If you were actively following Lady Gaga or the music scene in 2010, you might remember the morbid and horrifying appearance that her “meat dress” made on the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards. I remembered the shock it caused but never found out the story behind it.
Lady Gaga’s meat dress was designed and styled by Franc Fernandez and Nicola Formichetti, it’s purpose was to highlight the necessity to fight your rights, in response to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the US military.
The idea of fighting for your rights was Gaga’s first response to being asked about the dress, though to some it still seemed a little confusing about what her actual motivations were. Many different media outlets and famous voices had their own ideas about what her provocative attire could have meant.
Meat Dress D-Day
The evening started out fairly normal for Gaga and the rest of the award ceremony goers, everything running smoothly and according to plan. Gaga herself wouldn’t cause the stir she did until she finally went up to accept an award for Video of the Year.
She had earned her Video of the Year award for the “Bad Romance” music video and got the opportunity to flaunt her political message to the world as she brought her meat dress up on to the stage for the world to see.
After accepting the award, Gaga gave a small sampler of the unreleased track “Born This Way” from her upcoming album.
Gaga had been particularly politically active with regards to the LGBTQ movement, railing against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy employed by the US military at the time. When Gaga later commented about the necessity to fight your rights, these were some of the issues she was referencing.
This message is doubled-down on when you consider the meaning behind the lyrical content of the song that she chose to demo while accepting her VMA award, “Born This Way” was an anthem of sorts, focused around the idea of liberation and loving yourself.
While her intentions were clear to her and possibly many others who had been following along with her political and social views at the time, the media and other onlookers took the situation and ran with it.
Speculations about the purpose behind the dress were as varied as they were wild, with a whole host of different people and organizations finding ways to take offense. Vegetarians and vegans in particular took the dress as a slight against their cause, with PETA condemning the outlandish attire.
May Contain Meat
If you didn’t already know and are still wondering whether or not the dress was actually made from meat, the answer to that question would be yes. She really did wear a dress that was made from real cuts of meat, the outfit even came complete with a purse made out of meat.
So, what were the ingredients of this genius article of clothing? As you can imagine, it was a lot of meat. She must have been working on some strength and conditioning training, because according to her the designer, wearing the meat dress was equivalent to carrying around forty pounds of meat.
All forty pounds of flesh were actually sourced by the designer himself, who went to his family butcher to obtain the meat, who referred to it as “matambre”, an especially thin cut of meat originating out of Argentina.
Fleshing out the History
If the meat dress and the conversations and controversies surrounding it weren’t enough, even odder was the fact it sparked an argument about the origins of the idea. Multiple accusers came out of the woodwork, all claiming ownership of the idea of wearing half of your local butchers.
One of the strongest cases was that of Mark Ryden, a painter, and specialist in a surrealist style of artwork. Much of his work over the years has involved meat in some way or another, particularly the imagery of a young girl clad in a dress made out of it.
If you look at some of his artwork, it’s easy to see why he may have sounded a little frustrated about not being credited for the idea.
Whatever the case may be, however, at least it thankfully doesn’t appear to be a fashion trend that has any chance of catching on any time soon.