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Here’s how Missy Elliott inspired Lil Kim’s look at the 1999 VMAs

The lavender ensemble remains one of Kim’s most iconic looks.

Lil Kim Reuters

Over the years, Lil Kim has garnered attention for her fashion choices just as much as her lyrical prowess. Her outfits have been mirrored by up-and-coming women in the game as well as fans who patiently wait for Halloween to dress up as the Brooklyn emcee.

In a recent interview with People, Kim looked back on her various ensembles and reflected on one of her most iconic looks: the sequined lavender jumpsuit from the 1999 Video Music Awards, which she revealed was inspired by a joke Missy Elliott made.

“My nipples used to pop out so much on their own,” explained “The Jump Off” rapper. “The girls used to laugh at me and Missy said, ‘Girl, your nipples pop out so much. One day, you need to just come outside with one nipple out.’”

Though the producer was only poking fun at Kim, Misa Hylton — who has styled Mary J. Blige, Rapsody and more — used that as inspiration for Kim’s outfit. Her vision, however, was nearly ruined when the hairstylist “oversaturated” the hair dye, messing up what was supposed to be a blonde wig.

“She was so stressed because we were literally 45 or 30 minutes away from showtime,” Kim said. “She was like, ‘Misa, oh my God. I have to redo the hair, the whole wig is lavender.’ Misa was like, ‘Did you say lavender? Kim’s outfit is lavender. It’s perfect!’ And I’m always with the shit. I was like, ‘Let’s do it! Put it on me.’ I’m always excited to see what I’ll look like in different colors.”

The “Crush On You” rapper’s anecdote is only one of many memories of her career. She recently expressed her desire to tell more of her life story in a biopic. “I want people to know the real Kim,” she told ESSENCE. “All the stories that everybody else tells, chile, don’t listen to it.”

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