NEW YORK — Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of the Estée Lauder Cos. and founder of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, is wrapping up Breast Cancer Awareness month with a flurry of fund-raising for the cause.
Lauder has been on a globe-trotting mission with actress Elizabeth Hurley, with stops that have included a symposium and lunch held at the Waldorf-Astoria here, as well as personal appearances at Toronto's Holt Renfrew flagship, Chicago's Marshall Field's flagship and a charity auction at Lexington, Ky.'s Keeneland Race Track — all of which took place last week. To date, the charity has raised more than $120 million for breast cancer research since its founding in 1993.
A number of retail initiatives — all in the cause's signature color, pink — have raised money this month for the BCRF benefit. Holt Renfrew commissioned a cashmere T-shirt, retailing for 98 Canadian dollars, or $83.75 at current exchange; Bloomingdale's and Sean "Diddy" Combs teamed up to offer an $85 camisole that he designed; Marshall Field's tinted its signature Frango Mints a pale pink, $8 for the smaller box, and Target is offering a $10 pink T-shirt, a $16 men's tie and a silicone bracelet, $10 for a box of 10. A number of Lauder-owned brands also have designated items that will benefit the BCRF — including the Estée Lauder brand, which produces lip shades named for both Lauder and Hurley.
"One idea spawns another great idea, and people get inspired," said Lauder. "We're planning even more for next year."
And customers seem enthusiastic about the thought of shopping for the cause. "We're on track for 100 percent sell-through, boss," Caryn Lerner, president of Holt Renfrew Canada, told the chain's owner, Galen Weston, and the crowd that had gathered for last week's in-store event at the retailer's Bloor Street location in Toronto, regarding the store's shirts. Holt Renfrew is donating 100 percent of the net proceeds — upward of $50,000 Canadian dollars, or $42,725 — to the BCRF. As well, American Express, which runs the store's credit card program, is donating an additional $15 Canadian dollars, or $12.80, from the sale of every shirt, providing it is purchased on the customer's Holt Renfrew card.Earlier last week, at the organization's annual symposium and lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria, the BCRF awarded $22 million to 110 researchers across the globe. As well, Lauder announced at her Holt Renfrew event that all funds raised in Canada are staying there — they are being directed to a research project led by Dr. Pamela Goodwin, director of Mount Sinai Hospital's Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre and a professor at the University of Toronto.
Although Oct. 31 marks the close of the cause's official awareness month, Lauder has no plans for slowing down just yet. Next up: a showing of her newest series of photographs, which opens at Manhattan's Pace/MacGill Gallery on Nov. 9. All proceeds from the sales of the photos will be donated to the BCRF.
And she's already thinking about retail initiatives for next year: Hurley, who recently started an eponymous swimwear company, has designed a limited-edition pink and jaguar-print sarong to benefit the BCRF, and has a second idea for fund-raising.
"We can definitely do a pink bikini," Hurley said. It was, she said, only fair: "I've been boring Evelyn senseless with details about my swimwear company lately!" she said with a laugh. Hurley's line, which is currently carried at Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S. and at a number of global shops, has been picked up by a number of additional upscale retailers recently, including New York's Scoop chain.
"It's been expanding by the second, in a good way," Hurley said. "It's a brave new world, and I'm loving it."
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