How Lady Gaga's Meat Dress Was Preserved

Infamous outfit is now on display at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

July 20, 2011 1:55 PM ET
Lady Gaga Meat dress MTV Video Music Awards
Lady Gaga's meat dress on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
Courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Lady Gaga has had many memorable and outlandish looks over the past few years, but her most famous outfit to date may be the dress made out of raw beef that she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards last year. Shortly after the show, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame set about acquiring the instantly iconic gown, but faced a unique problem: How do you preserve an article of clothing that was already beginning to decompose?

Photos: Lady Gaga's Fashion Evolution

Two months after the VMAs, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hired Burbank, California taxidermist Sergio Vigilato to begin the process of cleaning, curing and preserving the dress. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Vigilato explained that  when the 35-pound dress was delivered to his American Taxidermy shop, it had been frozen for weeks. Vigilato defrosted the meat, and treated it with bleach, formaldehyde and detergent before reassembling it to match the original design created by Franc Fernandez and Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti. Once it was put back together, he dyed it a dark red to resemble the color of the dress when the singer originally wore it.

Photos: Lady Gaga's Universe

Since Vigilato's restoration, the meat dress has been on display at the Hall of Fame's "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power" exhibit, which will run at the museum in Cleveland through February.

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