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Aerin Lauder’s latest project, Private Collection Jasmine White Moss, is a final tribute to her late grandmother, Estée Lauder, who began work on the formula in the Eighties.
“She was always working on dozens of things at once, and this was one of the things that didn’t get finished,” said Lauder, senior vice president and creative director of the brand that bears her grandmother’s name, during an interview Tuesday in her offices. “That makes this one even more special.”
This story first appeared in the May 1, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
So special, in fact, that Lauder — along with her parents, Ronald and Jo Carole; uncle and aunt, Leonard and Evelyn, and cousin William — hosted a party to celebrate the finished product Monday evening at the Upper East Side town house once occupied by Estée and her husband Joseph Lauder, who died in 1983.
Aerin admits she had some intimidating shoes to fill with this project, which will be released in July. “Of course, you always want to make [Estée] proud,” she said of her grandmother, who passed away in 2004. “And there is a lot of Estée in this project. We chose the blue stone accents [of white jade, dark and light lapis, sodalite, black agate, mother-of-pearl and blue lace agate] because blue was her favorite color; a basketweave design on the cap, since that was one of her favorite textures; her signature is on the lower right side of the bottle, and of course the juice began as her project.”
In fact, the unfinished formula Aerin set out to finish — Formula 546AQ — had been locked up in the archives at International Flavors & Fragrances since the late Eighties. Regulatory changes in the time that elapsed also forced Aerin — along with Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., and Karyn Khoury, senior vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide for the Estée Lauder Cos. — to adapt the original formula a bit.
Private Collection Jasmine White Moss, the third Private Collection fragrance, is a green floral chypre. Top notes are of mandarin, black current bud absolute, galbanum and bergamot; the heart is of jasmin sambac absolute (Aerin’s choice), jasmin India absolute (Estée’s choice), violet, orange flower absolute, orris and ylang-ylang; and a drydown of patchouli heart absolute, vetiver and white moss mist (the latter is an ingredient exclusive to Lauder.)
The collection includes a 1 oz. parfum, $325; eaux de parfum in two sizes, 1 oz. for $80 and 2.5 oz. for $135; a 6.7 oz. body cream for $75, and a limited edition solid perfume pendant, $195. Outer packaging is of the deep blue which was Estée’s favorite. “Estée always incorporated blue and white into her surroundings, whether it was her rooms or her products,” said Aerin.
Advertising, featuring Aerin — who developed the concept with Lloyd & Co.’s Doug Lloyd — and photographed by Craig McDean, will break in July fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. Sampling will be pulsed throughout the fall, with deluxe minis and vials on cards planned.
Like the previous Private Collection fragrances, Jasmine Moss will be exclusive to specialty stores and will be available in about 260 doors in the U.S., including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s. It will also be sold internationally, with the first global doors — Harrods in the U.K. — getting the scent in August. “Estée was really ahead of her time when it came to the idea of having a wardrobe of scents for different times of the day and different moods,” said Aerin, noting that additional Private Collection items are being developed, including some beyond fragrance.
While executives declined to discuss sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated Private Collection Jasmine White Moss could do $22 million at retail globally in its first year on counter. Industry sources estimated about $2 million would be spent on advertising and promotion in North America.