It takes a special person to curate a global luxury lifestyle brand based exclusively on their personal taste, but that’s exactly what heiress and Estée Lauder scion Aerin Lauder did with her eponymous brand.
Lauder has an exquisite eye for curation, and the culmination of her taste arrived in 2012 with the debut of Aerin, which offers beauty, fragrance, furniture, home decor, makeup, fashion, accessories and more. Lauder herself has a singular vision for interior design and real estate, often seen within the pages of Architectural Digest and Elle Decor, where she showcases her many homes from Palm Beach, Florida to Paris. This year, she celebrates her brand’s ten year anniversary, and she can’t help but look back at the woman who helped shape her career and style—her grandmother, beauty guru Estée Lauder.
“I worked at Estée Lauder for about 25 years, gaining amazing experience in many different departments,” Lauder, who currently also serves as Estée Lauder’s style and image director, tells Robb Report. “I was always doing interviews on what was in my makeup bag and the items I couldn’t live without. After being asked that question so many times, I felt there was an opportunity in the marketplace for a lifestyle brand based on feminine, modern and effortless products with a strong heritage and storytelling.”
One glance at Aerin’s website and you’ll find that femininity, elegance and living beautifully are pillars of her brand. Her personal and professional travels are crucial inspirations for her line, and she splits her time between her home base of New York City, East Hampton, Palm Beach and Aspen.
“With influences from each of these destinations, our customer is introduced to various aesthetics, all with the same effortlessly elegant sensibility,” she says. “This way, we are able to create pieces for every mood, season and occasion that suit the needs of customers all over the world.”
Lauder is committed to immersing herself in the history and culture of every destination she frequents, which has led to many impressive collaborations over the years. These include international brands like Colefax & Fowler, a heritage English textiles brand; Casa Lopez, an artisanal Spanish tableware company; ceramic artist Frances Palmer; Tanner Krolle, a heritage British luggage brand; and many more. She has also brought her design expertise to hotels, like designing Villa Jasmine at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach.
“I believe that the modern woman sees beauty as an extension of herself, her home, her wardrobe and her travels,” she says. “My grandmother Estée used to say that everything can be beautiful if you take the time, and I believe that is so true.”
Travel brings her constant inspiration, and recent trips to the Mediterranean—a favorite of hers—as well as Mexico City have been particularly memorable.
“[In Mexico City], the bright colors, the unique architecture and the natural beauty were all very interesting to me,” she says. “As I was exploring, I took so many pictures that I sent back to my office as inspiration for future projects.”
To celebrate the brand’s ten year anniversary, she introduced new collections across all brand categories.
“As the cornerstone of the anniversary collections, we introduced the brand’s first-ever Vanity Table which was inspired by Estée’s original vanity,” she says. “My earliest memories are of watching my grandmother getting ready at her vanity, which felt like such a captivating and grown-up ritual. I wanted to recreate this same moment in a modern and beautifully functional way.”
The table is swathed in shagreen, which has become synonymous with Aerin, from luxury shagreen backgammon sets to pieces of decor to furniture. As for the next ten years, Lauder hopes to expand into different categories and establish a greater retail presence in addition to her current storefronts in Palm Beach, Southampton, East Hampton and Miami. Her grandmother’s advice, however, is her guiding light even a decade later, and her goals haven’t changed.
“My grandmother always talked about the importance of being authentic,” she says. “She said that if you are passionate and true, success will come. I have valued this idea since I was a young girl. Through the years, my goals have ultimately stayed the same—to be authentic to myself and do what I love.”