I first met Ainsley Kerr at Susie Love‘s jewelry making party and was instantly enchanted by her vivacity. Suddenly it seemed like I saw her everywhere – Cartier, [FAT], always dressed in pretty dresses by Canadian designers. I was thrilled when she asked me to draw her for her calling cards. She asked for a glamourous look and we chose a gorgeous deep-purple Nada gown for the illustration.
I asked Ainsley a few questions about her life and her style and she answered in a characteristically generous fashion.
You were recently described in NOW Magazine as a “bonafide socialite”. How does that make you feel? Do you identify as a socialite?
The one thing that bothers me about the word, socialite, is that most people think that socialites are wealthy men and women who have nothing better to do then than sit around and attend events. This is quite the contrary! Most socialites I know (Toronto or elsewhere) are some of the busiest people I know! Like many of my girlfriends, my adult life has always been filled with work, fundraising and volunteering, and I expect it always will be. We need to learn that rather than to dispose of the word we need adjust to the fact that it’s growing and changing and there is not just one definition for it. I identify with my definition of a socialite; however, I am aware that I may not fit in within everyone’s definition of one. While I have been blessed by coming from a fortunate background during the day I plan luxury destination weddings, sit on two boards and help plan and promote several fundraisers that I’m passionate about in the city.
Who are your heroes and role models?
My biggest role models would have to be my family. I definitely lucked out to be surrounded by such smart, empowering, creative, passionate and loving people.
My parents have always been there for my sister and myself and have provided us with the best that life could offer and instilled strong family traditions. We travelled extensively as a family from an early age, and were exposed to many different cultures and traditions – this probably has been the best education. When I was quite young we were transferred to Tokyo, Japan for several years. Even though I was extremely young, I could not wait to visit Harajaku – which was filled with avante garde stores and where people were very fashionably dressed.
As for my adoration towards fashion, this came to my sister and me at a very early age from my mother who has always enjoyed a great sense of style. In fact, some of my favorite outfits are vintage pieces that have belonged to my mother. Two in particular that stand out are a vintage skinny Hermes belt from the 1970’s in a style that has been discontinued and a bright blue polka dot Guy Laroche dress from the 1980’s.
My father has installed in both my sister and myself the importance of hard work, creating your own identity and being proud of where you come from. We are lucky to be a multi-national family (my mother is from South Africa) and still have strong roots in Toronto (my paternal grandmother grew up across the street from where my parents live now and my paternal grandfather only grew up a couple blocks away).
Congratulations on being included in the Toronto Star’s best dressed list! You are often seen at fashionable events wearing stunning dresses by Canadian designers. Who are some of your favourite designers?
Thank you! It was a huge honour to be asked and I was thrilled to be included in the article alongside such uniquely fashionable Torontonians. I embrace my femininity and enjoy taking my time to get dressed for any event.
My first loves in Canadian fashion are the designers of Mercy. For my graduation from high school we had to wear a white dress. I fell in love with a dress at Holt Renfrew that they had on display and unfortunately it had already been sold. I was thrilled when they agreed to make the dress from scratch for me. I wore it recently to a Wear White for Windfall fundraiser, and nearly a decade later it is still just as stunning and unique. My close second love would have to be Joeffer Caoc. I own a draped taffeta ballskirt that Joeffer debuted in his first collection (when he was still Misura) in L’Oreal Fashion Week, which skyrocketed him to the Canadian fame that he has now. So as you can see my love for Canadian designers has been something that I have been nurturing for a while.
For designers who would like to dress you, can you describe what you look for in a dress or gown?
I have always felt more comfortable in a dress than I do in jeans and a tee shirt; this probably explains why I have more of a classic look. I love statement pieces and enjoy changing my look and formalizing or deformalizing my outfit by using jewellery and accessories. I am a visual person so I need to see a dress on a mannequin or model before I can visualize how it might fall on my body. I definitely have a curvaceous figure so a designer who has made room for a hips and a bum is in my good books!
I am certainly open to suggestions as to what a designer thinks would look good on me as understand that every designer is an artist and that most view the body as a canvas to display their work.