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Lil Kim through the years

Source: Getty / Getty

Lil’ Kim, through the years, has given us iconic fashion moments that have transcended generations. At the height of her career in the 90s and 2000s, the trendsetting femcee laid the blueprint for female rappers with sexy lyrics and braggadocious style. Kim is a trailblazer, a one-of-a-kind act, and the reason rappers, today, can have relationships with top designers.

Before Kim, brands wouldn’t lend clothes to Hip-Hop artists. Lil’ Kim became the muse of iconic designers like Marc Jacobs, who remains one of her closest friends today. Kim recently revealed Marc is set to pen the forward of her upcoming memoir.

“Style for me means everything, said Kim on the set of her latest cover shoot with Ebony Magazine. “I literally hit it off with Marc Jacob, I hit it off with Donatella; they’re still my best friends to this day. I didn’t think they would embrace me so fast.”

In our 2021, Anatomy Of An Icon cover story, we chronicled Lil’ Kim’s enduring influence on Hip-Hop and fashion. Paris Chea, who styled Kim for her controverisal 2023 Ebony Magazine cover, credited Kim with bringing ghetto fabulous to the forefront. “Her introduction of sexy and ghetto fabulous to the hip-hop culture of the ‘90s was groundbreaking and revolutionary,” said the celebrity creative director. “Trends her and Misa Hylton created are timeless and still being copied ‘til this very day. To be iconic, one must always be consistent, and Lil’ Kim for sure has always been that.”

Lil Kim Through The Years

In 1999, Kim graced the plush red carpet of the Met Gala wearing Versace. Kim’s provocative pink look personified that year’s “Rock Style” theme. As a guest of Donatella, that year, the designer created Kim’s custom pink mink that became a standout look. “The mink coat was an original you won’t find it anywhere,” Kim told Vogue. “I’ve never seen it in stores.”

Lil’ Kim’s iconic 1999 VMAs look also goes down in history. It was the purple pastie seen ’round the world. Inspired by a Missy Elliott joke, Kim and her then-stylist Misa Hylton cooked up a head-turning look that not even Diana Ross could resist. Diana tapping Kim’s breast is not only an iconic fashion memory but a pop culture moment for the ages.

Check out more photos of Lil Kim through the years.

10 Iconic Lil’ Kim Style Moments Through The Years  was originally published on

1. Lil’ Kim, 1997

Lil' Kim, 1997 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim’s “Crush On You” look was a defining moment in her career and pop culture. Unafraid to make bold hair choices, as well, here she is rocking a colorful wig, monochromatic bikini, and fur.

2. Lil’ Kim, 1997

Lil' Kim, 1997 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim performed at the Big Beat/Atlantic Records showcase, in 1997,  at the Impact Music Convention wearing her signature 90s look — an all mesh dress that revealed her bikini and round sunglasses. 

3. Lil’ Kim, 1998

Lil' Kim, 1998 Source:Getty

Who else could make a chain mask this chic? Lil’ Kim attended the 1998 Lady of Soul Music Awards in this eye-popping silver and bedazzled look. Kim accepted the award for the “Not Tonight Remix” thanked God and Puffy in her acceptance speech.

4. Lil’ Kim, 1999

Lil' Kim, 1999 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim wore Versace to the 1999 Met Gala. The custom pink look is one of the most recognizable Met Gala looks, cementing the Hardcore rapper in the fashion history books. 

5. Lil’ Kim, 2001

Lil' Kim, 2001 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim’s 2001 Source Awards look is iconic because, sure, she wore her boobs out again, but her hair was attached by a zipper! On the red carpet, Kim dropped the bar, “to anyone who has something to say, zip it up.”

6. Lil’ Kim, 2001

Lil' Kim, 2001 Source:Getty

2001 was a time! Kim attended the MTV Movie Awards in this jaw-dropping top that turned heads because it was holding on by a thread – literally.

7. Lil’ Kim, 2003

Lil' Kim, 2003 Source:Getty

It’s safe to say Lil’ Kim invented the nip slip. Here she is in 2003, showing off her tight physique in a barely-there skirt a string monokini.

8. Lil’ Kim, 2008

Lil' Kim, 2008 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim put the low in low rise pants at the 2008 BET Awards. Kim hit the stage to perform “Let It Go” with Keyshia Cole wearing metallic pants and a midriff. 

9. Lil’ Kim, 2006

Lil' Kim, 2006 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim’s VMA looks always hit and this corset fit doesn’t miss. In 2006, Lil Kim had returned home from serving a jail sentence of one year and a day and came back looking like she didn’t miss a beat. 

10. Lil’ Kim, 2010

Lil' Kim, 2010 Source:Getty

Lil’ Kim popped out in 2010 for a Three Olives Vodka Purple photo shoot at Drive-In Studio where she wore a bodycon dress with a plunging neckline. With her hair and makeup more natural, Kim was showing a stripped down version of herself. 

11. Lil’ Kim, 2023

Lil' Kim, 2023 Source:Getty

Hip-Hop turned 50 this year and it wouldn’t have been a celebration with Lil’Kim who hit the stage to perform at Yankee Stadium in this Gucci look and thigh-high patent leather boots.

12. Lil’ Kim, 2015

Lil' Kim, 2015 Source:Getty

After what felt like a hiatus out of the spotlight, Kim reemerged at the 2015 BET Awards in her iconic squat pose to celebrate Bad Boy and Diddy in a performance that was like a coming-out party for the icon. Kim returned with a vengeance to collect her flowers.