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?’”

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