Photographs courtesy AERIN.
Aerin Lauder has everything we covet. And she knows it. Coinciding with her AERIN brand launches over the past year, she let us drool over press stories featuring her seasonally selected Saks wardrobe perfectly tailored to her model figure, her Jacques Grange-decorated dream homes in the Hamptons and Aspen, her sun-kissed, wrinkleless skin and, without really saying so, her fortune. The goal, of course, is that we ultimately drool over her exquisite taste and, in turn, her product lines, the newest of which is out this fall.
First came beauty, Lauder’s entrée into her own brand last August and a fluid one considering the scion cut her teeth at her beloved grandmother Estée Lauder’s beauty empire. Next came accessories and home goods. Not only could you get her “effortless beauty” from the neck up, but also in bangles, ballet flats and baubles for everything from your bar to your bedroom. Spring brought footwear, sunglasses and jewelry; summer, a fabric collaboration by Lee Jofa. This fall – barely a year after her lifestyle brand launched – women can fill their own life-size AERIN dollhouse with her new lines of home textiles by Jofa, furniture by E.J. Victor and lighting by Visual Comfort.
Through her rigorous launch schedule, Lauder also penned “Beauty at Home” (Random House), shot by Simon Upton, another vicarious open-house opportunity for women to tiptoe mentally through her halls, lusting after each detail down to her gold linen coasters. Come November, they can display her tasteful tome in their own homes, resting itideally upon AERIN’s Wainscott gold-leaf nesting tables.
Lauder’s life is but a dream – for consumers and AERIN marketers. What a poster girl, what a businesswoman. From her recently published interview by chum Michael Kors to the Vogue tour of her Southampton pop-up shop (open at 83 Main St. through December), Lauder is always selling. It’s the axiom she no doubt inherited (along with her Wainscott home) from matriarch Estée, whose granddaughter handles the task just as elegantly.
Her success comes from selling a lifestyle – her lifestyle – and not necessarily the $750 24-karat gold plated sea urchin with crystal-tipped spines or those gold-leaf nesting tables for $6,300. (Are you sensing a theme here?) And because her selling is seamless, consumers find themselves feeling more like they’re taking style notes from a sophisticated city gal who weekends in the Hamptons instead of a savvy executive. In one sentence, she’ll chat about what’s in her beauty bag (AERIN, naturally) or favorite goods to entertain friends; the next, she’ll muse about memories of her grandmother; the next, she’ll namedrop her world-class design collaborators for her recent product releases.
She’s also a style storyteller, sharing intimate details to create kinship with the consumer. On “The World of AERIN” page of her brand’s website where she invites more “ooohs” and “aaahs” at her own high style of living, Lauder recounts how the gift of a heart locket from her mother on her seventh birthday inspired a lifelong penchant for the motif that’s visible in myriad AERIN items, like the 18-karat gold heart nesting dishes or her Patmos heart necklace. In a recent WWD piece, Lauder introduces her set of five AERIN fragrances (also out this November) by regaling us with how their scents recall “going for a bike ride and smelling honeysuckle for the first time or gardenias in my hair when I got married.” It’s just a matter of time before she narrates how the AERIN Heather Chandelier in her new fall lighting collection was inspired by a one-of-a-kind antique fixture in Lauder’s own Manhattan library.
Lauder communicates her brand message in a way that comes off as more personal, less pretentious. AERIN offerings create the cohesive sense of ease and refinement she has articulated, designed to make life more beautiful. Sounds simple enough, yet it’s many a modern woman’s never-ending quest. Lauder claims to answer the call, and the beauty (there’s that word again) of it all is that the look and feel of her lines aren’t groundbreaking. Like her brand philosophy, they’re universal.
For furniture, lighting and fabrics, she presents updated classics and clean silhouettes with items like her table lamps finished in gold or volcanic ivory. Her jewelry lines by Erickson Beamon feature statement “essentials” like her gold collar necklace and gold link bracelet. Ultra-feminine footwear by Jimlar presents floral smoking slippers in velvet, strappy heels with spotted snake and floral appliqué, plus a variety of stylish suede booties, pumps and flats. Her collection of sunglasses by Oliver Peoples comes in different shades of tortoise but just one style. Presumably, it’s the style that best suits Lauder’s face, and appropriately so, considering she calls the look “timeless.”
AERIN’s fine items represent the pinnacle of modern luxury where taste is everything and money is no object. It’s the lifestyle reserved for women with childhood memories of riding ponies on the beach in Montauk or taking to Aspen for a spell. Lauder has done both, and whether or not consumers do, too, they want to relate, to own that dream. Thanks to Lauder’s market smarts, they can.