Was Lady Gaga's Meat Dress Really Riddled With Maggots?

What's the real deal with this steak ensemble?

By Leslie Gornstein Sep 14, 2010 12:43 AMTags
Lady GagaSteve Granitz/WireImage.com

Was Gaga's VMAs meat dress real or fake? Could it actually, as PETA claimed, be infested with maggots?

— Ilaria, via Facebook

The designer, Franc Fernandez, has yet to come out and confirm that the dress could actually double as a beef fajita supper for the Haus of Gaga. However, given how angry PETA got, there has to be some animal flesh involved besides the Lady's. Neither Fernandez nor Nicola Formichetti, who is Gaga's stylist, returned requests for comment. But maybe that's because they're busy fighting off a serious infestation of baby house flies...

It all depends on how well the dress was guarded in the hours before Gaga donned it.

Yes, for the record, PETA issued a statement supposing that Gaga's meat ensemble—dress, boots, purse, hat—was likely hopping with little worms: "Meat is the decomposing flesh of a tormented animal who didn't want to die, and after a few hours under the TV lights, it would smell like the rotting flesh it is and likely be crawling in maggots—not too attractive, really."

And PETA could be right. According to the laws of Sweet Lady Science, once a fly lays an egg—say, on a rotting carcass, or a promising piece of flap meat—if the weather is warm, the eggs hatch in the next eight to 20 hours. Given that most gowns, particularly custom ones, take at least that long to design and execute, Team Fernandez would need to either keep the meat in a totally fly-free fridge, or hire an anti-insect squad armed with couture swatters to guard the dress around the clock until Gaga could don it.

"Maggot infestation can happen quickly on raw meat at room temperature and will develop faster with heat, accelerated by being close to skin and under hot lights," says Dr. Shawki Ibrahim, chief scientific advisor for Grow Green Industries. Plus, "the dress is definitely puts her at an E.coli risk if she had a cut on her skin, but otherwise it's just the stink factor."

For what it's worth, no larvae were visible on the get-up, or else Cher likely would have dropped that purse while she held it for Gaga.

Another fun fact of biology: If there were any maggots on that dress, the garment likely wouldn't last long. Maggots eat literally 24 hours a day, meaning that little of the dress would be left if it weren't guarded from flies.