Daniel Lismore: The Eccentric Sartorial Artist
Isaac Perez Solano,
Daniel Lismore is an artist from every angle. He is like one of those Gustav Klimt’s muses, but not a socialite living in a 2D world. Instead he came alive as a fully formed 3D creature whose sartorial creations have conquered the likes of Rita Ora and Nicki Minaj. He is the prince who danced with George Michael, he has been photographed by Mario Testino, posed with Lady Bunny, sat down with Marina Abramović and now he’s interviewed for ODDA in order to uncover what’s underneath his hijab.
A version of this exclusive interview first appeared in the pages of the 13th issue of ODDA Magazine.
Let’s start with the latest news: the release of your book, Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. It was accurate when Oscar Wilde dropped this line, but it’s even more powerful title for an art book these days. What are you actually referring to?
The title of my book Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken refers to my fundamental belief that you must live your life being true to you. As long as you are doing no harm to anyone else, forge your own path in life and follow your instincts. Don’t let society and outdated concepts define your life. I’m asking people to think outside preconceptions and outdated boundaries. I lived for a while defined by convention and others concepts. I looked at others for inspiration but then, one day, I decided to stop looking and look inside myself and be the person I wanted to be and knew I was. We live in a copy and paste world where few people have original concepts and take the easier path of copying others. The moment you stop searching you realize you had what it takes all along.
What does “individualism” mean to you?
We’re all the same but the things we think, say and do in our lives define us. I think someone is an individual when they live life true to themselves, and those aspects which make them unique are well curated and understood.
After working with different artists and organizations – from Mario Testino and Azealia Banks to the Tate Britain – one can sense your willingness to break down borders and highlight the fact that we can always join forces no matter how different our approaches are in a certain field. How does a strong personality like yours do this?
I enjoy communicating and connecting with people, I always keep my eyes open and I like to solve problems. I’m a great believer in collaborations. I’m not the average fashion fanatic. I look outside trends and commercial ideas as I don’t believe in them. I feel if you put your mind to any collaboration you can create something amazing and exciting if you keep true to both parties’ visions and can find a creative center ground. I’ve worked with a lot of different brands throughout the years often taking my credit out of the equation. I think it’s important to do this when it has not been possible to find that center ground and the ideas haven’t met somewhere in the middle.
Media refers to you as “the most eccentric designer and stylist”. What’s your first reaction to that?
What does “ambiguity” mean to you?
Ambiguity is the key to life.
What kind of movement would you like to start?
I suppose I started a movement 15 years ago in London. I collect friends – all different types of people, from wildly different lives, backgrounds and experiences and I pull them together. Kind of like a social alchemist. I think in the future it may be seen as something that happened but not till I write about it or a bit of time passes and we can look back on it. Boy George told me to start my own religion. It’s been on my mind for a while but I think it would be more an anti-religious cult!
What’s underneath the many layers of Daniel Lismore as we see him?
I’m just a person, from Fillongley Village with an open heart and an open mind.
What do you think is the worst vice a fashion designer or stylist can have?
I see so many womenswear designers fail because they design for themselves and do not understand a woman, her needs or her body. I think menswear designers need to re-invent menswear as it’s often all too similar and bland – too governed by outdated conventions. I think designers are scared to break boundaries because of how they may look from outside their worlds.
Can you share your most precious memory?
I have many precious memories. One was recently in Iceland where I walked up a volcano with a friend at 2am to go to a hot river. We were the only people there. I lay back with just my face out of the warm water and looked up and thought about my uncle who I was very close to who was stabbed the week before. I realized how precious life is and all my stress and anxieties had gone when I got out. It really was a life changing moment for me.
You’ve done collections, exhibitions, published a book and worked to make the world a better place. Can this legacy help to erase the stigma of artists living in XXI century?
I hope I haven’t even started yet – I really feel that my real work and purpose is yet to come. I try to do my best at everything I do.
I feel if anyone has stigmas about living artists they should reconsider and open their minds. They need to see past their negative views. Creating art is what defines us as human. I think it’s ignorant to ridicule art.
Isaac Perez Solano
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