Designer Brandon Maxwell Reveals He Was a Vegan When He Styled Lady Gaga's Famous VMA Meat Dress
The fashion designer just shared some behind-the-scenes details about that iconic red carpet moment
During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Wednesday night, Maxwell was asked about working with such a high-fashion garment made out of such unconventional material. As it turns out, the biggest challenge was that he couldn’t really get his hands dirty — literally!
“I wore really long opera length gloves and a mask and just kind of got through it,” Maxwell told host Andy Cohen.
He told Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel (who appeared alongside Maxwell on the late-night talk show to discuss her new boyfriend and pending custody battle) that Gaga was the one who created the entire concept.
“That was hers,” Maxwell said. “She’s in charge of her ship.”
And, as an OG member of Haus of Gaga (the creative team behind the superstar’s long list of ground-breaking looks) Maxwell would know. Though he’s since dressed stars like Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle — and earned a spot on the judge’s panel of Bravo’s Project Runway reboot — Gaga helped launch his career.
According to W Magazine, the feeling is mutual. In 2017, the fashion magazine reported that Gaga is, “such an advocate of his work that she personally helped out backstage at his first show.”
The now-legendary meat dress, which Gaga wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards where she was nominated for 13 awards, becoming the most-nominated artist in VMA history for a single year and the first female artist to receive two nominations for Video of the Year, was a career highlight for both artists.
Although the dress was — well, perishable — MTV reported in 2015 that it was still owned by Lady Gaga but that it was part of the “Women Who Rock” exhibition in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was traveling around the country at the time.
Back in 2010, the dress — one of three VMA hall of fame-worthy looks Gaga turned out that night — caused quite a bit of controversy. Gaga later told Ellen DeGeneres that the dress was not meant to offend vegans and vegetarians, but that it had “many interpretations,” one being that she isn’t a “piece of meat.”