Pride of Place

Here is a home steeped in art, beauty, and a clas­sic el­e­gance. Aerin Lauder in­vites us to step into her world

Philippine Tatler - - CONTENTS - Words & Photos MARK C O’FLAHERTY

Beauty heiress Aerin Lauder lives and breathes style as ev­i­denced by her eclec­tic New York res­i­dence

Her dec­o­ra­tions haven’t gone up yet, but the ice skaters are al­ready pirou­et­ting around Rock­feller Cen­tre and Aerin Lauder is in a fes­tive, hol­i­day mode. “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to go­ing to the 21 Club for din­ner on Christ­mas Eve,” says the 45-year-old scion of the ul­ti­mate Amer­i­can beauty brand. “It was a Pro­hi­bi­tion Era speakeasy, and it’s so Old New York. We go ev­ery 24th of De­cem­ber for sup­per, when the Sal­va­tion Army Band come and play car­ols.” Al­though her tree isn’t dec­o­rated, Lau­ren’s def­i­nitely got her shop­ping in the bag. “I re­ally love giv­ing my own de­signs and prod­ucts as gifts to fam­ily and friends,” she says, ges­tur­ing to a ta­ble of scented can­dles and a luxe chess set with brass pieces and cho­co­late sha­green pan­elling. Whole­sale as well as chic. Smart.

There are plenty of AERIN prod­ucts at Lauder’s Up­per East Side fam­ily home, which she shares with her in­vest­ment banker hus­band Eric Zin­ter­hofer and two teenage sons, Will and Erik. There are AERIN beauty and fra­grance prod­ucts in the bath­rooms, AERIN shoes and ac­ces­sories in her dress­ing room, and a se­lec­tion of AERIN Light­ing next to clas­sic Richard Sap­per Tizio lamps in her sons’ bed­rooms. There’s also an as­sort­ment of her own design frames and sculp­tural golden bowls in the cen­tral salon that Jac­ques Grange restyled for her 17 years ago. “I re­mem­ber the first day I came to see this place,” she says. “It was a snowy day and I ab­so­lutely fell in love with it. I loved the old metal win­dows and the view out to Park Av­enue. It re­minded me of the film Some­where in Time. It was mag­i­cal, with such great light. Old New York.”

While she’s tweaked some of the wall colours and re­uphol­stered the so­fas in the dark-walled li­brary with its shelves of red leather photo al­bums (“My mother puts one to­gether for me ev­ery Christ­mas”), the apart­ment re­mains pretty much as it was when Grange put it to­gether with her, com­plete with a se­lec­tion from her par­ents’ re­mark­able art col­lec­tion. There’s a Rothko mono­graph on the cof­fee ta­ble in the lounge, and a real Rothko hang­ing on the wall a few feet away, right next to an Ed Ruscha. There are Ellsworth Kellys aplenty (in­clud­ing a pic­ture of Jack and the Beanstalk that Kelly cre­ated for one of her sons as a birth­day present), while the gi­ant loop­ing scrawls of Cy Twombly in the hall­way face a sim­i­larly gar­gan­tuan 18th-cen­tury ta­pes­try from an an­tique store in Paris beloved of Estée (her grand­mother had a town­house close by). They’re all art trea­sures of mu­seum qual­ity, “but if the build­ing was on fire and I could only grab one piece, I’d prob­a­bly take the Yves Klein,” says Lauder, point­ing at a can­vas that’s a solid panel of In­ter­na­tional Klein Blue. “The colour is a part of my DNA and brand. It’s the sea and the sky. I love it.”

The only room that has no art in it is the master bed­room, which is serene and en­tirely sil­ver grey, with richly car­peted floors and vel­vet walls that sound­proof it from the roar of traf­fic and sirens of Park Av­enue out­side. “We had to be prac­ti­cal,” ex­plains Lauder. “We live on the same block as a fire sta­tion.” The only ob­vi­ous dec­o­ra­tion in the room is a spec­tac­u­lar an­tique orb crys­tal chan­de­lier. Next door is Lauder’s dress­ing room, with the same Gra­cie wall­pa­per that her grand­mother had at home, and a dress­ing ta­ble with a Mu­rano glass mir­ror that she in­her­ited from her. This is her re­treat when she has in­som­nia. “I like to lie on the chaise lounge with my iPad and read. My grand­mother used to have a chaise she was in love with. She wanted some­where to re­lax af­ter her hair had been done, with­out mess­ing it up.”

The AERIN brand is, so its Man­hat­tan mar­ket­ing ma­chine tells us, based on Lauder’s “sig­na­ture, ef­fort­less style.” But how would its founder de­scribe the in­gre­di­ents of that style? What’s spe­cific to the look of AERIN as well as Lauder? “I think we are beige, and gold, and cho­co­late,” she says. “It’s pretty and it’s lux­u­ri­ous. It’s pink and Amer­i­can. We don’t do head-to-toe black. It’s her­itage with a twist and it’s sto­ry­telling, like our Christ­mas can­dle ‘Salzburg Spice,’ in­spired by the time I lived in Aus­tria for a year and a half while my fa­ther was an am­bas­sador there.”

One thing that Lauder is tap­ping into, both at home and with her epony­mous brand, is a sense of old-fash­ioned New York lux­ury. One can’t imag­ine her liv­ing any­where other than the Up­per East Side or the Hamp­tons (where she does, of course, have an­other home). It’s the same kind of style, per­haps, that Estée cham­pi­oned and fash­ioned her em­pire on—

the rem­nants of the Amer­i­can Gilded Age, re­fracted through a Euro­pean sen­si­bil­ity of cou­ture, Clig­nan­court, and pink and gold-dusted mac­arons. You can see it in the AERIN prod­ucts, in the new wall­pa­pers and jacquard and pais­ley tex­tiles pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Lee Jofa; the swatches of cot­ton and linen-mix ‘Wes­sex’ bear a dis­tressed damask mo­tif in­spired by fab­ric that was once in her grand­mother’s home. You can also see it in the Park Av­enue apart­ment, in the re­cur­rent use of an­i­mal print tex­tiles that up­hol­ster club chairs, cover table­cloths, and car­pet hall­ways. “I’ve al­ways loved leop­ard,” she says. “I like the con­sis­tent theme, but I also have three dogs and two teenage boys, and pat­tern hides things.” Prac­ti­cal as well as chic, see; again: smart. For Christ­mas, how­ever, the ze­bra print table­cloth gets swapped for a red one be­fore the fam­ily dines around the cir­cu­lar ta­ble, sit­ting on gold an­tique chairs. “I love a round ta­ble,” she says. “It’s great for con­ver­sa­tion, and im­me­di­ately makes peo­ple com­fort­able.”

Is she a cook as well as host or is she a real New Yorker, with the stan­dard un­touched kitchen hard­ware? “I’m not go­ing to lie. I can cook break­fast, maybe steak for sup­per for three peo­ple. But I usu­ally get a caterer. I like chicken cur­ries, lamb chops, and pasta dishes. I love it when there’s a lot of dishes on the ta­ble and ev­ery­one helps them­selves.”

When Lauder first saw this apart­ment, she’d just had her first son. “It im­me­di­ately struck me as our fam­ily home,” she says. “It felt won­der­ful, warm, and invit­ing. My par­ents live in a very con­tem­po­rary space, with no cur­tains. When I was grow­ing up I al­ways wanted drapes and cush­ions and a ta­ble cov­ered with won­der­ful ob­jects and bowls of candy. That wasn’t part of my par­ents’ sen­si­bil­ity.” It was, how­ever, Estée’s. It im­printed on Lauder and she chan­nels it today: “My grand­mother was into style. She was tra­di­tional. There was al­ways a ta­ble full of books, flow­ers, and a notepad with a pen in the guest bed­room. It was lux­u­ri­ous with at­ten­tion to de­tail. And it seemed ef­fort­less.”

cool and col­lected This sit­ting room fea­tures a harmonious mix of clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary pieces; (op­po­site) Lauder poses near the li­brary where a Bagues chan­de­lier orig­i­nally owned by Lan­vin hangs

neu­tral grounds Sound­proofed with vel­vet, the master bed­room is a peaceful oa­sis; Pale blue Gra­cie wall­pa­per adds seren­ity to the dress­ing room; (op­po­site) Lauder takes five af­ter a busy day

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