Who is Daniel Lismore?

Daniel Lismore book cover

I couldn’t wait to be a grown up. Quite simply so I could be who I wanted to be without permission. I lived in the ‘burbs and being different in any way shape or form was a fast track route to ridicule. I didn’t have a particular yearning to stand out from the crowd. I just wanted to experiment with different ways of doing and wearing things.

School uniform meant I had to dress the same. Fair do’s. And you’d be forgiven for thinking that was a safety net. But boy, if you had the wrong shaped skirt, roundy- instead of pointy-toed shoes, and were void of a ‘flick’ then you definitely couldn’t ‘sit with them’!

So when I announced I was off to art college it was a sure sign of who my friends weren’t:
‘So I guess Oxfam’s gonna be your new Chelsea Girl, then?’ (Well, yup!)
‘Off to join your hippy tribe?’ (If that’s what it takes!)
‘You’ll come running back, you’ll see’ (Er, don’t think so!)

I set sail – on a Red Bus Rover – to London and didn’t look back.

I love that people here don’t bat an eyelid at what you wear. That charity shop chic is a thing and that handmade is relished. I love that even my bad hair on the baddest of hair days gets an occasional compliment and I love having so much inspiration around me.

And why am I telling you all this? Because it was all stirred up by Daniel Lismore. Someone I’d been following on Instagram for some considerable time without even questioning who he was and where he’d come from. I just loved his extravagant outfits; his spectacular selfies with countless celebrities; all the amazing places in the world that he travels to and the ‘confidence’ he ooozed. Well, about that…!

Daniel LIsmore

It never occurred to me to find out who he actually was. I was quite happy not knowing until curiosity got the better of me and I checked his profile: ‘Public Figure. Artist living as Art. Circuit Ambassador @Tate. Brand Ambassador @illamasqua. Cool Earth Ambassador.’ Then I needed to know more!

One of his Instastories announced a talk at the V&A with Hilary Alexander. I just love the V&A. Love Hilary too. So I booked my ticket. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Daniel’s words resonated loud and clear when he talked about the teasing, the bullying and how his looks set him completely apart from his classmates. He came from a small village in the Midlands and his struggle was undoubtedly harder than mine. But still so many of his words rang true.

At 16 he knew for sure that he didn’t want to be like everyone else. He was inspired by an eccentric aunt who loved to mix and match fashions and his passion for upcycling and styling began. Dressing-up became his armour. Not to be on show so much as to be a platform from which to observe his onlookers.

Daniel Lismore

Beneath all the swathes of glorious fabric and striking make up is an even more, incredibly beautiful person. Strangely enough, one who looks very much like my eldest daughter – I hope Daniel won’t be offended by that. My daughter certainly isn’t! – And believe it or not, someone who comes across as insanely shy. That was the biggest surprise for me and yet the thing that made most sense.

It wasn’t a surprise to know that he was snapped up for modelling early on. But the nightlife was what floated his boat more. Dressing-up his way and meeting cool people at cool London clubs, he became a living artwork for all that he wore. Daniel believes that fashion is art, and who am I to argue?!

From overseas charity work, to activist operations at the side of Vivienne Westwood, Daniel’s life is never dull. And an appearance in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie was one of the stepping stones to his first exhibition co-curated by SCAD and presented at SCAD FASH: Museum of Fashion and Film, Atlanta, USA.

Daniel Lismore Be Yourself

The exhibition was called Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. I love those words. It’s like the perfect mantra when I’m losing a bit of faith in myself. And I love the book, titled the same – a small window to the exhibition that I would have loved to have seen it in real life.

The photography is amazing. All outfits are fashioned and styled by Daniel. Layers of exotic fabric, textiles, jewels and souvenirs from his travels, all pinned together – not sewn as I found out from the talk. Though he does immerse himself in embroidery from time to time. Lots of the accessories and fabrics are donated, many from celebrities. Boy George was the previous owner of the hat he was wearing at the V&A talk. And much like us sewing bloggers he finds it extra hard to resist the beautiful fabrics he comes across on his travels.

Daniel Lismore

Don’t worry. I’m not about to be sporting Mickey Mouse hands or a Roundhead military helmet any time soon. Though I have been entertaining the idea of a ruff… just a small one, mind!

If like me, you like nothing more than pouring over slick coffee table books loaded with lush alternative fashion inspiration then go grab yourself a copy. Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken is available in all good bookshops or just click right here:

This post has not been sponsored. All words and views are my own. Event ticket and book purchased with my own funds. Images © Colin Douglas Gray, photographer and kind permission given by Rizzoli USA. Apart from the last one. The one with me looking awkward. Some kind lady at the V&A talk took this for me when Daniel signed my book!

ooobop with Daniel Lismore

 

 

 

 

It’s all about Mimi, and me!

Mimi blouse from Love at First StitchI’m sure you are all very familiar with Tilly and the ButtonsLove at First Stitch book. It comes very recommended if you haven’t got it already. Well this is the Mimi blouse from said gorgeous book.

Mimi was indeed love at first sight and I (shamefully) started working on it way back in September last year before it landed on the to-do pile!  But it’s finished now and it’s fab, and I love it so that’s all that matters, right?!

The fabric is viscose, I’m sure, and was a great charity shop find a couple of years ago. Don’t you just love it when you already ‘just happen to have’ that perfect fabric for the job. Better still when it only cost a couple of quid. And better more still when that couple of quid goes to a good cause.

It gathered well, presses beautifully, yet doesn’t crease. Magic, that is!

mimi blouse and love at first stitch book

It was lovely working from the book instead of a giant fold out set of instructions. The steps are crystal clear and the photography is so so beautiful. Inspiration counts for a lot these days, when I’m run ragged at the end of the day. It completely takes you by the hand and leads you into a dreamworld of having more hours than you actually have and makes sewing possible! And that really is magic!

The buttons are properly vintage and are the same that I used for my vintage wrap blouse. I’ve used all but one now. Best save that for an emergency button loss!

mimi blouse buttons

I wondered if they were a bit big but I do like the way they contrast and don’t go MIA among the spots.

The collar is definitely my favourite part. Much like the one on my By Hand London Sophia dress. And I love the little tucks on the sleeves. Which incidentally are finished perfectly with a facing.

Despite all the pretty pictures and faultless instructions I did manage to make a booboo though. Totally my fault. Instead of just going with my usual body measurements, I first checked out the finished garment measurements which seem huge if you don’t take into consideration the gathering, which I didn’t. And so I went down a size. It isn’t blatantly obvious. Only when I put my arms up or shoulders back do the gathers on the yoke poof out a bit. I don’t practise the best posture tbh so I think I’ll get away with it!

Tilly and the Buttons Mimi Blouse

I’m all for tucking a shirt in usually but I like that this one can be a little more casual. It has a great shape and is everso comfy whilst retaining a bit of retro chic methinks!

mimi blouse back view

All the above photos were taken by my lovely Daniel who never ever complains. Even when he has things to do himself. He took these with minutes to spare before he rushed off to his soundcheck. And all I had to do in exchange was sew a button on his coat. Best I finish his waistcoat soon, hey?! You can see more of his pics here. They’re not all about me!

But today was totally all about me. This morning I went for an actual run. I say ‘actual’ because it usually amounts to a fast walk! I ran the fastest and the furthest in 3 weeks of practising and it felt amazing.

I then got to shoot my Mimi with Daniel and had lunch with my little family before everyone left the house for the day on separate missions. I found myself unexpectedly home alone.

So I uploaded my lovely Mimi photos and considered going to see Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum. Twitter warned of long queues but I went anyway. Because I could! And on my own, which was blissful and meant I could read and absorb every word and gaze longingly for a long time and hang around as long as I liked. And I did! With only 2 minutes max of queueing time. Oh the power of a V&A membership card and the joy of living in London.

I will definitely be going again, and again and probably again. So I will spare you the breathtaking detail as I’m sure that many of you will want to experience that yourselves.

I am home now with tea and I have blogged too. And that makes me happier still.