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AT HOME WITH Aerin Lauder

The founder of lifestyle brand Aerin invites The Style Report into her Manhattan home to discuss creativity, style inspiration and her latest homeware designs.

Words by Lauren Milligan.

The launch of Aerin Lauder’s eponymous lifestyle brand in 2012 was the culmination of a life lived immersed in fashion and beauty. ‘I remember as a little kid there was a ballerina tutu that I loved and one year we were travelling somewhere so I packed it. My mother was like, “Oh come on Aerin, you are crazy!” but even from a young age I loved how I felt when I put it on,’ she smiles. ‘From a fragrance that changes your mood to a great pair of shoes that make you feel really confident, these things teach us the importance of beauty.’

Lauder’s grandmother — legendary beauty entrepreneur Estée Lauder — arrived at the same conclusion when she launched her namesake beauty brand in the 1950s. The first beauty brand for women helmed by a woman, Lauder focused on ease and elegance, helping women feel confident and beautiful. With Aerin — launched after 25 years working across a range of departments at her grandmother’s company — Lauder aims to bring the same sensibility to the home.

‘I’ve created a brand based on storytelling, heritage, and the concept that everything can be beautiful if you take the time,’ Lauder explains. ‘There is a sense of effortless style about the brand, and when we first launched it was really about those few easy pieces. Our homewares are the same — just about easy entertaining, a combination of pieces where everything works together.’

Her beautiful apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is the hub of family life where she and her husband of 20 years, Eric Zinterhofer, and two teenage sons, Jack and Will, spend time together. Like her grandmother, who also had two sons, Lauder has plenty of masculine energy in her home to balance her own leaning towards a more feminine sensibility.

‘I’ve always been a very feminine person — I’ve always loved flowers and pink, and my style has been the same since I was little… maybe without the pink tutu,’ she jokes, ‘so having two boys was a completely new experience for me! Now I don’t know what I would do with a girl. My boys are such boys, and for me it’s fun having that balance at home.’

Lauder’s homeware collection owes much to the style of her own homes: clean and simple but unapologetically feminine. Luxurious materials — from marble and agate, to porcelain and brass — and a natural colour palette with accents of gold punctuate a collection that helps to dress a room for everything from bustling events to laid-back family life.

‘When I was a little girl, my dollhouse was my favourite toy,’ she says. ‘I loved to create different rooms and environments, little parties. I had an amazing imagination and I still do, and I love that creative part of planning and getting dressed up.’ The Style Report learns more.

ON A TYPICAL DAY

‘There are three main categories to the brand: beauty, home and accessories, so my day is generally split according to what category I am working on. Yesterday, for example, I was in a meeting with fragrance development for a fragrance we are launching a year and a half from now; then a meeting with beauty; then I met with our homeware designer to talk about products for next holiday season — the gift wrap and how things will be packaged for Christmas; then I was working with the team in accessories to talk about inspirations for next season. I really do touch all of the categories all the time. A typical day is never very typical!’

ON HER STRENGTHS

‘My favourite part of my job is the creativity — whether that is working on moodboards to set the visual tone of the season, or finding new inspirations for a fragrance – that is what I enjoy most in the business. On the other side, I am definitely not a finance person. I stopped helping with my kids’ maths homework in fifth grade so that is probably my least favourite part of my job. But my uncle always says, “You’re only as good as the people around you” — and fortunately I’m surrounded by a great team.’

ON THE FAMILY BUSINESS

‘When people ask me what I’m most proud of, it’s definitely being a mother of two boys. When you have kids you get one chance to be a good mother, so to me that is more important than anything. I love my job, but my priority is really my children and my family — and it was to my grandmother too. I think that’s one reason that she created something so amazing, to build a family business and create something for the next generation.’

ON WARDROBE GO-TOS

‘I love everything that Giambattista Valli does, Gabriela Hearst, Stella McCartney, Tabitha Simmons. I’d always have a great pair of jeans, I love denim; a classic blazer, I just got a beautiful navy one from Gabriela Hearst; and then great essentials, like a black turtleneck sweater that I just got from The Row. I’ll usually add gold accessories, a watch or bracelet, and my gold wedding band.’

ON HER FOREVER PIECES

‘I have a few dresses that Oscar de la Renta made for me, one was for my engagement party and the other was the dress that I wore to my sister’s wedding and they are so magical and beautiful. Even though I don’t know if I would ever wear them again, I would never part with them. I still have them hanging in my closet and I look at them every day.’

ON STYLE INSPIRATIONS

‘My grandmother’s style ethos was really that she would wear something beautiful and then one great accessory. She never wore a ton of earrings, bracelets, or other jewellery, she really just focused on one fabulous statement piece and I think my sister and I both approach style that way. I like things to feel effortless. I’m an organised person and so my closet is very organised — there’s a lot of black, but it is organised!’

TAP FOR CREDITS

PHOTOGRAPHER KALE FRIESeN AT SEEN ARTISTS. STYLIST DORA FUNG. GROOMING ALEXA RODULFO. PRODUCTION ELLA CUTTER.

The Style Report
The Style Report
THE STYLE REPORT