A Beau­ti­ful Life

Up close and PER­SONAL with life­style mogul AERIN LAUDER


Aerin Lauder is prac­ti­cally beauty roy­alty.

Grand­daugh­ter of the le­gendary self-made busi­ness­woman Estée Lauder, the cos­met­ics heiress in­her­ited an im­pec­ca­bly chic drive from the in­dus­try maven. “Estée taught me the im­por­tance of pas­sion, style, hard work, fam­ily and, of course, all things beau­ti­ful,” says Lauder. “Her se­crets were: ‘What­ever you do, do it well,’ and ‘Work hard and love what you do.’”

The 47-year-old Up­per East Side na­tive got her start spend­ing her col­lege-year summers work­ing for the fam­ily busi­ness. With those hard-work­ing fam­ily genes at play, the ju­nior Lauder moved her way up the ranks, from po­si­tions in mar­ket­ing to cre­ative di­rec­tor, to Estée Lauder’s style and im­age di­rec­tor. Over the years, the cor­po­rate heavy-hit­ter steered the mighty brand into new­found suc­cess: she launched the Sen­su­ous fra­grance cam­paign, the first of its kind to in­clude mul­ti­ple models with Gwyneth Pal­trow, Hi­lary Rhoda, Carolyn Mur­phy and El­iz­a­beth Hur­ley; in­tro­duced the first Asian spokesmodel for the brand, Liu Wen; and col­lab­o­rated with fash­ion and fra­grance vir­tu­oso Tom Ford to help re­for­mu­late Estée Lauder’s 1953 Youth-Dew per­fume.

Af­ter 25 years at the fam­ily em­pire and armed with ex­pe­ri­ence, Lauder de­cided to carve out her own niche, and in 2012 launched a lux­ury beauty brand sim­ply named Aerin. The name­sake line is a di­rect off­shoot of her un­der­stated taste, and in­spired by her can’t-live-without prod­ucts. “Lux­ury means the ul­ti­mate in qual­ity and ex­pe­ri­en­tial rich­ness,” ex­plains Lauder. “It’s prod­ucts that are cre­ated from the most rare, ar­ti­sanal in­gre­di­ents and are pre­sented in beau­ti­ful pack­ag­ing, which are col­lec­tor’s items in them­selves.”

From ad­dic­tive face oils and body creams to bloom­ing per­fumes, the tastemaker did just that, cre­at­ing a care­fully edited se­lec­tion of van­ity candy fea­tur­ing a unique flo­ral in­fu­sion in each one. The prod­ucts’ sig­na­ture aro­mas are cher­ished im­prints left by the late beauty doyenne Estée. “I re­mem­ber get­ting into the car with my grand­mother and be­ing aware of her scent. She was al­ways test­ing dif­fer­ent fra­grances,” re­calls Lauder. “And grow­ing up sur­rounded by fra­grance, no mat­ter where I was, there were al­ways things to try and play with. Fra­grance has and will al­ways be a part of my life.” The chic col­lec­tion of beauty must-haves soon ex­panded into a full-on life­style brand fea­tur­ing a so­phis­ti­cated ar­ray of home dé­cor and fash­ion ac­ces­sories.

When it comes to the busy mother of two’s own beauty uni­form—her ap­proach is sim­ple. “I keep my look very nat­u­ral, so I only carry a few es­sen­tials: foun­da­tion, bronzer, brown eye­liner, mas­cara, and Aerin’s Rose Lip Con­di­tioner,” says Lauder, who is still ful­fill­ing her role as Estée Lauder’s im­age di­rec­tor. As for her skin­care hero, “Estée Lauder Ad­vanced Night Re­pair gives my skin a gor­geous glow. It goes with me every­where and I’ve used it ev­ery day for as long as I can re­mem­ber.”

From flow­ers to art to fash­ion, Lauder pulls in­spi­ra­tion from every­where, but espe­cially from travel. “Even if I don’t phys­i­cally go any­where I’ll look at travel mag­a­zines, books, and web­sites,” she says. For the global jet­set­ter, Morocco holds a spe­cial place in her heart. “It’s is one of the most en­chant­ing places I’ve ever vis­ited. From the palaces and gardens to the scents of spices every­where—like vanilla, cin­na­mon, and saf­fron—there’s al­ways some­thing to ex­plore,” says Lauder. “It’s what in­spired me to cre­ate my Tang­ier Vanille fra­grance,” she re­veals. Next up on her ad­ven­ture list? “I would love to visit In­dia.”


Top to bot­tom: Estée Lauder Ad­vanced Night Re­pair Syn­chro­nized Re­cov­ery Com­plex II, $225 (115 ml); Aerin Tang­ier Vanille D’Or $268; Aerin Rose Oil, $75.

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