Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Oh, Bloody Hell: Burbank Taxidermist Preserves Lady Gaga's Meat Dress For Museum Display

Lady Gaga in her meat dress Sunday night at L.A.'s Staples Center for the MTV VMA's (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

The job of preserving Lady Gaga's meat dress for display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland was tasked to Burbank taxidermist Sergio Vigilato. Despite taking more than a month to complete the work on the 35-pound monstrosity, this was not his weirdest assignment to date, according to the LA Times.

"The first thing I asked was, 'Where is the dress? This thing could have maggots by now,' " Vigilato said. "I understood them to say it was in a room with air conditioning. I said make sure it's in a freezer."

The dress, created by Los Angeles artist and designer Franc Fernandez and stylist Nicola Formichetti, was made of "a dozen thin-cut flank steaks" that had been frozen and kept on ice since its debut. However, as it defrosted, "Vigilato found that the dress had begun decomposing before it had been frozen," as was evident by its odor.

Though declining to reveal his process of cleaning and curing "museum officials said it was treated with bleach, formaldehyde and detergent to remove bacteria." Once preserved, the meat was reconditioned, reassembled, glued to a mannequin, and dyed.

Support for LAist comes from
Fernandez, the designer, said he purchased about 40 pounds of beef for the dress from Palermo Deli in Granada Hills, where his Sylmar parents are longtime customers. He ended up using about 35 pounds of the meat for the dress and its accompanying hat, shoes and purse. Daniel Vega, co-owner of Palermo Deli, said he selected cuts of beef that would hold together and would not be dripping blood, after Fernandez explained what he intended to do with it. The beef was priced at about $3.99 a pound, Vega said.

What was Vigilato strangest job? Creating a soda dispenser from an elephant's penis.