told Vogue, "We thought it was chic at the time. I think it’s still chic. I would wear it again. I think Law [Roach, celebrity stylist] might have this hat. Might have to bring it out of the archives one day."

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob's matching blood vials

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton

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Arguably one of the most shocking accessories were Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton's matching necklaces... which included a vial each of their blood.

Married for three years, the couple made headlines for their choice of accessory which saw them wear matching necklaces (not too unusual for a couple) bearing vials of one another's blood (a little unusual...)

Per the Hollywood Reporter, Billy Bob explained "Angie came home one day with...those lockets you buy that are clear and you put a picture of your grannie in it or something like that and wear it around your neck? That’s what it was. She bought two of those. We were apart a lot because she's off making Tomb Raider and I'm making Monster’s Ball. We were on opposite ends..."

"She thought it would be interesting and romantic if we took a little razorblade and sliced our fingers, smeared a little blood on these lockets and you wear it around your neck just like you wear your son or daughter’s baby hair in one. Same thing. From that we were wearing quart jars of blood around our necks."

Lady Gaga's meat dress and purse

Lady GaGa in her meat dress at the VMAs

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In 2010, Lady Gaga decided her VMAs look wasn't going to come from an atelier, but an abattoir. 

Designed by Franc Fernandez and styled by Nicola Formichetti, the Poker Face singer shocked the world when she accepted her award with an outfit made entirely out of raw meat. 

From the dress to the purse and matching boots, flank steak was chosen as the material, with the meat coming from Fernandez's family butcher. 

Now one of the most iconic looks of all time, the dress was widely condemned by animal rights groups, but Gaga told Ellen DeGeneres there was a reason for the look, stating, "If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights... pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones."

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.