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From Balenciaga to Bloody Shoes: All the Times Cardi B’s Style Stole the Show

4 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

With lyrics about Balenciaga boots, Fendi and Prada bags and “bloody” Christian Louboutin shoes, Cardi B‘s ascent into fashion icon status seems as unstoppable as her rise as a rapper. The Bronx-born and bred “Money” artist has proved she’s no one-hit wonder when it comes to serving looks both on the red carpet and in her music videos; in the short time since she’s been in the mainstream spotlight, she’s solidified a style that’s as bold and feisty as her music.

Drawing on fiercely feminine silhouettes, bright colors and never shying away from distinctive, eye-catching elements like pastel faux fur accents or playful animal prints, Cardi and her stylist Kollin Carter are proving that the rapper is not only making money moves — she’s making style moves too. Ahead of the 2019 Grammy Awards, where Cardi (a featured performer and favorite nominee of the night), will no doubt slay the red carpet and stage, we’re taking a look back at her most show-stealing looks of all time.

2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals
Frazer Harrison—Getty Images

2017 MTV Video Music Awards — Cardi’s creamy white Christian Siriano jumpsuit was both daring and elegant thanks to its sweeping overskirt draped over wide-leg trousers and the Madonna/Gaultier-esque cone bra bodice.

Rihanna's 3rd Annual Diamond Ball
Taylor Hill—FilmMagic

Rihanna’s 2017 Diamond Ball — Cardi was dubbed “Bardirella” when she emerged at Rihanna’s posh Diamond Ball in 2017 and for good reason: her voluminous seafoam green-blue Christian Siriano gown was fit for a princess.

Christian Siriano - Front Row - February 2018 - New York Fashion Week
Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images

Autumn/Winter ’18 Christian Siriano runway show — To attend the Christian Siriano runway show, Cardi donned a kelly green pantsuit, which she accessorized with a luxurious white fur stole and a pair of black and white sunglasses.

60th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
Jamie McCarthy—Getty Images

2018 Grammy Awards — According to InStyle, the Ashi couture collection dress that Cardi wore on the 2018 Grammys red carpet, along with another one from the same designer, took two to three weeks to create (about 150 hours of labor).

Marc Jacobs - Arrivals - February 2018 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows
Sean Zanni—Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Autumn/Winter ’18 Marc Jacobs runway show — Cardi went for retro glamour in a floor-length, psychedelic print Marc Jacobs gown topped with a fuzzy bolero and a pair of retro-style, soon to ubiquitous Adam Selman x Le Specs cat eye sunglasses.

2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards - Show
Kevin Mazur—Getty Images for iHeartMedia

2018 iHeartRadio Awards — Cardi’s cranberry-colored Christian Siriano tulle babydoll dress was not only playfully glamorous — it also concealed the rapper’s pregnancy before she announced it on Saturday Night Live.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals
Neilson Barnard—Getty Images

2018 Met Gala — Cardi B’s heavily embellished cream gown and headdress designed by Jeremy Scott for Moschino helped transform her into a Madonna for the night’s theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” something that was only reinforced by her prominent baby bump.

Tom Ford - Arrivals - September 2018 - New York Fashion Week
Jamie McCarthy—Getty Images

Spring/Summer ’19 Tom Ford runway show — Cardi wore a sleek black sheath paired with smokey eyes and slicked-back hair for the Tom Ford runway show during fashion week; later, the designer announced that there would be a blue lipstick named Cardi — it sold out in just 24 hours.

Jeremy Scott - Backstage - September 2018 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows
Theo Wargo—Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Spring/Summer ’19 Jeremy Scott runway show — Cardi sat front row at the Jeremy Scott show in a stunning leopard print pantsuit and a bustier fit for a bombshell.

Harper's BAZAAR Celebrates "ICONS By Carine Roitfeld" At The Plaza Hotel Presented By Infor, Estee Lauder, Saks Fifth Avenue, Fujifilm Instax, Genesis, And Stella Artois - Arrivals
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Cardi B attends as Harper's BAZAAR Celebrates "ICONS By Carine Roitfeld" at the Plaza Hotel on September 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar)Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar

2018 Harper’s Bazaar Icons Party — Cardi wore a regal red Dolce & Gabbana ruffled gown to the 2018 Harper’s Bazaar Icons party, where she infamously threw her shoe at Nicki Minaj, later alleging that the issue stemmed from the Queen rapper questioning her parenting skills.

Dolce & Gabbana - Front Row - Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019
Daniele Venturelli—Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Spring/Summer ’19 Dolce & Gabbana runway show (9/18) — Cardi indulged her penchant for animal prints when she attended the Dolce & Gabbana runway show in Milan in head-to-toe prints, drawing many a comparison between her and Fran Drescher.

Celebrity Sightings In Paris
Singer Cardi b poses in Paris, France On September 25, 2018. (Photo by Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images)NurPhoto—NurPhoto via Getty Images

Spring/Summer ’19 Michael Costello runway show — Cardi went for all out glamour during Paris Fashion Week with a multicolored dramatic hat and dress combo from Michael Costello.

ETAM : Runway - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis—Corbis via Getty Images

Spring/Summer ’19 Etam runway show — To perform at the Etam show, Cardi relied on Christian Cowan (the designer responsible for her album cover look as well as the memorable leotard and crown made of watches for her “Money” music video,) to outfit her in a lavender suit with fluffy matching feathers.

Celebrity Sightings : Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 : Day Three
Jacopo Raule—Getty Images

Spring/Summer ’19 Mugler ruwnway show (9/18) — To attend the Mugler runway show, Cardi wore an avant garde shorts and tuxedo blazer combo from the esteeemed French fashion house.

Billboard 2018 R&B Hip-Hop Power Players
Theo Wargo—Getty Images for Billboard

Billboard 2018 R&B Hip-Hop Power Players — Cardi coordinated her lime green Saks Potts coat to complement her teal bob.

2018 American Music Awards - Arrivals

2018 American Music Awards — Cardi brought the heat when she turned up to the 2018 American Music Awards in a blooming flower print gown from Dolce & Gabbana complete with a floral headdress and flower-embellished platform sandals.

2019 Grammy Awards

And at the 61st Grammy Awards red carpet, she did not disappoint in a pearl in an oyster shell look from Thierry Mugler’s 1995 fall couture collection, once worn by model Simonetta Gianfelici.

Rapper Cardi B and Offset arrive for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards
Rapper Cardi B and arrives for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.Valerie Macon—AFP/Getty Images

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com