The wife and mother of two is adding to her multi-hyphenated list of titles as she branches out with her own lifestyle brand, Aerin. Fittingly, the range of goods includes the creation of her own cosmetics line for which she drew on her family heritage and background in the beauty industry and infused it with her personal style sensibility.
"It was the idea of thinking outside the box and really answering a woman's needs. The idea that it's feminine and modern, I think, is really unique," Lauder said in an interview Thursday at Holt Renfrew's corporate offices ahead of an in-store appearance at the retailer's downtown Toronto flagship.
"I've been walking the beauty floor for many, many years with my baseball cap on, and I just kind of saw that there wasn't anyone — they did modern and they did feminine — they didn't really do modern-feminine, as well as edited and focused."
Lauder said her Essentials collection offers a window into must-haves from her own makeup bag, including a compact foundation, lip and cheek colour and brushes. Fall weekday and weekend colour palettes reflects the line's aim to offer "mistake-proof" wearable, sheer colours. The holiday collection will feature dramatic hues for the lip, such as plum and deep pink.
Over the next 1 1/2 years, Lauder said plans are afoot to broaden the brand beyond beauty, seeking to be a one-stop resource for a diverse slate of lifestyle goods.
"It's that idea of putting your children to sleep, opening up (your) computer and maybe buying a makeup collection, possibly some plates, cocktail napkins — so it really becomes very much a world," said Lauder, looking elegant in a black Valentino lace bodice dress.
Lauder also hopes to translate the modern and feminine esthetic to home, which she describes as a "passion."
"I think there's a lot of wonderful, modern, truly modern design out there and, I think, at the same time, is very traditional," said Lauder, who is working on a book with Random House about entertaining. "There's an interesting, open space of colour and fabrics and living with the family and entertaining with all different ages, and making it kind of effortless and easy."
Lauder's grandmother, Estee, who died in 2004, was a pioneer in the cosmetics industry, starting her business selling skin-care products to beauty salons and hotels.
With her husband, Joseph, Estee co-founded her namesake company in 1946 armed with just four products — the start of what would become a multibillion-dollar empire. She pioneered marketing concepts that are now widespread throughout the industry, such as the gift-with-purchase.
"She was amazing," Aerin Lauder said with a smile. "When you think about what she did when she did it, it was extraordinary because she really was very much ahead of her time. The working woman, modern, balancing career, family, home, travel.
"She was so brilliant at marketing, at strategy, at product development," she added. "And I think she just taught me the importance of balance and passion and hard work and also loving what you do."