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Fashionista Desk Side with Aerin Lauder: Launching a New Beauty Brand and Learning How To Tweet

Welcome back to our new column, Desk Side! Sorry, PRs, we stole your lingo and in this new feature we’ll go to the desks of some of your favorite des

Welcome back to our new column, Desk Side! Sorry, PRs, we stole your lingo and in this new feature we’ll go to the desks of some of your favorite designers, editors, stylists and assorted industry insiders to see where the magic happens–and then share it with you!

We've gawked at the office of Paper magazine’s editorial director Mickey Boardman and caught up with designer Tracy Reese in her whimsical workspace. Now we're exploring the very posh working space of Aerin Lauder--granddaughter of Estee Lauder--who's about to launch her much-anticipated lifestyle brand, AERIN.

Beauty will be the first launch, followed by holiday giftables, and then a home line in the spring. The beauty line will hit stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, and Neiman Marcus at the end of August, where it will be the higher end big sister of the Estee Lauder color collection, sitting next to the Re-Nutriv line on counters. Aerin's Madison Avenue office is very much an extension of the brand, because, simply...the brand is an extension of her and her beauty roots.

Fashionista: Do you have anything in this office that Estee gave you? Aerin Lauder: This mirror of hers. It was in her dining room in New York City. I think the antiqued gold and the different birds and flowers on it are inspirational. [The mirror] is juxtaposed with an Ellsworth Kelly print, art from my children [who are 11 and 13 now], [and a portrait] from Vogue when I was pregnant.

What's your most prized possession in the office? I love that piece over there--it’s from Estee. [Ed. note: It was a big curio cabinet that we couldn't shoot because it had future season merch in it that the Aerin's team didn't want published yet.] What I think is fun about it is when you house everything together you see that it can all co-exist--it’s the idea of beauty and home and picture frames and candles and it becomes very much a showcase for this world.

When you’re in your office working on a day-to-day basis, are you a pile maker? 
I’m really neat. I am. I hate to say it.

Are you one of those people who cleans their desk every single night? I do. Every single night--I do!

Are you into tech at all? 
I’m learning! I’m doing Twitter and Pinterest and all those different things.

Do you tweet yourself?
 Well, I write what I want to write and I send it out to the group. I think it’s a great way of communicating and staying in touch. It’s unbelievable--it’s so immediate.

Where do you actually sit when you're working? In the design studio in the other room with our team. Sometimes when I’m doing concept boards or big picture ideas we’ll cover the conference table with product and home elements. We really use all of the space. it’s very much an office that feels like a home.

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How has your style changed over the course of your life? My life has gotten busier. When I was younger it was all about me and doing what I wanted to do. Now you realize you’ve got family, you’ve got responsibility, you’ve got different things. I used to spend hours trying on jeans and black short skirts and going shopping with girlfriends and going to lunch and I just can’t remember the last time I did that.

What entertaining tips have you picked up from Estee? She was all about good food, good friends, flowers. She loved every little detail at a table, whether it’s formal or casual.

Did she have a favorite meal that she liked to serve? Lamb chops, roasted potatoes. She liked very cozy food. Her soft spot was hamburgers. And frankfurthers! She used to go to Nathan’s and get hot dogs--she called them ‘frankfurters.' She loved hot dogs.

So are you going to be the model [for AERIN]?
 For the first year at least, to tell the story and reinforce the brand.

Have you done much modeling? 
Not really. What’s fun about this is that it was done in my own home, in my own clothes and by a friend, Claiborne Swanson. That’s why there’s a sense of ease and it feels really natural. This shot wasn’t even meant to be a real shot. Those are the best types of shots, the ones that are all about the moment.

So how are you distinguishing this line from the Estee Lauder collections? What’s great is it acts synergistically with Estee Lauder. It has a wonderful story, and a sense of heritage. The gold packaging is very much an Estee Lauder brand color but Tom Pecheux for Estee Lauder is more about dramatic runway makeup. This is more about no-makeup makeup.

Will there be seasonal collections? Yes, but the thing is it will be even more edited. We’re launching with seven essentials which is the items that I can’t live without in my makeup bag--a bronzer, compact foundation, all-in-one lip/eye/cheek product, brush collection, lip conditioner and hand and body cream. [The] fall [collection] is about weekend/week day. The woman lives differently on the weekends. The week day’s a more dramatic collection; the weekend is a more neutral one. What's the target demographic for the new line? 
It's not necessarily an age, but rather a state of mind. It’s someone who loves style and luxury, and has a modern feminine approach to beauty. She loves the idea of edit but is also very aware of fashion and art.

What's one beauty tip that you will take to your deathbed? Probably less is always better. When I look at pics of my grandmother she was either wearing a dramatic eye or a dramatic lip, not both. I think that is still so relevant. Too much is too much.

Photos: Ashley Jahncke