“Oh my God! I think that’s Snow White!” commented Jessica Stam, just after the recent Rodarte show in New York. Stam and I were chatting out on the sidewalk, when the Canadian supermodel caught a glimpse of a dark-haired beauty standing just outside the W. 22nd St. show venue. The fairy-tale perfect fashionista that Stam spotted was none other than Dr. Lisa Airan, a Manhattan dermatologist who’s as much at home on the pages of Vogue magazine as she is in her 5th Ave. offices.
“I’ve been in love with fashion my whole life,” explains Dr. Airan, who’s a regular fixture at shows in New York and Paris, and is somewhat of a muse to a host of designers, from Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz to Gilles Mendel at J Mendel to Rodarte’s Mulleavy sisters to Marc Jacobs. The wife of Toronto cosmetic surgeon Dr. Trevor Born, Airan is one of the few women I’ve seen in the “real world” who can actually pull off a lot of the astounding outfits that crop up on international runways. She has a fearlessness when it comes to dressing up, describing her personal style as “whimsical, chic, and avant garde”. She’s also very keen on what’s new and what’s next in fashion, and makes it her business to get up close and personal with designers, keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s hot and how she can incorporate new designs into her personal style repertoire each season. Evidently, she sees fashion as a means of well-being. “Fashion’s a form of personal expression,” says Airan. “And if you’re happy with your outward persona, I think you feel better about yourself and have the confidence to face anything the day presents.”
Citing “great skin” as her style trademark, Airan has her Indian father and Irish mother to thank for her exotic good looks. And it’s likely that her innate passion for aesthetics was what led her to pursue both a career in dermatology and a coveted place on American best-dressed lists. Of course, it helps having the right kind of physical frame to sport some of the amazing clothes that she chooses: Airan keeps in top shape with a combination of yoga and long-distance cycling. She and her husband are also avid travelers, so shopping the world is something she has the luxury of doing. But her two favourite places to shop for clothes are The Room at The Bay in Toronto, and the Lanvin store in Paris. When it comes to accessories, she swears by Colette, that delightfully eclectic haute style emporium on Rue St. Honore in Paris.
I see countless dazzling outfits on untold runways around the world, and I often wonder about the women who are fortunate enough to indulge in all this fantasy fare—those who have the means, the occasions, and the bodies to strut this stuff the way it was meant to be strutted. It’s also interesting to see what someone who really does have so many options at her fingertips actually chooses for her own personal wardrobe “edit”. Dr. Airan is one fashion enthusiast who never fails to impress me with her eye-popping ensembles. When I recently ran into her at NY Fashion Week, she was wearing a Roksanda Ilincic dress which she bought at The Room, Christian Louboutin nude patent pumps which she got at the Louboutin store in New York, and an Hermes clutch, purchased at the Hermes store in Paris.
What is your fashion philosophy?
Always observe everything around you and look for inspiration from all sources.
What is a fashion faux pas in your stylebooks?
High heels in ancient towns
Most inspiring style icon and why?
Marie Antoinette; she had the taste and the time to create the trends which everyone followed.
Top 3 accessories of all time?
A Celine black messenger bag, Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses, and a Tom Ford black mirrored evening bag which Tom himself gave to me.
Best fashion advice?
Develop your own style and stay true to it.
TAGLINE: Jeanne Beker is a contributing editor to the Star and host of Fashion Television Channel. Email Jeanne@ctv.ca, follow @jeanne_beker and watch her on CTV, E! and FashionTelevisionChannel.