My, my, my, such an assortment! I'm sure that many of us can recall a few of these little numbers, starting with Hussein Chalayan's table dress, Maison Martin Margiela's hair dress, and who could forget Lady Gaga's meat dress?! The only thing missing is a pack of barking dogs! (Ha!) I also remember the American Express gold card dress, though my favorite is the newspaper gown. I would definitely try wearing that...might be a little tricky getting in and out of a car, or even sitting down, but hey, it looks good!
Cow-nipple dress by Rachel Freire
Not since Rudi Gernreich’s monokini have exposed nipples caused such a fashion scandal. At the recent London Fashion Week, 32-year-old British designer Rachel Freire showed a dress made of 3,000 cow and yak nipples—part of her spring-summer 2012 “Nippleocalypse” collection—and met with harsh criticism. “It seems to me absolutely grotesque,” Labour MP Kerry McCarthy said. “I think most people will find it sickening and repulsive.” But Freire defended her provocative piece, saying, “I create fashion using material that would otherwise end up on the scrap heap. What I am doing is recycling. The people criticizing are clearly clueless about the amount of leather wasted on a daily basis.”
Table dress by Hussein Chalayan
Throughout his career, Hussein Chalayan has experimented with such innovative materials as fiberglass, LEDs, and Swarovski crystals. (He also famously sculpted the egg Lady Gaga arrived in at the Grammy Awards.) But of all his avant-garde creations, it was the final piece in his fall-winter 2000 collection that is, arguably, his most memorable. At the end of Chayalan’s runway show that year, model Natalia Semanova stepped into the center of a circular wooden table that had been part of the set—and pulled it up to her waist. “The number of times I've seen that bloody table skirt," Chayalan said to The Independent on the eve of a 2009 retrospective at London’s Design Museum. "I mean, I love that piece, but it's only the tiniest part of what we've done.”
Wig dresses by Martin Margiela
Long considered fashion's invisible man, Martin Margiela is so private that he doesn't even take a bow at his own shows. Perhaps winking at that discreet image, for his fall 2005 collection he sent models down the runway in coats made out of wigs—the ultimate disguise. Three years later, Margiela brought back the wig theme in a retrospective of his work. That time, Margiela just went ahead and covered the models’ faces entirely.
Meat dress by Franc Fernandez
At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga gave new meaning to the phrase “wears the beef.” After appearing in gowns by Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani, Mother Monster went onstage in a meat dress designed by Franc Fernandez and styled by Nicola Formichetti. "There's been a big debate of whether it smelled or rotted under the lights," Fernandez told MTV News after the show. "Gaga herself said it smelled good, because it smelled like meat. I chose the right cuts to make sure the dress kept well." A year later, the meat dress made news again when it went on display (after being treated by a taxidermist) in the “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power'' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Gaga’s very rare dress will be on view until February 2012.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup dress by Christian Siriano
Fashion has long been thought of as eye candy, but season four of Project Runway took that concept literally. The contestants were taken to the Hershey’s store in New York City, where they were given five minutes to pull material for their creations. While Rami won the challenge—with an intricately constructed dress bursting with color—season winner Christian Siriano designed a fierce halter dress made from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups wrappers. Thankfully, they were empty—otherwise, under those runway lights it would have truly been a hot mess.
Gold coin gown by Bunka Fashion College
While everyone dreams of looking like a million dollars, the students at Japan’s prestigious Bunka Fashion College made it a reality in 2007—creating a gown and two jackets from 1,500 Austrian gold coins. The dress was valued more than $1.2 million, and the jackets were so heavy—approximately 46 pounds—that the models could barely walk down the runway. Still, they were worth their weight in you know what.
Newspaper gown by Gary Harvey
For the past five years, Gary Harvey has championed “recycled couture.” The former creative director of Levi Strauss and Dockers Europe, Harvey has created eco-friendly fashion by sourcing his designs with material that has been discarded. Harvey has made dresses out of used 501’s and old Burberry macs, and for the Green Shows of New York’s Eco Fashion Week in 2010, he created a newsworthy gown from the pages of 30 copies of the Financial Times.
American Express Gold Card Oscar dress by Lizzy Gardiner
At the Academy Awards in 1995, Lizzy Gardiner made Oscar history when she collected her award for Best Costume Design for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert wearing a gown made of 254 expired American Express gold cards. “I’m broke, and I didn’t have anything to wear,” Gardiner said of her creation, which was originally conceived for the movie but rejected. Perhaps with good reason. Earlier this year, Time magazine named Gardiner’s gown one of the worst Oscar dresses of all time, writing: “Our problem is that the material of choice was the American Express gold card. It's tacky. And how did she sit down in that thing?”
Potato-chip-bag dress by Franck Sorbier
While couturiers typically work with silk and other fine fabrics, for Franck Sorbier’s fall-winter 2011 collection, he utilized some less predictable materials—Sorbier made a bustier from flattened potato chip bags and used candy wrappers. But the centerpieces of his “pauper chic” collection were haute gowns with voluminous crumpled brown paper skirts and papier-mâché corsets, edged with clothespins and finished with wine-cork nipples.