To look like a piece of meat is not normally what a glamour puss aims for when she dons a posh frock and heaps on the jewellery. But that’s exactly the impression pop Queen Lady Gaga decided to give at the MTV Video Music Awards yesterday, when she picked up 8 gongs clad in a gown made from raw meat.
Gaga’s elaborately stitched beef dress has caused outrage among animal rights activists. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) branded the Poker Face singer’s attire “offensive.” The group has a longstanding relationship with the fashion world having persuaded supermodels to strip off for its 1994 “We’d rather go naked than wear fur” Vogue shoot.
In a statement PETA said: "Wearing a dress made out cuts of dead cows is offensive enough to bring comment, but someone should whisper in her ear that there are more people who are upset by butchery than who are impressed by it."
Debate has since arisen online and in mainstream media about why Gaga chose to wear the contentious frock. The singer defended her decision to US chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, explaining it was a protest against the American armed forces’ “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards homosexuals. The policy means gay people can serve in the armed forces so long as they don’t disclose their sexual orientation.
With the likes of Karl Lagerfield and Julien Macdonald refusing to follow in the footsteps of Stella MacCartney and eschew the use of leather and fur in their collections, it’s perhaps surprising that people are so upset by Gaga’s outfit. Her choice to wear raw beef is arguably no worse for vegetarians than wearing leather or fur, it is just more blatant (not to mention revolting to look at).
Food waste is another dimension to the media furore surrounding her outfit, although so far nobody has publicly condemned the singer for “A terrible waste of prime steak.” But Gaga is far from the first person to adorn herself with consumables. In fact PETA is rather fond of getting attractive girls and celebrities like Pamela Anderson dressed up in cabbages and other skimpy vegetables to promote their campaigns.
“I mean no disrespect to anyone who is vegetarian or vegan. As you know, I’m the most judgement free human being on earth,” Gaga said in an interview on DeGeneres’ chat show. Holding a copy of Vogue on the cover of which she is emblazoned wearing a beef bikini, she told the audience: “I am not a piece of meat.”
The Independent Online had a look through the archives to bring you examples of several attempts at edible fashion. From chocolate dresses to chicken’s egg headdresses, we’re not sure any of them exactly make the point they were designed to make. After all, it seems the only time a person designs food-based fashion it is to promote something. Evidently wearing meat, cheese or chocolate for its own sake is unlikely to catch on. Except for die-hard Gaga fans, perhaps. Cattle beware!