"I think Estée would have loved this product, because it’s ahead of its time," says Aerin Lauder, senior vice president and creative director of Estée Lauder, the company her grandmother founded in 1946. "The packaging is very sleek and modern, yet it's based on an idea that Estée herself had." Seated on a cozy couch in the Park Avenue apartment she shares with her husband and two sons in New York City, the younger Lauder is talking about her latest launch: an aspirational fragrance called Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, which she dreamed up about two years ago when reminiscing about her famous grandmother. "When Estée created the first private collection in 1973, the idea was that not everyone could have it. When I was about 6, she told me that the formula and the ingredients were locked up in a safe," Aerin explains. As a child, Aerin believed her grandmother's story, and she still cherishes the idea of a very personal, special perfume.
Now, more than three decades after Estée debuted her private collection, Aerin is introducing her own favorite scent, a blend with top notes of neroli, lilac and rosewood and a heart of tuberose, gardenia, orange flower, jasmine and white lily. The idea of using white florals is derived from Estée's love of white flowers particularly gardenias and tuberoses. The bottle is also inspired by Lauder-family lore: square and clean, it speaks to Aerin's modern tastes, and the stone-encrusted gold top is modeled on a Josef Hoffmann brooch in the Neue Galerie, a museum founded by Aerin's father Ronald and dedicated to early-20th century German and Austrian art.
The launch is part of the younger Lauder's attempt to mix the past with the present and to draw on the heritage of the brand in order to update it. "I think we're coming back to a need for high-end distribution. This collection will be very special, she says. It will retell a story, which is important because it gives the brand a soul." The plan is to launch the first fragrance including a complete line of perfume, eau de parfum, solid perfume and body cream and then add a new fragrance to the collection once a year.