We chatted with the stylish brand founder about the power of perfume.
Aerin Lauder was born into the beauty business—and always had a penchant for perfume. “I remember as a little girl her coming into the room and all I would smell is the fragrance that she was working on,” Lauder says of an early memory of her grandmother, the incredible Estée Lauder. The Sephora Glossy caught up with Aerin to talk about the inspiration behind her chic namesake fragrance collection and more. KELLEY HOFFMAN
Why did you decide to launch AERIN?
Well, I thought there was a real opportunity in the market place for a modern feminine beauty brand. What’s fun about the fragrance collection is that concept of a wardrobe of fragrances, the idea of choice, and discovery, and fun, and experience. Because you have a huge variety—rose with cognac, lilac, jasmine—it really allows the consumer to discover and explore and find one that she likes.
Where do you find inspiration for your scents?
It really can be from anywhere. It can be from a trip, it can be from a piece of art, it can be a memory, it can be a friend.
What’s your routine for wearing fragrance? Where do you spritz or dab—and do you ever layer?
I wear it all day long. I love it. I get up the morning and the first thing I do is brush my teeth, wash my face, and put perfume on. And, before I leave for work, I put it on again, and then when I come home at night, I always put it on. I love to spritz it on my wrists and behind my ears, kind of the classic places. We’ve also developed new ways of wearing fragrance, like spraying your hair brush and brushing your hair, which Estée taught me, especially now with the return of all these hair fragrances, which is fun. Spray it on your suitcase when you travel and when you get to your destination it smells fresh and pretty. I always have all the little samples in my evening bag. It’s a great way to sample the fragrances and it’s also a great way to make them portable—by putting them in a small bag.
I really liked the images that you provided of you in different outfits and settings with your fragrances. I thought that really helped tell the story of each fragrance online, even if someone can’t smell it immediately.
That’s the idea. People always used to say that you smell fragrance with your mind, not necessarily your nose. For example, Ikat Jasmine is about jeans and a white shirt, and a blue and white package, and a white cap. It’s this incredible jasmine and it has this kind of timeless sense to it—similar to a pair of jeans and a white shirt. So, we tried very hard to make sure that the stories were special and people could relate to them.
Even Waterlily Sun, which we’re launching now, was inspired by the garden of Giverny a beautiful kind of magic garden, and just the idea of the lushness, of the green dewy notes and the packaging, the green cap and the green floral. It’s almost artisanal—that kind of graphic.
What tips or tricks do you suggest for someone looking to find a perfume from you that’s right for them?
I think fragrance is all about exploring and finding what you like. Fragrance is so personal, it’s probably the most intimate part of your style. I think there’s something really nice about finding it, putting it on, and that it smells different on everyone. It’s about discovery and trying them on and bringing the sample home with you, and living with it, and really seeing which one you like.
Which of your fragrances are in your top rotation and why?
My top rotation is probably Ikat Jasmine, Gardenia Rattan, and Waterlily Sun. To tell you the truth, the Ikat Jasmine is very much my signature, my go-to. Probably because I love jeans and a white shirt. When I can wear anything I want, I put on jeans and a white shirt. So, I think it makes sense that that would be the one I gravitate to on a regular basis.
Can you tell us the story behind your bottle design?
The bottle design was meant to be the perfect imperfect. I love the idea of different colors, different patterns, soft watery pastels on the caps, that almost feel like stones you found on the beach. They’re not perfect, like sea glass or beautiful pebbles kind of worn by the ocean, and it’s really kind of the experience of the beautiful colored stones and containers. The secondary idea is really about fun—the folding cards, all the patterns. Each one is different. Gardenia Rattan is inspired by the south of France and it has an incredible sense of gardenia and orange blossom—and then you see the packaging and it has touches of bright orange and green and beige, and you feel like you’re far away when you look at it.
What do you think makes fragrance so personal and powerful?
I think it’s very intimate because it’s on your skin, it’s your signature, it’s how you smell—I think that’s very personal. I also think it’s your choice. I think it’s something you pick, you find, you love.
Woman forced to marry Brodda the Easterling. Aerin was the daughter of Indor. She was a kinswoman of Hurin, the leader of the Men of the House of Hador. She lived in Dor-lomin, a region in southern Hithlum.
After the Battle of Unnumbered Tears in 472 of the First Age, Morgoth gave Hithlum to the Easterlings. Hurin had been captured by Morgoth and the rest of the Men who had gone into battle with him had all been killed. The women and children and elderly who had remained behind in Dor-lomin were oppressed and enslaved by the Easterlings. Aerin was married against her will to an Easterling named Brodda. Brodda stole goods and cattle from Hurin’s land though he did not dare to harm Hurin’s wife, Morwen. Aerin secretly gave aid to Morwen who was pregnant and had a son Turin to feed. Morwen sent Turin away to Doriath, and in 473 she gave birth to a daughter, Nienor. Aerin continued to help them even though Brodda beat her for it. She also gave food and shelter to others in need.
In 494, Morwen and Nienor left Dor-lomin. At the fall of Nargothrond in 495, Turin was convinced by Glaurung that his mother and sister were enslaved in Dor-lomin. Turin returned to Dor-lomin instead of rescuing Finduilas who was taken captive by Orcs and was later slain. In early 496, Turin came to Brodda’s hall but Aerin was afraid to tell him where Morwen and Nienor had gone. Turin drew his sword on Brodda and commanded Aerin to speak, and she told him they had gone to Doriath to find him. Turin realized that Glaurung had deceived him and he killed Brodda and several other Easterlings in anger. Brodda’s servants rose up and killed the other Easterlings in the hall though many of the servants were also slain.
Aerin realized that more Easterlings would come to kill her and the remaining servants because of Turin’s actions. She chastized Turin and told him to flee and find Morwen so that some good could come of it. Turin accused her of being faint-hearted, but a servant named Asgon told him of Aerin’s quiet courage in defying Brodda to help her people. Aerin refused to go with Turin into the wild in the Fell Winter. After Turin left with the able-bodied servants, Aerin set fire to the hall before the Easterlings could come for her and she presumably perished in the flames.
Names & Etymology: The name Aerin may be in the language of the Men of the House of Hador. The meaning is unknown. She was called Lady Aerin. In older versions of the story she was called Airin Faiglindra or Firilanda meaning “long-tressed, long-haired” in an early form of Elvish.