By  on July 20, 2007

Aerin Lauder stepped into history July 12 when she unveiled a new version of her grandmother Estee's classic Private Collection women's scent.

The event, which took place at Saks Fifth Avenue, was a pre-sell preview of the official launch of the Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, which is scheduled to begin its rollout at Saks on July 29.

Shortly after a tarp was ceremoniously pulled aside at the event last week to reveal how the Lauder counter was reconfigured to feature the new fragrance, Aerin Lauder's mother, Jo Carole Lauder, stepped forward to seal the occasion by making the first purchase — a 2.5-oz. eau de parfum with a hammered gold cap on the bottle, priced at $120.

In introducing Aerin Lauder, Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks, pointed out that every major Lauder fragrance had been launched at his store. William Lauder, president and ceo of the Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. and Aerin's cousin, agreed that his company's long history has been driven by its partnership with Saks. Later, at a reception in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art, he saluted Aerin's new role as "the next new chapter" of Lauder history. While watching the event from the crowd, Deborah Walters, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of cosmetics and fragrances at Saks, remarked, "This is going to be the rebirth of the brand with our customers. It will be a new era."

John Demsey, a group president who oversees the Lauder brand, pointed out that the legacy of Lauder is its history of family members playing key roles right through the present generation. "It is a new level of aspiration of a new generation," he said.

Aerin Lauder herself was quite humble in making her remarks. As senior vice president and creative director of the Lauder brand, she usually oversees the advertising shoots. All of a sudden — at the suggestion of Demsey — she found herself posing as the face of the advertising. She said that after some reflection, it seemed right that someone with a connection to the brand should be the one up front, rather than a hired celebrity or ambassador recruited from outside the company. "I am so proud of it," she said of the resultant fragrance. "It feels right."And this is not intended as a one-shot deal. A second fragrance is already in the works.

Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, a six-stockkeeping-unit collection, will be rolled out to a maximum of 230 specialty store doors in the U.S. by the end of the year. The company did not break out figures but industry sources estimate that this fragrance, driven by reports of a stronger than expected pre-sell at Saks, could generate about $7 million in retail sales globally its first year.

But the biggest compliment of the night came from Ronald Lauder, chairman of Clinique Laboratories Inc. "I have the title of honorary chairman of the Museum of Modern Art," he said, while standing in the shadow of the museum. "But the best title of all is the proud father of Aerin."

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