Holly Brighouse

The Queen of Rap, Nicki Minaj, has sold a record-breaking 100 million units since her debut in 2010, and since then she has utilised her popularity to storm into the fashion industry. Minaj instantly differentiated herself from other artists by embodying an eccentric, and somewhat bizarre style – recognised for her obscure garments and audacious hairstyles. The likes of Anna Wintour, and the late Karl Lagerfeld have worked alongside Nicki and recognised the influence she possesses. Nicki has proven that she lives within nature of hyperbole, this is mirrored through her creative and illusive fashion that she has demonstrated to the public over the past 12 years, whether that be at the Met Gala, The Grammys, or New York Fashion Week. Within this article, Spoiled Nation divulges into Minaj’s style evolution and how her fashion persona has continued to alter.

Throughout the roll-out of her first debut album, Pink Friday, released 22nd November 2010, Minaj modelled a Japanese Harajuku inspired style, titling herself, ‘The Harajuku Barbie’. Within this era, Nicki’s candy pink wigs became notorious and a staple to her fashion catalogue. The formula to ensemble an outfit fit for Ms Minaj, was to be as visually compelling as possible, indulge in explosive colour pallets and tricky footwear – often designed by Shojono Tomo.

Beginning with the 2011 Video Music Awards, Minaj debuts Harajuku Barbie to the red carpet in a three-dimensional geometric dress, completed with reflective trapeze detailing. The dress despite already being distinctive, was completed with baroque patchwork items, resembling animal-like toys. The exaggerated ‘dress’ had a detonation of colour and an extensive selection of accessories, coincidently including a face mask pre COVID19. Was Nicki Minaj acting as a walking oracle?

For Nicki’s debut visit to the Grammys, in 2011 – the fearsome Minaj wore a fully coordinated outfit, completed with thick denier tights and gloves, showered in leopard print; centered around a cupcake skirt and a busty top dress. This Givenchy look was undeniable intriguing and certainly iconic, it is one of the most memorable Grammy looks of all time and instantly instigated conversation around Ms. Minaj – who’s that girl? Even 11 years later, people still want to dress up in the acclaimed look, in 2020, singer Ciara embraced her inner Minaj in this look for Halloween.

Minaj rolled in controversy as she appeared in a Versace blood red and caped satanic-esque gown, accompanied by a man resembling the Pope at the 2012 Grammys red carpet, which was later recognised as foreshadow to her later performance; which seemingly carried out a live exorcism on herself, unleashing her unapologetic and psychotic alter ego, Roman Zolankski. The garment had onyx black detailing, bringing the look to completion – the pure white blonde hair totally juxtaposed Nicki’s demonic outfit and message.

In 2015, Minaj resembled a molten gold waterfall, a shining gown plunging down, creating a deeply seductive neckline, embracing Minaj’s curvaceous figure. The design was by Labourjoise was made up of sheer panels dusted with fragile floral embellishments that act as innocent enticements, consequently blinding bypasses. The night of the 2015 VMAS, gifted us with the iconic, ‘Miley, what’s good?’ line, where Nicki delivered in this sensational dress.

Moving into 2017, Minaj continued to embrace the fashion world by attending the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party at New York Fashion Week in an Oscar de la Rente one-of-a-kind gown, exploding in flourishing flower arrangements with an intricate kaleidoscopic range. Minaj stunned as always as the dress enhanced her hourglass silhouette and revealing her upper chest, a reoccurring feature which makes a lot of Nicki’s best looks.

It is apparent that Nicki Minaj is renowned for her most famous looks at the VMAs, because once again, in 2017, Nicki devoured a beautifully suffocating pink latex jumpsuit, customised by Vex Latex, she served Barbie hair with a half and half blonde and bubble-gum pink long inches, right down to her feet.  The glam was sensational, and she looked absolutely beautiful posing with stars such as Drake.

In June 2020, Nicki announced that she was soon to be welcoming to the world, a mini-Minaj. The Rap Goddess, bedazzled in an explosive Swarovski bra, covered in an abundance of baby and sweet-like trinkets. Minaj glows in the enchanting co-ordinating set, loud yellow perm and fragile pink feathered platforms, winning herself one of the most truly memorable pregnancy announcements.

For the 2022 Video Music Awards, Minaj threw it back and seemingly commemorated herself by modernising an outfit mirroring her old, debut style. Minaj embodied her inner Jessica Rabbit, wearing a custom Dolce & Gabbana, fuchsia pink gown – delicately embellished with vivid diamantes. Alongside her candy pink updo, the gown was reminiscent of Nicki’s early days in the industry – what made Nicki Minaj, THE Nicki Minaj.