Monday, 3 January 2011

Wearing Meat

I had an enjoyable lunch of bacon and eggs today – thick rashers of bacon with duck eggs from my sister, who keeps ducks in her back garden (more on duck eggs later).
It’s a bit 2010, but digesting my bacon I remembered some notes (on the back of a proverbial envelope) on the more unusual uses for meat and thought it worth a blog!
It’s common to see people wearing animal skin (leather and fur), but less so to see them sporting the internal parts of animals (muscle, fat, organs). Therefore, when Lady GaGa wore a meat dress to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, with matching hat, shoes and purse, she was sure to get noticed.

The outfit was designed by Franc Fernandez, who told MTV that the dress was made using meat from his family butcher. It took him two days to stitch, using flank steak (“matambre” in his native Argentina). It was estimated that around 25 pounds of beef were used. The lighting at the award ceremony would gradually have cooked the dress, which probably smelled by the end of the evening (possibly attracting flies and presenting a minor E. coli infection risk).

In the torrent of post-awards articles I didn’t read anything about the avant-garde art scene, but this is clearly where Lady GaGa goes for inspiration. The Turkish-born, New York-based artist Pinar Yolacan, for instance, takes photos of women wearing clothes fashioned from tripe, guts, and assorted offal. For one New York show, she dressed Afro-Brazilian women in clothes fashioned from cow placentas (there was a political point). The clothes were described in one art review as “having a strange and haunting beauty”. Yolacan made the clothes on the morning of the shoot with thawing meat, to reduce the rotting. http://boingboing.net/2007/11/29/meat-couture-art-by.html

You can hire your own Lady Gaga meat dress – if you can fit into a UK woman’s size 10-12 and have £40 to spend on a three-day hire. Revamp of Brighton, England, have screen-printed the design onto hand-stitched fabric (ok, so it contains no real meat). http://www.revampfancydress.co.uk/prod-lady-gaga-meat-dress-hire-costume/3085/

The meat-patterned party dress is, of course, nothing new in art circles. The artist Tamara Kostianovsky, for example, handcrafts recycled clothing to look convincingly like beef carcasses: http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2008/04/refashioned_clothes_make_meaty.html

Finally, here’s a thought for the day – how different would be the connotations if a man wore a meat garment; say, Bono at next year’s MTV Video turned up wearing a jumpsuit made from steaks?

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