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Jane Lauder Honored at 30th Annual Art of Packaging Gala

Lauder was the guest of honor, but the crowd also praised Marc Rosen, who started the packaging graduate course at Pratt Institute.

It was the 30th year for the Art of Packaging Gala on Tuesday night in New York, and things were getting sentimental.

Marc Rosen, an early graduate of the packaging design master’s program at the Pratt Institute and later created the fragrance and cosmetics packaging course, was taken by surprise first when gifted a pair of Pratt-engraved Tiffany cufflinks by Pratt president Frances Bronet. Later in the evening, he was presented with a citation from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his work.

Rosen wasn’t the only honoree at Tuesday’s gala, which was held at The University Club. The advertised star of the show was Jane Lauder, global president of Clinique, who inquired about the number of components in Clinique ID packaging — the answer is 25 — over dinner.

“Marc Rosen, you won’t probably remember this, but in the 1980s when I was looking for a job I remember that a friend of the family sent me to Elizabeth Arden to have an interview with you,” said John Demsey, executive group president for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. He introduced Jane Lauder, calling her “one of the most extraordinary people I’ve met in my entire career,” and went on to laud her passion, drive and eye for detail.

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“She has amazing taste, style, discipline and a global mind-set. She knows more about the workings of everything that we do and everything that the packaging industry does than anyone can possibly imagine. No one understands how to tool a cap…but she has literally done almost every job there is along the way to build and to take Clinique to new heights,” Demsey said.

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“When I look at any Clinique product, I see the hours of collaboration, discussion, some deliberation and daring it represents. I see the faces and the passion of each person,” Lauder said. “Our products continue to fulfill the promise of our packaging. Clean, customized, elegant efficacious, surprising, artful, Clinique. What some of you may not know is that Clinique launched with 117 products. That means 117 names, 117 packages, creating the niche hypo-allergenic cosmetics market. They had to balance message and effect. Packaging, especially before the digital age, was everything. It could not be too clinical or medicinal or people would misinterpret the target audience — every woman.”

Lauder told a story about Clinique founder Carol Philipps taking prospective packaging nearby to the ladies bathroom at the St. Regis hotel to check how it looked in the natural light. “Then, she could look at the colors,” Lauder said.