The Video Music Awards have a long history of outrageous, over-the-top and just plain bizarre fashion firsts. Artists tend to think way outside the box when it comes to dressing up for the VMAs, but perhaps no getup in show history has gotten as much attention, caused as much head scratching and turned more heads than Lady Gaga's infamous meat dress.
After walking the white carpet in a flowing gold and burgundy Alexander McQueen dress with a matching headdress, Mother Monster shocked the world at the 2010 awards when she slipped into her third outfit of the night: a dress made out of some choice cuts of beef.
"As soon as I saw her on that white carpet I just knew that this night was gonna be Gaga insanity," said Alycia Belle, VMA wardrobe stylist for the 2010 show, in a new "VMAs Revealed" special that premiered on Saturday (August 20).
Before unwrapping the cow couture, Gaga had merely one wardrobe change during the show — a black Armani leather dress with spiked bustier. But when the time came to announce Video of the Year, the audience had no idea what was about to hit them. The folks working behind the scenes saw a suspicious number of coolers being brought into Gaga's dressing room, so they could tell that something was up.
"I'm getting calls that she needs to be in her seat, we give her kind of a two-minute head's up, the door opens up, and I see she's wearing a red dress," said Ernesto Elias, Gaga's talent escort at the show. "I start to notice people staring a little bit harder than they normally would."
And with good reason. While plenty of stars were wearing leather shoes, or even cowhide skirts, no one expected the eye-popping fashion choice that Gaga was about to unveil.
"I was literally this close to her ... I just remember looking at it and just wondering, 'Is that really ... ?' remembered Sandra Piedra, talent coordinator for the 2010 VMAs. After a harder look, Elias said he realized that it was not a "normal" type of fabric.
Let's call that the understatement of the year.
"People who were on the floor, who are right around her, are like, 'It's meat! Meat! Like, ground chuck meat!' " Dave Sirulnick, executive producer of the VMAs, recalled. "I know that there is nobody who ever heard the two words 'meat' and 'dress' put together before September 12  at about 11 p.m."
And with the announcement this week that Gaga will be opening the 2011 VMAs, fans of music and fashion everywhere can't wait to see how she'll top herself.
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live on Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT. See the list of nominees, revisit last year's highlights and vote for Best New Artist at VMA.MTV.com.