Lady Gaga and I in Madame Tussauds, New York. I was made to wear those green glasses by the way.
I also wrote this in November, hence the references to popular culture of the time. The title we were given was, The Market.
Two women in the world know how it feels to sit down in a dress made of meat. Canadian artist Jana Sterbak, who first exhibited a meat dress called; "Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorexic" in 1987 (now available to view in the Pompidou Centre, Paris). And pop star Lady Gaga, who wore a similar ‘outfit’ to the MTV Video Music awards 2010. Lady Gaga transported the concept of wearable meat into the sphere of popular culture, and the pages of magazines that cost less than a pound, the meat dress ‘idea’ now available to seemingly everyone.
Interestingly, the media onslaught came from all angles; what was Lady Gaga trying to say by wearing a dress made of meat? The BBC ran an article detailing five different interpretations of the dress, from a feminist perspective to an ecological one. The Guardian online released an article telling readers how to recreate the look for Halloween. Speculation grew as to whether the outfit would be made into jerky. No-one talked about the smell, or the genius which was how Gaga managed to attach a fillet steak to her head without it flopping off.
From a one-off fashion statement to the costume section of Amazon, the market moved quickly when it came to the second showing of the meat dress. A ‘version’ of the dress is now yours for only £100, including a blonde wig dip dyed blue and ‘Meat Style Shoe Covers’ for true authenticity. Of course, this edition is not made of meat. Instead the meat effect has been created using brown faux leather, and the fat detailing hand painted with white acrylic. The dress is also fully washable, which I can imagine comes in handy after all of the use it will get. At the time of writing it hasn’t received any bids. However, that isn’t to say that the fake meat dress won’t sell. Obviously there is a demand for celebrity inspired outfits, buyers want to be included in some kind of superstar narrative.
Kate Middleton’s engagement dress is another recent example of the fandom that can surround an outfit. It’s a Sapphire coloured, not blue, Issa dress, to match the sapphire engagement ring that is a family heirloom. British Vogue reported that the dress had sold out within 24hours of the televised engagement announcement. MSN used the word ‘iconic’. The dress was called, ‘versatile,’ as if that explained the surge in popularity, but the high street is full of versatile dresses, fit for money minded people during the recession. It’s not the dress people want to buy it is what it signifies. In this case a Royal wedding, success, happiness, brand: Kate.
As long as people are famous, the fashion market will no doubt operate in this way; celebrities spearhead trends, and the rest of us follow because we like the association. Speaking of which, a copy of Kate Middleton’s dress is now available to buy from Tesco for £16. There aren’t many supermarket dresses that will make you feel like the future Queen of England.