When I think of someone with impeccable taste, Aerin Lauder immediately comes to mind. It seems that every area of her life, from her immaculately designed homes to her business prowess, is worthy of imitation. She has long been one of the brilliant minds behind the modern iteration of her grandmother Estée Lauder’s beauty empire and now also acts as the leader of her namesake brand, AERIN. I am beyond thrilled to have her join me today on The Finer Points! Read on for everything from her travel must-haves to her all-time favorite hosting experience.
Marie Flanigan: Thank you so much for joining me today! You’ve often said that your grandmother, beauty industry legend Estée Lauder, has inspired your life and career. From whom and where else do you draw inspiration?
Aerin Lauder: 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, such as the upcoming fall collection, which 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.
MF: In a retail environment where many brands are solely selling online, AERIN has also debuted brick and mortar stores. Why do you feel it’s important for customers to engage with your brand in person rather than only online?
AL: Our stores provide an opportunity to fully experience the world of AERIN, and they have been a very successful part of the business. We hope to offer a new discovery on every visit and approach retail through the eye of the editor, curator, and friend – offering a seasonal edit tailored to the tastes and interests of each local community. We have found our customers love to experience the complete AERIN lifestyle in person, and our evolving selection of offerings encourages them to continue to return to our stores.
MF: AERIN encompasses so many fantastic product categories, everything from fragrance to lighting. What product categories would you like to develop in the future?
AL: I would love to expand into soft home products, such as towels and bedding. I think this would be the perfect next step for the AERIN brand.
MF: Your imitable taste and style are infused into each individual AERIN product. How involved are you in product development, and how do you ensure each product speaks to your particular sensibility?
AL: Estée taught me the importance of quality and attention to detail. She used to say that it is her name on the product; and therefore, it should be the best. I take a very hands-on approach and am incredibly active in my business and the development of each AERIN product, as it is my name on the door and everything we produce.
MF: I’m captivated by the interior design of your Manhattan home. How did you ensure the space was equally luxurious and welcoming for your family and friends?
AL: The idea of having your home be both comfortable and luxurious was at the forefront of our plans for our Manhattan apartment. We designed the rooms to feel lived in with an elevated sensibility through an eclectic mix of vintage finds, contemporary items, and patterns. Working with Jaques Granges also taught me to incorporate more prints than I would have on my own.
MF: You travel often! What are your carry-on essentials for long flights?
AL: A great fitting pair of jeans that can be easily dressed up or down. My favorites are the AERIN x FRAME jeans. The versatile mid-rise silhouette looks good with any style of shoe and they have a slight stretch, so they are comfortable and perfect for long flights. A large cashmere scarf like those from Ambas is multi-functional and great for keeping warm on the plane. My Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair keeps my skin feeling fresh and hydrated while traveling, and I never leave home without it. I also always bring the AERIN Rose Lip Conditioner: it helps nourish and repair against plane air with a subtle hint of color and texture. My iPad is a lifesaver for long flights, helping me stay entertained and manage work when I am away from the office.
MF: You honed your business skills at Estée Lauder and continue to act as the brand’s style and image director. How do you balance your roles at both companies?
AL: My uncle, Leonard Lauder, has an amazing quote. He always said he’s only as good as the people around him, and he’s surrounded by the best. That’s the team I’ve created. I am surrounded by the best, and I feel that that is so valuable. This truly allows me to balance a very busy schedule.
MF: I recently read your amazing hosting tips! What has been your most memorable hosting experience to date?
AL: One of my most memorable hosting experiences would be the Tom Ford launch dinner that I hosted in New York City. There was such an interesting group of talent from the world of beauty and fashion. No matter the occasion, I always think it’s important to mix different people and serve delicious food and drinks.
MF: What are your 5 favorite AERIN products of all time?
AL: AERIN Renwick Large Sphere Chandelier – This chandelier was inspired by one of my favorite pieces in my Manhattan apartment. It is an antique from an Austrian café that I found in my early 20’s in a boutique in the Hamptons. It is so special to me to be able to bring a piece of my personal collection to our customers.
AERIN Valentina Suede Stacked Jewelry Box – I love the mix of the luxurious plush suede with the contemporary brass edging on this piece. It is a classic design that will never go out of style. It is also very practical as the compartments are stackable and can live either together or beautifully on their own on a dresser or vanity.
AERIN Classic Shagreen Serving Tray – Serving pieces are a staple of the brand, as I love to entertain and bring family and friends together. Serving trays are essential to me when hosting, and I think that this piece is perfect for either a casual gathering or an elegant party. I often use our trays to create an instant cocktail party – it quickly becomes a portable bar that can move with your guests.
AERIN Rose de Grasse – I love Rose de Grasse because the rose is one of my favorite flowers. This scent reminds me of so many memories, which is why I love it so much. Sometimes I will even spray it on my hairbrush and run it through my hair. I learned this from my grandmother when I was younger and still do it today.
AERIN Rose Lip Conditioner – I always carry AERIN Rose Lip Conditioner with me. It’s a universal, nude shade that is easy to wear with anything. It also has a beautiful light rose scent and is super nourishing.
MF: I’m feeling inspired already! Thank you, Aerin, for this insight into your life and brand.
Do you have a style icon that you admire? Would love to know who that person is for you – include their name below!