The infamous meat dress that Lady Gaga wore at MTV’s Video Music Awards last September was fashionably late to the party — the “Women Who Rock” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, that is. While the exhibit opened a month ago, the meat dress was installed today. As four museum workers placed the dress and matching boots in position in the glass display case, a barrage of video and still cameras swooped in to record its public debut.
Rock Hall assistant curator Meredith Rutledge says that Rock Hall personnel got the idea to pursue the dress for the exhibit immediately after seeing Gaga sport it on the VMAs. At the time, “Women Who Rock” was in the planning stages, and the Rock Hall had already arranged to get Gaga’s childhood piano for it. Putting their heads together with her management, they arranged to have the figure-hugging slip-style dress, made of thinly sliced layers of Argentine beef over a heavy white lining, dried and preserved like beef jerky by a taxidermist. Gaga’s been accused of ripping the pages of her career from Madonna’s playbook, but the dress makes Madonna’s gold Versace bustier with the conic breasts hanging across the aisle seem conservative by comparison.
While Gaga’s statement accompanying the dress says it has “many interpretations,” and she provides one convoluted and hard-to-follow explanation having something to do with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the main one is clearly publicity. A Google search for “Lady Gaga meat dress” yields over seven million hits. — Anastasia Pantsios