Mary J. Blige Rocks Extreme Cutouts and Sequins at the Billboard Music Awards


Mary J. Blige found the perfect fashion designer to orchestrate her Billboard Icon Award acceptance. Taking the stage at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday evening, the music artist wore a look that certainly rose to the occasion. The custom gown, designed by Puerto Rican native Rey Ortiz, sparkled at every turn, reminding everyone who the lady of the hour was.

Taking cutouts and sequins to new levels of bold, the black minidress featured a one-shoulder halter-neck design plus asymmetrical cutouts and multicoloured sequins all along the sleeve and bodice. On one side, the sparkly fabric flowed into a floor-length train. Blige finished with black strappy heels, a few diamond rings, and scintillating silver hoops. She styled her hair into a top bun with a bang.

Janet Jackson presented the award to Blige in a black Thom Browne maxi-skirt suit, complete with a tie and top hat. The “Real Love” singer is the 11th artist to receive the honour, but to Black women in particular, that distinction felt long overdue.

“I’m in a dream right now. Thank you so much,” Blige said in her acceptance speech. “The way the world is now, I think people think icons are born that way. They become a legend overnight. But that is definitely not the case. It takes a lot of time, hard work, and a lot of surviving trial and error to achieve greatness. What an icon means to me is overcoming obstacles to accomplish the unthinkable, and that is what I’ve always represented. I’ve been on this journey for a long time . . . one that was filled with a lot of heartache and pain. But God helped me to channel those experiences and emotions into my music, which is where I started . . .”

Earlier that evening, Blige appeared on the red carpet in a different yet equally enticing gown. Styled by Jason Rembert, she wore a textured black ankle-length dress with a plunging neckline, a midsection cutout, and a thigh-high slit, all in a sparkly fabric and created by luxury fashion house Julien Macdonald. She also finished with black strappy heels, staying consistent with her dress code for the night.

Ahead, view the two stunning looks presented by the icon.

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