— Can we blame Lady Gaga?
When the eccentric singer wore a dress composed entirely of raw meat to the MTV Video Music Awards, critics said the fashion stunt was more than strange — it was downright disturbing. But Lady Gaga isn't the first —or the last — to use meal staples to weave whimsical fashion. Artists, photographers and organizations have taken to using food items to create edible couture that is not only impressive, but appetizing.
For the New York Chocolate Show, models strut down a runway covered in tasty cocoa treats. Designs included bikinis composed of milk chocolate, capes covered in white, dark and milk-chocolate buttons, and even a chocolate Medusa-inspired crown.
Even vegetables are getting their time in the style sun. Photographer Ted Sabarese crafted unusual, elegant ensembles from artichokes, purple cabbage leaves and potatoes for his collection titled "Hunger Pains," which was inspired by foods people crave and "intended to explore the relationship between people and the food they eat." Each of his models wore a food the designer was specifically craving, which explains pants made entirely of waffles.
But while Lady Gaga and artists like Ted Sabarese are simply exploring artistic themes, others have used food couture as a means to express more serious ideas. For a recent People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) ad, actress Cloris Leachman was photographed in a cabbage and leaf lettuce gown — meant to push the advantages of vegetarianism and criticize meat consumption. "I felt a million times better, and I've never had a bite of meat ever since [becoming a vegetarian]," said Leachman. (You likely won't find her donning a meat dress anytime soon.)
Artist Pinar Yolacan took a meatier approach to her work, unveiling a series of portraits of women in clothing accented with sewed-on meat organs. "I think I’m commenting on fashion, but more in the way an anthropologist would," the artist explained in an interview with Style.com. "The clothes in this series relate to colonial Portuguese fashions. When you put on the clothes of another culture, it changes how you stand, how you feel, the gestures you make. I find that really fascinating."