Thirty-two-year-old London-based stylist Daniel Lismore doesn't just put outfits together, he builds fabric monsters out of intricate Jenga stacks of designer pieces (Alexander McQueen is a favorite), religious paraphernalia, feathers, chain mail, shells, bolts of vintage fabric, and whatever odds and ends he picks up at market stalls during his travels. His first book, Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken, showcases 32 of his most outrageous creations, which were also featured in a recent exhibition at the Savannah College of Art and Design's Museum of Fashion and Film.
"I want people to see that someone does actually live their life like this," Lismore says of the looks in the book, out from Skira Rizzoli this week. "As long as you are not hurting anyone, you can be who you want to be."
Here, some examples of what pushing the boundaries of maximalist dressing looks like.
"When I'm getting dressed it's like putting on armor—suiting up to go out and face the world, to change the world."
"My inspiration was China's Terracotta Army, and each mannequin had a mask painted exactly like my face when I'm made up," the artist says of his SCAD exhibit. "When I stood amongst them, it was difficult to tell what was real and what wasn't. The concept was to explore the relationship between dress and identity, and the right to be truly individual."
"I've been attacked countless times, and I've been flown across the world because of the way I dress, so the best and worst has happened to me."
Self-professed "geek" Lismore says he had "the worst time" at school. "Dad brought home all the Star Wars figures and I made outfits for them with Plasticine and Play-Doh. I loved watching World Wrestling Entertainment: my favorite was "Macho Man" Randy Savage. I loved the glittered leotards and tassels. I was an altar boy and have always been fascinated by church…I love the ornate gold work, the paintings, the men in dresses."
"Because of my height, I can at times be socially awkward," Lismore, who is 6'4", says. "But if I accentuate it with makeup, head gear, and the looks, it becomes an extension of me and I thrive."
Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken by Daniel Lismore, $55, rizzoliusa.com.