Red Carpet Heroines: Lisa Airan ♥ Rodarte

I don’t like writing about me in this blog, because I prefer leaving what I write about fashion and photography do the talking, but this time I have to say something about me, as an introduction to this post. I’ve been a fixed-term teacher for six years: I love teaching English (this year I will teach to adults in an evening school), but this job has become more and more difficult for lots of reasons (if you know what is happening in Italy and if you’ve ever heard about the massive financial cuts in the educational system, you’ll know what I’m talking about). I love this job but sometimes all the difficulties I have to face are just too much; in these moments, I wish I was a Fifth Avenue dermatologist, Lisa Airan, the most beautiful and classy doctor I’ve ever seen. I’m sure she lives a hectic life – she’s married, she works and her social agenda is always full – but in her moments of sadness, despair, exhaustion or whatever, she can step into her fabulous closet and rest among her wonderful clothes and accessories.

She can be considered a modern embodiment of Truman Capote’s idea of swan [1], that is a gorgeous and graceful creature, usually a socialite, who inspires designers and artists with her personality and beauty. Lisa Airan is known as Gilles Mendel‘s muse [2],  as she perfectly symbolizes the wealth, the refinement and the elegance connected to Mendel’s style. The reason why I like Airan so much is that she’s more than this; her personality has different faces, and she usually channels her experimentalism by wearing Rodarte clothes. Now, Mendel and Rodarte’s styles are completely different, because the first is the epitome of Park Avenue chic, while Laura and Kate Mulleavy’s creations scream Japanese horror and comic books, post-atomic vibe, gothicism and rebellion. In any case, Airan is so able to pull Rodarte’s outfits off, that I consider her their unofficial face.

Let’s take a look at the many Rodarte outfits she has recently sported. Ohhh, I love them all.


She attended Fashion Gives Back event, during the New York fashion week in 2007, wearing a lovely white dress, with a pleated skirt and organza ruffles on the front. The waist is accented by a black bow. She wore the same Louboutin pumps seen on the model, but (unfortunately) left the black gloves out.


She attended the 2006 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards wearing this original dress, with multiple organza rosettes on the front and a lace inset on the low neckline. She looks lovely here, but I think the dress is a bit messy and over-decorated. She paired it with simple Jimmy Choo Jag satin strappy sandals.


She attended a Vogue luncheon for Olivier Theyskens wearing another outfit from the spring/summer 2007 collection: strawberry slim trousers with a bow at the waist and a pleated blouse with organza ruffled sleeves and a bow on the front. I would have taken the bow at the waist out, because I think two bows in the same outfit are too much, but doesn’t she looks modern, feminine yet romantic in this ensemble?


She was spotted backstage at Rodarte spring/summer 2008 runway sporting a beautiful white silk dress, with big taffeta black and fuchsia rosettes on the front, and a gorgeous jacket with a big black bow on the shoulder. I think the bell sleeves and the making of the jacket are just amazing! She wore the same Louboutin pumps seen before, and a Hèrmes Birkin bag in purple crocodile leather.


She was among the guests at the Vogue’s Gap/CFDA party in 2007, an event she attended wearing a Rodarte silk dress, with black lace inserts on the front and yellow panels on the skirt and on the armholes. There is also a nice bow embellishment on the neck, but the one on Lisa’s dress looks like toned down, if we compare it to the one seen on Coco Rocha. She chose a simple pair of satin strappy sandals to complete the outfit.


Airan looks great when she wears romantic dresses, but she looks outstanding when she takes a risk and chooses daring pieces. I love the way she looks with this Rodarte fall/winter 2007 dress on. She wore it while attending Mulleavys’ spring/summer 2009 fashion show in New York, pairing it with simple black peep-toe pumps. This dress is very peculiar for its shredded and net wool structure, but Airan managed to pull it off. She left out all the accessories seen on the catwalk – the net wool stockings, the fingerless gloves, the infamous Louboutin spiked shoes – and made the dress simple and modern.


New York elite have its annual social events – the fashion week and the American Ballet Theatre Spring Gala, just to name two – but the most exclusive and awaited is the Costume Institute Gala, which usually takes place the first week of May. Lisa Airan has been lucky enough to be a guest at the event in the past few years, and she has always managed to top the list of the best-dressed, thanks to the amazing Rodarte creations she wore.  She attended Anglomania, the 2006 gala, wearing a heavenly butter yellow dress, with silk and taffeta ruffles and rosettes on the front. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a full figure pic, but I’m sure she kept accessories to the mininum, wearing a metal root-like bracelet only.


In 2007 she attended the gala wearing a royal blue dress, custom-made by Kate and Laura Mulleavy, and a stunning Paul Poiret brocade cape. I mean, Paul Poiret was one of the most important and ground-breaking designers of the past century and she wore one of his original creations!!! She chose simple accessories – a gold clutch and metallic sandals – not to take the focus away from the outfit. This is one of my favourite outfits she’s ever worn.


I think every celebrity experiences (or should experience) at least one *perfect* red carpet moment during her career. Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, had their perfect red carpet moments at the Academy Awards, and their outfits are still reminded as rare examples of grace and elegance. When it comes to Airan, I will always remember her for the amazing Rodarte dress she wore at the Costume Institute Gala in 2008 (that year, the fashion exhibition was about superheroes). I’ve never seen such a beautiful dress on such a beautiful woman. The dress is a vision of white and baby blue organza, with a ruffled train, sheer skirt and pleated bodice.


I love this picture, because the dress is in full display! Didn’t she look like a modern Naiad, a nymph of the fountains? She chose amazing accessories as well – Christian Louboutin Rodita white sandals and short silver gloves custom-made by Mark Walsh and Leslie Chin.


In 2005 the Costume Institute paid homage to the genius of Gabrielle Coco Chanel and Lisa Airan paid homage to the Parisian maison wearing a creation from the Haute Couture spring/summer 2005 collection. I adore the dress, which has cascading pearl decorations on the front of the bodice and on the hips, but I think it’s a little too stiff for Airan. She looks adorable, but this is not the best outfit seen on the red carpet.


In 2009 she left Rodarte collections aside and experimented yet another look by wearing a Balmain creation from the fall/winter 2009 collection. I’m sure you’ve recognized the dress, because Madonna wore it in her latest music video, Celebration. She paired the sparkling short dress with Christian Louboutin Differa patent sandals. I don’t like the hairstyle and the make-up she chose for the occasion, because they make her look vampy and aggressive.

100 Years of Cartier in America valli

I guess a celebrity can be considered a symbol of elegance when she experiences more than a single perfect red carpet moment in her life. Lisa Airan had another of these moments at the Cartier 100th Anniversary in America celebration, which took place in April 2009 in New York. Even if she wasn’t wearing a Rodarte dress (I forgive her for this), she chose a stunning Giambattista Valli tulle dress. The dress was completely draped and had ruffles on the back and around the neck. She paired it with lace pumps and a simple clutch, plus tiny diamond stud earrings. She’s pure perfection in this outfit, a true example of what is the meaning of the words beauty and polish.

[1] Capote took this term from  a passage he’d read in a nineteenth-century journal by Patrick Conway. His swans (close friends, literary and creative muses) were Babe Paley, Marella Agnelli, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, Pamela Churchill Harriman, Slim Keith, Gloria Vanderbilt and Lee Radziwill.

[2] Mendel and Airan usually attend social events together: she has been spotted wearing Mendel’s Park Avenue-princess dresses several times.

Source and source.




  1. chissà quanto ha influito Giulietta degli spiriti di Fellini (e nello specifico i due abiti che indossa Valentina Cortese) nella creazionedell’abito di Valli. (Valli ce piashe).

    1. You’re right! Sometimes I really wish I were someone else, because life can be so hard, but at the end of the day I think we must be happy with what we have, and never stop pursuing our dreams.

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