Aerin Lauder grew up surrounded by exquisite fragrance: her grandmother was Estée Lauder, who changed the way that women bought fragrance with the launch of Youth Dew, in the 1950s. (Read more about that here.) So nobody should be surprised that this Manhattan-based mother of two – part of the close-knit Lauder family – is the creative force behind a perfume and beauty brand which simply bears her own first name: AERIN Beauty.
The young Aerin Lauder grew up mostly in New York, holidaying in Florida or the South of France with her grandmother, or at the family’s home on Long Island. She also spent time in Austria: ‘For two years, I lived in Vienna when my father was US ambassador in Austria,’ she explains – and as we’ll see, those ‘escapist’ memories have helped to shape her own fragrance collection.
In this hard-working family, it’s not unusual to join the business. First, she became part of the Prescriptives marketing team. Then Aerin joined the Estée Lauder brand itself, in 1995, and – with what’s an enviably flawless sense of style – in 2004 took the title of Senior Vice President, Creative Director, overseeing all creative efforts: imagery, packaging, advertising, store design, visual merchandising and more, heralding an exciting time for the brand.
But in 2007, Aerin Lauder got to express her love of fragrance with a very special project, Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia. Two more creations followed, in this exclusive Estée Lauder line: Private Collection Jasmine White Moss, and Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang – each of them a ‘spin’ on a serendipitous find: a 20-year-old, unfinished Private Collection blend which had been hidden in a vault by Estée herself for 20 years. The perfect ambassador for the collection, Aerin became the first member of her family to appear in an advertising campaign. Aerin holds the title of Style and Image Director at Estée Lauder.
And then: the moment came for Aerin Lauder to launch her own signature line: AERIN Beauty. It began with make-up: a capsule collection of cosmetics to create the polished look which is Aerin’s own signature, and which we’d all frankly love to emulate, through must-haves like the AERIN Multi Color for Lips & Cheeks (one of the fastest ways to wake up a tired face that we know.)
As Aerin continues, ‘I thought it would be wonderful to add fragrances to the AERIN beauty range. Each perfume sets a different mood and a feeling for each part of a woman’s life and day.’ With her customary attention to detail – we’re sure she won’t mind us calling her a perfectionist – she worked on each fragrance to have a touch of the unexpected, while delving into her treasure chest of travel memories.
Flowers are at the heart of each fragrance. ‘Beautiful, luxurious and feminine, flowers make you smile, make your senses come alive,’ she says. Beyond that, Amber Musk is inspired by time in the Austrian mountains, in winter: ‘We’d go skiing all the time in Kitzbühel. This perfume is a quiet, cosy moment; but – for that element of surprise, we combined it with coconut.’ (She’s right when she observes that people find it addictive…)
Gardenia Rattan ‘reminds me of summer: the seaside, fresh grass, times in my grandmother’s house in Cap Ferrat.’ And then, Aerin reveals, ‘Evening Rose is like a memorable night; it’s feminine, it’s luxurious, but we added Cognac to it.’ (This is the fragrance Aerin feels is closest to something her grandmother might have created: ‘She always loved rose, and when she was creating a fragrance, she would say, “put in more rose, put in more rose.”‘ And for lovers of white florals, there’s Ikat Jasmine, with that signature white note twining through tuberose and honeysuckle, with sandalwood in the base.
Aerin Lauder is involved with every aspect of creating everything which carries her AERIN name, from what’s inside the bottle to the flacons themselves, with their beautiful, sculpted, so-satisfying-to-the-touch lids, reminiscent of different semi-precious stones, and the softly colourful fabric-inspired boxes. We’re looking forward to new fragrances joining the line-up, with the next launch scheduled for October 2014 (so we’re told).
Aerin is married with two teenage sons and – as with the rest of her family – ‘giving back’ is hugely important to her. Aerin’s involved with the Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign (total raised to date over $50 million), and her own brand is partnered with the charity First Book, which offers educational materials to disadvantaged families in the US and Canada.
Her idea of success? As Aerin Lauder once told Harper’s Bazaar magazine, it’s quite simple: ‘Happiness. People loving what you have created.’ And really, with fragrances as beautiful as these, Aerin, that’s not difficult…
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