Rococo-loco beauty Daniel Lismore, whose maximalist approach to dressing has earned him the title of England’s Most Eccentric Dresser, comes to America tonight with a faaaaaaabulous new exhibit at Atlanta’s SCAD FASH Fashion Museum, titled “Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken.” According to Vogue, 30 of Lismore’s ultra-regal, super-eccentric ensembles, which together comprise some 3,000 richly layered articles of clothing, accessories, trinkets, and baubles, will be on display. “I go by color, texture, and shape,” he says. “The only rule is that there’s no such thing as too much. More is always more.”
“It’s an army of me,” says Lismore of the show’s design concept, which takes the idea of clothing as armor to its logical conclusion with looks mimicking the layout of an imperial court, complete with emperors and warriors, kings and queens. It’s specifically based on the regimented formation of the ancient Chinese Terracotta Army: “For me,” Lismore continues, “when you put on your clothes, it’s like you’re going out to war in the world.” There are contributions too from Lismore’s many advocates, including Boy George and Angie Bowie and the designer Jean-Pierre Braganza, who have contributed everything from wigs to scarves to headpieces.
To Lismore’s mind, we’ve never needed his self-assertive message more: “People are so caught up in what’s going on everywhere else, rather than in their own lives,” he says of society’s social media obsession. “We all follow trends, and yet the most amazing people come out of the woodwork when they don’t just follow fashion.” His ultimate mission is to inspire visitors not just to dress differently, but think differently. “Clothes mean everything to me,” says Lismore, who is often compared with the late performance artist Leigh Bowery. (Both reigned over legendary London club nights—Bowery at Taboo in the 1980s and Lismore at Boombox in the 2000s.) “The way I dress opens doors and it closes doors. It’s not just my image, it’s my whole identity.”