This summer I made a disastrous mistake in the U.S. I didn’t buy her perfume or cosmetics, because I had a fling with Ralph Lauren. Not that there’s anything wrong with Ralph, far from it, and I assure you I remain his faithful companion ’till the day I die, but Aerin Lauder just has this charm that is so outstanding. A charm of a woman that has achieved so much, a woman with style and a sense of everything; I think if she designed her own line of trash bags, they would be the most fashionable thing. That’s just the way it is, some people have that je ne sais quoi, and she certainly has it when it comes to aesthetic aspect. Every time I’m looking for inspiration or even just some time off, I browse her cosmetics, perfumes, home accessories and furniture, which always brings the Hamptons to mind, and I simply know that’s perfection. It’s sort of soothing to know that across the ocean there is a woman who shares with us all of this knowledge and this feeling for the small big things, and it’s just appealing to see her succeed. Her perfumes are desirable and the bottles are collectors’ pieces. The last one, Tangier Vanille, has me enraptured, because it smells of love and also has a little erotic note to it.
If you ask me, who my icon is, I would choose Aerin Lauder without a doubt, because I admire her and I believe she embodies the prototype of an extremely strong and temperamental contemporary woman. Estée Lauder founded the homonymous cosmetic company in 1946 with her husband Joseph, and today their story is centred around Estée’s granddaughter Aerin. The company is a success, it encompases twenty brands making seven billion dollars annual profit, and is still growing. 43-yearold Aerin is the mother of two teenagers, her husband is in banking, her life is what dreams are made of, while she still tries to remain grounded. According to Bloomberg she is “one of the wealthiest women in the world”, because she owns millions in her family company’s shares, but Aerin doesn’t just wait for the dividends to roll in; her job is her calling. She is tirelessly active, has many ideas and manages one project after another. She graduated top of her class at the Pennsylvania University, and has worked for the house of Estée ever since she was a young girl. She received no special privileges, but advanced on the hierarchical ladder step by step, steadily.
After 9/11 sales of luxury items diminished drastically, but Aerin launched an advertising campaign to reinvent it again. Steven Maisel took excellent shots of the beautiful Liz Hurley, who’s running away, dressed as a bride, as her future husband’s admiring looks follow her. Aerin had another idea she wanted to try. She wanted to step outside her family boundries, so she designed her own cosmetic line, and advanced to bags, shoes, jewellery, furniture and home accessories. The numbers speak in her favour and her creations are highly profitable. Now she’s written a book, as if she wanted to stop the flow of time for a moment and celebrate the first forty amazing years. “I felt the time was right. I have done a lot and had a full life: I wanted to do a reckoning, but with a lighter approach, not in the sense of a formal biography, more like a journal of sorts. I write about things I love, and I hope the readers will love them too. The things I have at home, my clothes, my thoughts; it’s a tale of my world” Aerin says as she puts her hand on a hefty photography book. The dedication is the key: “I am grateful to my parents, whom I love very much. They have taught me to follow my dreams, and have made me the woman I am today.” There are thoughts for her sister Jane and her sons. Her family gives her the strength to endure, to not give up, and to keep moving forward. A part of her drive stems from her past and she also turns to her grandmother Estée, the pioneer of her family. This is what she has to say about her: “She was an extraordinary woman, she taught me the most important things in life. She used to say that beauty is the best way to self-respect. I remember afternoons at the Plaza with a cup of tea and my favourite cakes; she told me all sorts of things. Lenient as she was, she then let me put on her bracelets, which I couldn’t keep my eyes off of.”
Every time I see Aerin Lauder’s world, I think to myself I would like to be a part of it. Even if only with one of her perfumes or lipsticks, because, you know, we really don’t need much for perfect happiness.