For Aerin Lauder – founder of luxury lifestyle brand AERIN – beauty is an eternal presence. The granddaughter of Estée Lauder and a key figure in the famed cosmetics dynasty, the businesswoman, author and founder understands the importance of beauty in every sense of the word. From the pretty everyday luxuries of her homeware range to the delicate florals of her scents, refinement, culture and a fondness for nature characterise her eternal style.
The LuxDeco team had the pleasure of visiting Aerin in her pristine Jacques Grange-designed Madison Avenue office. Read our exclusive interview to learn what makes life beautiful for this stylish tastemaker.
Q: Aerin, today we’re in your stunning New York office, designed by the legendary Jacques Grange. What was the story behind the commission and what were you looking to achieve?
I have always admired the work of Jacques Grange and am lucky to consider him a friend. We worked together on my NY apartment and he really taught me how to work with fabrics and mix prints.
Q: How important is it for you to mirror the luxury you live with at home in your working environment?
We spend so much time in the office that I wanted it to feel comfortable and pretty. Like a visit to a friend’s home…one that includes a showroom and conference room.
Q: Where do you find inspirations for your pieces?
I find inspiration everywhere but my top sources are usually nature and travel. For example the Fall 2015 AERIN home accessories [collection] was largely influenced by the bold coloured hues and gold accents of Vienna where I lived for a while growing up. I am also constantly inspired by flowers which I use everywhere from scents for the AERIN Beauty collection or prints for AERIN fabrics to details on AERIN lighting fixtures.
Q: What’s your goal when creating your collections?
When creating any collection I aim to make something that I love and hope others will too. I also think about an inspiration from all angles to make sure that the home, beauty and accessories collections are all cohesive and telling the same story.
Q: Your collection covers everything from lighting to home fragrances – do you have any favourite pieces which you like to design?
I always say that beauty is my heritage and home is my passion. I truly love and use everything in the AERIN collection but have to say that working on the lighting collection might be my favourite. When designing a room, I tend to start with lighting and move to other aspects.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your new autumn/winter collection?
The AERIN Fall 2015 decorative accessories collection was largely inspired by Vienna, Austria. I lived there for about two years growing up and it quickly became one of my favourite cities. To capture the feeling of such an old world city, we used rich hues of dark brown and loden green with gold accents reminiscent of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
Q: Your grandmother was clearly a huge influence in your life. What did you learn from her about the importance of beauty?
My grandmother taught me that every woman or every thing can be beautiful if you just take the time. A beauty routine doesn’t have to be complicated or a huge process, just a touch of brown eyeliner, lipstick and bronzer will do. For the home, it could mean a small arrangement of fresh flowers or framed family photos.
Q: How did your years of experience at Estée Lauder hone your eye for design?
My eye for design probably came from my family. My father has an incredible eye for art and design and loved to share his experiences with me. I have fond memories of walking through Central Park with my father as a child and stopping at Serge Sabarsky’s gallery. I would bring along crayons and colour while they talked at length about art and architecture.
Q: When you launched AERIN’s homeware collection, you explained that the home has always been your passion – what do you enjoy most about creating a beautiful home?
I love discovering new materials and mixing them in different ways. I love changing the layout of a room and creating spaces where people can congregate and just enjoy each other’s company.
Q: Your book is called Beauty At Home. Tell us about your home and how you surround yourself with beauty there.
At home I am surrounded by boys and dogs so I try to bring in beauty and femininity where I can. This usually means small details such as fresh flowers, a nice table setting for breakfast or a floral scented candles.
Q: How would you describe your interior design style?
My interior design style is a mix of traditional and contemporary but always liveable.
Q: Your style is perfectly timeless. What’s the easiest way to achieve a look that’s always fresh?
That’s so kind, thank you. I designed my apartment about 16 years ago and still love it. By choosing elements, pieces and prints that you love, the design will never grow old. Staying away from trends also helps.
Q: Do you have any design mottos?
I’m not sure if it’s a motto but for me, every space in my home must be liveable. I have two teenage sons and three dogs so nothing is too precious. Often my boys use the dining room table to do their homework.
Q: With all of the beautiful AERIN pieces on offer, you are constantly surrounded by new products for the home. How often do you find yourself redoing your spaces?
Q: When you want to refresh your home, what’s your favourite thing to do?
I love having fresh flowers in my home. They bring life and colour to any space.
Q: What’s your favourite part of your home?
My favourite part of my home is my dressing room. It’s the only space where everything can be feminine and pretty. I have Gracie wallpaper and soft tones of pink, blue and green with a mirrored AERIN vanity table.
Q: How do you transition your home for autumn/winter?
The easiest way to transition from season to season is to change out the pillows, throws and flowers. For fall I use darker colours and prints in heavier fabrics like velvet and cashmere.
Q: It’s true that beauty is in your DNA but what constitutes a beautiful life for you?
For me, a beautiful life is filled with family, friends and laughter.
Read Aerin’s Tastemaker profile here.