Farewell to Bermuda’s fashion show king
Fashion and entertainment impresario Mario Dismont, whose venues helped launch a host of local models, has died at the age of 64.
Inspired by his dressmaker mother Marion, Mr Dismont forged ahead as a promoter in the 1970s, organising live shows with a variety of artists at such locales as the Clayhouse Inn.
He even made a brief debut as a model with Shay Lake, who had performed dance on the classic American R & B show Soul Train.
That experience guided Mr Dismont into the management aspect of the fashion business.
“I was the first one to do fashion shows in the Empire Room at the Southampton Princess, and I've done shows at the Rosebank Theatre which was a huge theatre back in the day,” Mr Dismont told this newspaper in 2012. In tandem with Ms Lake, he brought shows to night clubs, under the rubric Fashion Conspiracy, followed by Fashion Energy.
The fashion shows grew into a business, and Mr Dismont would look back in pride on the operation becoming “the first to have stores pay us to be in our fashion show”.
“That is how dynamic we were — our shows were very theatrical,” he recalled.
They showed at “most of the major venues at that time, whether it be Clayhouse Inn or Disco 40”, he said: “It was exciting and we always sold out.”
Ms Lake eventually returned to the US, and in 1982 Mr Dismont founded Spectrum Productions — but took a long break in 1985 to pursue different careers.
Fashion returned in 2012 with an initially modest show gaining more models and designers, growing into an event he hoped could become a showpiece for the island.
The Some Like It Hot show got covered by BTE TV in New York, which declared him a “titan of fashion” later that year with a surprise award.
Mr Dismont traced his fashion sense to Marion's Fashions, his mother's dress shop on Brunswick Street. Mrs Dismont had herself been crowned at a beauty pageant back in the 1940s.
“I am not overly fashionable myself, but I know fashion,” Mr Dismont told The Royal Gazette after collecting his BTE award — crediting his mother for being “a very stylish lady”.