The Super Bowl halftime performance is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the big night. Sure, football fans tune in for the actual game, but non-sport followers want to see a show. Over the years, halftime has grown into an all-out spectacle. Each musician to grace the field’s stage seems to up the ante, their sets filled with elaborate pyrotechnics and dazzling costumes. On Sunday, all eyes will be on R&B superstar Usher as he takes the main stage. “It has to be perfect,” he tells Vogue of the upcoming performance.
As we await the newly-minted king of Las Vegas’s turn in the spotlight, we’re looking back at past performances, and the most memorable fashion in halftime history.
Leading the list is Rihanna, who headlined last year’s game in a custom red Alaïa puffer coat and Loewe jumpsuit. (She famously sported a baby bump as well.) In 2020, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira co-headlined, and the two pop stars—who never skimp out on theatrics—didn’t disappoint, closing out the show in complementary gold and silver ensembles.
Another standout? Laday Gaga in 2017. As if jumping off the stadium roof wasn’t captivating enough, she did so in a bedazzled bodysuit with matching knee-high boots designed by Donatella Versace. Iconic behavior! A year prior, for Super Bowl 50, Beyoncé co-performed with Coldplay and Bruno Mars, stealing the show is a custom military-inspired look by DSquared2. Queen Bey served up an all-leather look by Rubin Singer in 2013 for her solo show, during which she brought out fellow Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams—also clad in leather.
It’s hard not to discuss halftime shows without mentioning the most discussed performance of all time: Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. Wardrobe malfunction aside, Jackson’s leather Alexander McQueen costume has since become a piece of pop culture history. Equally historic is when Prince performed in 2007 wearing a turquoise suit, bright orange shirt, and leopard-print guitar strap—a spiffy look that the late singer continued to rock even during the surprise downpour. As they say—the show must go on!
Below, more of the best style moments from Super Bowl halftime performers.