The Style Files: Aerin Lauder

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Aerin Lauder is a true American style icon and one of the women I most admire. Aside from being beautiful and gracious, Aerin is a successful businesswoman and an inspiring lifestyle architect. With several beautiful homes that exude the same effortless ease that she does, who wouldn’t want to live like Aerin? One of the things I love most about Aerin and her style sensibility is that she looks to the past with reverence– whether it is to lessons learned from her trailblazing grandmother Estee Lauder or to traditional furniture styles– and then executes her vision with modern verve.

Aerin began her career at Estee Lauder in 1992, eventually becoming Creative Director. She continues to hold the title of Style and Image Director for the Estee Lauder Companies and has been profiled as a style icon in every important fashion and shelter magazine including Vogue and ELLE DECOR. Aerin has applied her impressive professional background and signature style personified by effortless elegance to her luxury lifestyle brand, AERIN which recently celebrated its second anniversary and encompasses fragrance, beauty, accessories, home decor, and furnishings including a furniture collection with EJ Victor, lighting with Visual Comfort & Co., and fabrics and rugs with Lee Jofa. I use her fabrics and lighting in my design projects all the time because they are so chic, glamorous, and timeless. Aerin’s book, Beauty at Home is one of my favorites in recent memory not only because it is filled with beautiful images of each of her homes, but because family is a central theme in the book—from the love Aerin has for her two boys to her own childhood and of course, her legendary grandmother, Estee. I am absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Aerin, one of my personal style icons. Enjoy!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Aerin Lauder: My style is classic and elegant, with a modern twist.

AERIN HPMKT Showroom Image 6

{The AERIN Showroom at EJ Victor in High Point, North Carolina}

PC: You have iconic homes in New York, The Hamptons, and Aspen. What does each one say about you? They each have distinct styles and points of view. How would you say they relate to one another?

AL: The common thread is always a livable home that I can enjoy with my family. Each space was meant to be used, even for my two teenage boys, nothing is off-limits.

AERIN APT with LSD Claiborne Swanson Frank

{Aerin in her Wainscott, New York Home as Captured by Claiborne Swanson Frank for Vogue’s APT with LSD}


PC: What has been most important to you, as you’ve developed your lifestyle brand, AERIN?

AL: I developed AERIN as a cohesive lifestyle story. I didn’t feel that I could do so without entering multiple categories at once so we planned for categories in beauty, fashion and home. Once we knew that framework, the most important step was to identify which brands would make good partners for AERIN. We have the best partners – Lee Jofa, Visual Comfort & Co. and EJ Victor – all are so admired within their expertise; they are really the best at what they do. Our partners share and support our brand vision, and they produce exceptional quality product.

AERIN HP Showroom

{A Chic Vignette from Aerin’s Showroom at EJ Victor in High Point Showcases her fabrics with Lee Jofa, Lighting with Visual Comfort, Accessories, and of course, Furniture with EJ Victor | Image via 1st Dibs}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

AL: I’m most at peace at home in the country with my family. I love the blues of the beach and greens of nature. Those colors have always inspired me.

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{The Chic Poolhouse at Aerin’s Home on Long Island}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

AL: Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Hutton, Ali MacGraw, and Jane Birkin are all women I admire for their iconic beauty and effortless style.

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{The Timeless and Beautiful Lauren Hutton, Photographed for Vogue in May 1979}

PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

AL: “Whatever you do, do it well,” said by my grandmother.

Aerin and Estee

{Aerin and her Legendary Grandmother, Estee Lauder | Image via Vanity Fair}

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

AL: My grandmother, Estee Lauder. She really was a true pioneer and an incredibly savvy businesswoman – she taught us the importance of quality, attention to detail, and above all, the value of customer relationships.

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{A Beautiful Portrait of Estee Lauder via Aerin’s Instagram}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

AL: Spending time with my family and those I love in the locations I love most – the Hamptons, Aspen, Palm Beach. Usually it involves relaxing at home all together with a cozy meal.

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{Chic on the Beach | Image via Aerin’s Instagram}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

AL: We are continuing to expand our collections in home, beauty and fashion. In furniture, we started with occasional furniture but have continued to expand room by room with designs for dining and more recently, dressing room and bedroom. Next year, we’ll complement our bedroom furniture with the introduction with soft bedding. Each decision we make adds to the general idea that the brand is a lifestyle and all components can work together.

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{Aerin in a Bedroom Vignette at her Newly Opened Showroom at the New York Design Center | Image via Aerin’s Instagram}

Aerin Favorites

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Go-To Outfit: A great pair of jeans, a blazer and a light cashmere sweater can take you almost anywhere.

Style Mantra: Beauty and style should look effortless

Scent: Fresh tuberose – I love it so much that I incorporated it into the scent of a candle in the AERIN Home Fragrance Collection.

Piece of Jewelry: Cartier Tank Watch – I’ve had it for almost 20 years and it’s as beautiful as it was when I first got it. It’s timeless and looks good with every outfit.

Color I Never Tire Of: Blue

 Flower: Peonies and Gardenias

Indispensable Design Element: Black Stella McCartney Blazer

Era for Design: Midcentury French, Italian and Austrian design of the 1930s and 1940s

Dream Project: Partnering with an amazing hotel to incorporate AERIN Home items/design

Fabric/Textile: AERIN Marila Fabric in Dusk. This particular style from my fabric collection also inspired the signature batik print that lines our AERIN beauty bags.

Hostess Gift: Our AERIN round match striker – it works with almost any décor aesthetic.

Meal: J.G. Melon – A New York institution. I love bringing my boys here for burgers.

Drink: The cocktails from ZZ’s Clam Bar – they are delicious and I especially love the way they’re served in coconuts and gold pineapples.

Guilty Pleasure: Gourmet Potato Chips and Diet Coke

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Spending time with my family and a glass of wine with dinner doesn’t hurt

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3 Things I Love About My City: Central Park,The Energy & The Neue Galerie

Weekend Destination: Long Island

Hotel: Claridges in London, Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos and The Carlyle in New York.

City: I love to travel but New York City has always been my home.

Museum: The Neue Galerie

Artist: I am drawn to Rothko, Kline and Frankenthaler for their incredible use of color. Kline is bold, Rothko combines colors wonderfully and Frankenthaler’s use of color is magical.

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Happy Birthday

Actor/Actress: Robert Redford

Prized Possession: Photographs of my family. I have picture frames all throughout my home. Personal photos bring life to any space.

Risk Worth Taking: Starting the AERIN brand was a huge undertaking and a risk, but one that I truly believe in.

Greatest Extravagance: An empty calendar

Go-To Color Palette: I love the combination of blue and white – it’s a part of my decorating DNA.

Rule to Break: I love mixing different design aesthetics – for example classic with a more modern feel or an ornate traditional print on a sleek modern sofa.

Movie Set Design: I love all of Nancy Myers sets. I am so excited that she selected some AERIN pieces for her new film The Intern.

Paloma Signature

13 thoughts on “The Style Files: Aerin Lauder

  1. I could not agree more. I pour over her book, always looking for design inspiration. But the thing that touches me the most, is that clearly the focus is on her family. I love that she uses the pottery her children painted for breakfast, and that the table in her kitchen is surrounded by art made by her boys. I also adore the little lucite box holding her son’s tennis shoes…I think her homes are perfection.

  2. Paloma – I bought Aerin’s book for my sister-in-law who works for Estee Lauder and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Aerin’s style is warm and inviting, yet eclectic and interesting. I enjoyed perusing through it before gift wrapping it!

    I can so relate to her with her grandmother being her strongest influence. Thanks for another great post.

    Elaine
    http://www.OMGlifestyle.com

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  5. I love the Aerin round match striker! But I cannot seem to find the glamorous gold-tipped strike-anywhere matches. Any chance you would be able to please provide a source?

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I went through the same search a while ago! It turns out, the matches are not for sale and they painted them for the shoot.

      I don’t know if that would make them more flammable, though, but they look great!

      Cheers,
      Paloma

  6. Paloma,
    Thank you for letting me know! Too funny. You were so sweet to answer my question.
    By the way, I love your blog and have been following it for years. Best of luck in all you do! You are such an inspiration!

  7. I would be forever grateful if anyone could tell me the blue weave fabric used for Aerin’s NYC blue couch in her NYC apartment’s library.

  8. she has money but not the so-called fashion icon she desperately tries suckers to believe–gaudy/eccentric taste, constantly flaunting her wealth proves she suffers greatly from lack of self-esteem

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