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Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 09/13/2010

Lady Gaga's meat dress and more: parsing the pop star's VMA fashion choices

By Jen Chaney

Lady Gaga, puttin' on the meat. (AP) | More VMA Photos

Lady Gaga wouldn't be Lady Gaga if she didn't show up at the MTV Video Music Awards in at least one over-the-top ensemble. So naturally, she donned three Sunday night. But the frock generating the most controversy is her meat dress, the one she donned late in the evening and that, apparently, was created by noted designer Sam the Butcher.

The shredded, bloody-looking dress, topped off with a hat that looked like a slab of raw flank steak, was a, um, more fleshed-out version of the meat bikini she recently sported on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan, much to the annoyance of PETA. But Gaga is hardly the first person to use meat as a basis for fashion inspiration.

My colleague Melissa Bell --author of the new blog entitled Blog Post -- pointed out that this whole carcass-as-clothing thing has definitely been done before. Chinese artist Zhang Huan sported a meaty muscle suit back in 2006. And some of the contestants on "America's Top Model" donned dead animal in 2008.

So perhaps this wasn't an example of Miss "Bad Romance" at her most original. As to why she wore the dress, she told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that was taped last night and will air on DeGeneres's show Monday that, "it is certainly no disrespect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth. However, it has many interpretations, but for me this evening ... If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones."

Gesturing toward that Vogue Hommes Japan magazine cover, she also noted: "And I am not a piece of meat." Well, all right then.

As for Gaga's other fashion choices -- the black Armani gown that was so ultra-heavy the pop singer could not move in it without aid from two assistants, and the Alexander McQueen get-up -- I ultimately liked the McQueen gown more. Despite my assertion on Twitter last night that the feathers in the middle of her head may have been an homage to the Washington Redskins -- which clearly worked some magic, so thanks, Gaga! -- the dress itself was the most elegant and fashion-forward of the three. But what do you think? Vote in the poll below.

By Jen Chaney  | September 13, 2010; 11:41 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Fashion, Music  
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Dear Gaga,

Loved the meat dress. I have been working in the medium for some time - perhaps you'd like to drop by and I could show you some of my work?


Ed Gein.

Posted by: byoolin1 | September 13, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Funny stuff. Just look how far we have come since the Beatles had to pull the album cover for Yesterday and Today.

Posted by: edbyronadams | September 13, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Aren't Gag-a's 15 minutes up yet? She is a ridiculous creature.

Posted by: Jayne | September 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The Armani. It's what passes for a "simple black dress" in Gaga-land.

Posted by: reddragon1 | September 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Jen, Thanks for the Gaga gallery!!

Posted by: reddragon1 | September 13, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The meat bikini was hot, the dress was not, and are those meat Uggs?

Posted by: kabuki3 | September 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I know Gaga has a huge following of fans, but I can't stand her. I believe everyone has the right to express themselves, but she's so over the top weird that I think she does it just for the sake of being weird. And only a select few of her songs make me not want to change the channel. But to each their own. I've decided I'm too old for the VMAs. Usher was the only performance I enjoyed - I miss the days of Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna. You know, when they played VIDEOS on MTV.

Posted by: luvlydawter | September 13, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

GaGa makes Eruption

Posted by: The_Wave | September 13, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Norah Jones pwns Ga Ga.

Posted by: bs2004 | September 13, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Nice beef curtains!

Posted by: butchmcsnutch | September 13, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

When I saw Lady GaGa's meat dress I just assumed it was inspired by pop surrealist painter Mark Ryden and one of his latest paintings "Incarnation"

Posted by: sistinas | September 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

This girl has an insanely awesome voice and musical ability- I'm not sure why all the getups. The first time I paid attention to her was at the last VMAs where was doing something outrageous (was it breaking bottles?) I was too distracted by her real talent to notice what she had on and what she was doing...

Posted by: plamar1031 | September 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

. . . she's so over the top weird that I think she does it just for the sake of being weird. . . .
Posted by: luvlydawter
* * *
Well, duh. Where have you been, honey?

I can't stand Lady G myself, but anyone who annoys PETA is okay in my book.

-Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | September 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Meat dress with better music from 1983:

Posted by: beetsnotbeats | September 13, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Lady GaGa is no Marilyn Monroe. I would think that she would wear clothes that would accent her appearance, not detract from it further.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 13, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Funny story about Lady GaGa at

Posted by: heinzefletcher | September 13, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

She's ugly in her own right, she doesn't need this dress to make it worse. Besides, I think this is wrong. There's no way she can defend this. I'm no vegetarian, and I'm not against wearing fur, but this is too much excess. I can't stand this woman. I mean, I liked a couple of her songs, but I'm NEVER listening to anything by her EVER AGAIN. How long does she expect to be able to wear this? One day tops. And how many cows were killed for this? This isn't just weird- it goes BEYOND weird, into just plain morbid.

Posted by: scarlettsnowe1020 | September 13, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fan of her music - Poker Face is an awesome song to go running to. But a meat dress? I have so many questions -- wouldn't it be incredibly gross to sit down in? Did she wear underwear, and was it made of meat, too (gross!)? Was it really meat, or was it fabric painted to look like meat? How long did she wear it - long enough for maggots to develop? Eeeew, I don't think I want to know the answer to that one. And she must showered before changing, right?
That outfit is the grossest, most pointless and wasteful garment I've ever seen. I don't like fur either, but at least fur lasts more than a few hours and serves the purpose of keeping you warm.

Posted by: themegnapkin | September 13, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I am one of the people that can't stand Lady Gaga. The meat dress is disgusting and offensive. I wonder what PETA thinks about it. Jerry Seinfeld also hates GAGA. When she fell off her platform shoes, he said it was the funniest thing he had seen in a long time. "GAG", as I call her, is another un-original floozy, untalented copy-cat Madonna wanna be. She is a nightmare that we can't get rid of.

Posted by: georgana | September 14, 2010 4:37 AM | Report abuse

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