Bretman Rock Wore Aaliyah's 2001 Roberto Cavalli Dress to the 2021 MTV VMAs

Bretman Rock Wore Aaliyah's VMA Dress
Getty Images/Astrid Stawiarz/KMazur

The 23-year-old influencer said he worked closely with the designer to 'borrow' the dress from an archive.

YouTube star and influencer Bretman Rock brought the past with him at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards. The 23-year-old walked the red carpet wearing a vintage Roberto Cavalli gown, the same dress worn by late singer Aaliyah to the same awards show two decades earlier. 

"No one will ever rock it like Aaliyah," Rock wrote in an Instagram post showing off the vintage tiger-print slip dress. Aaliyah wore the gown to the 2000 VMAs, where she went on to win Best Female Video and Best Video from a Film for her chart hit, "Try Again." The Romeo Must Die actress died over a year after the 2000 VMAs in an airplane crash in the Bahamas.

"Thank you so much @roberto_cavalli for letting me wear this special piece," Rock continued in his post. "I never thought I would ever be able to wear this, let alone be in the VMAs, when they said I could wear it I literally cried of disbelief… I love Aaliyah and am so honored to have been able to wear this 21 years after her. We love you 🕊"

In an interview with Variety on the carpet, Rock revealed that he worked closely with Cavalli to "borrow" the dress for the night. "I like to pretend that it still smells like Aaliyah and I just hope that Aaliyah is looking down at this little brown Filipino boy giving her dress justice 21 years later," he said.

This weekend also saw the opening of an immersive pop-up experience in New York City meant to celebrate the life and legacy of Aaliyah. Blackground Records 2.0 partnered up with Six Degrees and Pandora to create the "More Than A Woman: The Aaliyah Experience," a two-part event that was described as a "multi-set" experience that will bring Aaliyah’s career "to life."

Stars including DJ Enuff, Vina Love, DJ Suss One, and Kenny Hamilton all came out to the event's opening night on Friday.

Getty Images/Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Friday, Sept. 10 marked the release of Aaliyah's self-titled album on streaming services, after over a decade of contentious behind-the-scenes fighting between Blackground Records and her estate. Her other albums, One in a Million and the Romeo Must Die soundtrack, were previously released, and a pair of greatest hits compilations will be out by the end of October.