October 01, 2021

Aerin Lauder On Her Iconic Grandmother, Her Love Of Florals And The Challenges Of Making A Woody Scent

“I think this is a completely magical fragrance…”

Lovers of the luxury fragrance brand Aerin, or its namesake creator, will know the brand is an ode to florals. With names like Evening Rose, Hibiscus Palm, and Waterlily Sun, Aerin, the brainchild of Aerin Lauder, has a lineup that celebrates nature’s most beautiful creations. So, when it came to conceiving Cedar Violet, the brand’s latest release, Lauder embraced the task of working with a woody sillage. 

“This fragrance was challenging,” she admits during our video interview. “We have 22 fragrances and most of them are florals. In the beginning, when we said we wanted something very woody, I wanted to make sure that it was woody and floral. And that’s why there were a lot of modifications to this and we worked very closely with the perfumer for me to create this magical fragrance. And now I love it. I absolutely love it.”

Although Aerin fragrances aren’t exclusively floral, they often hero flowers, but Cedar Violet was inspired by the woods—literally. Lauder’s own Instagram showcases an abundance of florals—pictures of flower arrangements, floral wallpaper and prints—but Cedar Violet was inspired by a hike through the golden-hued forests of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. She drew inspiration from the “beautiful lakes, trees, hiking paths, wonderful hotels” in the area to create a “comforting, cosy” perfume. 

“It’s funny, I love spicey, like Tangier Vanille was one of my favourite fragrances,” she adds. “When I was at Estée Lauder, we worked on fragrances and I developed one with amber and ylang ylang. I love amber and ylang ylang, I love woody notes when mixed with the right thing. I think this is a completely magical fragrance.” 

The process of creating a new fragrance takes Lauder more than a year, during which she wears it as the seasons change. “My favourite part about creating a scent is first thinking of the concept. How it starts is you kind of go through your wardrobe of fragrances and you say, ‘We’re missing a wooden floral, or we’re missing a citrus spice … you figure out what’s missing. And then I think it’s really fun to work with a perfumer, and you get the modifications, and you smell different things. And some you just fall in love with and some of you don’t like at all. And I think the magic really is when you fall in love with something and it smells delicious.”

Delicious is one way to describe Cedar Violet—with top notes of violet leaf, middle notes of cedarwood and base notes of amber, it transports you to the leafy forest floor of a fragrant woodland. “Fragrance is so powerful that it can transport you and transport a mood and a feeling. It also can evoke a memory. Fragrance is very powerful.”

The power behind scent makes it serious business—but Lauder insists it’s also about having fun. “Fragrance allows you to play,” she says, explaining that she is a fan of layering scents. How? By spraying some of her favourite fragrances on top of each other on her pulse points. The Aerin website also encourages you to mix scents—each fragrance comes with a ‘Layering Recipe’ suggesting some of the other Aerin fragrances that will complement it when worn together. The inspiration comes from her late grandmother, the Estée Lauder, who founded Estée Lauder Companies. 

“Estée always had to have this quote saying, ‘You wouldn’t wear the same dress to play tennis in as you would to have dinner. Why would you wear the same fragrance?’ So she really believed in this choice of fragrance and a wardrobe of fragrance. That’s one of the reasons why Estée Lauder [Companies] has so many fragrances—because that was her philosophy. And I was inspired by that.”

On the topic of her trail-blazing grandmother, Lauder says she “was the most amazing mentor, friend and incredible source of information”. She adds: “She really was a mentor to me because she talked about the importance of loving what you do. She used to always say, ‘Whatever you do, do it well and with passion,’ and she really was a hard worker. She went to work every day until she was 85.” 

“She was so creative—when you think about it, she created Gift With Purchase, which is that amazing idea of, ‘If you buy this, you get that.’ There’s a wonderful story, when she was launching in the UK and she said, ‘I’m telling you, even if you’re the Queen of England you want a Gift With Purchase!’ and everyone thought she was crazy. They were in Harrods, the store, and this big car shows up and it was The Queen’s lady-in-waiting coming in with her card to get the Gift With Purchase. She was like, ‘I told you I was right!’ She had amazing intuition.” 

“Even Private Collection [the Estée Lauder fragrance], originally, was created to be in her private collection that she gave to her friends. To Princess Grace, all these wonderful personalities… Princess Diana, all of her friends. People were always saying ‘What is that? It smells so good!’ And that’s why she gave it to the public. So she was very inspired by her surroundings.”

Lauder adds that whenever people ask her the question ‘if you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be?’ her grandmother is at the top of the list and she reflects on what it would be like to be able to share information with her now that she’s a business woman too. “I knew her as a grandmother. When she passed away, I was in my early 20s, I was still at university. I was much, much younger. I would love to see her today.” 

Aerin Cedar Violet, $190 for 50ml, is on counter from Sunday, October 3. Buy it here

October 01, 2021

Aerin Lauder On Her Iconic Grandmother, Her Love Of Florals And The Challenges Of Making A Woody Scent

“I think this is a completely magical fragrance…”

Lovers of the luxury fragrance brand Aerin, or its namesake creator, will know the brand is an ode to florals. With names like Evening Rose, Hibiscus Palm, and Waterlily Sun, Aerin, the brainchild of Aerin Lauder, has a lineup that celebrates nature’s most beautiful creations. So, when it came to conceiving Cedar Violet, the brand’s latest release, Lauder embraced the task of working with a woody sillage. 

“This fragrance was challenging,” she admits during our video interview. “We have 22 fragrances and most of them are florals. In the beginning, when we said we wanted something very woody, I wanted to make sure that it was woody and floral. And that’s why there were a lot of modifications to this and we worked very closely with the perfumer for me to create this magical fragrance. And now I love it. I absolutely love it.”

Although Aerin fragrances aren’t exclusively floral, they often hero flowers, but Cedar Violet was inspired by the woods—literally. Lauder’s own Instagram showcases an abundance of florals—pictures of flower arrangements, floral wallpaper and prints—but Cedar Violet was inspired by a hike through the golden-hued forests of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. She drew inspiration from the “beautiful lakes, trees, hiking paths, wonderful hotels” in the area to create a “comforting, cosy” perfume. 

“It’s funny, I love spicey, like Tangier Vanille was one of my favourite fragrances,” she adds. “When I was at Estée Lauder, we worked on fragrances and I developed one with amber and ylang ylang. I love amber and ylang ylang, I love woody notes when mixed with the right thing. I think this is a completely magical fragrance.” 

The process of creating a new fragrance takes Lauder more than a year, during which she wears it as the seasons change. “My favourite part about creating a scent is first thinking of the concept. How it starts is you kind of go through your wardrobe of fragrances and you say, ‘We’re missing a wooden floral, or we’re missing a citrus spice … you figure out what’s missing. And then I think it’s really fun to work with a perfumer, and you get the modifications, and you smell different things. And some you just fall in love with and some of you don’t like at all. And I think the magic really is when you fall in love with something and it smells delicious.”

Delicious is one way to describe Cedar Violet—with top notes of violet leaf, middle notes of cedarwood and base notes of amber, it transports you to the leafy forest floor of a fragrant woodland. “Fragrance is so powerful that it can transport you and transport a mood and a feeling. It also can evoke a memory. Fragrance is very powerful.”

The power behind scent makes it serious business—but Lauder insists it’s also about having fun. “Fragrance allows you to play,” she says, explaining that she is a fan of layering scents. How? By spraying some of her favourite fragrances on top of each other on her pulse points. The Aerin website also encourages you to mix scents—each fragrance comes with a ‘Layering Recipe’ suggesting some of the other Aerin fragrances that will complement it when worn together. The inspiration comes from her late grandmother, the Estée Lauder, who founded Estée Lauder Companies. 

“Estée always had to have this quote saying, ‘You wouldn’t wear the same dress to play tennis in as you would to have dinner. Why would you wear the same fragrance?’ So she really believed in this choice of fragrance and a wardrobe of fragrance. That’s one of the reasons why Estée Lauder [Companies] has so many fragrances—because that was her philosophy. And I was inspired by that.”

On the topic of her trail-blazing grandmother, Lauder says she “was the most amazing mentor, friend and incredible source of information”. She adds: “She really was a mentor to me because she talked about the importance of loving what you do. She used to always say, ‘Whatever you do, do it well and with passion,’ and she really was a hard worker. She went to work every day until she was 85.” 

“She was so creative—when you think about it, she created Gift With Purchase, which is that amazing idea of, ‘If you buy this, you get that.’ There’s a wonderful story, when she was launching in the UK and she said, ‘I’m telling you, even if you’re the Queen of England you want a Gift With Purchase!’ and everyone thought she was crazy. They were in Harrods, the store, and this big car shows up and it was The Queen’s lady-in-waiting coming in with her card to get the Gift With Purchase. She was like, ‘I told you I was right!’ She had amazing intuition.” 

“Even Private Collection [the Estée Lauder fragrance], originally, was created to be in her private collection that she gave to her friends. To Princess Grace, all these wonderful personalities… Princess Diana, all of her friends. People were always saying ‘What is that? It smells so good!’ And that’s why she gave it to the public. So she was very inspired by her surroundings.”

Lauder adds that whenever people ask her the question ‘if you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be?’ her grandmother is at the top of the list and she reflects on what it would be like to be able to share information with her now that she’s a business woman too. “I knew her as a grandmother. When she passed away, I was in my early 20s, I was still at university. I was much, much younger. I would love to see her today.” 

Aerin Cedar Violet, $190 for 50ml, is on counter from Sunday, October 3. Buy it here

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