Celebrating a beauty launch at Saks Fifth Avenue is nothing if not a regular occurrence—there's virtually no other industry in such a constant state of revolution. But when the visiting industry exec with a new product is Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estée, owner of the world's most wanderlust-inducing Instagram account and a beauty and design expert in her own right, you pay attention. (It's worth it just to hear her pronounce CA-pree just so.) And you make sure to get notes on how to wear scents for summer, her favorite travel destinations and what beauty products she swears by while you're there.
I heard your new fragrance, Mediterranean Honeysuckle, was inspired by your trips to the region growing up. Can you tell me about that?
The stories behind the fragrances are all about memory, moments and destinations. For example, Ikat Jasmine is all about jeans and a white t-shirt, with Egyptian jasmine and tuberose. And the Mediterranean Honeysuckle, our most recent, is inspired by my love of the Mediterranean, those blues and greens. I was just there last week for our accessories launch, in Capri and Sorrento, and we stayed at this beautiful hotel that had these amazing benches and tiles and it just reconfirmed that part of the world has these beautiful textiles and ceramics, so this is very much inspired by those.
It's honeysuckle, bergamot, Italian grapefruit, so it has a fresh floral scent to it. You feel like you're sitting by the sea on a beautiful porch on a warm day, in the sunshine, and it really allows you to escape and discover... What's great about our collection is that it reminds you of your grandmother's garden, or the lilac bush in your backyard, or a trip to the Mediterranean.
How does the new scent fit into the collection?
In your wardrobe of fragrances you need some florals, you need some spices, and at the same time you need green and fresh citrus because people love that, especially in the summer. Mediterranean Honeysuckle is the perfect balance for that, because in the portfolio of our fragrances we have quite a bit of florals, so I think this is a fresh, pretty alternative.
What do you look for in a summer fragrance?
Something light and fresh and pretty. I love fragrance you can wear day or night. In the summer, day goes into night, night goes into day. You're wearing white shorts at night, and a long dress during the day and everything kind of mixes and matches, more than any other season, and your fragrance should as well.
Since we're talking about the Mediterranean, can you tell me some of your travel style tips?
I always pack as little as possible. I'm definitely the type of person that will bring light jeans, black pants, a couple different blazers—a white blazer, a blue blazer and a black one—and a couple different pairs of shoes, and then I mix and match my look with different scarves and jewelry. If you pack less that leaves more room in your suitcase, and I think you should always leave a little extra room because you never know what surprises you'll find.
Any beauty products that you always keep in your bag?
I love [Estée Lauder] Advanced Night Repair. It was originally positioned for evening but now it's a.m. to p.m. Actually after I do my makeup I'll finish with it for a light, dewy look. I love the [Estée Lauder] Re-Nutriv foundation, I'm totally addicted to it. And I love the Aerin bronzer, because I do love a sun-kissed look. The Aerin beauty brand was really created on essentials, so there's the lip conditioner and the body cream we created, those are some of our most successful products and they're always in my handbag.
What's your favorite Mediterranean destination?
I have to say I do love Capri. It's totally magical. I was in one store and they give you a little piece of coral for good luck. You always discover something new: a restaurant, a new style, the colors around you. I think Positano is beautiful, I think Como is beautiful, once again the colors; the blues and greens and yellows, their use of flowers in a way that's different for me. There was a huge container full of daisies, and I had never seen that. It was really fun.