In a recent interview with VMan Magazine, American Idol season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert spoke on fashion, his image and how “fearful” our society is. The first openly gay male pop star also expressed his love of fashion, adding that he’s “always wanted to play dress-up.”

“What I do has been done before,” says Lambert. “It’s glam. I’m inspired by the ’70s and ’80s. Bowie is a huge influence. So are hair bands.” But recent male pop stars have been less adventurous than they were twenty or thirty years ago, mainly due to homophobia. “Why must a crazy look necessarily be gay?” asks Lambert. “Our society is more fearful, I guess. And they don’t party enough. Everyone was partying in the ’80s.”

For Lambert, creating his sensational image is, in a way, his favorite part of stardom. “I’ve always just wanted to play dress up,” he laughs. “Last night I was trying on this Dolce & Gabbana suit—I love the way Dolce fits—and noticed this mannequin in the corner with this weird headdress made out of melted ribbons. So we sewed it onto the suit. It was great. I ended up looking like someone had left me too close to the fireplace.”

Be the first to receive breaking news alerts and more stories like this by subscribing to our mailing list.