On September 10th, 2010 Lady Gaga made fashion history when she wore a meat dress—yes, literally a dress made of raw meat—on stage at the MTV Music Awards. The dress was complimented with meat boots, hat, and a clutch. All of which looked tasty, we must say!
The entire outfit was designed by the Argentinian artist Franc Fernandez. Based in Los Angeles, Fernandez got all the meat for the dress from his butcher there. The cut used was flank steak (that’s the part cut from the abdominal muscles of a cow). Fernandez bought over 50 pounds of the meat used to make the dress. The dress was built on a corset and Lady Gaga had to be sewn in behind stage. It was said to have weighed around 40 pounds. Her shoes were held together with butcher’s twine and her meat clutch was finished with an antique brooch.
The media reaction to Gaga’s outfit was swift. First, there was speculation as to whether or not that dress was REALLY made of meat. It was. Then, everyone wanted to know what “statement” Lady Gaga was making. Interpretations ranged from anti-fashion, to feminism, to aging, and to society’s attitudes about meat.
PETA (of course) was outraged. The organization quickly condemned Lady Gaga in a blog post: “Meat is the decomposing flesh of a tormented animal who didn’t want to die, and after a few hours under the TV lights, it would smell like the rotting flesh it is and likely be crawling in maggots—not too attractive, really.” Way to make it gross PETA.
Still donning the dress, Lady Gaga made an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show for a post-VMA interview. DeGeneres, a die-hard vegan, gave Lady Gaga a bikini made of kale, and asked her what the purpose of the meat dress was.
This was Lady Gaga’s response.
“Well, it’s certainly no disrespect to anyone that’s vegan or vegetarian….I, as you know, am the most judgment-free human being on Earth. However, it has many interpretations — but for me this evening it’s that if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And, I am not a piece of meat.”
It’s ok Lady Gaga. Even if you won’t say it, we know what the purpose of the meat dress was. It’s obviously because meat is awesome and tasty.
Once Lady Gaga was finished with the dress, it was jerkified. Over a period of several months, the dress was carefully dried by a team of taxidermists. It is now kept on the display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.