Where Aerin Lauder travels for fragrance inspiration
Aerin Lauder travels in style. Whether she’s on safari, lounging in the South of France or exploring the beaches of her Hamptons getaway, the beauty entrepreneur and homewares designer is always collecting images and objects that might inspire a clutch, a bowl or a fragrance. Lauder’s latest scent, Tangier Vanille, is born of her love of Morocco. She describes the North African country as “really inspirational in terms of the textiles, colours, scents, the spices, the flowers. It’s very bohemian.” The resulting blend of spicy amber and warm vanilla is freshened by sparkling bergamot, its packaging adorned with a modern chocolate-brown ikat print. We sat down with Lauder recently at her elegant uptown New York offices to talk scent and safari.
What was your first impression of Morocco?
“The first time I went was when I was married. I went to La Mamounia in Marrakesh and walked by an orange blossom that was just so magical and beautiful. I went into the market after and it was intense—it didn’t smell like orange blossoms. It is a very intense place; it’s hard, but it’s strong.”
When were you last in Tangier? “I was there on a recent shoot. We did these beautiful shots in rose gardens and wonderful old houses that have this incredible sense of luxury and mystery with deep colours like orange, brown, gold and bronze. I think it’s very magical there.”
How did you translate your time there into this
scent? “I took lots of different pictures— of fabrics, of a beautiful field of flowers, of a moment sitting in a tent with all these beautiful coloured pillows—and showed them to the perfumer [fragrance developer Karyn Khoury] and explained what I was thinking. Karyn started thinking about vanilla or tuberose or amber. I said I wanted it to be spicy; I wanted some amber. From there, she ran with it.”
What was your most recent big trip like? “I went on safari for 12 days in Tanzania. We camped for the first few days and then we visited different lodges. I found the animal culture very interesting. There was one fully grown leopard that still lived with his mother— doesn’t everyone have a friend like that? One day, I was like, ‘ You know what? I’m going to sleep in, have breakfast and exercise, and not see lions.’ You have to be escorted when you walk around at night and I had this weird feeling, so I called and asked if I could leave my room. And they said, ‘ You can’t, because this leopard that’s never killed before just made his first kill.’ A teeny little squirrel. And he was sitting in front of my room.”
Where would you like to visit next? “My two boys are getting older—they’re 15 and 17—so now I can travel to these amazing places that I’ve always dreamed about. But I usually like taking shorter trips; I love to go for a few days. I would love to see the new Ritz in Paris.”
Did your grandmother Estée Lauder travel a lot? “She did travel, but totally differently—she’d go to Europe for the summer. She didn’t like to fly, so she’d take the train to Florida, or go to London by boat. She’d have all these beautiful suitcases. It was a different era— everyone travelled like that, it was like a movie. She loved glamour: Her bathrobes were beautiful; her slippers were pretty. When she travelled she’d have her handbag, gloves, suit, heels, hat and pin. When I used to go back to college after the summer, she’d see me before I’d leave, and that was when everyone was wearing ripped jeans, big jackets and sweaters. She was like, ‘Are you travelling like that?’”