EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AERIN LAUDER
For our inaugural post within Palmer & Penn’s ‘People’, we sat down with Aerin Lauder - global icon/ style maven/ philanthropist/ contemporary art collector/ granddaughter of Estée Lauder/ founder of lifestyle brand AERIN/ (but most importantly) mum.
Upon entering the Aerin offices in Manhattan, New York, an immediate sense of calm and tranquility fills the space. The entrance is warm and inviting - anchored by an impressive work by Paul Lange. The lush cream carpet, chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows ensure the office, a natural extension of Lauder’s personal style, remains airy and light. The eye-catching George Condo oil in the meeting room perfectly complements the AERIN collection - Lauder is a contemporary art enthusiast, showcasing her vast collection throughout her homes across the globe.
The Manhattan offices are the perfect backdrop to the always-expanding AERIN range - with plush lounges, coffee table books and beauty products enhancing the beauty and functionality of the collection. Lauder’s love of feminine products shines through in each aspect of her creative mind - she explains that she has always been inspired by her grandmother’s love of gold, florals and femininity - a consistent motif throughout each passing AERIN collection.
The statuesque, mother-of-two and philanthropist, serves on the Education Committee for the Board of Trustees at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is a member of the International Committee of the Museum of Modern Art.
Our interview with Aerin Lauder:
What inspired you to create your own homewares line in 2012?
I thought there was a void in the market place for a beauty lifestyle brand based on storytelling, feminine elements, heritage and quality. It was an interesting time to explore the concept. I realized that when the modern woman thinks about beauty, she wants more than just a fragrance and a compact. She sees beauty as an extension of herself, her wardrobe, her home, her travels and her family. Therefore, AERIN is based on the concept that beauty and home should live together.
As a mother of two, what are your experiences on balancing motherhood, philanthropy and your own interests and ventures?
I’ve learned the importance of setting aside time for myself every day, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes. Whether it’s picking up the phone to call a friend, going for a walk or looking at a magazine, everyone needs a little time to clear their head. This is something my mother and my grandmother taught me early on. However, my two boys have always been my biggest priority. No matter what I have going on throughout my day, I am always there for them when they need me.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am constantly inspired by so many different things. My friends, my family, travel, museums, exhibitions, hotels and destinations are all very inspiring to me. Many of our products within the AERIN brand are actually inspired by destinations that I have visited. For example, our current Fall collection was inspired by the people and culture of Italy. Our fragrances are also always tied to a story or experience from a certain place. I love that a scent can instantly take you back to a specific time, city or feeling.
What is the biggest factor that has helped you become so successful?
My grandmother Estée had a quote when she launched her brand. She said it’s her name on the package, so it has to be the best it could possibly be and I feel the exact same way. Estée was such a brilliant business woman and taught me the importance of quality, attention to detail and the value of customer relationships. I think about each of these things every day.
Any advice for young designers starting out?
Be authentic and tell your own story. In a time when there’s so much product and so much clutter, being authentic provides a point of distinction and allows for you to differentiate yourself.
What is the one indulgence in life that you can’t live without?
What are three words to describe your style?
Timeless, classic and feminine.
Of the current AERIN range what are you favourite items and why?
I love our Chocolate Shagreen collection. Some of my favorites being the serving tray and ice bucket, which help create an instant cocktail party. Especially in New York during the holiday season, I am always hosting friends and family in my home.
Any plans to come to Australia again?
I would love to come back to Australia soon. It’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited, with bright blue waters and amazing views.
You mention your grandmother in such an endearing manner, what was the greatest life lesson that she taught you?
Estée was incredible in a sense that she was a real beauty mentor to me. She talked about how everything can be beautiful if you take the time and recognise the importance of great skincare and fragrance. Her concept of having a wardrobe of fragrances was really the idea behind AERIN Beauty. She always said that you wouldn’t wear the same dress to play tennis as you would to have dinner, so why would you wear the same fragrance? That whole idea is very modern and inspiring.
Shop Aerin's Favourites here