Jaws dropped when Lady Gaga took the stage at the 2010 Video Music Awards last night wearing meat from head to toe. And, surprise — her VMA meat dress was made with REAL MEAT! Franc Fernandez, the Los Angeles-based designer/artist behind the dress, confirmed that it was real meat when we caught up with him this morning. But now that we know it’s REAL, we’re left with so many more burning questions for Franc Fernandez! Did it smell? Was it bloody? Was it heavy? Was Lady Gaga comfortable? So, we chatted with designer Franc Fernandez tonight to find out all the juicy details. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about Lady Gaga’s meat dress below!
What was your inspiration?
Franc Fernandez: “I was contacted by her stylist, Nicola Formichetti, and they had already shot the picture with Terry Richardson in the meat bikini for Vogue Hommes Japan. They told me that they wanted to make a main dress [out of meat], so I did it.”
What kind of meat was it?
“I don’t know what it’s called in English, but in Argentina, it’s called matambre. I went to my butcher to get it, in Los Angeles in the valley. He’s the butcher that my family goes to. I’m trying to get him a signed picture of it.”
How many pounds of meat did you buy?
“I bought a lot of meat because I wanted extra. I would say more than 50 pounds of meat. Is that a lot?”
How heavy was it?
“It was fairly heavy. She said it was the most comfortable dress of the night, though. I’m guessing it weighed around forty pounds. It’s built on a corset, so the weight is distributed on her chest, so it’s not like it’s hanging off her neck.”
Was it comfortable?
“She said so.”
Were there leftovers?
“Not very much, no.”
Did it leave a blood trail?
“No, not at all. It’s actually very clean meat, very sturdy and strong and doesn’t run at all. It’s the meat you use to make a roast, where you roll it in a tortilla and put it in the oven. Hence, the shoes — that’s why they were wrapped in butcher twine.”
Did it smell?
“Gaga said it smelled good. It had a sweet smell. It hadn’t been sitting out for more than five hours. And it’s not a heavy gross meat.”
Did you have to keep it refrigerated?
“While it was being made it was refrigerated, [worked on] and then refrigerated. It took a span of two days on and off. Maybe three with sourcing and getting materials and everything.”
Will this dress “go bad”?
“Well, yes. And it’s a dress that will dry out. The meat dries out, rather than rotting. It becomes jerky. But, it shouldn’t be worn again.”
Lady Gaga in Franc Fernandez meat shoes at the Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images
Was the look designed, or did you drape it naturally?
“I just did the meat. You can’t really design something that we’re making out of organic pieces. It’s like ’This piece can go here,’ and you look at the cuts you have and you drape it.”
How do you drape meat?
“I’ve done some draping, it just seemed logical to me. The way I was doing it, nothing about it was much of a challenge, except for the time it took. I had helping hands that were great. It was just sewing through meat, which is a little weird, but it’s not rocket science. I just used regular string, some stronger thread, nothing unusual.”
What did it feel like on Lady Gaga’s body?
“There was a corset but the rest of it was skin on skin. Initially it was cold, but then it warmed up. Not too much, though. She said she wasn’t warm at all, especially under those lights, it didn’t heat up.”
Did Gaga have to be sewn into the dress?
“She went in through the bottom. Some of it she was sewn into. I was backstage.”
Did you treat the meat with any preservatives?
“No, not at all.”
How did you transport the dress?
“I’m in Los Angeles. So, I had a little cooler that I carried it in — its own little coffin.”
When Lady Gaga sat down, did the meat rub onto the chair upholstery?
“Well, it shouldn’t have because it’s not a sticky meat. It’s not a messy dress at all, surprisingly. But I didn’t see the seat after she sat on it. But I’ve been handling that meat for two days and there is nothing messy about it.”
What would the dress feel like? Like for Cher and those who touched it?
“It would feel like meat I suppose. It’s all natural.”
What happens to the meat dress now?
“The dress will be put in an archive with all of her dresses. The Gaga Archives, I suppose. It won’t last, that’s the beauty of it. When it is brought out again, hopefully it will be in a retrospective, and it will be a different dress, which is the best thing. I like the idea of it changing and evolving into something else. My butcher said I could taxidermy it if I wanted it to stay the way it is, and I didn’t want to stay that way. Seems like a waste to keep it that way, than to watch it change.”
How did you come up with the idea of butcher strings on her shoes?
“I was referencing the whole meat theme. I bought the strings at a butcher supply store.”
What were the crystal pieces on her meat purse?
“It’s an antique brooch that was applied to the meat.”
Gaga said this dress represents that we shouldn’t be treated like a piece of meat. What does this dress represent for you?
“I have to agree with her. I just think it looked great.”
Where is it now?
“I’m not sure. She has people who handle everything, so it’s with them.”
Would you create this look again?
“I think it’s just that—it’s just the meat dress. There’s not going to be meat dresses in the future. This was made for a specific purpose. It’s what it is.”
When you saw her wear this dress, what went through your mind?
“She’s wearing my meat dress! It just looked great on her and she made it look easy and things come very naturally to her.”
Lady Gaga in Franc Fernandez meat hat and purse at the Video Music Awards.
Photo: Getty Images
+ Did you like Lady Gaga’s meat dress?