Franc Fernandez is the man behind the controversial meat dress made from 40 pounds of flank steak that Lady Gaga wore to the September 12th MTV Video Music Awards. The 24-year-old also designed the diamond burlesque outfit worn by Gaga in the "Bad Romance" video. So who is Fernandez and how did he get the gig dressing Gaga? I contacted him to get the scoop.
MP: Where did you grow up?
FF: I moved to outside of Los Angeles [San Fernando Valley] when I was eight from Argentina.
MP: You started as a hatmaker?
FF: I've always done some sort of visual work. It started with graphic design, then architecture. I think a combination of the two lead to my flavor of millinery.
MP: You didn't go to fashion school, right?
FF: No fashion school experience.
MP: How did you start working with Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti?
FF: I contacted Nicola a while back showing him my work. He later called me to work on Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video -- making the diamond ensemble. Gaga and Nicola call and say they want to be covered in diamonds or covered in meat. I'm always happy to work with Gaga.
MP: What kinds of meat did you use for the dress?
FF: Matumbre. I don't know called in English. It's not bloody, it's not smelly and it holds really well.
MP: Did you anticipate the reaction the dress would have?
FF: I knew the dress would be one of other amazing pieces Gaga wore that night. It's very well made and looked great on her -- on and off camera. We didn't get a chance to have a fitting. The only time she had it on was for the VMAs. Only when I saw it in the monitor did I know it would be big.
MP: How has the reaction been?
FF: Half and half [negative and positive] -- that's where you want to be when you're making art. It's just a meat dress. I don't think that it's way too involved.
MP: Did you anticipate the response you would get from animal rights groups?
FF: Could we not answer that question at all?
MP: Why did you choose to make the dress into beef jerky?
FF: The dress is more beautiful if it's naturally aged.
MP: What are you working on now?
FF: I'm currently doing art direction for Sam Sparro. He's getting ready to release an [EP] that's titled "Pink Cloud," which is a sort-of homage to house-music. I've designed the packaging, and am in the post-production for the music video at the moment.
MP: What's been your favorite creation during your design career?
FF: I can't say I have a favorite piece, I love whatever it is I'm working on at the time. The recent meat dress is really-well constructed piece and of course [it] has gotten a lot of attention.
Check out images of Gaga and Fernandez's now-famous dress: