Lifestyle maven Aerin Lauder arrived in Los Angeles last week on a cloud of Aegea Blossom to open her first pop-up shop on the leafy retail thoroughfare Melrose Place.
Lauder’s expertise in curating a store was evidenced by the Instagram-ready tables and shelves in the retail jewel box, filled with her own beauty products and fragrances (Aegea Blossom with its SoCal-appropriate notes of jasmine, orange flower and neroli is the latest), as well as statement earrings by Rebecca de Ravenel and Mercedes Salazar and Aerin branded sunglasses, sandals, decorative wicker knickknacks, serving trays and decorating books, including her own “Beauty at Home.”
Lauder, whose brand encompasses lighting, home decor and tabletop, as well as beauty and accessories, has permanent stores in East Hampton and Southampton, N.Y., and Palm Beach. But this is the first pop-up concept, which will be open through April, offering a slate of customer activities, including perfume bottle hand-painting, engraving, custom fragrance blending and trunk shows with Blazé Milano and other brands.
In addition to her full beauty and accessories ranges, the store stocks a curated-to-L.A. selection of clothing, with Borgo de Nor floral dresses, Frame x Aerin pastel-hued jeans and Johanna Ortiz resort separates.
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“We thought it was a great opportunity,” said Lauder during an opening cocktail Thursday night, followed by a dinner at San Vicente Bungalows. “I love California and there is a lot going on in Los Angeles, including a lot of interesting beauty brands. When this space became available, I felt it was perfect. We usually do vacation destinations…it’s exciting for us to be in a city.
“We shoot here a lot,” she noted of her affinity for L.A., adding that the campaign for Aegea Blossom was shot at Olivia Newton John’s former L.A. house Xanadu. “I shot there years ago with Steven Meisel and I remembered it being very Greek and we were looking for a location.”
On hand for the opening were several L.A. entrepreneurs and influencers. “Aerin was the first person to carry my earrings,” said de Ravenel, who has since built her accessories line into a fledgling clothing collection. “I told her I had this idea and she said, ‘I don’t care, I want them.’ I hand delivered 12 pairs to her Southampton store and they sold out overnight. She’s an unbelievable person and one of the most supportive women I know. You walk into her store and want everything.”
“We always do this edit in our stores, so about 70 percent of the product we make, whether it’s makeup bags or home items, then we do a mix of jewelry and clothes,” explained Lauder of the assortment, which cast a spell on at least one guest.
“I want to live there,” mused fellow beauty entrepreneur Marianna Hewitt, of influencer-built skin-care line Summer Fridays, while sitting on the shuttle bus to dinner.
Once everyone had signed a release form agreeing not to take any photographs, and had stickers put on the lenses of their camera phones per San Vicente Bungalows’ policy to protect its A-list clientele, guests were ushered up to a private bungalow where Lauder said all rules were off, and photos were allowed. (She clearly knew the importance of having her dinner guests capture the tablescape, which included hand-painted menus and calligraphed shells for place cards.)
“We were born the same day at Mt. Sinai and our mothers became friends in the hospital,” Lauder said of hotelier Jeff Klein, whose San Vicente Bungalows, with garden courtyard, cottage decor and country-club piped blazers for wait staff look as Palm Beach as L.A. “I love his style and vision.”
Lauder comes to L.A. a couple times a year, she said, recalling the night in 2001 when she and her husband ducked out of the Golden Globes to have drinks at Trader Vic’s, and ended up partying with Russell Crowe.
Thursday night was a little more tame. Dinner — Greek salad, steaks and French fries — was dished up by Klein’s right hand Dimitri Dimitrov, while guests, including de Ravenel, Violet Grey beauty emporium founder Cassandra Grey and her romantic partner Samantha Ronson dished on everything from Coachella (surprisingly, Ronson has never been) to New York’s Hudson Yards (the verdict wasn’t good).
“We just met for the first time tonight,” said Grey, the original beauty maven of Melrose Place, of Lauder. “But we’re already talking about collaborating.”