Aerin Lauder on Houston, Palm Beach, and Her Famous Grandmother, Estée
Earlier this month, Aerin Lauder came to town and found it familiar. "Houston is very much into family and home, and I share the same values," said Lauder, granddaughter of the late beauty mogul Estée. Between her roles as creative director for AERIN, style and image director for Estée Lauder—the flagship brand of the Estée Lauder Companies—and wife-slash-mother of two, Lauder made time to connect one-on-one with home décor and AERIN brand lovers alike.
Lauder made an appearance at Longoria Collection, the Uptown Park luxury home goods boutique, to celebrate the release of her latest book, Palm Beach, for Assouline. "I grew up visiting Palm Beach during the holidays and go back every time I can with my family," Lauder said.
Over a 272-page journey, Lauder takes readers from her childhood days vacationing at the family estate with her grandparents, Joseph and Estée,—to whom she dedicates the book—to her favorite restaurants to dine at al fresco, to old-time institutions that she still loves, like The Breakers Hotel. Ultra-feminine and a natural beauty, Lauder gamely snapped selfies, autographed copies of her book, and engaged in soft-spoken conversation with a room full of guests at Longoria Collection. where we, too, caught up with the entrepreneurial beauty legacy.
Houstonia: What are some of the lessons and traditions you inherited from those vacation days in Palm Beach?
Aerin Lauder: My grandmother, who preferred to be called by Estée, taught me the importance of work-life balance and dedicating time to our family, birthday cake on birthdays for breakfast, and to add a spoon of sugar to every recipe! Estée loved entertaining, and I’m planning to write a book about my best-kept secrets on the topic in the future.
What do you enjoy being involved with the most at AERIN?
AL: The design process. For our fall/winter collection, among other pieces, we added [picture] frames in velvet and gold enamel. Picture frames have a special meaning to me because of the memories. I also enjoy designing accessories and engaging in collaborations with other brands and creatives, like the one we just did with Johanna Ortiz for makeup, beauty bags, and pareos, or the one we did with La Sirenuse for caftans.
At a time when more and more businesses are going online-only, AERIN has opened three locations between Palm Beach and the Hamptons. What made you go the brick-and-mortar route?
AL: I feel that it’s important to connect with our customers in person and provide a space where they can experience the AERIN beauty and home lifestyle.
So, what’s next for AERIN?
AL: I’d love to open a store in Houston!