Lady Gaga's VMA Meat Dress: Well-Done or Rotten?

The reactions to Lady Gaga's MTV Video Music Awards get-up have been decidedly mixed. Accepting an award from music icon Cher, the pop star appeared onstage at the Staples Center Sunday night wearing a dress made entirely of meat. The dress was the work of LA-based designer Franc Fernandez, and was meant to be a political statement.

Explained Lady Gaga:

"Well, 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. And I am not a piece of meat."

But animal rights' activists were offended, and a rep from PETA lobbed a retort Monday morning that made the rounds of the gossip mongers insinuating that the dress, if made of animal flesh, would likely be rotting and infested with maggots if she wore it under the hot stage lights.

So was Gaga's dress real?

Fernandez "has yet to come out and confirm that the dress could actually double as a beef fajita supper for the Haus of Gaga," notes E! Online, adding that no one from Gaga's camp has been willing to speak about the dress since the awards show.

Gaga has worn meat outfits before, drawing ire from PETA, too, for wearing a meat bikini on a magazine cover. But her VMA dress may not have been as original as she, or the public, thought. "It now appears, however, that her stylish shock campaign may have had artistic inspirations beyond the desire to popularize an Atkins look," explains ARTINFO, who cite the 1987 work of Canadian artist Jana Sterbak, as well as the beef suit worn at New York's Whitney by artist Zhang Huan in 2002 and Carolee Schneeman’s 1964 film "Meat Joy."

Art or politics? Fashion or faux pas? What do you think of Lady Gaga's dress?