Aerin Lauder launched with beauty when she founded her company in 2012. Four years later, beauty products are only one aspect of her brand.
Lauder’s namesake label has evolved into new accessories categories: handbags and scarves.
And the founder and creative director tapped Olivia Palermo for the brand’s latest campaign, shot in the Hamptons by Silja Magg.
“I always say that beauty is very much my heritage, but home and accessories are my passion. The concept of lifestyle is more relevant than ever,” Lauder said. “Accessories were a wonderful place to start.”
Lauder has taken the reins on her accessories collections — from jewelry to bags to footwear — designing everything in-house with manufacturing taking place in Italy. (Shoes were introduced in 2012 via a partnership with licensee Jimlar Corp., which has since concluded.)
Lauder’s latest shoe designs feature an emphasis on flats, from ballerina slippers to suede knee-high boots, ranging from $495 to $1,150. She’ll include a few heels next season, too, but not too many; she wants to keep her categories tight across the board, emphasizing the importance of editing. “You’re not gonna see 50 different styles of handbags or shoes,” she said. “I love flats; I wear them at day and night and there’s something really appealing about that. They’re modern and beautiful. The ballerina slippers come with a ribbon and a strap, [reinforcing] the idea of personalization. It’s this idea of elegant, luxurious, feminine effortlessness.”
Handbags, meanwhile, include a best-selling raffia pouch; a soft, oversize weekender, and leopard-printed pony-top handle bag, among other styles.
“I’ve always admired her sense of style,” Lauder said of Palermo, who exudes confidence and polish in the campaign imagery. “I’d been seeing photos of her and she’s got this wonderful, feminine, effortless sense of style — from beauty to accessories to fashion — whether you see her on a boat in a pair of shorts or at some beautiful dinner in Milan in an incredible black lace dress. She [represents] such a lifestyle…She was at the top of our list.”
Characterizing her woman, Lauder said, “It’s a state of mind: pretty, feminine, luxurious. Our customers range in age — I remember seeing this little girl, I think in 8th or 9th grade, who was looking for lip conditioner [in one of our retailers]. And then we also have customers in their 80s.”
One thing she has no plans to design is clothing. “Right now, we have a very full plate, and the categories we have, we’ll continue to reinforce them,” Lauder said, noting that the brand just launched its own line of wallpaper. As for long-term strategies, Lauder said the brand is amping up its collaborations, having recently teamed up with Elle Macpherson on a limited-edition gold ceramic case for Macpherson’s wellness elixirs.
“There’s something really wonderful about collaborations when they’re like-minded and organic — as a great way to generate buzz and do something new and exciting,” Lauder said. “And then we’ll continue to look for that ideal store in a new location, possibly in New York or other cities.”