Lady Gaga's meat dress is preserved for ever – as beef jerky

When the question arises of what to do with a special dress after its first outing, most head for the dry cleaners and buy a plastic sleeve to keep the dust off.

Few people think of turning their frock into a pub snack. But then few people own a garment fashioned entirely from an unusual Argentinian cut of steak.

The designer of the now-infamous "meat dress" worn by the pop star Lady Gaga at the MTV Music Video Awards earlier this month to howls of outrage from animal rights campaigners revealed yesterday that he is turning the gruesome gown into beef jerky, in an attempt to preserve it.

Franc Fernandez, who appropriately made the dress from an Argentinian cut of beef skirt called matambre, has passed up the opportunity to serve his creation with fries and Béarnaise sauce, to ensure its place in posterity with a drying process thought to have been first perfected by native Americans.

Mr Fernandez told the entertainment website E! Online: "The dress will go through a process where it becomes a sort of 'jerky' and will be archived. The meat dries out, rather than rotting. It becomes jerky. But it shouldn't be worn again."

The designer, who has also said he thought the garment would be "more beautiful if it's naturally aged", spent a week in his Los Angeles studio stitching together the pieces of steak on a mannequin, returning his carnivorous couture to the fridge every night until it was complete.

He said: "Gaga herself said it smelled good, because it smelled like meat. I chose the right cuts to make sure the dress kept well."

Lady Gaga, whose previous showstopping outfits have included dresses adorned with pictures of Kermit the Frog and another fashioned entirely from plastic bubbles, drew criticism for her choice of attire at the awards ceremony. One animal welfare campaigner said she had worn clothing made from "the decomposing flesh of an abused animal who didn't want to die".

The pop star, who this week ventured into politics by seeking the repeal of the American "don't ask, don't tell" legislation that prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, insisted the dress had not been intended to offend vegetarians.

Speaking on Monday, she instead suggested the garment had been a metaphor for gay rights: "Equality is the prime rib of America, but because I'm gay, I don't get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat my country has to offer. Shouldn't everyone deserve to wear the same meat dress I do?"

As for those looking to follow the singer's lead and step out in sirloin this winter, they should not beat a path to Mr Fernandez. The designer insisted that his sortie into sewing flesh rather than fabric had been a one-off, saying: "There's not going to be meat dresses in the future. This was made for a specific purpose. It's what it is."